On given Saturday at your favorite resort, you will see dozens, if not hundreds, of Volkl Mantra, Salomon QST, and Blizzard Bonafide skis sliding downhill. At least one of these popular models can be found at almost any ski shop in the world. The popularity of these skis is fueled by this wide availability and well-rounded performance. After all, these skis wouldn’t be so prominent if they performed like a couple of rotten 2×4’s strapped to your feet.
While the dominance of certain manufacturers is justified, it can feel good to support a smaller company and try something a little different. Here are three interesting all-mountain skis from smaller companies that might be worth considering.
Liberty Evolv 100
Liberty is a small company out of Colorado known for its use of bamboo as a core material. In addition, they often have eye-catching top sheet graphics.
The Evolv 100 is relatively new to the Liberty lineup and aims to be a do-it-all ski and appears to be skewed towards the front side of the mountain. A long length of camber underfoot is paired with a small dose of low tip rocker and flat tails. The lively and light bamboo core features metal stringers to add stiffness, power, and stability. The reasonable 100mm waist paired with the long length of camber and flat tails should allow these bad boys to thrash groomers pretty hard.
Lithic Joplin 99
Lithic is a small manufacturer from Central Washington. Custom is the name of the game with this brand and you can select the core type and flex to fit your shredding needs.
The Joplin 99 is an eye-catching and seemingly sensible ski. The 99mm waist is paired with a long length of camber and a relatively sharp tip rocker. This ski delivers a 20-meter turn radius at the 185cm length. You can pick from a “stock”, “stiff”, or “soft” flex pattern to match your terrain, weight, and skill level. Skiers interested in turning this into a touring ski can opt for the lighter paulownia wood core. This is an intriguing ski from an interesting company.
Renoun Endurance 98
Coming from the green hills of Vermont, Renoun has been producing skis since 2011.
The Endurance 98 could be a practical daily driver for a lot of folks. This ski rocks a 98mm waist and offers a tight 17-meter turn radius at the 177cm length. The shape is balanced with camber underfoot and dose of relatively low tip and tail rocker. Two partial sheets of metal provide the power when the conditions are firm.
There is nothing wrong with the tried and true major ski brands. After all, Rossignol or K2 didn’t become giants in the ski industry by producing junk. That said, it might be worth considering one of the little guys when it comes time to research your next set of shred sticks.