The Best Men’s Skis We Saw at Outdoor Retailer Snow Show

Last week, the Denver Convention Center overflowed with outdoor brands puffing their chests with glee as they unfurled the new latest and greatest winter gear.

It was the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show, the biggest trade show in the outdoor industry. You couldn’t swing a ski pole without hitting a new pair of skis that’ll zip to the top of your must-have list. Here are the eye-catching, drool-worthy, powder day dream-inciting 2019/2020 men’s skis.


Slashy, surfy skis that perform best in deep powder snow is the name of the game for DPS. Next year’s batch of powder boards are no different.

The notable new kids in the class are the Koala and the new Wailer A100 RP.

DPS describes the Koala (144/119/131 at 189cm) as a powder-focused, all-around directional ski. If you want to spend most of your time facing downhill, slashing big arcs, but still want the ability to land airs cleanly (and maybe, just maybe ski switch every once in awhile), the Koala is your huckleberry.

The Wailer A100 RP (134/100/119 at 189cm) is DPS’ new everyday all-mountain ski with a carefree soul. A 15-meter turning radius combined with a shorter effective edge and deep but smooth tip and tail rocker allow this ski to rail turns and release into schmeary creativity.


The QST series has turned more heads in amazement than Farrah Fawcett’s 1970’s feathered blonde locks and Tom Selleck’s chest hair … combined.

Salomon’s most award-winning collection has just gotten better. How? Cork. Yes, that’s right, cork. Wine-bottle-cap material in the tip and tail swallows vibrations and cuts chatter. And Salomon’s widened the tip and tail, as well as increased the rocker profile.

A deeper sidecut with more pronounced rocker will surely see the new QST carving harder than your Grandpa on Thanksgiving and floating with more ease than vanilla ice cream in root beer. Find the new construction and shape in the QST 106, 99, and 92.


Pro skier and ski building mad scientist Eric Pollard and the team at Line have once again delivered new dreamy sticks.

The Outline boasts Convex Base Tech at tip and tail, making for an arched silhouette on the base of the ski at either end (think DPS’ Spoon). When pressured in a turn, especially in deep or soft snow, the tip and tail slide out and schmear turns with the ease of spreading cream cheese on a bagel. The Outline is a floaty slash machine.

The new Sir Francis Bacon is as tasty as ever, also featuring Convex Base Tech without losing the hardpack carve-ability for which they’re known. If you like smiling, LINE has you covered.


If it works for living legend Glen Plake, it’ll work for you.

The Ripstick series just may be the most unsung hero of the last few ski seasons. These puppies rip and are super fun, and the new Ripstick 106 Black Edition (140/106/112) is truly a do-it-all ski.

A lightweight and snappy wood core with carbon rods running next to the sidewall for the length of the ski combine for a confident, powerful ride that is easy to turn into. Complimenting this construction, Elan adds their Amphibio Tech (asymmetrical rocker profile) and carbon-fiber laminates to create a ride smoother than an oiled-up Ken doll.

Also, look out for the Wingman series, an all-mountain ski that bridges the gap between the Riptsick and Elan’s frontside carvers.


Armada makes fun skis. Period.

Since first disrupting business as usual in the ski industry in 2002, Armada has been expanding their quiver to include every aspect of skiing year after year.

One of their greatest deep snow performers has been the JJ, and it just got better. The new ARV JJ 116 Ultralite is 25-percent lighter than the original, which means you can go further, farther, and deeper in your quest for backcountry deep snow freestyle skiing. You know that feeling on your birthday when you get that one present you’ve been dreaming of? Want to have that feeling every time you turn? Then this is the ski for you.

Also, look out for the new Tracer Series, featuring subtle rocker for ease of turn initiation on a stable, predictable platform, and the new Signature Series. Tim Jacobus, the same guy that created the covers of the Goosebumps books, crafted their topsheet art.


The Mantra has been the trophy-case ski for Volkl for more than a decade, mostly because it shreds and does everything pretty damn well. It has more awards than Michael Phelps has gold medals, or speedos for that matter.

Now, the Mantra has a new and improved little brother. The Kendo 88 (129/88/111) is the crud busting all-mountain carver you’ve been waiting for.

Layered wood core, carbon tips, a beefy sidewall; the Kendo is built to provide stout control and stability, while still maintaining the ever sought-after fun factor. The Kendo: new name, smaller waist, same great ride.


The Spur ski and the Rustler series have made ski bums happier than a free lunch could. And for good reason: The Spur is a nimble big board for deep snow destruction and the Rustler series has a spicy all-mountain freeride groove. The only changes here are the topsheets.

The big news from Blizzard this year is an all-new Zero G, a stellar, lightweight backcountry ski. The carbon-fiber frame and paulownia woodcore make the 105, 95, and 85 feather light while still maintaining precise, clean downhill performance with some poppy spring.

Blizzard, as a company, is much like a Swiss army knife. They’re just good at everything.

Black Diamond

When the location of construction switched from China to Austria a few years ago, BD skis got a whole lot more personality and became as equally focused on the downhill “yippee” factor as the uphill performance.

That trend continues with the Helio Recon 105 (also available in a 95 and 88mm width). It has a similar shape to the original Helio, but a poplar woodcore rather than carbon.

Plus, the construction is similar to the Boundary Pro, which is BD’s crowning achievement when it comes to screaming “waaahooooo” while arcing creamy, freestyle-oriented turns. Think of the Helio Recon 105 as a smooth, powerful, and fun backcountry workhorse, like a moosed-up Secretariat wearing a sparkly tutu.

Remember, friends: no matter your set up, just make sure you get out there while the gettin’ is good and smile ear to ear. Happy winter, pals!

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