Brand: Black Diamond
Model: Helio Carbon 95
Light, nimble, and stable: Those are the attributes you want in a ski while you’re staring down the What Big Eyes You Have Couloir in Colorado’s Gore Range, and they were exactly what the Helio Carbon delivered on one tester’s early spring descent. A paulownia core overlaid with a carbon-and-fiberglass laminate keeps weight down, so he was able to nail his drop-in time, and he easily initiated jump-turns in the chute’s choke. When he opened the throttle in the apron, the core and the Helio Carbon’s ABS sidewalls kept the ride smooth, even on an exit through miles of tight trees. A 95-millimeter waist and 124-millimeter shovel aren’t made for superdeep snow, but for high-consequence, far-flung lines this ski has the chops to get you up and down safely.