But what is it that makes a special ski? The ones that really stand out, go beyond the areas where they are anticipated to excel; they perform in terrain and conditions past what they were designed for or possibly appeal to more than just their target audience. Skis like these are the award winners.
Women's Overall Winner
Head Absolut Joy
We just couldn't ignore the test results on the Absolut Joy, everyone from novice to expert found themselves enjoying this ski. The key is its shape that excels on piste but also rips in other terrain and using Graphene to reduce weight and increase performance.
Men's Overall Winner
Rossignol Experience 84 HD
By tweaking the construction for this winter Rossignol has turned what was an excellent all mountain ski into a truly exceptional one. It has it all: versatility, responsiveness, power, ease-of-use, the list could go on! The testers knew it would be an improvement but still weren't prepared for how impressed they would be.
Women's Piste Ski
Lightning quick response mixed with an effortless power and balance made the Sentra S 6 Evo shine with the female and male testers. Add in the fact that it is exceptionally easy to ski made it the star performer amongst the women's piste skis – and that is one tough category!
Men's Piste Ski
Nordica Dobermann Spitfire Ti Evo
Packed with performance and suiting a big range of abilities, the Dobermann is not only our Piste Ski of the Year, it's also New Generation Ski School's pick for their Level 1 and Level 2 trainee instructors. A slalom tip and GS body make it super versatile, ripping out short turns and laying down big arcs.
Women's All Mountain Carve
The Astra has smooth handling on all terrain combined with a lively feel. The result is that it will comfortably take intermediates to the next level, whether that's dealing better with speed, adjusting to new slopes or handling different conditions with more confidence. It was this mix of calmness and ease, along with the fun side that sealed the win.
Men's All Mountain Carve
Fischer Pro Mountain 80 Ti
Fischer are very quietly sweeping up a lot of awards with the Ti versions of their brand new Pro Mountain range. A beautiful build uses wood and metal with beefy sidewalls and an impressive carbon fibre nose rocker to create piste-style performance with all terrain stability. It grips like a race ski and handles like the best all condition models.
Women's All Mountain
Blizzard Black Pearl
Quite simply the undisputed queen of all mountain – smooth, stable and a lot of fun. The shape and rocker are perfectly proportioned to deal with every condition from firm to feather-lite; the construction of wood and sidewalls ensure that it is lively and responsive on pistes with exactly the right forgiveness in soft snow.
Men's All Mountain
Atomic Vantage 90 CTi
Responsive at speed and effortless when cruising, the Vantage 90 CTi is picking up admirers with every test it's entered in and we're no different at Ellis Brigham. Its blend of versatility and power are thanks to the wood, Carbon Tank Mesh and metal build, with strengthened sidewalls and nose rocker. A firm favourite!
Nordica Santa Ana
A very simple choice. Nothing matches the float, handling and power of the Santa Ana in the women's freeride category. This is a class act that uses the shape of the men's ski but with a Micro Laminate Balsa Core Technology exclusive to women's line. This makes it lighter and more nimble, attributes that lead to some of the male testers joining the women in selecting this as their pick of the whole range!
Supreme in soft snow and amazingly responsive on firm conditions. The Enforcer was probably the most talked about ski at the SIGB and EB ski tests, the one that everyone watched the skiers reactions as they came in. The solid build gives it grip and power on hard snow; the shape provides effortless handling for soft conditions.
Women's All Terrain Freestyle
Poppy and lively in and out of the park, happy to shred soft snow too. The Ily was a most pleasant surprise for both the stronger testers and the less confident. It's going to suit seasonnaires, aspiring park rats and all mountain skiers who want a forgiving ride in tricky conditions but one that has life and pop too.
Men's All Terrain Freestyle
Armada ARV 96
Park or mountain, man-made or natural features, this ski shreds everything. Forget the boundaries of what category a ski sits in, just enjoy it for what it is – a well-made and designed ski that uses forward thinking shaping. Soft enough to rule in powder, poppy enough to lap the park and with the grip to lap chair lift runs at high speeds.