Because Big Mountain skis are usually (and appropriately) a second pair reserved for off-trail conditions, the genre isn’t quite as big or as busy as the other core recreational categories. Nonetheless, five new models materialized this season, three of which made our Recommended ranks.

Those making the cut were the updated Head Kore 105 and brand-new Kore 111. The latter is absolutely stunning, moving into the top spot among our Finesse Favorites, which is where most of the action is in the Big Mountain genre.  Nimble, light, playful and as buoyant as a kayak, the Kore 111 is teed up to sell out if the West has any kind of snow year. The Kore 105 is no slouch, but the extra lift and drift of the 111 makes it that much easier to ski tricky snow.

The other rookie to make the team is Kästle’s FX106 Ti, a classic wood and Titanal sandwich with a twist: the core uses 3 laminated woods – Paulownia, poplar and beech – inside twin sheets of Titanal and fiberglass to make a metal ski that’s light but not limp.

Missing the cut due to a lack of data were the new Stöckli Stormrider 102 and Salomon Blank 112.  Also maddeningly shy of data were two models that debuted a year ago, the Völkl Katana 108 and Kastle ZX108. (The last two seasons were not particularly abundant in the fresh snow department.) What little feedback we recorded suggests that both of these models could vie for a top position in our rankings if only we could capture a little more data on them. 

If you’re currently flailing in new snow, you’re on the wrong gear. Powder is the one condition in which the choice of ski can actually improve your skiing experience, without actually requiring you to improve your skiing, if you catch my drift.  A properly sized and selected Big Mountain model will make you a better powder skier a lot faster than a great Technical ski will turn you into a proficient carver.