Welcome to Newschoolers Editors' Picks for 2017-18. Once again, we're almost certainly last to the annual gear selections party, but I'd like to think that's because we actually spend at least a week on every ski we test rather than just a couple of runs at a gear test. First up are what we think are the best park skis and I was skiing one of them right up to the wire to make sure it made the cut. We considered including boots and bindings, but at the end of the day the best boots are the ones that fit and in terms of bindings, well opinions are like arseholes there (though for what it's worth, I'm backing the new Tyrolia Attack2 as the best value clamps on the market).
The kind of skis you like best in the park is very much a matter of personal preferences. A couple of years ago, as a result of editorial differences over what type of skis work for us in the park, we split our park picks in to categories (Comp, Jib and Fat). Since then we've eschewed that approach, instead picking the skis we're actually choosing to spend our own riding time on.
That isn't to say these are the catch-all answer to park skiing. If your number one priority is huge jumps for example, you should be looking at stiffer, more cambered options than any here. We like the Salomon NFX and Atomic Punx 7 for going big. If you know you like to ride park on fat skis, none of these fits that either. The ON3P Kartel 108 is definitely a great option with beefy construction and the potential to go for a soft layup if you like really buttery skis. But for day to day park based fun of all kinds, these are our four picks.
Völkl Revolt 95 - Twig
One thing I wanted to make sure we included in our picks this year was a well priced option, which I've taken to mean under $400 at retail price. I've spent a chunk of time skiing every one of the models that fit this pricepoint, and while I like the Armada ARV 86 a lot for its solid construction, if I was stuck on any park ski from this price bracket for a whole season, I'd pick the Revolt 95 in a heartbeat. I'm not 100% sold on the sturdiness of the construction: they don't have the fattest edges and delams can be an issue (I've seen several on Revolts), so if you are skiing mostly rails I'd be tempted to grab the ARV 86 (or Honey Badger) instead. But unlike everything else I tried, these skis don't really feel like I've tried to save money. At 95mm, they have a little bit more width underfoot than the competition and they handle mixed conditions far better as a result. They turn well and track predictably, they have a great on-snow feel, and they provide a surfiness that isn't really available anywhere else at this price. With stubby noses and tails (think Line Elizabeth) and mellow rocker providing support despite being fairly mid-soft, they are stable most of the time except on the biggest of jumps and particularly backseat landings. The versatility puts them a cut above the rest in my mind. I'll have a full Roofbox Review coming soon but for now, suffice to say they are my price point pick.
ON3P Magnus - Twig
Last year I picked the K2 Poacher as my ultimate park ski and I still think it's a great ski. Beyond the park, I was won over by its versatility, but having spent almost the entirety of my summer season on the ON3P Magnus, I have a new clear favorite for park days. To me, there isn't really anything not to like. They have super solid construction, tons of rocker for playing around, some stiffness both underfoot and throughout the ski for landings and they are light enough to be quick on rails. I'm very surprised to be picking a 90mm ski but the best explanation I can give for that is I never felt like the Magnus was too narrow, even in the slushy parks of summer. For some, they will definitely have too much rocker and of course at $599 there is no escaping the fact that they are at the expensive end for park skis, but I do think you get what you pay for and I can't think of anything I'd rather be on. You could certainly go with the Kartel 98 or even 108 if you wanted to go fatter, but I never really missed the wider platform on the Magnus and actively liked the added quickness.
For our full, in-depth (Roofbox) review: Click Here
Line Tom Wallisch Pro - Tom Pietrowski
Not entirely dissimilar to the Magnus, Tom Pietrowski picked the Line TWall as his number one park ski. It has significantly less rocker than the Magnus, making it perhaps more jump friendly, but with an identical 90mm waist and the same fat edges it's certainly another great option for doing it all in the park. "I love this ski. I've been in the park since around 2000 and I can honestly say these are one of, if not the, best park skis I have ever used. They make doing things in the park easier, and because of that they give you a feeling that you can try more. And partly because of the ski, you can get away with more. When I got on these, I was certainly skiing better in the park than I have for years and I could really only put it down to the skis." - Tom P
For our full, in-depth (Roofbox) review: Click here
Armada ARV 96 - Twig + Tom P
Neither me nor Tom picked the ARV 96 as our first choice but both of us had it in our top 3. We've both tested it extensively and really enjoyed our time on it. For me, as a park ski only, it narrowly beats out both the Armada EDollo, thanks to fatter edges and a smoother flex, and the K2 Poacher, by being that bit more playful. I've found Armada's fat-edge skis hold up well durability wise, and the 96 is no exception. I also really enjoy buttering on them as they have that perfect middle ground between soft enough to flex easily but stiff enough not to wash out, a quality which also makes them easy to ski all over the park. Tom is a big fan of their playfulness too and he will be dropping our Roofbox Review of the ARV 96 within the next few weeks. Of the wider park options, I'd say these are the pick of the litter.
Next up: All Mountain