THE 2023 PEOPLE’S SKI TEST PREVIEW
Now that the year’s latest and greatest skis are arriving at your local ski shop, in an effort to help determine which...
FACTION AGENT 3.0
Lengths: 164, 172, 180, 188
Radius: 21m @ 180
More info: factionskis.com
“If the Faction Agent 3.0 was a planet, it would sit perfectly within the Goldilocks zone; everything about this ski felt just right. From the moment I laid eyes on it, all the way to the end of testing it, it did not disappoint. Being on the lighter side of the spectrum, with a notch in the tail for your skins, it was designed with touring in mind, but to call it just a touring ski would be selling it short. From the first turn to the last, it not only did everything I asked, but did so with grace and ease. With an even, moderately stiff flex, combined with 106 millimetres underfoot and a 21-metre turn radius, the Agent felt comfortable in anything I threw at it. Surprisingly quick edge-to-edge on groomers, snappy and responsive in tight trees, confidence-building stability when landing cliffs, and strong enough to muscle through chop at speed—it felt at home doing it all. I even found myself laughing while playfully buttering in circles and popping off cat-track side hits on the way back to the lift. For anyone looking for a ski that wants to have fun, yet is able to put on a game face when needed, I highly recommend this impressively versatile ski.” –Darryl Hunt
Reviewer’s Rating: On Piste: 8/10 • Off Piste: 9/10
Average Rating: On Piste: 8/10 • Off Piste: 9/10
Age: 36 / Height: 6’1” / Weight: 220 lbs / Occupation: Silviculture Worker
Once an avid and competitive park skier from Ontario, Darryl Hunt made the westward pilgrimage to bounce around various ski towns in B.C. at the age of 18, where he kept his jib skis but embraced wider boards to begin exploring beyond the ropes and dabbling in big mountain competitions. Now a silviculture worker in the summer and full-time ski bum in the winter, Hunt constantly works on evolving his skiing, and rekindled his love of hot-lapping chairlifts last winter after spending a handful of years skiing exclusively in the backcountry. He’s ridden a diverse range of planks in all sorts of shapes and profiles over the years, but for his daily driver has more recently gravitated towards a stiffer ski that’s flat underfoot with early rise in the tip and tail. Whereas for touring, he prefers a softer and lighter offering, but with a similar camber profile.
Now that the year’s latest and greatest skis are arriving at your local ski shop, in an effort to help determine which...
There are plenty of touring skis on the market, but with the all-new Hustle 10, Blizzard has taken a different approach by focusing on downhill performance first, and then making it into a lightweight uphill machine.
The Blizzard Sheeva 11 is the perfect example of a versatile ski. It performed well in both soft and hard pack conditions, and was able to handle all sorts of variable terrain.
The Dynastar M-Free 108 is a light, nimble and amazing freeride ski that was easy to operate and manoeuvre all over the mountain in any type of snow conditions.
If you’re like me, you dream about powder skis and touring skis, but give little thought to the ski you’re on 90 per cent of the time—the every day ski. The E-Pro 99 changed that for me.
The all-new Faction Mana 3 is the perfect compromise between the directional versus double rocker dilemma.
As much as we would all love to ski fresh tracks all day, every day, the reality is, if you want to get after it, some days you’re going to be crushing pre-loved pow.
I’ve always heard that the ballerina is the greatest athlete in the world, and the Faction Dancer 3X embraces this identity.
The Fischer Ranger 102 is a perfect pair of planks for an intermediate to advanced skier who’s looking to ski sunny resort laps with the family in any type of snow conditions.
The completely redesigned Fischer Ranger 96 is a playful ski that’s ready, willing and able to tackle a variety of snow conditions.
In the midst of a mid-winter drought across British Columbia, the Fischer Ranger 90 proved to be an ideal ski for low-tide conditions.
If an all-wheel drive Ferrari and a CF-18 Hornet fighter jet had a baby, it would be the Head Kore 111.
As the lightest and stiffest-feeling ski I tried, the Head Kore 105 was like the Toyota 4Runner of the test for me.
The Head Kore 97 W is an extremely adaptable ski that performed well in any and all conditions.
Having never tried a ski from Line before, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I clicked into the Blade Optic 104 for the first time. Its top sheet graphic has a rally car-like look to it, and that’s not where the similarities end.
I was both curious and excited to try this ski, because I’ve owned its wider counterpart, the Vision 108, for a few years now. And to my delight, but not surprise, it didn’t disappoint.
The Line Pandora 94 is a versatile and user-friendly ski that would be ideal for a beginner or intermediate female skier who’s looking for a pair of planks that will help progress her abilities to a more adventurous level.
The Nordica Unleashed 108 is like Thanksgiving dinner, with all the fixings.
The all-new Nordica Unleashed 98 W is an unbelievably fun ski that excelled in all types of terrain.
The Nordica Santa Ana Unlimited 93 is an all-mountain explorer. An out-of-bounds kind of gal.
The Rossignol Blackops 118 is a coveted freeride pow ski. I have a pair in my personal quiver, and look for any and every excuse to take it out.
The Rossignol Sender 106 Ti is the daily driver of a ski I have been seeking for years. No gimmicks, no funny business.
The first thing I noticed, and enjoyed the most, about the all-mountain charger that is the Rossignol Rallybird 104 Ti was how fast it could ski.
I had the privilege of skiing the Salomon QST Blank in a variety of conditions, which was great, because that really is the best way to showcase this ski’s multi-faceted abilities.
The Salomon QST 98 is a lightweight, manoeuvrable and reliable all-mountain ski that excelled in a wide variety of terrain and conditions.
The more I think about the Salomon QST Stella 106, the more I want to compare her to the “good time gal.”
With more and more people heading out into the backcountry, and advancements in equipment making it that much easier to do so, Scott has built a user-friendly ski for those starting to venture off the beaten track.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I dropped into my first run on this noticeably stiff ski: a rained-on, re-frozen, skating rink of a groomer. But to my surprise and delight, not only did it hook up—it cut in like a scalpel.
The Scott Pure Mission 98 Ti W is a lightweight, multi-faceted ski that was enjoyably stable, reliable and versatile in all types of conditions both in and out-of-bounds, regardless of how challenging they were.
Now that the latest and greatest gear is arriving in stores, Forecast is proud to present a way to help you determine...
The Blizzard Rustler 11 was a great daily driver for my home hill of Revelstoke Mountain Resort: stiff, powerful and ready for anything from debris to 45-degree steeps.
I liked that this ski knows what it is. Blizzard bills the Bonafide 97 as a do-all ski, but in reality it has pretty specific tastes, and is pretty blunt about it.
The Blizzard Sheeva 10 is the Rustler's little sister, with all the family resemblance, but without the 20-year-old boy meathead mentality.
Now this here is a true all-mountain ski. The Dynastar M-Free 108 is ideal for the type of skier who has transitioned from riding park to big mountain, and is looking to send it all over the hill and make use of the mountain from top to bottom.
I don’t believe in the concept of a one-ski quiver, but Dynastar’s M-Free 99 comes damn close. It not only did everything, it kicked ass while doing it.
Singing to myself, grinning ear-to-ear, and stoke levels to the moon. The Dynastar M-Pro 99 W is a crowd favourite, and it was easy to see why the moment I clicked into it.
Sleek and powerful like a panther, classy like a stretch limo on prom night, technologically advanced like the Tesla you’ll never afford. Elan’s Ripstick 106 Black Edition expects, no, demands a high caliber skier to make it perform.
Since rockered fat skis first arrived on the scene, I’ll admit that I’ve shied away from skinnier offerings. Whether it was mind over matter, I felt unstable and unconfident on anything narrower than 95 millimetres underfoot, and preferred utilizing a wider plank to bash my way to the bottom.
The Elan Wildcat 86 CX is a fun, playful ski that thrives on groomers and mellow off-piste terrain. Elan advertises it as an all-mountain ski, but it definitely shined brightest on the frontside.
Faction’s Dictator 2.0 is a no-nonsense ski, plain and simple.
The Faction Prodigy 2.0X bridges the gap between an all-mountain ripper and a playful park ski.
Riding the Fischer Ranger 102 allowed me to feel free while skiing all over the mountain. Its flatter camber profile felt familiar to me, and matched my skiing style very well.
Fischer has a long history in skiing, and throughout that time the company has always stuck to the core principles of what makes a ski work—that's certainly the case here.
The Fischer RC One GT 86 does exactly what it’s designed to do: serve as a stable rocket ship on piste.
Riding the Head Kore 105 was an extremely invigorating experience. This ski was light, responsive and very quick edge to edge.
There’s very little that the Head Kore 93 can’t do. It’s intuitive, versatile, lively but not twitchy, and easy to ski and control at low or high speeds.
The Head Kore 97 W was an enjoyably reliable ski. It was fun, stable and easy to initiate turns on groomers, and for a ski under 100 millimetres in the waist, I was surprisingly impressed by it off piste.
The K2 Mindbender 108Ti is all business. For an advanced skier who’s looking for a firm, durable and agile ski that loves big, fast turns in open terrain, and really shines in 10 to 15 centimetres of compact or hero snow, look no further.
After spending the past few years skiing on stiffer, flat-tailed, directional warhorses, my aging back and knees were pushing me in the direction of something more frolicsome.
K2’s Mindbender 106C W Alliance is a ski that promotes skiing. I got to the bottom of my first run and realized I hadn’t overthought any of the turns it took to get there.
Do you see the whole mountain as your playground? Whether you’re a young park rat looking to take your skills away from manicured jumps, or a mature skier wishing to reignite your forgotten youthful side, the Line Vision 108 is for you.
There’s no other ski in existence quite like the Line Blade. At 154 millimetres in the tip, its shovel is wider than most full-blown powder skis, but at only 95 millimetres underfoot, it skied as uniquely as it looks.
The Line Pandora 94 was like the Robin to my Batman. I was in charge; able to call the shots, pick the runs and set the speed, and this ski was along for the ride as an ideal sidekick.
I really loved the overall stability of the Nordica Enforcer 104 across all types of conditions.
Of all the skis I tested, the Nordica Enforcer 94 was the top ticket to untethered speed and performance.
Remember in school when they said you can get addicted the first time you try drugs? This was the first ski I tested, and I could never get as high again.
Rossignol’s Blackops Sender Ti was everything and more that I look for in a ski.
The Rossignol Blackops Holyshred is a perfect stepping stone of a ski for any intermediate skier who’s looking to develop into a bonafide all mountain rider.
Call your lady shred posse! The Rossignol Blackops Rallybird is here to get the girls out and shred any big or pretty little line their hearts desire.
If I were to describe the Salomon QST Blank in a word, it would be versatile.
If I had to own only one ski, the Salomon QST 98 might just be it.
The Salomon QST Stella 106 is a great ski to get your powder legs on, and will help take an intermediate skier to the next level.
I would take this ski out on my biggest backcountry missions.
At first glance, the Scott Superguide 95 has an aura of conservativeness to it. But don’t be fooled by its cover, because it’s so much more.
The Scott Superguide 95 Women’s could lay claim to the one-ski-quiver title.