Helpful Hints

2020 Ski Comparisons: Men's 100-110mm Freeride Ski Guide

2020 Ski Comparisons: Men's 100-110mm Freeride Ski Guide // Helpful Hints

For our second 2020 ski comparison, we're taking a look at freeride skis ranging from 102 to 108 mm underfoot. There's a lot of variety in this category. Some skis are geared towards high speed charging, while some are much more focused on playfulness. If you're looking for a ski in this category, chances are there's something on this list that's right for you. Of course, as always, we couldn't include every single ski in this width range, so don't hesitate to reach out to us if you're looking for information on a ski you don't see on this list. While they differ in shape, performance, and feel, all of these skis lean more towards soft snow applications than anything else. So, with that said, start doing those snow dances!

AT A GLANCE


2020 Armada Tracer 108



AVAILABLE SIZES

164, 172, 180, 188 cm

TURN RADIUS

19 m at 180 cm

SIDECUT

134 / 108 / 126 mm

CORE

Wood / Adaptive Mesh

STRENGTHS

Flotation, Smoothness, Touring Capability


Overview:

The Armada Tracer 108 has been redesigned and tweaked for the 2020 ski season and it's better than ever. Armada focuses on achieving the perfect blend of a lightweight feel and a stable skiing platform. By utilizing a hybrid core of poplar and karuba wood and supporting it with Adaptive Mesh and Laminate Matrix technologies, they have achieved an impressive ski. It's light enough that it's appropriate as a touring ski, yet stable and smooth enough for the resort. Its shape and the lightweight feel gives it a maneuverable feel even in deep snow conditions. This new version of the Tracer 108 has better vibration damping than the ski it's replacing as well. It's not exceptionally stiff, however, which improves overall forgiveness. You likely won't see any big mountain competitors skiing the Tracer 108 as it doesn't have quite that level of power and stability, but it's plenty of ski for all but the hardest chargers.

Who it's For:

Adventurous skiers who are always seeking out soft snow. You want a playful ski, but one that can still handle higher speeds from time to time.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Atomic Backland 107



AVAILABLE SIZES

175, 182, 189 cm

TURN RADIUS

18.5 m at 182 cm

SIDECUT

137 / 107 / 124 mm

CORE

Wood / Carbon Backbone

STRENGTHS

Flotation, Energetic, Touring Capability


Overview:

Although you might be tempted to segment the Backland 107 as a touring-specific ski considering where it sits in Atomic's lineup, it's much more than that. Atomic uses their Power Woodcore in this ski, which boosts its stability and strength compared to some of their narrower touring options. We also get Atomic's HRZN Tech in the tip, essentially a boat-hull displacement design that gives the ski more float and a better feel in soft snow. In fact, this thing floats like an absolute dream and you can genuinely feel the tip shape helping to give the ski more control in deep snow. The Carbon Backbone gives the ski some nice energy and quick feedback to skier input. It also helps with overall stability, and it's genuinely impressive how hard you can ski these given their weight. On the other hand, it still feels quite playful, always wanting to hop and jump around on natural features.

Who it's For:

Similar to the Tracer 108, a skier who seeks out soft snow and likes that blend of stability and playfulness, but who also values energy over a damp feel.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Blizzard Rustler 10



AVAILABLE SIZES

164, 172, 180, 188 cm

TURN RADIUS

19 m at 188 cm

SIDECUT

135.5 / 104 / 125.5 mm

CORE

Wood / Carbon / Titanal Spine

STRENGTHS

Versatility, Quickness, Approachability


Overview:

Much narrower than the first two skis we've looked at, the Rustler 10 is designed more for versatile all-mountain performance with freeride capabilities. With metal underfoot in the cambered portion of the ski, you get impressive edge grip and that Austrian/Blizzard feel skiers know and love. The rockered portions of the ski, however, are softer flexing and lighter, which allows for a maneuverable, playful, and easy feel in off-piste terrain and softer snow conditions. It's not the most powerful ski in the world, but that's what skis like the Bonafide are for. It is, however, more precise and stable than some of the wider and lighter skis in this comparison. The inclusion of carbon fiber also helps quite vibrations in the tips and tails of the ski where metal doesn't exist, so despite it being maneuverable and relatively easy to ski, it will still satisfy an aggressive skier in most situations.

Who it's For:

Skiers who have a preference for soft snow, but realistically aren't always or often skiing it. The Rustler 10 feels just fine on days when there's no freshies out there.

AT A GLANCE


2020 DPS Wailer 106 Alchemist



AVAILABLE SIZES

171, 179, 184, 189 cm

TURN RADIUS

19 m at 179 cm

SIDECUT

137 / 106 / 122 mm

CORE

Lightweight Wood

STRENGTHS

Responsiveness, Stability, Edge Grip


Overview:

DPS is perhaps best known for the pronounced rocker profile and early taper in their skis. The Wailer 106, however, uses much less rocker and early taper than skis like the Wailer 100 or 112. This gives it a longer effective edge, which translates to better edge grip and more stability. It also has a longer turn shape than we traditionally see from DPS. This shape combined with their Alchemist carbon construction results in a ski that's arguably one of the most powerful skis we've ever seen from DPS. Despite not using metal, it's a strong ski that loves to arc big turns. With the 106 mm waist width, it flies through choppy snow conditions. Because of the longer effective edge, however, it requires more skier input when maneuvering through tight terrain. Skiers who prefer billy-goating or methodically picking their way down a line will likely prefer skis like the Wailer 100 or 112, but for DPS fans who want to go fast, the Wailer 106 is the ticket.

Who it's For:

Skiers looking for edge grip and their stability in their freeride skis, but don't want the weight that comes along with metal.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Elan Ripstick 106 Black



AVAILABLE SIZES

167, 174, 181, 188 cm

TURN RADIUS

18.1 m at 181 cm

SIDECUT

140 / 106 / 122 mm

CORE

Wood / Carbon Tubes

STRENGTHS

Versatility, Maneuverability, Fun-factor


Overview:

Much like the Wailer 106 from DPS, Elan's Ripstick 106 relies on unique construction compared to a lot of skis in this category. Elan uses carbon fiber in a 3-dimensional application with tubes running from tip to tail in the core of the ski. This construction provides a much smoother feel than we've seen in most other skis that use carbon. It actually helps with vibration damping instead of enhancing those vibrations, which has been a common complaint about carbon in the past. The Black version of this ski adds an extra layer of carbon for even more responsiveness and energy, and it's a heck of a lot of fun to ski. It's not the most powerful and it's not the most playful either, but its mix of performance characteristics is going to satisfy a whole lot of skiers. It also has a nice balance in its shape: some early taper and rocker, but not a drastic amount. That retains good edge grip on firmer snow conditions, while also providing a nice catch-free feel in softer snow conditions.

Who it's For:

Skiers looking for a relatively versatile ski in this width range. This is one that could be a one-ski-quiver, especially for a western skier, when you consider its balanced performance.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Fischer Ranger 102 FR



AVAILABLE SIZES

170, 177, 184 cm

TURN RADIUS

18 m at 177 cm

SIDECUT

136 / 102 / 126 mm

CORE

Wood / Carbon / Partial Metal

STRENGTHS

Playfulness, Maneuverability, Stability


Overview:

Out of the skis we've looked at so far, the Fischer Ranger 102 FR has the most freestyle influence. It has more of a turned up tail or twin tip shape and it's obviously designed at least partially for skiers who like to do tricks on natural terrain. There's a little metal underfoot, but it's mostly for binding retention and feel more than to provide strength or stability. That said, the wood core and Fischer's Carbon Nose do a good job keeping the ski relatively quiet when skiing fast. If you're not one to do tricks or don't particularly like to jump or "play," the Ranger 102 FR has another application as well. In addition to being super playful, it's also easy to maneuver. The tail edge release is noticeably faster than the Ranger Ti models, so skiers who often find themselves in tight terrain where you need to make quick movements will find the Ranger 102 FR is a dream.

Who it's For:

Skiers who value playfulness and maneuverability, but don't want to completely sacrifice stability and overall performance. It's a very balanced ski for a playful skier.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Fischer Ranger 107 Ti



AVAILABLE SIZES

175, 182, 189 cm

TURN RADIUS

18 m at 182 cm

SIDECUT

139 / 107 / 131 mm

CORE

Wood / Two Layers of Metal

STRENGTHS

Power, Stability, Swing-weight


Overview:

Differentiating itself from the 102 FR, the Ranger 107 TI uses longer metal and much less tail rocker. This gives it a more powerful feel with better edge grip. This thing can absolutely charge through any snow condition with a tank-like feel. Thanks to Fischer's construction techniques, however, it's slightly lighter than other skis that hit this level of stability and precision in this width category. If you find yourself in tight terrain, it's a more challenging ski than the 102 FR or other skis in this comparison with more tail rocker. Fischer lengthened the metal for 2020 and also tweaked the shapes in the Ranger Ti collection and the result is slightly more power than the previous versions as well as a better overall feel in just about any snow condition. As it's 107 mm waist width is getting pretty wide, it's hard to say the Ranger 107 TI could be a daily driver, although for someone who lives in Whistler, Mammoth, or a similar mountain, it could be.

Who it's For:

You like speed and you like arcing big turns down open terrain, but you'd prefer if your skis were a touch lighter than those 2-sheets-of-metal behemoths.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Head Kore 105



AVAILABLE SIZES

175, 182, 189 cm

TURN RADIUS

18 m at 182 cm

SIDECUT

135 / 105 / 125 mm

CORE

Graphene / Koroyd / Carbon

STRENGTHS

Versatility, Maneuverability, Quickness


Overview:

The Kore 105 is another ski in this list that feels very balanced. Head's construction is also another that's quite unique. They use a combination of materials that we don't see in many other skis throughout their entire Kore line, which has given the skis a unique feel and a following of their own. They're relatively light, yet also strong and stable. The flex pattern among the Kore skis ranges somewhat. The 105 is noticeably softer than the stiffest Kore 99, which gives it a more forgiving feel and, in our opinion, better soft snow performance. Its shape is also more rockered and has more pronounced early taper than the narrower Kore skis, which gives it a more maneuverable, almost surfy feel in soft snow. On the other hand, if you're not in soft snow, they have solid edge grip and a nice energy out of each turn. In fact, on firm snow, they like faster speeds than when you're in off-piste conditions. That gives the Kore 105 a versatile feel. You can maneuver through trees, float in the powder, then go carve some high speed turns on the hardpack, and all with a unique feel that's both stable and responsive.

Who it's For:

For some, this could be a dedicated powder ski, it has the shape and width. For others, like western skiers, it could be a balanced daily driver ski.

AT A GLANCE


2020 K2 Mindbender 108 Ti



AVAILABLE SIZES

172, 179, 186, 193 cm

TURN RADIUS

22.9 m at 186 cm

SIDECUT

136 / 108 / 125 mm

CORE

Titanal Y-Beam

STRENGTHS

Power, Stability, Versatility


Overview:

The Mindbender 108Ti has the strength and stability to charge, but has a touch of playfulness to it as well. This is one of the heaviest, most stable skis in this comparison. Because of that, it does require a fairly skilled skier. If you're not comfortable driving a ski and providing a lot of active skier input, you might find it to be fatiguing. For those strong skiers, however, the Mindbender 108Ti provides endless confidence. K2's Titanal Y-Beam construction gives the ski a precise, powerful feel in the forebody. When you want to dump speed and throw the skis sideways, however, by using metal in the center of the ski through the tail, it's easier to release that tail edge. Of course, with its heft, it doesn't feel necessarily quick, but that's okay. This is the type of ski you can point towards anything with the confidence it's not going to feel unstable, get deflected, or anything like that. Once I asked Bob what was in the landing area on the other side of a horizon line. The answer was "moguls." The Mindbender 108Ti gives you the confidence to send it anyways.

Who it's For:

Aggressive skiers who also have a playful side and aren't afraid to ski a heavier ski.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Liberty Origin 106



AVAILABLE SIZES

171, 176, 182, 187 cm

TURN RADIUS

20 m at 182 cm

SIDECUT

138 / 106 / 128 mm

CORE

Wood / Carbon Stringers

STRENGTHS

Playfulness, Consistency, Versatility


Overview:

After the Fischer Ranger 102 FR, we got away from these twin tip shaped skis for a few skis, but now we're back. If you're familiar with Liberty's history, you can guess that these skis have some backcountry-freestyle influence in their design. In fact, if you're looking to go out and do tricks in the backcountry, this is one of the best choices on this list. Liberty's bamboo and poplar construction gives the skis a distinctly lightweight feel, while their carbon stringers add in energy and responsiveness. The shape of the Origin 106 is very balanced as well, it's less directional than most skis in this comparison. If you're the type of skier who likes mounting skis closer to center, even with your wider skis, the Origin 106 is a great choice. Ski switch? No problem. Skiers with a terrain park background looking for a wider platform are going to love this ski. That doesn't, however, mean that if you don't fall into that description you won't like it. If you like lightweight skis that feel energetic and maneuverable, the Origin 106 is a blast and its stability at speed might also surprise you.

Who it's For:

Playful skiers with a terrain park background or skiers who value energy and pop in their freeride skis.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Line Sir Francis Bacon



AVAILABLE SIZES

176, 184, 190 cm

TURN RADIUS

16 m

SIDECUT

143 / 107 / 139 mm

CORE

Lightweight Wood

STRENGTHS

Playfulness, Smoothness, Softest


Overview:

The Line Sir Francis Bacon is a name that's been around for a long time now and has a strong following among backcountry freestyle skiers. If you watch the latest Good Company ski flick, you'll see Tom Wallisch launching switch double rodeo 1080s into powder on these bad boys. So, if you have some crazy desire to do that, the ski can handle it. It's also one of the softest flexing, lightest skis in this comparison. If you like buttering, slashing, pressing and other "newschool" skiing techniques, the Sir Francis Bacon better be on your radar. Its convex tip and tail shape further enhances its ability for such techniques. It also has one of the shortest turn radius among this comparison at 16 m in the 184 cm length. With the soft flex and short radius, it lacks stability at speed and it's certainly not a powerful ski, but that's not its intention. Eric Pollard wants this ski to be playful, fun, and also relatively easy to ski, and that is a great way to describe it. Its soft flex pattern is going to reward skiers who prefer a centered, balanced skiing stance. If you're looking to drive the forebody of the ski at high speeds, it's probably not for you.

Who it's For:

Backcountry freestyle enthusiasts. Ex-park rats who now want to take their jibbing game into natural terrain and softer snow conditions.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Nordica Enforcer 104 FR



AVAILABLE SIZES

172, 179, 186, 191 cm

TURN RADIUS

18.5 m at 186 cm

SIDECUT

135 / 104 / 124 mm

CORE

Wood / 2 Layers of Metal

STRENGTHS

Versatility, Stability, Maneuverability


Overview:

The Nordica Enforcer 104 Free is a brand new ski for 2020 and has already gained some hype from ski tests and reviews, but that's not surprising considering the success of the Enforcer line in general. Like the last two skis we looked at, there's some freestyle influence in the Enforcer 104 as well, but unlike those two skis, it uses two full length sheets of metal. The metal in an Enforcer is thinner than we see in a lot of sandwich-construction skis, however, which takes away a little bit of weight and supports the slightly softer flex pattern than those thicker-metal skis. The combination of shape and construction allows the Enforcer 104 Free to feel both playful and stable. It can hold an edge on firm snow and power through choppy snow conditions at speed, but you can also release its edge and slash, smear, and skid turns with relative ease. Heck, it'll even ski switch if you want to. Its versatility in terms of how it can be skied and the conditions and terrain it can handle is off the charts.

Who it's For:

A wide range of skiers, but you should at least be at the advanced level. Maybe you've got a freestyle background, but want some metal or maybe you like metal, but want a slightly-less-demanding freeride ski.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Rossignol Soul 7 HD



AVAILABLE SIZES

164, 172, 180, 188 cm

TURN RADIUS

18 m at 180 cm

SIDECUT

136 / 106 / 126 mm

CORE

Wood / Carbon

STRENGTHS

Flotation, Quickness, Forgiveness


Overview:

The Rossignol Soul 7 HD helped create this category of skis we're talking about today. It is one of the most approachable skis in this comparison, yet still performs at a high level. Its shape and feel is more geared towards soft snow skiing than anything else. It's not tremendously wide, but it feels like a powder ski with its wide, tapered tips and tails and long rocker profile. It's also lightweight, so maneuverability is a highlighting characteristic for sure. Rossignol's Carbon Alloy Matrix does add some nice torsional stiffness, so the Soul 7 HD doesn't feel uncapable on firm snow, but its highlighting performance is definitely its feel in deep powder. What it lacks in stability at speed it more than makes up for in float, forgiveness, and fun-factor. Sure, there will be skiers who push the Soul 7 HD past its limits, but for the vast majority of skiers, it will be a powder ski that not only will put a smile on your face, but might help you progress a little in challenging terrain.

Who it's For:

Skiers looking for soft snow performance who value maneuverability and forgiveness over raw power or stability at speed. It could be a dedicated powder ski for a lot of people.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Salomon QST 106



AVAILABLE SIZES

167, 174, 181, 188 cm

TURN RADIUS

22 m at 181 cm

SIDECUT

137 / 106 / 123 mm

CORE

Wood / Carbon / Flax

STRENGTHS

Versatility, Broad Appeal, Touring Capability


Overview:

The Salomon QST 106 is hands-down one of the most versatile skis in this comparison. It doesn't boast the "best" of really any particular criteria, but its combination of performance characteristics makes it a fantastic ski. Salomon is another company with relatively unique construction, relying on a combination of advanced materials to achieve the ski's performance. The shape and construction has been tweaked ever-so-slightly for 2020 and now the QST 106 is smoother than ever before. It's a maneuverable ski in off-piste conditions and terrain, but can also link some nice carving turns too. It doesn't have the raw power of skis with more metal, but it's equally more user-friendly than those stiffer, heavier skis, and it's certainly no slouch at high speeds. This is a ski that could certainly be a daily driver or a one-ski-quiver for a western skier, or maybe even an eastern skier who specifically prefers wider skis. It's also a good candidate for a Shift binding, which makes sense considering Salomon designed both products. It's light enough to tour, stable enough at speed, and still feels maneuverable and user-friendly.

Who it's For:

Skiers looking for a relatively even mix of performance in their freeride skis. It'll carve, it'll smear, and you can slap an AT binding on it too.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Stockli Stormrider 105



AVAILABLE SIZES

170, 179, 188 cm

TURN RADIUS

20 m at 179 cm

SIDECUT

137 / 105 / 130 mm

CORE

Wood / Titanal Topsheet

STRENGTHS

Smoothness, Stability, Snow-feel


Overview:

These next two skis are somewhat unique among this comparison. The Stormrider 105 is easily one of the best carving skis in this comparison. Stockli's Stormrider series in general is exceptionally smooth thanks to the metal top sheet. Impressively, they're also relatively light, at least among skis with this level of vibration damping. Its shape is geared more towards carving and high speeds than slow-speed-maneuverability, and that's good. It would be pretty boring if we didn't get options when choosing our skis. If you love soft snow, but prefer carving over slashing or smearing, the Stormrider 105 is a dream. It's also quite versatile for that type of skier, as even though it's much wider than traditional frontside skis, its ability to handle high speed turns on firm snow is impressive. On the other hand, quick short turns aren't as easy as they'll be on skis with more tail rocker, so keep that in mind if you're thinking of taking these rippers into the trees.

Who it's For:

Skiers who generally like carving turns and keeping their skis on edge rather than smearing. You also value stability and smoothness over quickness.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Volkl Mantra 102



AVAILABLE SIZES

170, 177, 184, 191 cm

TURN RADIUS

21.4 m at 184 cm

SIDECUT

140 / 102 / 123 mm

CORE

Wood / Titanal Frame

STRENGTHS

Power, Stability, Precision


Overview:

The Mantra 102 carries the theme we see in the Stormrider 105 forward, and arguably even takes the stability factor to the next level. This ski means business, and if you're not an advanced, relatively aggressive skier, you might find it a bit too much. That said, Volkl has done a great job with their recent designs giving the skis a bigger sweet spot than we've had in previous version of the Mantra. This does make it a little more accessible and a touch more forgiving, but this ski likes speed. The Titanal Frame construction delivers an ultra-stable feel when you have the ski on edge and the stability factor is through the roof. Of course, that comes along with a relatively demanding feel and it can be somewhat fatiguing in tighter terrain. As one of the narrower skis in this comparison, however, it's arguably one of the most versatile for different snow conditions. It'll handle anything from firm snow to relatively deep powder. Its preference is for carving and "traditional" skiing, but the 3D Radius does allow for different carving turn shapes and the longer radii in the tips and tails helps give the ski a more catch-free feel in soft snow than you might expect.

Who it's For:

Aggressive skiers who like to make high speed carving turns through different snow conditions.

2020 SKI COMPARISONS:


Men's 100 - 110 mm Freeride Skis


SKIS

SIDECUT

RADIUS

CORE

RETAIL PRICE

2020 Armada Tracer 108

19m @ 180cm

134 / 108 / 126

Wood / Adaptive Mesh

$749.95

2020 Atomic Backland 107

18.5m @ 182cm

137 / 107 / 124

Wood / Carbon Backbone

$699.99

2020 Blizzard Rustler 10

19m @ 188cm

135.5 / 104 / 125.5

Wood / Carbon / Titanal Spine

$699.95

2020 DPS Wailer 106 Alchemist

19m @ 179cm

137 / 106 / 122

Lightweight Wood

$1,039.20

2020 Elan Ripstick 106 Black

18.1m @ 181cm

140 / 106 / 122

Lightweight Wood

$849.99

2020 Fischer Ranger 102 FR

18m @ 177cm

136 / 102 / 126

Wood / Carbon / Partial Metal

$699.99

2020 Fischer Ranger 107 Ti

18m @ 182cm

139 / 107 / 131

Wood / Two Layers of Metal

$749.99

2020 Head Kore 105

18m @ 182cm

135 / 105 / 125

Graphene / Koroyd / Carbon

$749.00

2020 K2 Mindbender 108 Ti

22.9m @ 186cm

136 / 108 / 125

Titanal Y-Beam

$749.95

2020 Liberty Origin 106

20m @ 182cm

138 / 106 / 128

Wood / Carbon Stringers

$649.00

2020 Line Sir Francis Bacon

16 m

143 / 107 / 139

Lightweight Wood

$699.95

2020 Nordica Enforcer 104 FR

18.5m @ 186cm

135 / 104 / 124

Wood / Two Layers of Metal

$749.99

2020 Rossignol Soul 7 HD

18m @ 180cm

136 / 106 / 126

Wood / Carbon

$749.95

2020 Salomon QST 106

22m @ 181cm

137 / 106 / 123

Wood / Carbon / Flax

$749.99

2020 Stockli Stormrider 105

20m @ 179cm

137 / 105 / 130

Wood / Titanal Topsheet

$1,199.00

2020 Volkl Mantra 102

21.4m @ 184cm

140 / 102 / 123

Wood / Titanal Frame

$649.00

2020 Men's All Mountain Ski Test Results Image


 

Written by Jeff Neagle on 10/10/19

2 thoughts on “2020 Ski Comparisons: Men's 100-110mm Freeride Ski Guide

    1. Hi Konrad!
      I was the most impressed with the Mantra 102 and its stability. It really stood out to me as a competent carving ski that happened to be on the wide side. The Enforcer 104 was a strong second in terms of stability, but it had more of a playful personality that makes it more versatile. The Stockli is out of reach for me, but if I could have one, that would probably be it just because of its novelty. Have fun!
      SE

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