Not much has changed since last season. There are no totally new models in this over-served category, and only four, the Salomon QST 118, Fischer Ranger 115, K2 Pinnacle 118 and Bent Chetler 120, tweaked their construction but without changing their shape.
Not much changed in my ability to collect data on Powder skis, either. Last year all I could manage was to ski a large pile of Powder models by myself, in conditions that could hardly be called ideal. There wasn’t much point in repeating that exercise, so I tried to accumulate a fair number of Powder skis at one venue and funnel a few testers through said site. I was determined to get more skiers on more models in more appropriate conditions. I came up short on all counts.
As I haven’t anything new to report save a profile of the Dynastar Proto Factory that slipped through my grasp last season and an update on the updated models, all I’ve done is re-arrange the words I assembled on this subject last season, beginning with the following reprise of how these Powder results are presented.
It’s one of Jackson’s Axioms that the measure of a great ski is how well it performs in conditions for which it was not designed. In this regard, the test conditions in which most of these skis were skied were ideal: groomed snow that rapidly degraded into corn, then sludge, then potage.
This sounds sub-optimal, but the problem with optimal conditions – two feet of perpetually renewed freshies – is that all distinguishing traits get lost in a haze of tester euphoria. Of course all these super-fat skis can cope with deep snow; how do they digest all the other courses on the menu?
After examining the field, my notes reveal three distinct species within the Powder genus. Some are clearly meant for highly skilled skiers who aren’t looking for a pair of powder crutches but a set of depth charges that will explode everything within their blast radius. On the other side of the Power/Finesse divide are those with just the right amount of energy to make floating side-to-side feel effortless.
After a sort along these lines, 4 skis remain that are so evenly balanced, it seems wrong to throw them in either the Power or Finesse camps. So they have their own sub-set, the Naturals.
As this is in no way a statistically relevant enterprise, there are no test scores to report. All models tested are Recommended as all are well adapted to parting their way through new snow. As all are equal in our eyes, they’re presented here in random order.