2023 Ski Comparisons: Men's Mid 100mm Freeride Ski Guide: Lead Image

Ski Comparisons - Ski Reviews

2023 Ski Comparisons: Men's Mid 100 mm Freeride Ski Guide

For our third Comparison series, we move back up to the mid-100's and are entering the realm of freeride. There’s a lot of fun to be had with these skis on the wall, and there’s a pretty good variance of skis ranging from playful and smeary twin tips to rugged directional crushers. 50/50 resort touring skis have entered the chat, pushing the boundaries and definitions of what modern freeride skis can and should be. Whether you’re looking for a wider ski in your quiver or if you ski in a snowy zone, a daily driver, check out what these great skis have to offer in terms of fun and playful performance!

AT A GLANCE


2023 Faction Mana 2 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

166, 173, 178, 183, 188 cm

20 m at 183 cm

131 / 102 / 127 mm

1880 g at 183 cm

Park, Freestyle, Tricks


Overview:

At 102 mm in the 183, the Faction Mana 2 is one of the narrowest skis on the list, but has a whole lot to offer from a freestyle and freeride perspective. These wider twins are extremely fun and versatile, incorporating a full poplar wood core with a carbon/rubber stomp pad underfoot. While the poplar does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to power and energy, the stomp pad takes out a lot of the unwanted vibrations, making the Mana 2 a very smooth ride regardless of whether you’re on-trail, off-piste, or in the park. There’s a lot of camber here as well, to go along with the twin-tipped splay necessary for freestyle applications, so the Mana 2 lines up well with Reckoner 102, Revolt 104, and wider still, the ARV 106. It’s pretty symmetrical in terms of shaping, with a 131 mm tip and a 127-mm tail, so it makes very round turns.

Who it's For:

Freestyle-oriented skiers in search of a wide twin. You are interested in symmetry and balance, but still want to keep things fun and interesting for non-park runs.

Price: $699.99


AT A GLANCE


2023 K2 Reckoner 102 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

163, 170, 177, 184 cm

19.3 m at 184 cm

134 / 102 / 127 mm

1773 g at 177 cm

Clean and Round Turns, Park, Freestyle


Overview:

Very much the opposite of the Kore 105 when it comes to flex, the K2 Reckoner 102 is one of the most bendy skis on this list, making it a great option for freestyle-oriented skiers looking for that wider twin for freeride and all-mountain skiing. Thanks to the carbon spectral braiding, the Reckoner 102 has more torsional stiffness than longitudinal, and this makes edge grip a breeze, but if a larger and more aggressive skier pushes hard into the shovels, it’s going to bend pretty easily. In softer snow, the Reckoner is awesome—super maneuverable in the bumps and trees, floaty in the fresh, and drifty when the skier wants to break free from the turn in order to smear and slarve down the hill. If you want to hit the park, be our guest! Reckoner 102 has plenty of splay and rocker to make it equally at home both frontwards and backwards. The weight is pretty light, although the ski feels substantial, so it strikes a nice balance between freestyle and narrower freeride.

Who it's For:

Playful, fun-seeking skiers who don’t mind a bendy ski. You value flotation and smeariness, and it’s okay if that cuts into strong downhill performance.

Price: $649.95


AT A GLANCE


2023 DPS Koala 103 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

168, 176, 184, 189 cm

18 m

129 / 103 / 119 mm

1804 g at 176 cm

Stiffness, Grip, Power


Overview:

The Koala 103 is a bit of a departure from DPS’s norms. While we usually see either an RP or a C2 next to the ski’s name, with Koala, it’s just Koala. They borrow a lot of freeride and freestyle influence from other impactful skis like Atris, QST 106, and even Revolt 104 in order to make Koala 103 a bit of an outlier in DPS’s line. With an Aspen wood core, two strips of uni-directional carbon, and two layers of triaxial fiberglass, Koala doesn’t have nearly the same feel as the Pagoda’s carbon construction. It’s more rugged, stiff, and slightly heavier to withstand aggressive skiing in a variety of conditions and terrain. The taper in the shovel is reminiscent of other DPS skis, but the tail is a lot more freestyle-influenced, and that’s where a lot of the fun is to be had. The burly nature allows it to carve quite well, and while there are more potent carvers on this list like Enforcer 104 Free or Line Sakana, the Koala 103 has a very sturdy feel even at higher speeds.

Who it's For:

Skiers who don’t mind a bit of extra material, stiffness, and weight to their skis. You want a high-performance all-mountain ski without missing out on the freestyle and freeride benefits. You can bend a stiffer ski, and like it when you get back out what you put in.

Price: $699.00


AT A GLANCE


2023 Volkl Revolt 104 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

172, 180, 188 cm

24 / 19 / 22 m at 180 cm

132 / 104 / 122 mm

1958 g at 180 cm

Freeride Style, Swerve, Smoothness


Overview:

The Revolt 104 is a fun-loving twin that falls more on the mountain-freestyle rather than park. It can certainly function as a park ski, but is designed with softer snow in mind. Natural features, cliffs, drops, pillows, and side hits are all right in the Revolt 104’s wheelhouse. Thanks to the multi-layer wood core and thicker profile, the Revolt 104 has got some beef and stability to it while the shape makes it maneuverable and swishy in the softer snow and powder. The tails are straighter than the tips, and this puts the skier in the driver's seat when it comes to finishing turns. They act like rudders in the deep snow—not hooky or catchy, delivering predictable direction to the front part of the skis. While there are better carvers out there at this width, there aren’t many skis out there that can match the durability and playfulness of the Revolt 104.

Who it's For:

Playful skiers who love to put their stamp on the mountain. If you value maneuverability and a strong feel underfoot, the Revolt 104 is for you.

Price: $649.99


AT A GLANCE


2023 Blizzard Rustler 10 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

168, 174, 180, 186 cm

17.5 m at 180 cm

133 / 102 / 122.5 mm

2008 g at 180 cm

Grip, Flotation, Versatility


Overview:

This has got to be the grandfather of modern freeride skis by now. The Rustler 10 seems like it’s been around for generations, and while that could be construed as a bad thing, we find it to be quite the opposite in reality. While somewhat stagnant in the upgrades department, the Rustler 10 doesn’t need to be improved upon—it's one of the best freeride skis on the market today, yesterday, and five years ago. With a partial metal laminate that does a lot of the heavy lifting, the Rustler is joined by newcomer Line Blade Optic 104 as a rockered, tapered freeride ski with some metal, but not too much. By keeping the swing weight down and the grip underfoot up, the Rustler 10 blurs the line between all-mountain and freeride very effectively.

Who it's For:

Skiers looking for a 104 mm underfoot ski with great grip to match the excellent flotation. This is about as complete of a one-ski quiver in this category as there is.

Price: $749.95


AT A GLANCE


2023 Blizzard Hustle 10 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

156, 164, 172, 180, 188 cm

17.5 m at 180 cm

133 / 102 / 122.5 mm

1780 g at 180 cm

Versatility, Pop, Bounce


Overview:

As a new offering from Blizzard’s freeride lineup, Hustle 10 aims to split the difference between in and out of bounds skiing. The marketing department will tell you that it’s a touring ski that can be used to do some lift laps, but we’ve found that it’s equally as effective in either or both applications. You can use this ski with an alpine binding and 130-flex boot or a tech binding with ultra-light randonee-style boots—either is correct, neither is wrong. What we did find is that Hustle 10 had a whole lot of energy and bounce to it—it loved being played with along the sides of the trail where the soft snow was found, but also had some good grip to it when the conditions were firmer. Nordica Enforcer 104 Unlimited is likely the most direct competitor, but it also gives off Ripstick 106 vibes as well.

Who it's For:

Adventure seekers who do not want to be limited by the skis on their feet. Neither too heavy nor too wobbly, the Hustle 10 is a fantastic choice for those who are looking for a true blend of 50/50 skiing.

Price: $799.95


AT A GLANCE


2023 Line Blade Optic 104 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

171, 178, 185, 190 cm

19 m

132 / 104 / 123 mm

1890 g at 185 cm

Torsional Stiffness, Edge Grip, Stability


Overview:

The new Blade Optic 104 uses a Gas Pedal Metal Overdrive laminate in order to generate power to the edges and dampness to the ski. It’s an effective laminate that sort of mirrors the DRT of the Rustler 10, but does so in a more sophisticated manner. There’s actually quite a bit of metal in this ski, and that combines with an aspen veneer core to create strong performance while the shaping and overall construction method put playfulness and flotation firmly in the forefront. By transitioning from thick vertical sidewall underfoot to a thinner cap build in the tips and tails, Line creates a fun-loving and maneuverable ski in the ends while keeping the mid-body of the ski firmly in the performance side of the spectrum. It’s pretty bowed-out in the rocker profile, making it a great option for softer snow, while the metal makes it smooth and stable no matter what the conditions or terrain may be. It’s a great comparison to Rustler 10 in this matter, just goes about it a different way.

Who it's For:

Pretty aggressive skiers who don’t mind a bit of metal in their freeride skis. You want the playfulness of a twin tip but the power of a metallic all-mountain ski.

Price: $749.95


AT A GLANCE


2023 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

165, 172, 179, 186, 191 cm

17.5 m at 179 cm

134.5 / 104 / 123.5 mm

2095 g at 179 cm

Power, Stability, Versatility


Overview:

Like the Rustler 10, this ski is pretty much grandfathered in to this discussion. Enforcer is ubiquitous and interchangeable with freeride, and the 104 Free is a consistent favorite among skiers all over. By making the shape of the ski more conducive to powder and playfulness, while keeping the construction of the ski burly and strong, Nordica has created a very unique ski in the marketplace, and the only model on this list with two full sheets of metal. As such, it’s incredibly rugged and stable from a build perspective, but the rocker and splay (of the tails, especially) make it stand out as a fun-loving ski as well. While it shares a footprint with its lighter Unlimited brother, it definitely has considerably more power and oomph when it comes to high-speed stability and carving turns on firmer snow. You do pay for it in weight, much like we see with Sender 106 and QST 106, but with the metal involved, you’re getting a different animal in terms of a high-performance ceiling.

Who it's For:

Advanced and Expert skiers looking for the ultimate blend of stability, flotation, and power. You want a twin-tip style ski but do not want to offer up performance as a compromise to playfulness.

Price: $799.99


AT A GLANCE


2023 Nordica Enforcer 104 Unlimited Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

165, 172, 179, 186, 191 cm

18.5 m at 186 cm

135 / 104 / 124 mm

1700 g at 186 cm

Light Weight, Flotation, Energy


Overview:

Like Hustle 10 and Backland 107, the 104 Unlimited is branded as a 50/50 ski in the marketing department. The idea is very similar—ski the lifts in the morning with your hybrid binding and boots, and then head out to the sidecountry in the afternoon for adventure and powder. While that sounds good on paper, the reality of the Enforcer 104 Unlimited is actually much better. I found this to be a perfectly capable ski for every day resort skiing. The fact that it is lighter and touring-capable makes it all the more enticing for skiers looking for versatility. In the trees and softer snow, it’s an absolute blast, while the shape and carbon stringers make it more than fun and interesting on the groomers. Other than the catalog comparisons, the 104 Unlimited feels a lot like the Ripstick 106 in terms of on-trail performance, and that’s a pretty good compliment for a “touring” ski.

Who it's For:

Lighter or less aggressive skiers who have always wanted an Enforcer 104 Free but didn’t want the metal. Skiers who are looking for a lighter ski that has very strong and capable downhill performance.

Price: $849.99


AT A GLANCE


2023 Rossignol Sender 104 Ti Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

164, 172, 178, 186 cm

18 m at 178 cm

138 / 104 / 128 mm

1950 g at 178 cm

Smoothness, Carving, Energy


Overview:

More similar than different when measured against last year’s Sender, the 104 Ti looks a bit different and occupies a different slot in the Sender line, but is still a fantastic option for high-end skiers looking for a wider directional ski for soft snow and strong carving. With a flatter tail, much like we see in Ripstick 106 or Backland 107, the Sender 104 Ti is an excellent turner that can complete a carve with the best of them. It cuts a straight line through the crud and chop, and the lighter tips help with flotation. Other than that, it’s a strong and stable ski in a variety of snow conditions and terrain, making it one of the more versatile directional skis on the list for sure. While the metal underfoot helps with edge grip and dampness, the paulownia wood core adds a ton of pop and snap to the mix. With a variety of sizes ranging from 164 to 186, the Sender 104 Ti is a great option for a huge swath of skiers.

Who it's For:

A lot of skiers. You are looking for directional performance in a wider-bodied ski. You value all-mountain versatility, but are looking for something wider and floatier at the same time.

Price: $749.95


AT A GLANCE


2023 Head Kore 105 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

163, 170, 177, 184, 191 cm

17.8 m at 184 cm

135 / 105 / 125 mm

1851 g at 184 cm

Stiffness, Light Weight, Precision


Overview:

A unique blend of light weight and stiff flex, the Kore 105 is a carbon-based ski that gets a ton of power from dual laminates. The upper laminate is curved, and any time you put carbon in a 3-dimensional application, it makes for a much stronger and stiffer sheet. When the Kore skis get above the 99 mm threshold, they become more freeridey for sure, putting more emphasis on taper and rocker to give the ski more float and playfulness. They do not, however, dumb down the flex at all—these things are still pretty firm and responsive. They’re competent carvers for the width and lack of metal, providing strong rebound and edge grip throughout the turn. In softer snow, they work fine, but lack the finesse of more playful skis like Sender 104 or Blaze 106. That said, Kore 105 stands apart on this list for sure—offering a no-nonsense flex to go along with an insanely light weight and maneuverable nature.

Who it's For:

Stronger skiers who can flex the ski. Also, lighter skiers who are happy riding shallower edge angles and are looking for agility at this width.

Price: $849.00


AT A GLANCE


2023 Black Crows Atris Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

172.1, 178.4, 184.3, 190.2 cm

20 m at 178.4 cm

138 / 105 / 122 mm

1950 g at 178 cm

Drift, Swerve, Carve


Overview:

Not that the previous Atris was a bad ski, but I always wanted something more. Specifically, I wanted more pop. They did it for 2023, taking a few mm out of the waist and making the Atris more energetic and snappier overall. It’s less planky and livelier, while still keeping it floaty and smeary. The taper, especially in the shovel, is still all there so you’re not losing anything, really, when it comes to staying on top of the snow, and the rocker profile including the splay allows for drifty and swervy style, very similar to what we see from Faction Mana 2, QST 106, and even the more twinned-out Revolt 104. The blend of performance is what makes the new Atris stand out for sure, and I, for one, also appreciate that we get to ski it in the 190 cm length, which is a fantastic size for skiers over 6’2.

Who it's For:

Playful skiers who want some substance to go along with the silliness. You value some precision, but lean more towards the fun-loving side of the spectrum.

Price: $899.95


AT A GLANCE


2023 Line Sakana Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

166, 174, 181 cm

15 m

150 / 105 / 138 mm

1720 g at 174 cm

Short Carves, Smoothness, Fun


Overview:

Likely the wildest ski on this wall, the Line Sakana is able to do a lot of different things all at the same time. With a swallow tail, super-wide shovel, and 15-meter turn radius, the Sakana stands out in a few different ways. At 105 mm underfoot, and topping out at 181 cm, the Sakana is one of the best carving skis here. It’s not the strongest carver, but it’s one of the best. You can really rip and whip this thing around a corner, and it’s surprising how stiff the tail is, given it’s got a big hole in it. This makes it very directional, as opposed to Blade Optic 104 or Enforcer 104, but in that real, the Sakana cuts through powder, crud, and chop with relative ease and efficiency. It’s an insanely smooth ski that is hard to define, but each and every time we get out on it, we’re more and more impressed. Not the best choice for bumps, trees, or more technical zones, Sakana prefers to run, which is kind of counter-intuitive given the shorter arc.

Who it's For:

Skiers looking for something different and unique. You want to carve and go fast on a 15-meter radius ski.

Price: $799.95


AT A GLANCE


2023 Armada ARV 106 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

172, 180, 188 cm

20.5 m at 180 cm

134 / 106 / 124 mm

2142 g at 180 cm

Dampness, Freestyle, Playfulness


Overview:

What a cool set of skis. You really get a whole lot of fun and playfulness packed into a wonderful shape and build. The blend of poplar and ash in the wood core makes the ARV 106 one of the heavier and sturdier wide twins, and while it doesn’t have the snap or energy of something like Enforcer 104 Unlimited, it’s certainly got the dampness and flotation similar to Revolt 104. With the floaty Smear Tech design incorporated into the tips and tails, this is a surfy and drifty twin that loves to make the mountain its playground/terrain park. DPS Koala 103 and Black Crows Atris are right there with it in terms of blending freestyle and freeride attributes without metal. This is what an Armada ski should be, in our eyes, and they do it as good as, if not better than, anyone else in the market today.

Who it's For:

Fun-loving skiers who spend a lot of time either in, or seeking, fresh snow. If there’s terrain to be played with, you’re there with the Armada ARV 106 on your feet.

Price: $699.95


AT A GLANCE


2023 Rossignol Sender 106 Ti Plus Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

180, 187, 194 cm

18 m at 180 cm

137 / 104 / 127 mm

2157 g at 187 cm

Smoothness, Directional Skiing, Speed


Overview:

Just like the years-past Sender Ti, the 106 Ti Plus gets a beefed-up core with poplar wood, a dual-titanal beam, LCT, and Carbon Alloy Matrix. This makes the Ti Plus a strong performer in a variety of conditions—most notably through powder, crud, and choppy snow. As one of the most directional skis on the wall, it certainly falls in line with the Sender 104 Ti and the Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition in terms of shape, character, and performance. It cuts a straight and smooth line through any chopped-up snow, and in slightly-broken powder, this Sender 106 Ti Plus is as silky as it gets. While there’s not a whole lot of room with this ski in terms of tree, mogul, or other tight spots, it more than makes up for that lack of performance in the wider spaces of the mountains.

Who it's For:

As the name implies: Senders. Those who love to charge and take an aggressive and direct line through the hill will love the Sender 106 Ti Plus. Also, skiers who are a 180 cm or longer, as they don’t come shorter than that.

Price: $849.95


AT A GLANCE


2023 DPS Pagoda 106 C2 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

155, 163, 171, 179, 184, 189 cm

19 m

137 / 106 / 121 mm at 179 cm

1930 g at 179 cm

Carving, Quality, Stability


Overview:

As one of the better, wider carvers on the list the DPS Pagoda 106 C2 blends the use of carbon with a more directional shape. These skis use that stiffer material in order to ensure flawless edge grip and tremendous energy and rebound out of the turn. The C2 shaping gives the ski a bit sharper of a tip taper while keeping the underfoot zone and tail more in the traditional zone. We do see some good rocker in the tips and tails, but the C2 shaping puts the radius at a longer 19-meters versus the RP shaping’s 15-meter arc. QST 106 shares very similar rocker profile and taper shape, while the build and flex is more Head Kore 105. The DPS weighs more than the Kore, though, mostly because of their mixing of denser woods. It’s a bit smoother of a ride, as a result, but not quite as quick.

Who it's For:

Skiers who are looking for a carbon-powered ski that also has some heft to it. You like the feel and energy of carbon, but don’t want it to be chatty.

Price: $1,449.00


AT A GLANCE


2023 Liberty Origin 106 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

171, 176, 182, 187 cm

20 m at 182 cm

138 / 106 / 128 mm

2023 g 182 cm

Playfulness, Creativity, Roundness


Overview:

Really everything about this ski screams “round.” The tip shape, the tail profile, the overall oval nature of the ski all leans to the round side of the spectrum, and the Liberty Origin 106 truly delivers in that department. This ski puts the shape and duration of the turn firmly on the skier’s feet, allowing them to dictate the level of playfulness quite effectively. From a shaping perspective, the Origin is a lot like the Revolt 104 and ARV 106, but it has a different construction that sets it apart. Like Sender skis, we see vertical strips of support, with Liberty’s VMT 1.0 core consisting of a single metal strut that runs vertically through the center of the ski. This dampens vibrations, adds energy, and limits counter-flexing in order to provide a smooth and stable ride. While the Sender 104 and 106 incorporate similar methods, the shaping and overall intent of the Origin 106 are vastly different.

Who it's For:

Freeride enthusiasts who want to put their own mark on the mountain. No turn shape or style is too wild for you—this is the ultimate ski for blending creativity and performance.

Price: $749.99


AT A GLANCE


2023 Elan Ripstick 106 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

164, 172, 180, 188 cm

17 m at 172 cm

143 / 106 / 120 mm

1799 g at 180 cm

Grip, Energy, Maneuverability


Overview:

I’m a firm believer that carbon-based skis like Ripstick, Kore, and DPS get better as they get wider. For me. As a heavier skier, I can overpower narrower skis with carbon, but the more material that gets added, the smoother the ski seems to be. The Ripstick 106 strikes a nice balance between being a carbon-based freeride ski and a pretty darn decent carver. It’s all about the carbon tubes when it comes the Ripstick 106, as they become very active when pushed. The higher the edge angle, the better the performance. While the shovels are still on the more flexible side of the spectrum, the rest of the ski more than makes up for it. Other than the metal, the Ripstick 106 provides very similar performance to the Sender 104 Ti, Pagoda 106 C2, and Kore 105.

Who it's For:

You are looking to be surprised and wowed by a ski. You are looking for excellent grip in a wider-bodied ski, and don’t want the weight, or maybe even feel, of metal in order to do so.

Price: $749.99


AT A GLANCE


2023 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

164, 172, 180, 188 cm

17 m at 172 cm

143 / 106 / 120 mm

1929 g at 180 cm

Dampness, Stability, Versatility


Overview:

Take everything that was said about Ripstick 106, and add 18% performance. I legit just made that number up, but in reality, the Black Edition, with two extra carbon rods to go along with a wider and longer horizontal carbon laminate, does get a performance boost for sure. They’re sturdy, lively, and incredibly versatile. The most direct comparison is surely the regular Ripstick 106 since they share identical footprints, but there’s also some Sender 106 Ti Plus notes going on, as well as Blizzard Rustler 10. Comparing carbon-based skis to metal ones usually doesn’t line up, but Elan really has something here with the carbon rods, and when they decided to add more last year to the Black Edition skis, they really happened upon a fantastic way to construct a ski. The impressive part is that they didn’t really add a lot of weight to the Black edition, since all they really did was replace heavier wood with lighter carbon.

Who it's For:

Skiers looking for a ton of precision, dampness, and power from a ski without metal. You love the energy and pop of carbon, and don’t want to have to lug a ton around on your feet to get the same performance.

Price: $899.99


AT A GLANCE


2023 Salomon QST 106 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

165, 173, 181, 189 cm

19 m at 181 cm

139 / 106 / 126 mm

1980 g at 181 cm

Flotation, Dampness, Versatility


Overview:

With subtler changes versus the QST 99 to 98 or 2022 92 to 2023 92, the QST 106 keeps the longer turn radius of the outgoing 106, and adds a bit lower of a taper shape to get the ski to smear a bit better through the deep stuff. It works, and is a sheer pleasure to ski. Whether you’re ripping on a groomer or blasting through pow and crud, the 2023 Salomon QST 106 is a high-powered ski that is smooth, stable, and damp. This is somewhat surprising given that it doesn’t have metal, but that’s more of a testament to Salomon’s ability to build a great ski rather than a blanket statement about skis with metal. It shares a lot of similarities with the Black Crows Atris and Enforcer 104’s, kind of splitting the difference between the Nordica's in the realm of weight. Overall, the 106 is a strong performer that is insanely fun and versatile. It is obedient and does what it’s told without nary a complaint.

Who it's For:

Skiers who like quiet skis that you don’t have to think about too much. You value intuitiveness in a ski and love an easy-going performance without any downside.

Price: $749.95


AT A GLANCE


2023 Volkl Blaze 106 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

165, 172, 179, 186 cm

33 / 16 / 25 m at 172 cm

146 / 106 / 128 mm

1763 g at 179 cm

Float, Powder, Touring


Overview:

Like the Backland 107, the Blaze 106 basically invented the hybrid resort/touring ski. It started out more as a touring option, but skiers quickly came to realize the lift-served benefits of the ski. With a wide shovel and super-long rocker in the shovel, the Blaze 106 is one of the best directional floaters on the list for sure. It’s right up there with said Backland, and gives the Sender 106 Ti Plus a run for its money as well, albeit on a different weight level. Volkl’s 3D Turn Radius makes the Blaze a sharp turner underfoot while leaving the tips and tails in the longer format arcs. This makes for a smooth and ski, especially in softer snow. The light weight and skin attachment in the tail make for a versatile 50/50 ski, putting more emphasis on the skier and their ability to determine how to use these awesomely wide and fun boards.

Who it's For:

Hybrid touring skiers who split their time between resort and backcountry. You value light weight and wide shovels for the ultimate in flotation.

Price: $649.99


AT A GLANCE


2023 Atomic Backland 107 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

STRENGTHS

175, 182, 189 cm

18.5 m at 182 cm

137 / 107 / 124 mm

1706 g at 182 cm

Flotation, Energy, Versatility


Overview:

As one of the best touring skis on the list due to the weight, the Backland 107 stacks up nicely with the Hustle 10 and the Enforcer 104 Unlimited as a new breed of 50/50 resort/touring skis. Although, it should be noted that Atomic was ahead of the game in this regard, as the Backland 107 has been around for quite a while. Weight and uphill capacity aside, we’ve seen some very high-performance downhill skiing on the 107, as it effectively blends a directional shape with carbon backbone to make the thinner ultra-light wood core really stand tall at speed. The HRZN tech in the tips adds to the floaty nature of the ski, but for softer snow and longer tours, it’s very difficult to make an argument against the Backland 107. It’s been a skier favorite for years, and we do not expect that sentiment to change.

Who it's For:

Touring enthusiasts who are looking to match the uphill acumen with the downhill performance. Resort tourers may want something more on the groomers, but anytime trees or powder are involved, Backland 107 is right there for you.

Price: $749.95


Written by Bob St.Pierre on 9/14/22

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