Having the correct equipment/wax for the current snow is often the difference between a terrific or disastrous day on the slopes. But finding the right gear is far from hurdle-free.
Just walk into any brick and mortar retailer and any skier or rider will be quickly bombarded with the most confusing terminology imaginable. To find the right ski for your style, it takes a healthy balance of product testing, a high-school education in chemistry, as well as a thorough understanding of the basic design profiles.
The Daily Driver
For many hardcore ski bums the thought of owning more than one pair of sticks is absurd. The perfect ski is the one meant to get through any conditions you may find out on the hill. In many regards, this minimalist attitude is refreshing, since ski gear is notoriously expensive, why not find the most well rounded equipment to do the job.
QST 99 Smething carvy, not too fat underfoot but still good in varied terrain including small powder.
Lib Tech Attack Banana It’s important to have at the bare minimum, the appropriate board or skis for the conditions you face most often. Owning a pair of big fat pow skis as your daily driver is a crucial error if you ski in the Mid-West or East Coast. Inversely solely owning a pair of skinny straight skis will get you left in the dust in powder destinations like Utah or Colorado.
The Pow Day
If powder conditions prevail, or your home mountain assembles ; adding gear to your winter quiver can be a great call. Powder skis/board is the one arrow in your quiver that will put the biggest smile on your face.
Powder: Atomic Bent Chetler – when conditions deliver, bigger ski to float, charge fast and take big landings.
Powder: Jones Storm Chaser – For slashing the pow,with great float but still nimble in trees.
Step 3: (Or Step 1 For Hippies)
When you start to stock-pile skis it can be a difficult topic to discuss with your non-skiing relatives or friends. They ultimately may not understand your need to have a garage full of gear for all the powder, slush, park, groomers and touring days. A necessary addition to many of our ski or snowboard quivers is appropriate gear for the backcountry. When you need to escape the crowds of the ski areas; solitude and untracked snow are just a hike away.
Black Diamond Helio – Racing up the skin track, lightweight and easy to use with touring bindings/skins.
Example Board: Arbor Bryan Iguchi Split – Tackling big lines, the tool to climb mountains and rip hard on the way down.
Not every skier or rider may feel the need to explore outside the resort boundaries but keeping your backcountry gear separate from ski area equipment is smart. Using a split board to to rack up groomer laps, or lugging heavy A/T bindings on the inbounds hike terrain is painful. If your gear quiver only features a set of touring skis or a splitboard, and you ride inbounds, please flip back to step one .
Honorable Mention: Proper wax