Back in April, the Newschoolers team returned to Banff Sunshine Village for the second iteration of our now annual ski test, brought to you by @evo.com . With more skis and more testers, the event continues to grow, and with everyone a little more clued in as to what they were doing, so did the good times. The Canadian Rockies, once again presented a fantastic playground to test the 31 submitted pairs of skis to their limit, and we had a blast doing so. This being Newschoolers, we wanted to do things properly for our audience. We had two categories, all-mountain and park, but being Newschoolers, we wanted to test these skis as we would ski them. We had all the brands send all skis with progressive mounting points, no further back than -2cm, and all park skis were sent detuned so we could actually hit rails without fear of edge catch death. Our squad of local rippers put the skis through their paces and we collated their feedback to give as unbiased a result as we could.
Conditions definitely play a role in any ski testing, but despite it being April, Sunshine provided the good stuff once again and we got plenty of pow days to test the wider sticks. The parks were on point too and we had quick laps to give each park ski a good thrashing. With just a week, we couldn't do much to test durability. Of course, we skied rails but any ski should hold up to a couple of days of skiing, and they all did. But once again, we got multiple guys and girls on each ski and they all sent it on every single one. Everyone had their personal favorites and it took a few rounds of discussion to come up with our Best Of Test awards this time round. Pretty much every ski at the test had its advocates but we managed to narrow it down to these 15, which we thought performed above and beyond. One final note is that we have assigned skis to the category WE think they best fit. That means we have a 107mm underfoot park ski and a 95mm all-mountain ski. Because that's how we'd ski 'em. Without further ado, our Best Of Test skis for 2022-23 are:
The ultimate park weapon for women and men alike, the K2 Midnight is a stable ski with just enough flex for some playful sidehit shenanigans on the way to and from the park.
Click here for tester feedback and our video review of the K2 Midnight.
The evolution of the ski that started life as the Völkl Wall, the Revolt 90 is a lightweight comp slayer. With a stiff flex, low swingweight, and just a smidge of rocker to help shuffle around those less-than-perfect landings, these skis are the perfect choice for those who like to go big.
Click here for tester feedback and our video review of the Völkl Revolt 90
The Majesty Vandal is a full symmetrical park stick and it's a pretty soft one. They were a ton of fun for buttering and playing around on, while the impressively low swingweight made them easy to bring around on anything we tried.
Click here for tester feedback and our video review of the Majesty Vandal.
Party in the front, business in the rear. The Fusion has a buttery, rockered nose and a pretty solid tail for stability on forward landings. It's a combo that works well on many skis and it's at its best here, these are a versatile yet super fun plank for park and all-mountain days.
Click here for tester feedback and our video review of the Gilson Fusion.
The Allplay is another ski that does a bit of everything well. As the name suggests, it feels playful all over the hill, but feels its best in the park, where it has a ton of pop, yet is soft enough for all kinds of butter maneuvers.
Click here for tester feedback and our video review of the J Skis Allplay.
The Reckoner 102 is one of the two 'all-mountain skis' that we loved so much in the park, that it made our park ski picks. It has a medium-soft flex and plenty of rocker, so it works all over the hill but the perfect blend of sidecut, flex and rocker profile made it an absolute riot in the park. There's a reason this is what you see most of the K2 team on for chilled park laps.
Click here for tester feedback and our video review of the K2 Reckoner 102.
The Sir Francis Bacon is the widest and most soft-snow-focused of our park picks. It's actually a great powder ski in its own right but the super soft flex and low swingweight make it a great park ski too. This is one for the slow spins, long presses kind of park skier, but for them, it's hard to beat.
Click here for tester feedback and our video review of the Line Sir Francis Bacon.
ALL MOUNTAIN SKIS
The Kin is the narrowest ski on our list, and it could have made it in the park ski category too because it's a lot of fun there. But it's at its best with sharp edges laying trenches on groomers and buttering off side hits. There, it's in a class of one.
Click here for tester feedback and our video review of the Season Kin.
The Unleashed 98 is another of the skinnier breed of all-mountain sticks. It has enough rocker to keep you up in some pow but it's the pick for a day or two after the storm, charging leftovers and sending it into mixed snow.
Click here for tester feedback and our video review of the Nordica Unleashed 98.
The Black Ops series have made a name for themselves as skis with a bit of backbone, and the 98W is no exception. These are a hard-charging mid-fat for lady slayers, and since we couldn't really tell the difference, guys who prefer this topsheet.
Click here for tester feedback and our video review of the Black Ops 98W.
The M-Free 99 really hit the spot at this year's test. It floats ridiculously well for its 99mm waist, so testers enjoyed it on pow days and with a forward mount, we loved it in the park too. A near-universal tester favorite, these skis are pretty damn close to doing it all.
Click here for tester feedback and our video review of the Dynastar M-Free 99.
We loved it last year and loved it again this time round. The Stranger is a back-to-back best of test ski for a reason. It's super fun on groomers, the nose is nice and buttery (and floats pretty well) and that springboard tail with its flat profile rocker is an absolute riot for popping around on.
Click here for tester feedback and our video review of the Armada Stranger.
The Prodigy 3.0 is another perennial Newschoolers' favorite. It's one of those skis that just feel right, with a user-friendly combination of sidecut, profile, and flex. Depending on the mounting point, it can be a playful jibber or handle just about any snow condition and terrain. It's not the lightest for touring but that aside, it's a real jack-of-all-trades.
Click here for tester feedback and our video review of the Faction Prodigy 3.0.
The Stella is, well, stellar when it comes to charging hard anywhere on the mountains. It's bomber on landings and as far as we could tell, has nothing approaching a speed limit. It floats pretty well and it's at its happiest when pointed down the fall line.
Click here for tester feedback and our video review of the Salomon QST Stella 106.
The Unleashed 108 is a beast of a ski. With plenty of metal, it has a damp flex pattern for gunning through mixed snow, but enough of a rocker profile and footprint to float on deep days. It's a fitting big brother to the 98, a chargey ski with plenty of tail for switch stomps and even park days.
Click here for tester feedback and our video review of the Nordica Unleashed 108.