The range of skis available for chicks who charge powder has never been better! We put three of our favourites from Rhythm Summit in Niseko to the test…
Testing conditions: Greybird with variable leftovers. Binding to boot deep powder, light and dry in some places, heavier in others.
Locations: Grand Hirafu / Hanazono gate accessed backcountry.
The K2 Mindbender 115 C Alliance.
Tester: Christie Hampton
Dimensions: All lengths – 140, 115,120
Sizes: 165, 172
Description: The widest of K2’s new Mindbender series for ladies, this ski comes with a powder rocker plus enough camber to allow for edge hold in firmer conditions. At 115cm underfoot, it’s plenty wide enough to float your boat here in Japan!
Thoughts: Today’s conditions probably weren’t deep enough to allow the 115 to perform at its peak potential, but I was stoked on it nonetheless. The width is perfect for Japan and it made for a very smooth, floaty ride through the boot deep pow sections. The skis were easy to manoeuvre around trees which was lucky because there were a lot of them today! We skied some steep groomers on the way home and while this was pretty hard going (felt the burn!), it’s perfectly understandable given the size of the ski. I look forward to trying them again next time it snows a foot overnight!
Armada ARW 116 VJJ
Tester: Jess Laybourn
165cm – 137, 116, 133
175cm – 139, 115, 135
Description: One of the widest women’s skis around. Rockered tip and tail combined with a positive camber allows for performance in powder and chop. This fat ski is easy to turn while the playful flex makes it fun to ride.
Thoughts: Loved skiing the Vjjs! Felt easy to turn/pivot under foot when navigating through tight trees. When it opened up into pow they went into autopilot and just floated through without feeling catchy. They are pretty forgiving, which gave me more confidence to do things I probably wouldn’t normally do on my skis . On the groomers they were surprisingly good. Didn’t flop around and held an edge so I didn’t have to work too hard to keep it together.
Honestly loved them and think they suited my style of skiing. Really fun, playful pow ski!
Black Crows Atris Birdie
Tester: Jami French
160cm – 136, 108, 123
169cm – 136, 108, 123
178cm – 138, 108, 125
Description: Constructed with a double rocker along with a classic camber and made for ripping the whole mountain, this ski is slightly narrower than the others tested but it still provides loads of float while also being versatile enough to perform in chop, crud or anything else it touches.
Thoughts: The Atris Birdies felt great when you let them run in the open powder fields. Had to make sure to be really forward on the skis as I felt they could easily put me in the back seat. Also felt a little hard to manoeuvre them quickly in some of the tighter trees but when it opened up they were super fun. Definitely needed to put some more effort in when skiing on the groomers but that’s similar to most fat skis. Had a really fun time on them and absolutely love the top sheet and colour scheme!