Men's ski reviews 2019
Selected as one of the best skis on the market and reviewed for several years by PROSKILAB, the SLX Fusion from Elan has frequently got close to the top spot on the podium without ever winning it. This year, the ski finally got a well-deserved "Best ski" award thanks to its balanced combination of performance, consistency and pleasure.
You'll get plenty of performance. The ski is truly efficient... Read on
The Kendo from Völkl, which (just) missed out on the "Best Ski" medal last year in harder snow conditions, got it back this year. This year, we reviewed a longer model (184 cm against 176 last year) which improved its stability and flotation in powder.
The ski has once again consolidated its excellent reputation and the professional reviewers gave it rave reviews: "Super ski", "Perfection!",... Read on
The Rossignol Hero Elite ST Ti is regularly selected for review by PROSKILAB and is frequently picked among the winners.
Reviewed last year (to our great regret) with the general public "Konect" plate, it offered a good compromise between performance, accessibility and pleasure, but was not quite good enough to convince the reviewers eager for performance.
It’s back again this year... Read on
Already a winner last year, the Speed Master GS with its R22 "racing" plate has reaffirmed its incredible performance this year.
Along with its twin, the Rossignol Hero Master, this ski out-paced all the competitors in the "Giant Slalom" category where we're looking, above all, for high-performing skis that nonetheless remain accessible to a non-racing public.
The skis mainly... Read on
While Völkl skis regularly stand at the top of the podium in the PROSKILAB™ All mountain category, piste skis have found it more difficult to feature among the world's top skis.
Things change. The reviewers loved the Deacon 74 in this Carvers category where we select high-performing skis that are less demanding than race-inspired skis, but will still boost your adrenalin levels.
The... Read on
We pre-reviewed some of the Kästle line in January 2018 and decided to include the most promising models in our PROSKILAB review (2 months later). The MX84 was among the skis selected and, like its big brother the MX 67 in the Carvers category, generated real enthusiasm among the professional reviewers.
The ski perfectly matches the category requirements. PROSKILAB's guidelines effectively require... Read on
The ski is identical to Dynastar’s Speed Master GS R22:
Already a medal winner last year, the Hero Master with the R22 race plate confirms its superior performance this year.
This ski, along with the Speed Master GS R22 which is its twin, is head and shoulders above its rivals in this "Giant Slalom" category where we're mainly looking for high-performing but accessible skis for... Read on
We pre-tested all of the skis to select the best for the PROSKILAB™ review. In this way, we obtained a limited number of skis with the best possible qualities to meet the PROSKILAB™ guidelines.
In January 2018, we tried a few skis from the Kästle line and decided to include some of the models in our 2019 review, including the MX67. It was an excellent decision as the reviewers absolutely loved the... Read on
With its specialised racing plate, the Speed Master from Dynastar excelled in the "Giant Slalom" category. Here, it's in a less demanding category and features the simple mainstream "Konect" plate by the Rossignol group (which owns the Dynastar company).
Having a more flexible plate doesn't alter the ski's intrinsic qualities and it retains its race-inspired qualities. The Speed Master effectively stands out for the incisiveness, stability and edge grip that make it so awesome. The ski's energy and... Read on
The Speed Machine 80 FDT from Nordica is packed with energy. "A fabulous, responsive and incisive ski" according to our reviewers, it’s clearly designed for performance. The grip, stability and turn hold quality were especially noticeable.
The ski nonetheless corresponds to the requirement for versatility for this category. It can cover every eventuality, and will alternate carving and skid turns, short and long turns depending on the rider’s mood. One reviewer summed up the ski’s qualities perfectly: "Fantastic!... Read on
Already selected and reviewed last year, the Camox Freebird from Black Crows did incredibly well this year with a new version and a new design featuring a "modernised" core. The result is amazing.
Its behaviour on the groomed slopes is very adaptive with particularly good grip and outstanding stability. The ski is well-balanced, determined, easy to handle and playful.
Off-piste, the ski is... Read on
In this category, we're looking for accessible skis for the weakest riders that will nonetheless help them to progress towards carving.
The Speed Zone 7 from Dynastar is a perfect match for the programme.
The ski is very accessible, intuitive, easy to handle ("it turns on its own"). Very little physical engagement is needed and the ski responds to the rider's slightest request.... Read on
K2 regularly treats the reviewers to skis that offer a well-balanced compromise, with a clever combination of access, comfort and performance. The Konic 78 is just such a tool and was judged one of the best skis in this category. We're looking for user-friendly skis for technically weak riders, but that also offer good potential for progress, helping riders to develop more technical turns, especially carving.
The... Read on
The Laser SC from Stöckli is one of the market benchmarks and is frequently selected by PROSKILAB in this category where it always does well.
"Best ski" last year, even if it's slightly outdistanced this year by slightly more forgiving skis, it has kept its many qualities, especially its very strong character.
Extremely efficient, the reviewer's loved the ski's stiffness, grip... Read on
Already scoring well last year, the Kore 93 came first this year in softer spring snow conditions, which means it's made a well-deserved entry among the top-performing benchmarks in this All Mountain freeride segment like the Stormrider 95, the Mantra or the Enforcer 100.
The ski is extremely versatile. It’s a true all-mountain ski that's as happy on freshly groomed runs as on deep or crusty snow.... Read on
The Pursuit 800 Ti from Rossignol is a very versatile ski.
When cruising (as long as it stays in carving mode since it’s a tad less at ease in skid turns), the ski is easy to handle, comfortable, enjoyable and versatile.
But it's when you step up the pace that the ski shows its real character… and what character! As you pile on the pressure, the ski seems to just want more. The reviewers... Read on
Kendo's main rival, the Stormrider 88 lost its "Best ski" medal this year but remains a benchmark in the highly competitive All Mountain ski market with emphasis on the groomed runs.
On piste, the Stormrider 88 performs incredibly well. It's a docile, "consistent and enjoyable" ski that makes no demands of the rider, doing what it's told and giving its owners total confidence.... Read on
Our professional reviewers loved the Pinnacle 85 from K2: "a ski with a soul", and "has a real personality".
"Very versatile and closer to an all mountain/freeride", the ski displays excellent off-piste behaviour, helped by a large rocker.
Accessibility is excellent. Its behaviour is consistent, forgiving and it remains docile in all circumstances, while the rocker assists... Read on
Selected again for the PROSKILAB review this year, the Wayback 96 from K2 confirms its excellent behaviour (already noted last year).
The ski boasts a very adaptable flex that makes it remarkably consistent and enjoyable. The Wayback 96 is happy in all relatively soft snow conditions, including groomed runs.
Despite being easily accessible, the ski has punch and offers first-rate performance. The very... Read on
Rossignol's Pursuit line is a great success. The Pursuit 800 stood out in the "Men's Top-of-the-range" category with a "Best ski" 2019 distinction. The Pursuit 600 CAM (Carbon Alloy Matrix for those in the know) is very well placed in this (already very demanding) selection of the best skis on the market.
It's extremely accessible thanks to the ease of rotation, consistent skid turns and slight overdrive effect that will facilitate first turns. It's a tool that anyone can handle, even beginners.... Read on
This year, we reviewed the RTM 76 Elite from Völkl in a smaller size (161 cm) than requested for this category, which makes it more accessible but reduces performance.
The ski rotates extremely easily, and the drifting tail makes wedge turns and first skid turns easier. Skid turns are intuitive and consistent.
Unfortunately, since it was reviewed too short, the ski was less happy when pushed to... Read on
During the pre-tests, we mentioned a preference for the Mantra V.Werks (an amazing model that we'd like to review next year), but VÖLKL asked us to review the VTA 98, a ski designed for a wider public.
Overall behaviour is sound. The ski was judged to be "very consistent", "playful" and "smooth" in all snow conditions, especially in powder where float and manoeuvrability... Read on
When we tried the Kästle models in January 2018, we found them very promising, so we decided to include the brand in the 2019 reviews.
The RX12 SL selected for the "Slalom" category was a great surprise. The reviewers found the ski easy to handle for this category, giving it plenty of praise, with "I loved it", "perfect flex for me", "an easy slalom ski"...
The performance isn't quite as good as the Rossignol Hero Elite St Ti R22, but it's absolutely fine. The ski is lively,... Read on
The GSX Fusion from Elan is preselected every year for the PROSKILAB review and is unquestionably one of the market's star performers. It frequently wins or is close to first place on the podium.
The ski is very much performance-oriented. With excellent grip and remarkable stability, the ski is simply majestic in long turns. Once the turn is initiated, it has incredibly solid edge hold and never seems to want to let go.
The ski requires a certain degree of technical and prowess for optimum rides.
The Redster G9 from Atomic is definitely one of the best skis on the market in the "Giant Slalom" category of race-inspired skis designed for a non-racing public.
"Consistent and reassuring", almost "perfect", it shines in this category in virtually every respect. The professional reviewers noted in particular its "very reassuring" character, with incisive turn entry and amazing stability at high speed. Efficient and docile, you'll feel really confident whatever the conditions.
The... Read on
The new (5th) generation Mantra from Völkl has been entirely redesigned. The structure has changed with the inclusion of a Titanal frame all round the ski instead of the traditional plates inserted in the core.
Given the large number of questions we get about this, we'd like to remind you that Titanal is the trade name given to an aluminium based alloy with excellent mechanical properties. It has nothing... Read on
The Dobermann GSR RB FDT is a tale in its own right. We can guess that GSR means "Giant Slalom Race", we know that RB means "Racing Bridge" but we're still trying to find what FDT means, although it seems to be linked to the plate which, in this case, is the firm's own "Recoil plate”.
The ski is efficient and responsive. Edge hold is excellent and the Dobermann GSR RB FDT clings to every turn, even at high speed.
After ringing the praises of the skis' qualities, the reviewers nonetheless... Read on
Voted "Best ski" last year, the Stormrider 95 lost a few slots this season in the milder snow conditions. It nonetheless remains a reference in this market segment.
The ski has effectively retained all of its qualities. Its behaviour is remarkably reassuring both on and off the runs, and it is predictable and surprise free. It's incredibly easy to control and extremely simple to use.
Relatively... Read on
Atomic has made a real comeback this season. The Redster TR presented by the brand offers an alternative that focuses more on accessibility in this “Carvers” section.
A good, efficient and versatile tool, the Redster TR "does its job" and well deserves its place in this selection of the best skis on the market. It offers serious arguments as it's light underfoot, "easy to rotate and carve", displays consistent behaviour and requires little physical engagement.
We recommend this ski for good... Read on
The Doberman Spitfire TI FDT spits fire... Maybe a bit too much for this category where we're looking above all for accessible skis that beginners can handle.
The ski displays truly high-powered quality. Turn initiation, edge to edge, carving precision and stability are all very good. A "good carving ski", it's literally glued to the turn, even at high speed and doesn't mind being handled on edge.
Despite its many qualities, the Dobermann Spitfire TI FDT does not fit into the programme, as its too technical... Read on
The iKonic 84 from K2 exists in two relatively different versions: the iKonic 84 and the iKonic 84 Ti, which is stiffer. We reviewed the first version and were not disappointed.
The ski does exactly what it's supposed to for this category where the PROSKILAB guidelines demand consistent skis that combine performance, comfort and user-friendliness.
The iKonic 84 matches the criteria perfectly. While... Read on
We've been reviewing Rossignol's Experience for many years now... Our reviewers have frequently criticized the skis for being too focused on the world of the groomers, with strongly shaped designs and radical tips.
In January 2018, Rossignol told us it had taken our comments into account (and no doubt those of other reviews too) when it presented us with the new Experience line with straighter shapes... Read on
Another legendary ski, the PROSKILAB 2016 reviewers were extremely impressed by the Enforcer 100 from Nordica which has won a "Best ski" distinction in the past.
The ski is frequently selected in the PROSKILAB review and continually does well but it lost a few places this year due to the arrival of new rivals (especially the Expérience 94 Ti) and softer snow conditions.
The piste/off-piste mix is still very well-balanced. The ski performs well on the groomers. With good flex distribution, the reviewers noted... Read on
It really lives up to its name... and well deserves its place among the best skis on the market. Reviewed too short (168 cm) last year, K2's Speed Charger is back this year at 175 cm, a size that's far better adapted to its programme.
The extra length significantly improved its long turn performance, as well as its grip and cutting-edge pace that are the tool's strong points.
The Speed Charger is shamelessly designed for speed. Stability is exceptional ("as if on rails in long turns") and is reassuring... Read on
The reviewers were impressed by the Legend 88's qualities but found the bindings too central.
The ski has many qualities and the reviewers found it accessible, with easy turn initiation and rotation.
However, the central positioning of the binding made it impossible to add forward pressure in aggressive rides. The imposing tail in uneven snow conditions and heavy snow hampers rotation.
We tried mounting the bindings 4cm further back and this helped improve the ski's behaviour.
The Legend 88 is a... Read on
Reviewed for the first time by PROSKILAB, the Backland 95 from Atomic made a good impression.
It's a relatively stiff ski for this category. The result is excellent behaviour on the groomed slopes, with grip and stability that would make some piste-oriented skis turn green with envy. Off-piste, this same stiffness gives it some serious arguments. The ski's performance in uneven snow and its potential to go very fast were highly appreciated by the reviewers: "a super freeride ski!", "impeccable in crud", "awesome... Read on
PROSKILAB only reviews the very best skis on the market and so if the V-Shape 4 from Head is in last place, it's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and its score shows that the ski has real qualities.
It's a high performer but less forgiving than the other skis in this category, so it's not easy to do well in a programme that looks for user-friendliness above all.
The ski's overall... Read on
The Redster S9 is objectively a good ski, remarkably consistent and versatile. The reviewers liked the ski's easy handling, the overall enjoyment, and the very consistent behavior that will reassure a lot of riders. It's especially comfortable and intuitive when carving out short turns.
On the other hand, the reviewers noted a slight lack of punch in very dynamic rides at high speed which showed the ski's limitations. The ski is globally efficient, but stiffness, edge grip and rebound at the end of a turn are not as good... Read on
Dazzling holder of a PROSKILAB "Best ski" award last year and scoring very well in many other reviews, the Speed Zone 12 Ti remains well placed in this selection of the best skis on the market. However, it lost a few places on the scoreboard, probably due to the arrival of new competitors, softer snow conditions and slight changes to the ski's structure (the Active Air Core wood core is lighter).
The ski has excellent qualities overall. It's very well-balanced and offers good performance and comfort overall. Its character... Read on
The RX12 GS from Kästle is a very good ski that stands out for its great behavior when carving turns. The ski loves to be on edge and is remarkably easy and enjoyable in this context.
On the other hand, it does far less well in the Giant Slalom programme. The ski's radius is too short for the programme and suffers from a lack of stiffness which reduces its performance. Pushed to the limit, it runs out of steam on hard pack at high speed as turn quality deteriorates and grip becomes more uncertain.
The RX12 GS is a good... Read on
The Supershape I.Magnum from Head has been a benchmark for several years and is a real market success.
Its reputation grew from its user-friendliness and facility when carving at medium speeds. These qualities were reiterated by PROSKILAB's professional reviewers. The ski is highly accessible and demands few technical skills. Turn initiation is easy, even if it isn't very incisive, and carving at medium speed is intuitive.
A flexible ski for this category, the Supershape I.Magnum doesn't quite make the grade in... Read on
The Mythic 97 CA from Dynastar displayed an enjoyable and docile character. It's an easy ski, that's relatively soft, contrary to what its CA name (for Carbon) would have us think.
The professional reviewers appreciated its comfort and overall user-friendliness in most snow conditions: "a consistent and easy ski to handle", "an easy ski", "enjoyable on all types of snow"...
The Mythic 97 CA is playful, agile and especially happy in short turns. With a 15-metre radius, it's almost a... Read on
While the Kore 93 from Head shone in the all mountain/freeride category, the more piste-oriented Monster 88 found the competition stiffer in the midst of more versatile skis.
The reviewers praised the Monster 88's excellent behaviour on the piste. The ski was judged to be "a good piste ski", proving docile and grippy, and especially happy in short turns. The ski is accessible and very user-friendly.
Off-piste, its behaviour is correct with good flotation in powder, but it doesn't do quite as well as the Kendo,... Read on
Relatively flexible, the V-Shape 8 is closer to an adaptive ski, lacking some of the agility needed for this category.
The ski is really enjoyable as long as you don't try to go too fast.
Light, smooth, gentle and accommodating, it will forgive errors and deliver great sensations.
However, when you step up the pace on hard pack and steep slopes, the ski quickly shows its limits. Grip is less solid and turns start to wobble.
The V-Shape 8 is a good ski with the accent on accessibility and comfort at moderate... Read on
While the Enforcer 100 regularly does well in the all mountain/freeride category, the Enforcer 93 finds it more difficult to do well in this programme.
Its overall behaviour is good, both on and off the groomed runs and it performs well in every situation.
We got mixed reviews for the Enforcer 93's behaviour at low speeds. Our expert (non professional) reviewers had a very positive opinion of the ski, while the professional reviewers were less enthusiastic, pointing to a certain degree of inertia.
We recommend this... Read on
The Hero Elite LT Ti from Rossignol is an excellent ski that won the "Best performance" award last year in this category, but struggled this year with the R22 race plate.
In effect, while the ski's overall qualities are still there, the reviewers were surprised by the unusually poor turn control, considered as "insecure" and the lack of reliability in push-off. We think there was a problem with the model sent for review rather than a problem with the plate that should, in theory, have enhanced its performance.
We... Read on
The UBAC 95 from ZAG hasn't changed much compared with the model we reviewed last year.
It's a ski that’s light underfoot, simple to handle, with very easy turn initiation. It's relatively docile and enjoyable as long as you don't go too fast.
Off-piste, its behaviour is good. Its float and rotation in the powder in particular won praise from the reviewers: "extremely enjoyable ski in powder."
On the other hand, once the rider steps up the pace, the ski begins to show its limitations.... Read on
Selected for the PROSKILAB review for several seasons now, the H-95 from ZAG is one of the best skis in this market segment. Unfortunately, the reviewers detected erratic behaviour that was probably due to a technical preparation problem: unpredictable initiation, temperamental turn control, unreliable pressure...
As a result, we decided not to review the ski this year and to try again next year. As far as we know, the ski hasn't changed, and we suggest that our readers check out the PROSKILAB 2018 review and other 2019 reviews on... Read on