Gear Review: Black Diamond AMPerage/Element

Aggressive skiers who like to yo-yo between the resort and the backcountry will love the unisex AMPerage and women’s-specific Element. After a combined 30 days of Colorado cat-skiing in conditions ranging from wind chop to shin-deep fluff, both tele and AT skiers came away praising its stability (thanks to a superwide, 115mm waist), float (a function of pronounced rocker in both the front and back), and superior handling in varied conditions (due to a machined core that weaves wood and fiberglass together).

Though noticeably heavier than the skis in Black Diamond’s ultralight Efficient Series (we love the Drift for all-day skinning to champagne powder runs), the AMPerage more than makes up for its heft in exceptional on-mountain performance. Birch sidewalls create lateral stiffness for ultra-maneuverability, and the tail of the ski has an “ollie bar,” (built of woven fiberglass) to give it extra spring at the end of each turn.

$760

10 lbs. 2 oz. (185cm); 165cm (139/115/123), 175cm (141/115/123), 185cm (142/115/124); blackdiamondequipment.com