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Volkl Shiro (183cm) with Jester Binding - $550
Testers deemed the Shiro, a perennial champ, the most buoyant test ski, but it's hardly a powder-only tool. Volkl--which makes wider, looser powder slashers--builds the Shiro for an edgier feel, with full-length sidecut that gives it the rebound energy usually lacking in the tip-tapered slashers. So it floats with the best in deep stuff but readily hooks up for quick direction changes. Denny: "Big and burly, so hold on. Nice heavy dampness keeps it grounded and tracking positively."
NOTES: At 119 mm underfoot, the Shiro has been a big success for Volkl and a tester favorite, admired for its versatility. It's plenty fat and rockered for floaty powder-day fun, but surprising edginess on hardpack (for a ski this wide) gives it surprisingly good performance in everyday, non-powder situations.
Volkl's Freeskiing/Powder series includes its four fattest skis--the Three (135-mm waist), Two (124 mm), One (116 mm) and Shiro (119 mm). All are built with subtle full-length rocker--a Volkl hallmark--rather than the usual tip and tail rocker. All offer the integrity of full wood cores and sturdy vertical sidewalls. All are metal-free constructions, for lightness and liveliness. And all are built with tapered tips and tails, where the widest parts of the ski are moved closer to the foot, giving the ski a looser, driftier, more maneuverable feel that promotes greater creativity of line choice and easier speed control in deep snow. Skied twice and in perfect condition
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