Since time immemorial, humans have hunted wonders of the imagination – the Holy Grail, Atlantis, Bigfoot, even UFOs – artifacts that transcend reality. More recently, that search has focused on the one-ski quiver.
In the hunt for the barely believable, myth goes beyond fact and folklore legends are born. Such is the case with the Quiver-Killer, a single pair of skis that shreds regardless of the conditions, terrain, or type of skiing.
Spoiler alert: There is no such ski. Regardless of what brands and marketers want you to do, even the shiny new skis can’t do everything. Shapes and structures vary considerably, and so does the function of the ski. While some will be sufficient in many conditions, they will not excel in any of them. A versatile ski means that it is mediocre in all disciplines, just like an all-rounder is the master of nothing.
The make-up of the material, the sidecut, the camber, the length, the width and the rocker of a ski have an impact on what it can and cannot do at elite level. Want a ski that you can put on and carve quickly? Expect a lack of float in the powder. Do you want a ski that is easy to climb? It is best to avoid parking laps.
Are you looking for a ski that is both top-notch and out? Your chances are better in the lottery.
Even so, you can still cover all of the bases with just three pairs of sticks. If you, as a daily rider, choose a sturdy all-mountain set, a pair of fat skis for playful powder turns in the backcountry and a light touring ski for missions with large springs, you are prepared for anything.
Rating: The perfect 3-ski quiver
All-Mountain: Black Crows Justis ($ 960)
There are three prerequisites for your inbound ski: easy to turn and carve, stable and stable at high speeds and fun (enough) on a day with light to medium powder snow. Bonus points if it is to be sent in the park. Justis from Black Crows checks all the boxes.
With H-shaped titanium plates, the Justis skis offer surprising cushioning and power transmission without affecting the playfulness of the ski. The Justis is lighter and more forgiving than its predecessors and has a relatively traditional shape and curvature with plenty of rocker to go further out of bounds.
With a waist of 100mm and 2,100g per ski, you are encouraged to load up larger lines with its stiff and sturdy feel. Despite a 21m radius, it’s pretty easy to make and tear up large groomer turns. It’s one of the best skis on the slopes I’ve ever tested.
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Fat Ski: Faction Agent 4.0 ($ 799)
Also new this year, the 4.0 is the widest ski in the Agent series and has quickly become my go-to place for the deepest days, inbounds and outs. Originally developed and built for the backcountry, the 4.0 does surprisingly well in the resort too, as it is stable at high speeds and is light enough not to cause pain when turning.
Faction designed Agent 4.0 with an emphasis on the downhill experience, which is backcountry language for hard. Even so, it’s still considerably lighter than most front country skis. The tips soar higher than expected and the 116mm waist basically lets you soar above anything. The tail is engineered to be compatible with touring skins and for mechanics the weight penalty is likely worth the weight penalty for the undeniable fun this ski can provide.
With more rocker than the rest of the Agent line (but less than some fat skis), the 4.0 can be nimble but is best for big GS turns in lots of snow. Various attachment points and an additional fall enable above-average performance when skiing on the slopes and in freestyle.
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Light Touring: Blizzard Zero G ($ 699)
The Zero G is one of the lightest skis of its size and a true miracle of Austrian technology. Carbon makeup with an ultra-light paulownia core shouldn’t be that stiff on the descent, but damn it, it sure is. Designed to be quick on the skin, the Zero G is ideal for the biggest missions (known for the Lhotse Couloir). He can hold a solid ledge on steep slopes with challenging conditions. Every time I pick up the pair I am amazed at how light they are.
At 1,400 g, the Zero G flies absolutely uphill. And the energy saved adds up over a whole day of ski tours. The ski has a traditional shape, only 200 g less than other skis with similar dimensions. It’s like a featherweight boxer going up a grade or two. With 95mm underfoot and a side cut of 22m, the Zero G is more precise and technical than these statistics. For almost all of my spring corn crops, this is my tool of choice.
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