The women’s Big Mountain genre has bedeviled us since we began covering these super-fat models as a separate category seven seasons ago. Part of the problem is that skis this wide require some semblance of new snow to be given a fair evaluation, limiting their appeal as test subjects except on rare occasions.

Another factor depressing feedback is the limited market for skis that will serve as a second or third pair for its owner. Our crew has commercial considerations that oblige them to focus on where most of the action is in the women’s market. Their priority is to test what’s new and the Big Mountain genre doesn’t see a lot of model turnover precisely because sales in this fat segment are slender.

While we don’t have a lot of test results to lean on for support, recognizing the few models that attracted some attention allows us at least to talk about the genre and provide thumbnail portraits of some its stars. But we don’t have sufficient data to support statistical ratings and so, as has been the case for the last several seasons, we’re not presenting test statistics or Finesse/Power ratings. The Recommended models are listed alphabetically by brand, as they are all equal in our eyes.

If we had unearthed even a single card on one of the ever-dwindling number of women’s Powder models, you’d read about them here. Very few, if any, mainstream companies catalog a women’s Powder model (>113mm waist) anymore, as small-batch suppliers meet what limited demand exists.