If you're looking for a do it-all ski that'll thrill and surprise you, this is a very good place to start. If you want something more specific take a look at our category winners. This year, we've also introduced two new categories, Outerwear of the year and boot of the year. Warning, this is the gear that have left us wanting to buy them right there and then.
So, drumroll please. The winners of the Fall-Line's Ski of the Year 2013-14 are:
A bold move, calling your new model 'The Ski' and suggesting it's all you'll ever need. Back in the 70s Bobbie Burns was the face of Sun Valley and this was his signature model, and, maybe ever so slightly changed, it's back again to hammer every ripple of the mountain.
As always with our winners, there is cunning tech to take The Ski onto a ratified plane of do-anything ability. A light, gently rockered all-wood body gets a curved upper surface (elliptic sandwich construction) to crank up the torsional stiffness, and its on-piste grip and fluidity is extraordinary for what, in the 175 and 185 lengths are wide-body skis. Carefully staging the widths alongside the 10cm length adds cleverness to the concept, so lighter skiers get a narrower version which still retains the floatation needed for all-mountain adventures.
There isn't the sheer zing from the tail (and hence immediate fall-in-love feel) some of our favourite skis give, but this is a model which rewards a couple of days action with an ever-more engaging ride. It's the constant, consistent grip, coupled with pure flickability when hitting soft snow, that won us over.
Oh yes, the voting. The Ski was, by a mile, the most tested model at the SIGB test. As far as we know, it's most tested ski ever, with consistently strong results across all categories (apart from moguls... Bobbie will be mortified). No-one else who buys it will be. It's a true one ski does it all, and a brilliant winner of our Fall-Line Gold Award.
Snapping closely at the heels - or tail in this case - of The Ski, is Rossignol’s chameleon of a freeride-cum-sidecountry-cum-all-mountain ski, the Soul 7. Everyone who skied it at the SIGB test was left with ear-wide, borderline stupid grins. Along with the rest of the 7 series, it sports Rossi’s new honeycomb-like Air Tip technology in the tip and tail, making it 20% lighter and a plausible hike and ride option, which combined with its rejigged Power Turn Rocker, is exceptionally reactive. At 106 underfoot, you might think it’s only worth waxing up for ventures into knee-deep powder, but try it on-piste and you’ll find it to be surprisingly nimble; this ski is versatility at its very best.
Salomon is another brand to have produced a line of one-ski quivers that perform on the front and backside of the mountain with their new Quest range. The female testers loved it, especially the 96-underfoot Lumen. It's packed with oodles of technology, such as a lightweight honeycomb tip, a five-dimensional sidecut and Utility Rocker with a large carve zone making it nimble on-piste but powerful everywhere else. The Lumen is a true do-anything, go-anywhere set-up that’ll give intermediate women upwards the confidence to find bigger, bolder lines, and ski them beautifully too.
Innovative new boot shape: tick. Game-changing ski technologies: tick. A ski range that covers everything from mellow park skis to rip-tastic piste skis to big mountain chargers: tick. From their new ISPO-award winning Waymaker touring boots to the new ARC technology in the Nomad ski range, Atomic have pushed themselves in every sector of the market, and for that they are our Brand of the Year.