Brand: Black Diamond Equipment
Model: Helio 95
This redesign of one of our favorite skis has some bounce in its step. A thin rubber layer in the core gives the Helio a damper ride at speed than a typical carbon ski, which served us well on spring tours when the snow conditions changed fast: “Ice to hardpack to corn to mush—the Helio held stable through it all,” one tester said after riding it for a mild April week in Idaho’s Pioneer Mountains.
The 95mm waist gets some of the credit for the versatility, too, providing enough float in soft snow without being too cumbersome in subpar conditions. The Helio has a bit of early rise in the tip, but some testers wished for a bigger scoop for breaking trail in the truly deep stuff.
“When we stumbled upon a powder stash in the Vail back- country, I thought I’d miss my fat boards, but the Helios floated well and were much better than wide skis on the way out,” one tester says.
Weight: 5 lbs. 8 oz. (173)
Sizes: 163, 173 (123-95-113), 183
See more of the best Skis for Winter 2018
See the entire Winter Gear Guide