ALL MOUNTAIN CRUISER: SALOMON XWING TYPHOON
With a 67-millimeter waist, the Xwing Typhoon is one of the skinniest skies on the market. And skinny skis are best for the Southern Appalachian slopes? Why? The skinner sidecut outperforms fatter skis in icy and packed snow conditions, and let’s face it—we have a lot of icy and packed snow conditions on the East Coast. The Typhoon is a versatile ski that was designed for Eastern mountain ice and groomed trails. It’s nimble, super-responsive, and offers a smooth on-piste ride, turning choppy corduroy into silky butter. $975.
POWDER JUNKIE: HEAD MONSTER
Like most ski models, you can pick your sidecut within the Monster line depending on the conditions you ski most. The fatter the sidecut, the more powder specific the ski is. So, if you refuse to hit the slopes unless there’s a foot of fresh, the Monster 95 is your ski. The fat sidecut gives you maximum float in the deepest powder, but you’ll sacrifice performance on packed snow. For skiers who spend a lot of time on the East Coast with frequent trips out West, we recommend the Monster 78, which is wide enough to stay on top of the powder after big dumps, but has an aggressive sidecut that offers good edging and handling on groomed hard pack. We skied the Monster 78 after a 17-inch dump in Snowshoe, and the ski handled the transition between powder stashes and groomed slopes seamlessly. $930.
PARK MONSTER: RIDE KINK
A serious jib deck with the park rat in mind, the Kink has a true twin tip shape and centered bindings which allows you to land it and ride it in any direction. The Kink is also one of the most durable boards on the market, which means it can take a beating and still perform. Think rails. Think lots and lots of rails. What our tester really loved though, was the Slimewall construction, specific to Ride boards, which dampens vibrations at high speeds, which is key if you’re into launching big. $339.
ALL TERRAIN VEHICLE: Z2 ZEPPELIN
Just like its namesake, the Zeppelin has been around the block…a few times. For 12 years, the Zep has been the standard in all mountain board technology, taking riders from the park to the trees to the groomers with style and grace. Why does the Zeppelin perform so well in varied terrain? It comes complete with torsion forks in the nose and tail, giving it stability in the park, but also has a varied sidecut that changes throughout the length of the board, which allows you to have predictable turns regardless of your speed or terrain. And in ’08, the Zeppelin is constructed with a 40 percent carbon base, which makes it lighter than its predecessors. $499.