The Best Skis and Gear of 2022-2023

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by Powder7 Team

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09.23.2022


Best Skis 2023 Powder7 Buyers Guide

Photos by Mitch Warnick

How We Tested

Once upon a week in March, we took over the front row in Loveland Ski Area’s parking lot and hosted our first-ever ski test. The goal? Rip hot laps on as many 2022-23 skis as we could—while stopping for a few glam shots, of course—and compile our impressions into a thick blog post to share with the skier-verse.

Like we do in conversations on the phone and in our shop, we hope to frame the information in the most useful form for regular people shopping for skis. We’re not going to tell you what to buy or what stuff got the best ratings down to the decimal point. Rather, we aim to draw your attention to the gear we’re extra interesting in, why we like it, and what types of skiers it’s best for.

Our product notes and overviews also draw from our staffers’ experience with various gear items over the course of the whole season, not just our ski test. That’s especially true of the categories beyond skis.

Details

Testers: Powder7 employees of mixed abilities and ski styles

Primary test location: Loveland Ski Area

Conditions: Ranged from spring (sunny, upper 30s) to storm skiing on a powder day.

Best Skis 2023

All-Mountain

The “all-mountain” skis category can feel like the Wild West. Too many choices, all with similar marketing claims (“these skis do everything!”). And what’s an “all-mountain ski” anyway?

Here’s how we see it. We generally categorize “all-mountain skis” as models between around 88mm underfoot and 102mm. Some skis on the fringes of that range could fall into a different category depending on how they ski.

Every all-mountain ski falls somewhere on the spectrum between accessible and demanding. Some are more playful or forgiving or aggressive or directional. And so on. We’ve distilled our testing down to a sampler of top-notch models. If you need help figuring out what you need, give us a call or shoot us an email!

All-Around

2023 salomon qst lumen 98

Salomon QST 98 // Salomon QST Lumen 98

Overview: Back in 2021, the QST 98 introduced the new, playful build that identifies the Salomon QST line these days. For 2022-23, its sister, the Lumen, gets those same updates (and a fresh minty topsheet). Many skis in the all-mountain category incorporate metal for stability on firm snow, but not the QST. This gives it a softer and more playful flex, while the double sidewalls and carbon/flax maintain impressive stability that easily handles all the conditions all-mountain skiing throws at you. One of the most poppy and energetic skis we tested, we found the QST 98 and the Lumen crush all-mountain terrain with far too many style points.

Tester Notes: Energetic // Damp and supportive // Solid edge hold and stability on piste despite deep rocker

Quotable: “Deep rocker lines make this ski very maneuverable with still plenty of edge purchase to lay into them. Fun on groomers, bumps, trees….pretty much all over the place. Honestly, not much I didn’t like.” —Ryan

2023 rossignol sender 94 ti

Rossignol Sender 94 Ti // Rallybird 92

Overview: Formerly known as the Escaper/Stargazer, the Sender 94 Ti and Rallybird 92 fit right in the middle of Rossignol’s freeride rebrand for 2022-23. Rossignol calls the Senders their “directional freeride” skis, with a flatter tail to increase edge hold in firmer snow conditions. Combined with construction that provides killer suspension, this ski is remarkably smooth in variable snow conditions. A nimble waist width ensures you can navigate tight trees and bumps without blinking an eye.

Tester Notes: Very damp and stable in various snow conditions // Quick and smooth edge-to-edge transitions // Appealing to skiers at different skill levels

Quotable: “From sending groomers to big lines they’ll hold you like a warm hug from a sweater fresh out of the dryer.” —Mikey

More Playful

2023 line blade optic 96

Line Blade Optic 96

Overview: Line took their futuristic metal design, as seen in the Blade, and adapted it to a lineup of all-mountain and freeride skis: Blade Optic. By fusing “gas pedal metal” with a playful shape, taper, and deep rocker lines, Line aimed to introduce a ski uniquely suited for both playful skiing and hard charging. The 96 is the most all-mountain-oriented ski in the lineup.

Tester Notes: Soft, playful tips and tails but solid underfoot // Lots of energy // Nimble // Highly versatile // Accessible // Speed limit at high speeds on firm snow

Quotable: “I like everything about this ski. When conditions softened up, it shined! Crushed bumps with ease, carved hard, cranked turns, and felt great in the air. It was capable wherever I took it and felt like the most versatile ski I’ve been on in a long time.” —Andrew

More Demanding

2023 nordica enforcer 94

Nordica Enforcer 94

Overview: It can’t be a ski buyer’s guide without the Enforcer, can it? The 94mm-waisted version of Nordica’s flagship series packs power and stability while retaining enough versatility to be a legit all-mountain option. Two sheets of metal and a directional shape put the Enforcer 94 on the more demanding side of the spectrum.

Tester Notes: Stiff and stable // Intuitive and nimble if you drive them // Energetic // Hefty // Punishing if you don’t drive them

Quotable: “Ladies and gentlemen, this ski rips. This ski crushes through everything in its path. It’s demanding, but not overly so for a ski with two sheets of metal. It strikes a wonderful balance of nimbleness and aggressiveness.” —Chase

2023 salomon stance 94 w

Salomon Stance W 94

Overview: Don’t let the women’s specific designation deter you — this ski rips. Salomon uses two sheets of metal for stability and power, but the Poplar/Karuba core adds a unique snap and pop that distinguishes the Stance from other similar women’s all-mountain options. The directional shape, heavier weight, and straighter sidecut all lend themselves to long arcing turns that speedsters will love.

Tester Notes: Quick // Poppy and energetic // Ultra-stable and locked in // Not easy to release in tight places

Quotable: “It’s loaded with tons of great energy that pops you in and out of turns, but maintains awesome edge hold on firm snow. Zero speed limit. Makes me feel like Lindsey Vonn.” —Alex





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