Gear Review: Volkl Nanuq Skis

A ski that performs in all conditions.

[backcountry purist]

Do you have a buddy who is easy-going, fits in anywhere, and is always ready for adventure? This is him, in a ski. Our testers pushed the Nanuq’s limits in conditions ranging from champagne-powder in Colorado to bulletproof ice and spring corn snow in Norway, and both telemarkers and alpine tourers loved its easy turn transitions (a result of the ski’s moderate sidecut and fiberglass reinforcements) and trust-inspiring, hard-edge grip and soft flex.

The Nanuq has a multilayer wood core that keeps it light and nimble. Vertical sidewalls, which shed snow and facilitate energy transfer between boot and ski, make it quick and lively, while promoting a smooth, even power transfer throughout the entire turn. “They’re great boards for backpackers,” says a tester who spends most of his backcountry time seeking out powder. “They’re light so they won’t fatigue you on long days with a big pack. Point ‘em and they feel much fatter underfoot—great for everything but the steeps.”

Green bonus: Völkl uses 100 percent recycled material in the base, a plastic-free topsheet, edges made out of approximately 60-percent-recycled steel, and limits use of traditional epoxy resins. Pair it with the Nanuq Integrated Skin ($160). $825; 8 lbs. (177cm); 163cm, 170cm, 177cm, 184cm (130/94/113 for all);