The most remarkable thing about the 2019 Big Mountain field is that there’s little that’s new to remark upon. By our count there are but 3 new models in a field of 17, only one of which earned a Recommended medallion. And even the Recommended newbie isn’t all that new; the Salomon QST was an existing model that received a palpable upgrade, a notable improvement but still not an entirely new ski.
All things considered, the fact that almost the entire Big Mountain category hit the Pause button is probably a positive development. A genre that’s comprised entirely of models that will serve as a second or third pair shouldn’t need as much turnover to satisfy demand. The leveling off of new model introductions is also a sign of the maturity of the segment: skiers already have a wide selection that is also wildly diverse.
The balance of the overall 2019 Big Mountain category is demonstrated by the relatively even split between Recommended Power (7) and Finesse (5) models. Whether you like your connection to the snow to be accurate, loose or any gradient in between, there’s a Big Mountain model to suit your fancy.
It bears mentioning that the ensemble of Finesse skis is particularly good at what they do. While they are optimal for advanced intermediates who want a second ski for powder, their mild demeanor disguises a deep energy reserve. None of them are weak skis; they’re merely easier to bend. Most of our Finesse Favorites have no metal in them and the few that do use Titanal sparingly, which makes our typical Finesse ski lighter and livelier than the burlier boys’ club on the other side of the Power/Finesse divide.
Every year there’s always a ski or two that eludes our grasp. We regret not recording enough data on the Elan Ripstick 106, Line Sakana and Liberty Origin 106. We’ll try to corral them next year.