Featuring the Fall Line Freeride skis of the year – our biggest category of skis tested for the 2024 Gear Guide. Just four skis are featured here out of the 23 Freeride skis tested and reviewed in-depth inside our Gear Guide. Click to buy and browse the digital issue (£3.50):
Freeride skis featured in the Gear Guide:
- Armada ARW 106 UL
- Blizzard Sheeva 9
- Elan Ripstick 94 W Black
- Fischer Ranger 102W
- Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free
- Rossignol Rallybird 92
- Völkl Secret 102
FACTION Mana 2x
The Faction Mana 2X is a versatile twin-tip ski that carves fluidly on-piste, pops in the park, and floats through the secret stashes.
Faction may call this an all-mountain ski, but at 102mm underfoot it sits nicely in the freeride field. This ski was just loved by the testers. A very capable, seriously awesome, all-mountain freeride twin tip that inspires you and leads you astray all at the same time.
One ski to rule them all, one ski to find them, one ski to bring them all and in the powder ride them. Faction’s Mana and the Mana 2X are the skis that you would choose if you had to lay a sick line right down the middle of Mount Doom in the land of Mordor. A very capable, seriously awesome, all-mountain freeride twin tip.
This ski is not that widely stocked in the UK, which is such a shame as it really is phenomenal (and we know our male testers loved the Mana skis too). The Dancer 2X is more widely available. We also tested this and were so impressed. It’s the same as the men’s, and you can read about the Dancer 2 in the men’s Freeride section.
The Mana 2X is the same as the Mana 2, but with a different top sheet design to inspire the girls, and is available in sizes 166cm and 173cm. The skis have a 102mm waist with a symmetrical profile and, of course, the obligatory twin tips. The poplar core and mix of recycled materials, coupled with thicker edges, make this a bomb proof choice for dominating the whole mountain.
Ffion sums up the Mana: “The Mana 2X is completely at home in just about every corner of your favourite mountain. The stiffness incorporated in the tip and tail helps create stability when skiing at faster speeds and the underfoot flex gives you plenty of pop when carving tramlines. When skied through bumps and ruts, the ski feels light and nimble, pivoting effortlessly to navigate through any difficult terrain. But the ski is calling you, and before long you won’t be able to resist its urge, hopping off the groomed pistes, blasting across the bump fields, laying your line across the powder; you’ll be ruling the whole mountain.
“It confidently floats in the powder, slashing turns whenever it likes, it hits every feature and will scare any other skis out of its way. Not only is it the ruler of the whole mountain, but it’s also the Queen in the park, with its energetic pop. Did I also mention it can do all the above switch too?”
All levels of skiers ranging from intermediate through to expert. A playful ski designed for fun all over the mountain and in the park.
Dynastar E-Pro 99
£620 without bindings
Lengths: 154, 162, 170, 178cm
Radius: 15.0m @ 162cm
Weight per ski: 1,700g @ 162cm without binding
Wide, manoeuvrable, fast and effective, the E-Pro 99 is a freeride ski that rejects compromises.
Adaptable and confidence inspiring, we loved its ability to chop and change turn shape and size. Underfoot width police should be aware that despite the ‘99’ in the name, the E-Pro 99 actually comes in at 97mm underfoot in the 154 and 162cm lengths, 98mm in the 170, and only 99mm in the 178cm. It’s not alone in this though (watch out Head Kore 97, they’ve got you in their sights too).
Powerful and determined to drive, it’s a fire crackin’ charger of a ski that will give back most to powerful, stronger skiers who like to be in charge. Ideal for advanced to expert freeride skiers who will be able to access its versatility and big mountain potential.
Head Kore 97W
£655 without bindings
Lengths: 156, 163, 170, 177cm
Radius: 14.3m @ 163cm
Weight per ski: Approximately 1,640g@ 170cm without binding
Buttery light with a strong backbone, the Kore 97 W’s lightweight construction means more energy for day-long mountain adventures.
Precise, powerful and genuinely confidence-inspiring, the Kore 97 W is a lightweight freeride-quiver-of-one that can shred the resort, hike for freshies and slay the backcountry.
Ideal for advanced intermediate to expert freeride skiers looking for a versatile winter weapon to bomb through the trees, float in the powder, carve up the piste and hike for freshies. Get it on an edge, push it as hard as you can and it will match you turn for GS turn. Take your foot off the gas and you’ll find it’s still light enough to make all day cruising a mighty fine good time.
K2 Mindbender 96C W
£525 without bindings
Lengths: 148, 154, 160, 166, 172cm
Radius: 14.1m @ 166cm
Weight per ski: 1,630g @ 166cm without binding
The K2 Mindbender 96C W is an all-mountain ski that’s equally comfortable on the hardpack, bumps and the occasional powder day.
This ski is sensational, and more people should be on it. K2 weaves some insane magic with their planks, and you can feel it in the majesty of the all-new Mindbender 96C women’s ski. An incredibly versatile best pal that wants to do everything you want to, and they even make it easier and more fun to do it.
Intermediate and advanced skiers who want one ski to use across the whole mountain. You could easily shove a freeride touring binding on these and you’d be ready for anything.