V-Shape 10

The obvious point about the V-Shape 10’s LYT Tech design is it’s much lighter than the norm among men’s Frontside models. But the big trick in LYT Tech’s bag is how it uses Graphene to change one of a ski’s most fundamental features, its core profile.

Through all the disruptive design changes that have roiled the ski world in the past 30 years – shaped skis, fat skis, rockered baselines – you could always count on a ski being thicker in the middle and thinner at the ends. But Graphene’s ability to affect stiffness without affecting mass allows Head to toy with flex distribution in unique ways. The V-Shape 10 is made thinner through the middle so it can be loaded with less exertion, a major differentiator between it and, say, a Supershape e-Titan.

The V-Shape 10 is a system ski, meaning it comes with its own binding, but there’s an optional component that isn’t included in the price but is certainly part of the package: Head’s LYT Tech boots, the Nexo series. While not strictly speaking an integrated system, Head’s ultralight boot/ski combo is the first of its kind. If you like the idea of a luxury carving kit that weighs no more than a whisper, consider going all-in and matching the V-Shape 10 with a Nexo Lyt boot.

Vantage 86 Ti

Last season, Atomic elected to simplify its collection by folding the former Vantage X series into the Vantage (sans X) family. By dint of this winnowing process, the 2019 Vantage X 86 CTi lost its “C,” it’s “X” and $67 off its MSRP when mated with a Warden MNC 13...

Vantage 86 C

The Atomic Vantage 86 C isn’t in a fair fight when asked to compete against the best (and most expensive) skis in the hotly competitive All-Mountain East genre. The Vantage 86 C isn’t trying to be the best ski; it’s trying – and largely succeeding – at being the best...

Vantage 90 Ti

The Atomic Vantage 90 Ti is built on a minimalist frame called Prolite that works hard to keep the weight off. Noticeably lightweight both in the hand and on the foot, it feels more agile than its 18.4m sidecut radius (@176cm) implies, with a particular facility for...

V92

2018 was a breakout year for Liberty, a small brand that had previously carved out a niche as a bamboo-and-carbon specialist with a knack for making lightweight wide-bodies. Then they figured out how to industrialize the integration of an aluminum strut into their wheelhouse construction, trimmed down their usual silhouette to something more svelte and boom, Liberty elevated to a whole new level of performance.

The second generation of Liberty’s Vertical Metal Technology (VMT) came to market last year. Version 2.0 added an additional strut to the original dual vertical laminates, a modification that added a higher level of connection that paid off when skied aggressively.

That said, the V92 doesn’t require high speeds or steeply angled edges to feel utterly in control. Every sinew of the ski seems dedicated to maintaining snow contact. If the modestly rockered tip deflects upward for a microsecond, the struts manage the moment so the edge underfoot is never perturbed. Like all the V-Series from Liberty, the V92 requires zero adaptation on the part of the pilot. Just ski from a centered stance with whatever means of angulation floats your boat. The V92 will hold an edge no matter how you stand on it. It’s an ideal match for someone who hasn’t bought a new ski in ages, wants the benefits of new technology but doesn’t want to re-learn the sport.