Ski areas are opening across North America and starting today, skiers will begin flocking to their local mountains to carefully navigate the precarious white ribbon of death while dialing in their turn. Some skiers may even get lucky and enjoy some packed powder, or even a fresh dose of new snow but mostly it’s gonna be ice skating until Christmas.
For that reason alone, skiers should keep their eyes open for a “system” frontside ski to add to the quiver. They’re a far more fun alternate for early season conditions compared to the Soul7 you probably own.
A system ski is a ski developed to be used only with a specific binding. The ski has a channel molded into the top of the ski. A specific binding will fit into this channel and secures to the ski. The integration of the binding creates an ultra-stiff and responsive midsection of the ski.
The result is an excellent carving ski that is powerful and reacts quickly.
Here are some excellent “expert” system skis that will absolutely demolish early season conditions, ice, and groomers. System skis carry a bit of a stigma and the cool kids may dub them as slightly nerdy or even Jerry-ish but don’t listen to them.
System skis tend to be more expensive as you are purchasing the ski and binding together. On the bright side, these skis don’t need to be drilled to mount the binding. This means you can adjust them to new boots easily and as many times as you want. In addition, you can pass the skis off to your buddies when your sick of them.
There is no need to get into the subtleties of system skis because they are all somewhat similar. These planks will be quick edge to edge with camber underfoot and a fair bit of power to hold on ice and hard snow. Here is a quick list of some of the more popular models from the large manufacturers. If some of these names seem confusing, the name of the binding is often listed which creates a long product name.
Unofficial Ski System Picks:
- Volkl RTM 84
- Blizzard Quatro RX + XCell 14
- Atomic Redster X9 + X 12 TL
- Head Supershape I. Magnum
- Rossignol Hero Elite ST Ti
- K2 Speed Charger
If you have the luxury of owning a quiver of skis, the system ski could be a viable option. You will rail groomers and lay trenches so deep that they will swallow a small elephant. Don’t let the people tell you that these skis are lame, uncool, or dorky…they won’t be able to keep up.