When the going gets deep, you want a powder ski that will handle feet of snow with ease. The snow can be bone dry or dense like wet concrete, but when there’s a lot of it, a proper powder ski is going to ensure you have the most fun possible. When choosing a pair of powder skis, there are a number of defining characteristics that are important to consider before making the big purchase. Being mindful of these will help you pick the best powder ski for you and will keep you going back for lap after lap rather than calling it early with burned-out legs.
The Important Characteristics of Powder Skis (Put Simply)
Powder skis derive their surfing, slashing, and floating characteristics from their width and shape. For starters, a powder ski is going to have at least 100 mm of width underfoot, providing much more surface area for the base of the ski to make contact with the snow and 'float'. Powder skis also rely on a rocker or reverse-camber profile to increase their capabilities in deep powder. When laid on a flat surface, rocker or reverse cambered skis rest on the mid section of the ski with the tips and tails gradually rising off the surface. This is the opposite of a traditionally cambered ski and makes the ski much more capable in soft snow conditions.
Reverse Camber vs. Cambered Powder Skis
A wider ski combined with higher tip and tail height will help you stay on top of the snow rather than sinking, giving you the magical sense of floating. Rocker in the tip of the ski initiates turns easier and prevents the tips from diving below the surface. This means you won’t get tired from leaning back to keep the tips above the snow and will enable you to stay nimble and pivot. After stepping into a pair of these wider rockered skis, you will experience a totally new perception of what floating through fresh powder snow means!
One Ski Quivers that Excel in Powder (And The Resort)
For 4FRNT skis that excel in powder but remain capable everywhere on the hill, the HOJI & HOJI CC (womens specific), Devastator, and MSP 107 are all excellent choices. These skis have the ideal underfoot widths at 112mm (Hoji + Hoji CC), 108mm (Devastator), and 107mm (MSP 107) that allow them to perform all over the hill in a variety of snow conditions. All of these models perform great on packed powder and groomers, but have the aforementioned characteristics that allow them to make skiing soft powder snow much easier and alot more fun.
Best Powder Skis for the East Coast
The specifications for a powder ski also should be adjusted depending on the depth of the powder snow conditions. For skiers on the East Coast and New England, 95 mm to 105 mm is the range that performs for both the famously variable snowpack and the deep days. For these skiers, a good powder ski is one that will float on first tracks as well as push through tracked out and choppy end of the day conditions. The MSP 99, MSP CC (women's specific), and RAVEN are perfectly suited for these skiers.
Best Powder Skis for Deep Snow
For skiers in places such as the Rockies, Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, or Japan, the suggested skis get even wider underfoot and more rockered in the tip and tail. Skis such as the InThayne (117mm underfoot) and Renegade (122mm underfoot) provide epic powder performance in the deep conditions these regions are known for. It's no coincidence that the InThayne is Thanye Rich's promodel ski and the Renegade is Eric Hjorleifson's promodel powder ski. These two professional powder skiers are some of the best in the world and their ski shape designs are infamous within the ski world. When the big storms deliver, these are the skis you want to be clicking into.