Alpine touring skis range widely in dimensions, weight, and construction. Manufacturers and experts design AT skis with everything from the sidecut to the color in mind. With tenuous thoughts of losing a ski, or even scarier, getting buried, a high-visibility top coat is essential to ensuring your trip in the mountains is as safe as possible.
Beyond color, the intended function of touring skis is to provide a stable feeling underfoot that is light, strong, and can perform in a variety of snow conditions. Below is our list of the best touring skis for 2019.
DPS Skis Wailer 112
A touring ski list should never be devoid of the DPS brand. DPS is the top manufacturer of touring skis in the world. Their proprietary core construction and brand reliability make DPS a favorite of professionals and envy of their competitors. Any ski in their Tour 1 line is reliable and worth the investment. DPS provides the “one-ski-quiver” more than any other brand. For the average touring enthusiast, we recommend their Wailer 106 Tour 1. And for those simply searching for long surf-like turns in deep powder, try the DPS Wailer 112 RP2 Tour 1. [Purchase: $1,099]
Blizzard Zero G 108
Blizzard, arguably the best downhill performance ski manufacturer in Europe entered the touring scene a few years ago. They recognized that other ski manufacturers were sacrificing downhill performance for uphill performance. Thus, Blizzard created a line of skis that are just a nimble and solid going up as they are going down. Blizzard boasts, “THE ZERO G 108 IS THE RESULT OF ENDLESS RESEARCH, DESIGN, AND TESTING IN ALL TYPES OF CONDITIONS AND TERRAIN.” For skiers looking for looking for more versatility, we recommend the Blizzard Zero G 95, for BC powder, we recommend the Blizzard Zero G 108 [Purchase: $799.95]
Black Diamond Helio 116
Year after year, Black Diamond comes out with new skis that surpass their old skis. It feels like buying technology–just when you think you have the latest piece of tech, the new version comes out. Your old version still performs great, but your mouth waters for the newness. It’s quite frustrating but business is business, and Black Diamond innovates faster than most outdoor industry brands that manufacture quality equipment at the size, rate, and variety of Black Diamond. Their Helio series provides versatility and flexibility, is light-footed, modern shaped, quick in the crud, and forgiving in the powder. For those looking for a nimbler ski, try the award-winning Helio Carbon 95. For deep snow explorers, we recommend the Black Diamond Helio 116 Carbon.[Purchase: $949.95]
Line Magnum Opus
Built with the same integrity and form that Line is famous for, the Magnum Opus is their new touring specific backcountry booter ski. It is made with Line’s proprietary CloudCore, a lighter, stronger, and more flexible version of their traditional EP ski construction.
This ski isn’t for the resort bomber, its built for the buttery masters of the backcountry who like to send it deep into the deepness. This is a powder ski, and for its size, the ski was quick and agile. It bounced through the woods, smeared the groomers, was water in the bumps, and pretty decent pipe ski. Weighing in at only 3,800g a pair you wouldn’t believe that it has a 148-124-145 profile.
You better be ready to ski it at 189 because it is the only length Line is making. With an early rise in the tip and tail and a smidgen of camber underfoot, the Magnum Opus ski by Line is the perfect booster, butter, booter machine. [Purchase: $799.95]
ON3P Steeple 108
Probably my favorite of the skis I tested at the SIA On Snow ski demo. This is ON3P’s lightest, quickest, and sharpest ski. I think I might have turned into a Sasquatch had I stayed in the woods with them for any longer.
The Steeple felt like they had a pillow-line tracking device in their tips. They cruised the open woods like butter, and gave me the confidence to take quick turns between trees and powder slashes on the steeps. This is certainly not a groomer ski but they did carve on steeper corduroy.
As for a park ski, if you’re into hard icy landings then this isn’t the ski for you but of all the skis I took into the superpipe, the steeple went surprisingly huge! Said to have the strongest bases, ON3P skis are naturally heavier than other brands but the biggest ski in the Steeple line; the Steeple 112 at a 189 length only weighs in at 2300g. Equipped with a notched tail for skin clips, and awesome graphics, the ON3P Steeple is the touring ski to have for backcountry chargers! [Purchase: $799.95]
These are some of the best alpine touring skis currently on the market. We will be sure to update this article again next season!