Fall-Line’s top 10 skis of 2016-17

Hold onto your hats. Here they are, the best of the best. And you’re going to want it all

We’ve already revealed our overall men’s and women’s skis of the year, the Rossignol Soul 7 HD and Movement Ultimate, but here’s the 10 (well, actually 11 — maths was never our strong point) skis that were snapping on their tails.

Armada ARV106, £470

armada-arv-106

  • Lengths: 172, 180, 188
  • Turn radius at length: 20.5m @ 180
  • Dimensions: 133-106-123
  • Weight (g per pair): Not supplied

Maybe the funnest ski we’ve tested to date – and we thought that wideish, softish twin-tips went out with luminous nose sunblock. The flex is absolutely spot on to both get the edges biting for hardpack, yet there’s easily enough spring to loony around. Fun for all the family.

Black Diamond Helio 95, £650

black-diamon_helio_95

  • Lengths: 163, 173, 183
  • Turn radius at length: 19m @ 173
  • Dimensions: 123-95-113
  • Weight (g per pair): 2500

The future of skis? Micro-weight and proper performance from cunning carbon construction, which we just happen to know is going mainstream in a year or so… Best thing about the Helio range? The insane screaming noise they make at pace – it’s like strapping Stukas to your feet. See, going down on touring skis is fun again.

Fischer RC4 Curv DTX, £690
fischer_rc4_curv_dtx

  • Lengths: 157, 164, 171, 178
  • Turn radius at length: 16m @ 171
  • Dimensions: 121-72-106
  • Weight (g per pair): 4150

Classic GS-like ski for monstering the mountain. These skis are supposed to be dead, murdered by the go-betweens that couple slalom turns with the ability to stretch ‘em out if needed. Fischer have ignored this trend, delivered a classic long turn ski and it turns out that’s just what we wanted. Such g-force! Such potency! What a way to use the piste.

Line Tom Wallisch Pro, £295

line_1617_tom-wallisch-pro-copy

  • Lengths: 164, 171, 178
  • Turn radius at length: 18.3m @ 178
  • Dimensions: 117-90-112
  • Weight  (g per pair): 3324

The expert ski for generating limited contact with Earth. We knew good things were on their way when X Games Gold medallist and freeski hero Tom Wallisch teamed up with one of the best park brands around, but we weren’t expecting it to be quite this brilliant. They’ve packed in so much pop we found ourselves springing off everything in sight. The swing weight is some of the lowest we’ve come across, but that’s combined with an all-mountain-loving 90mm waist and a stable, damage-defying Maple Macroblock core.

Black Crows Captis, £470

black-crows-ski_captis1

  • Lengths: 171, 178, 184
  • Turn radius at length: 18m @ 178.3
  • Dimensions: 120-90-111
  • Weight (g per pair): 3800

All-mountain for chargers. Press on and enjoy the grip in a slightly old-school way from this very new-school ski company. We’d liken these to the Enforcer/Brahma style of potent power ski; maybe trading some of their flickability for super-stable carves.

Dynastar Speedzone 14, £550

dynastar-speedzone-14

  • Lengths: 158, 166, 174, 182
  • Turn radius at length: 15m @ 174
  • Dimensions: 121-72-106
  • Weight (g per pair): Not supplied

The most playfully potent piste ski we’ve tried for a while. Just as grip and stability has been majored on by all brands to the point where it’s hard to pick a winner, Dynastar decides that they can work in some joy, almost despite a very clever edge-dampening system which we thought would tame the ski to its detriment. We were wrong, Dynastar have it very right.

Fischer Pro Mtn 86Ti £580

fischer_pro_mtn_86_ti

  • Lengths: 161, 168, 175, 182
  • Turn radius at length: 16.5m @ 175
  • Dimensions: 128-86-116
  • Weight (g per pair): 3500

Light, do-it-all and powerful and enough to make our top ten. Cunning carbon construction – the way forward, no doubt – makes these fat-lite skis easy and flickable, yet runs the same grip as you’d want from any top-level all-mountain ski. We like light skis with expert levels of grip and a bit of rocker for all sorts of reasons, and the Pro Mtns tick every one.

Nordica Enforcer 93, £460

nordica-enforcer-93

  • Lengths: 169, 177, 185, 193
  • Turn radius at length: 18.5m @ 185
  • Dimensions: 126-93-114
  • Weight per pair: Not supplied

Maybe the consummate freeride all-rounder. For the past few years we’ve pronounced the optimum size for a ski as around 100-107mm underfoot. Much less and you lose float; much more and the piste performance suffers. It turns out this width range is a generalisation – try punching a pair of Enforcer 93s through soft snow chasing your homies and you’ll realise you’re in no way undergunned. Now feel the flex – isn’t this just the sweetest feeling ski you’ve tried?

Salomon QST 99, £400

salomon_qst-99

  • Lengths: 174, 181, 188
  • Turn radius at length: 19.4m @ 181
  • Dimensions: 138-99-120
  • Weight (g per pair): 3400

Fast, grippy, powerful, springy and something of a departure for Salomon. The acknowledged experts of the ‘it’ll ski to please straight out of the box’ have delivered a ski that needs work to get it to deliver. And we like that. The 85, 115 and this 99 model lit our collective lamp with super-punchy tails and rock-solid stability, with the 99 being maybe just the pick because of the way the width worked wherever we took it.

Scott Scrapper 115, £425

scott-scrapper

  • Lengths: 182, 189
  • Turn radius at length: 23m @ 182
  • Dimensions: 142-115-131
  • Weight (g per pair): 3400

Really, a 115? Don’t believe it. The all-mountain big mountain ski that’s having an identity crisis. A lighter nose and tail seems to be the clincher: Should it be used in the Freeride World Tour? Yup; and it is. Can it be skied around like a 90mm all-mountain ski tracking around the pistes when the snow hides? Oh yes. You’ll notice fewer truly wide skis around, mainly because this width seems to do almost everything.

Völkl Flair 74, £375   

volkl_flair_74_set

  • Lengths: 141, 148, 155, 162
  • Turn radius at length: 14.8m @ 155
  • Dimensions: 123-74-95
  • Weight (g per pair): 4860 (with binding)

The whole Flair range is a winner, so let’s pluck the 74 for its staggering punch per quid that startled our team. So much performance from such a small investment; the Flairs are firmly in the camp of ‘why rent’? Piste performance is strong by any standards – the only time the Flair 74 skis to a price would be at full pelt, and even then that price would be about 500 quid.

Fall-Line Skiing Magazine
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