Agility The Empire can handle breakable crust, slush, and powder with ease. One tester, who normally “hangs on for life” when skiing the kind of wind chop she experienced in Canada, finished a steep run with a sketchy drop-in and said, “I was having so much fun that I forgot to be nervous.” Full rocker (a smile profile with upward lift in both tip and tail) makes it “smeary,” allowing you to slow down by skidding the ski rather than carving it in old or chopped snow. Its sidecut (the curvature of the ski from tip to waist to tail) means edge-bite increases in carved turns.
Versatility The Empire really shines in deep backcountry powder and resort hardpack. But its width, dampness (ability to absorb vibration), and turning radius (the arc between the tip and tail of the ski) make it workable in most every condition.
float Ample width—like this ski has—always equals great float. But the Empire has a notably even front-to-back flex, which means nice, round, predictable turns in deep snow.
$910; 7 lbs. 4 oz. (175); 175, 180, 185, 190 (145-115-126); genuineguidegear.com