Free Shipping / USA

Top Tested Skis of 2021

Posted August 12, 2020 @ 3:49pm | by Jack Worth

For the last 13 years the majority of our days on snow have been testing skis. This last season the testing began in early December, at Waterville Valley in NH and went until, well Covid-19 hit. The season might have been cut short, but in the 3.5 months the staff got a lot of days on snow. Some days here in the Northeast at Stowe, Cannon, Pico, Killington and Sunapee, but also at the Powder Magazine test in British Columbia and the Freeskier Magazine Test in Aspen where we literally ski every ski there is to ski in 4 days. #toughjob. Matt crossed the Atlantic and got some days in at Garmisch in Germany, and there were a few additional Utah trips mixed in there as well. Unfortunately, the season getting cut short robbed us of some more pretty awesome trips, as well as some more photo content days, so we weren't able to get shots of everyone skiing their favorite ski; but we skied 'em all. All of us are different skiers, so no two lists are exactly identical, but here are each of our very scientific top 5 favorite skis for 2021. 

 

Tester - George Michaelsen

Ski Tester Bio - Age: 35, Height: 5’11, Buck Hill Ski Team Slalom/GS, 25% East Coast/75% West Coast, Freeski Magazine Tester, gets his angles better than Pythagoras.

5. Blizzard Bonafide 97

4. Nordica Enforcer 94

3. Blizzard Brahma 88

2. Elan Ripstick 96

1. Armada Declivity 92 Ti

As much as I love shredding pow and going heli-skiing, the skis that make me say ‘wow, this ski is ridiculously sick’ are always in the neighborhood of 90-100 mm and can arc a knuckle dragging turn on a groomer. The Armada Declivity 92 Ti is the best ski I’ve ever skied; it feels like a ski from the future. We skipped all these skis that were supposed to be in between and just straight up cut to the chase. It is amazingly versatile for being so strong on the front side. I’m a better skier on the Declivity 92, and most of the people I ski with are as well. 

TSM All-Around #1 Men's Ski of 2021: Armada Declivity 92 Ti

 

Tester - Eric Gerrmann

Ski Tester Bio - Age: 35, Height: 5’11 1/2, 25% East Coast/75% West Coast, Freeski Magazine Tester, rarely seen on the hill due to his camo pants.

5. Rossignol Sender Ti

4. Elan Ripstick 106

3. Nordica Enforcer 94

2. Armada Declivity 92 Ti

1. Elan Ripstick 96

We test a lot of awesome skis and sometimes it takes a run-or-two to actually figure out a particular ski’s sweet spot/balance point… and sometimes it just clicks immediately. For me that immediate click was the Ripstick 96. After the very first turn, this ski increased my stoke levels and made me feel 100% comfortable. It skis so effortlessly across almost all snow conditions and allows me the confidence I need to push harder through more aggressive terrain. The ski's tip and tail profile allow me to smear/cheat on certain turns (which makes me look and feel like a wayyy better skier). Overall, I just flat out really enjoy skiing the Ripstick 96… It helps me navigate difficult terrain in my own way, and more importantly it doesn’t punish me for when I’m not 100% on my game.

Pictured: Elan Ripstick 106, Not Pictured: Eric's Legs

 

Tester - Matt Berkowitz

Ski Tester Bio - Age: 39, Height: 6’0,  40% East Coast/60% West Coast, Slalom/GS ski racer --> big air/slopestyle skier --> freeskier, ex-Director of Marketing: Fischer Skis, Freeski Magazine Tester, Professional Instagram Photo Taker

5. Dynastar M-Pro 99

4. Nordica Enforcer 94

3. Armada Declivity 102 Ti

2. Elan Ripstick 96

1. Armada Declivity 92 Ti

Declivity was other-worldly. Literally anything I put on my feet last season between 88-102 waist was immediately compared to the Declivity 92 Ti. There’s nothing insane in regard to technology here, but it’s combination of shape/weight/rocker/stability/versatility that just make it freaking sing. Honestly I think it can make you a better skier, intermediate through expert skiers are going to feel it. They won’t all feel the same thing because they are going to get out of it what they put into it for energy, but it will inspire confidence for all intermediates through experts.

When You Take all the Pictures, You Never Get Pictures of Yourself. Instead Here's Another Shot of George Ripping the Declivity. 

 

Tester - Devon Scovill

Ski Tester Bio - Age: 33, Height: 5’4, 60% East Coast/40% West Coast, ski industry vet, never met a ski she couldn’t handle, typically found closing down the Bunyan Room

5. Stockli Laser AX

4. Volkl Kenja 88

3. Black Crows Captis Birdie

2. Elan Ripstick 94w

1. Fischer Ranger 102 FR

The Rangers are the skis on your feet when you don’t even realize you’re skiing. You don’t have to think about how they’re going to turn, about when to turn up the heat, or when to slam on the brakes, they just do it all naturally. I skied these more than anything else this year, and every time, I just forgot about everything I was supposed to be testing because of how much fun I was having.

Fischer Ranger 102: No Separate Men's or Women's Models, Just one Dope Pink Ski for Everyone. Sick. 

 

Tester - Andrew Plourde

Ski Tester Bio - Age: 24, Height: 6’3 1/2, 50% East Coast/50% West Coast, Killington Stash Team Captain, Powder Magazine Ski Tester, Rocker Enthusiast

5. Armada ARV 106

4. Atomic Bent Chetler 120

3. Black Crows Justis

2. Dynastar M-Free 108

1. Salomon Stance 102

The Salomon Stance 102 straight up knows how to have a good time, regardless of the condition or terrain. For a hard-charging 102, I couldn’t believe how much personality they had in bumps and trees. I like a ski that's still confident on the front side, but playful enough to spend a majority of my day off piste. I can show up to any mountain across North America with the Stance 102s and I’m guaranteed to have a dope day, every time. The topsheet is also one of the cleanest in the game. 

Just a Kid in His Stance

 

Tester - Jack Worth

Ski Tester Bio - Age: 23, Height: 6’2, 50% East Coast/50% West Coast, side-of-the-trail-stash-seeker, never met a ski he couldn’t put a Shift on, Advocate of the long, liquid lunch

5. Fischer Ranger 102 FR

4. Armada Declivity 102 Ti

3. Rossignol Sender Ti

2. Armada Declivity 92 Ti

1. Elan Ripstick 96

The Ripstick 96 is the first ski I’ve ever skied that I can honestly say I want to be on every day, any time, any condition, and I know I’m going to have an incredible time (and ski really well). I’ve always loved the Ripsticks, but in the past they could feel a little nervous as you really pushed them to the limit, the transformation to the new ones feels like Popeye after a can of spinach. It's just a supercharged version of the ski, but still just as much fun and versatile on the backside and in tight spots. There’s not a single ski I’d take over these things, I don’t care what the snow is like, or where I am. 

The Only Men's Ski with Multiple First Place Picks Besides the Declivity: Elan Ripstick 96

 

Tester - Kara Crow

Ski Tester Bio - Age: 33, Height: 5’3, 50% East Coast/50% West Coast, U.S. National Ski Team Slalom/GS 2004-06, Stowe VT born & bred, Equinox TierX Personal Trainer, Spyder Fashion Icon

5. Head Kore 99w

4. Head Kore 93w

3. Fischer Ranger 102 FR

2. Blizzard Black Pearl 88

1. Elan Ripstick 94w

The Ripstick 94 can hammer and arc a turn. I can do whatever turn shape needed, if I want to just dilly dally and screw around I can, but if I want to take the ski to the limit I can too. The ski does whatever I want it to do. Some responsive skis feel flimsy these do not, these have the meat and potatoes to back it up.

The Ski of the Year and the Outfit of the Year in the Same Shot

 

Tester - Dylan Lavoie

Ski Tester Bio - Age: 36, Height: 6’2, 40% East Coast/60% West Coast, Skier of tight trees and steep bowls, DINs out at 18, often confused for James Harden

5. Volkl Mantra 102

4. Armada Declivity 102 Ti

3. Fischer Ranger 99 Ti

2. Nordica Enforcer 100

1. Blizzard Bonafide 97

If you thought for the last few years that the Bonafide was all hype, I would have agreed with you. Blizzard totally re-did the ski though, and this new Bonafide just blew me away, I had to look down a few times to check that I was actually on a Bonafide. It’s a really powerful feeling ski, that hasn’t changed, but it handles everything else way better. Still snappy and fun in the trees, enters turns way smoother than the ski did in the past, and once you get it on edge, you just hang on and let the ski do the rest. 

Same Name, Who Dis? The New Blizzard Lineup is the Real Deal

 

Tester - Molly Dexter

Ski Tester Bio - Age: 28, Height: 5’3, 70% East Coast/30% West Coast, raised at Stratton Mountain, First-time ski tester, never said no to a Coors Light on the lift. 

5. Volkl Blaze 94w

4. Fischer Ranger 94 FR

3. Head Kore 93w

2. Blizzard Black Pearl 88

1. Elan Ripstick 94w

As Bueller said, ’The Ripstick 94 is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking them up.’

Yeah, these skis lived up to the hype I had heard at the shop this past year. Light, snappy, precise, these bad girls could...ehh hem RIP. Definitely a ski that can kick into 6th gear when you ask it to.

You better believe these are at the top of my list. Oh, and the colors are pretty too. 

The Clear Winner of the Women's Ski Test: Elan Ripstick 94w

 

Tester - Brady Page

Ski Tester Bio - Age: 28, Height: 6’3, 50% East Coast/50% West Coast, TSM Resident Backcountry Expert, Widest Forefoot in New England, Mayor of Gorham, NH

5. Blizzard Bonafide 97

4. Fischer Ranger 99 Ti

3. Nordica Enforcer 94

2. Volkl Blaze 94

1. Rossignol Sender Ti

We were lucky enough to get a shop set of Sender TI’s right before COVID hit so I was able to take the Senders out for a few awesome days of ripping. I was really surprised at the variety of conditions the sender felt awesome on. From an absolute boiler plate morning at Loon, to a Friday pow day at Stowe, the Sender kept surprising me. As a heavier guy, I was nervous that the replacement of the Soul 7 would be a little too soft. That was definitely not the case with the TI version of the Sender. There was plenty of power and I actually had a ton of fun on a 104 waisted ski when conditions were bullet proof. While they are stable on groomers, they are also lively and quick in steeps, bumps, and trees. I am stoked to get back out on these next season.

Brady Getting Sendy on the Rossignol Sender Ti

 

Tester - Neil Soucy

Ski Tester Bio - Age: 24, Height: 5’9, 50% East Coast/50% West Coast, the natural athlete of the crew, equally comfortable on skis, boards, or hockey skates; has a different shell for every day of the week. 

5. K2 Mindbender 99 Ti

4. Salomon Stance 102

3. Fischer Ranger 102 FR

2. Elan Ripstick 96

1. Armada Declivity 102 Ti

The Armada Declivity 102 Ti does everything I need it to, anywhere I go. When the snow sucks it feels solid enough to drive through a turn. When the snow gets good the Declivity is easy enough to toss around in the trees and is still fun to lay over on a groomer. Bottom line - it's just a really good ski.

If You Don't Know, Now You Know: Armada Declivity

 
Filed Under: Ski Reviews | Permalink
 
 
 

Follow Us

XML Sitemap