The Five 2023 Men’s Skis Curated Experts LovePublished on 05/17/2023 · 7 min readAfter demoing several different skis at Powder Mountain Resort, Skiing Experts Brandon Westburg, Daryl Morrison, Hayden Wright, Rob G., Theo G., and Thomas Harari list their top five favorites for men's skis!
Curated Experts tested dozens of skis at Powder Mountain in Utah, and now we're breaking it down into our top five favorite skis with Brandon Westburg, Daryl Morrison, Hayden Wright, Rob G., Theo G., and Thomas Harari sharing feedback on their experience demoing the skis. A quick note before we jump in, that we are unsponsored by any brands, these are our honest opinions on the skis.
Watch the video below to follow along with our conversation!
5. Head Kore 99
[Hayden] Coming in at number five in our top five favorite skis, the Head Kore 99s.
[Rob] Head claims that this ski is a light, versatile all-mountain charger, and they hit the nail on the head. It's a 99 millimeter-waisted all-mountain ski for a variety of conditions. I loved my time on this ski. I had a hard time believing that a ski that's this light could be so stable and so responsive to aggressive skier input over a wide variety of conditions.
This is not a carving ski; it's not a freestyle ski. It's definitely a freeride all-mountain ski, but for a 99 millimeter-waisted ski, I could not believe the carves I was getting and the performance I was getting when carving on the ski. It's easy to put on edge and rides really smoothly. The tip holds up even if you're driving through the ski.
I felt super confident riding these through tight tree shots. It's happy making short turns, and it's happy arcing big turns. Especially if you're spending a fair amount of time riding in soft snow, this would be a great choice to have.
I do not think this would be a good ski for beginners or even lower intermediates. This is a ski that responds really well to aggressive input. It is agile, it is light, so an advanced skier who's got aims to get better could really enjoy this ski. But if your goal is just to cruise groomers, there are other choices that are probably better for you.
[Hayden] Coming in at number four for our favorite skis is the Line Blade Optic 104.
[Brandon] Line claims that the Blade Optic 104 is their most versatile ski in the Blade Optic collection. It does have a lot of metal in this ski, and it's great for those big mountain lines, all-mountain, and anything in between. I've been really liking it so far. It has just enough metal to keep this thing extremely stable, but it's still poppy, playful, and super fun.
[Hayden] If you're only looking for one ski and you're more of a freerider, I will emphasize that, this is a freeride ski. This isn't going to be for beginners that are still learning the basics. The skier that's going to excel on these is intermediate to advanced freeriders who are looking to jump, jib, and go all over the mountain. You're not just on the groomers; you've got your parallel turns down. This ski is definitely one to consider, a great option for that ski that can handle a little bit of everything. If you get a surprise pow day on your ski trip or vacation, you're not going to be disappointed.
[Hayden] Coming in at number three, the Nordica Unleashed 98.
[Daryl] The brand claims that this is going to be a really fun, all-around, all-mountain ski. It's going to pop off things, it’s going to be pretty stable in turns, it’s just going to do everything reasonably well, except for deep pow. They are really stable underfoot but have a lot of play in the tip and tail and honestly just kind of rip everywhere. I did a bunch of different turn shapes, and they were super solid. I dipped into the woods, popped off a couple of side hits, and no problems whatsoever. These skis carved tremendously well, actually. I was expecting them to be a little bit more floppy and not hold an edge very well, but they're very snappy and poppy and are more than happy to be on edge.
This ski is definitely for the person who wants to be able to have one ski that can do everything reasonably well. This is a ski that carves well, can go into the park for a few laps, can jump off side hits, and can ski both ice and soft snow.
[Rob] I'd recommend these skis to any stronger advanced to expert skier. I think if you were really light, you might want a ski that's a little less stiff underfoot. For an intermediate skier, you'll be better off with a ski that's a little softer tip to tail and a little bit more maneuverable.
[Hayden] Coming in at number two, the Faction Prodigy 3.
[Brandon] It's the widest ski in the Prodigy series, definitely has purposes in the park, but I totally see what Faction means by making the entire mountain your playground. I had a ton of fun on my first couple runs on the Faction Prodigy 3. With the 3, we’re looking at a 106mm underfoot and a nice progressive flex throughout the whole ski. I had a ton of fun popping this thing around, catching air, and it remained super stable.
[Hayden] It would be that ski that's just able to handle a lot of stuff, you know, if you're wanting to ski the steeps or if you're going on a trip where there's going to be an excellent storm in the forecast. I would not recommend the Faction Prodigy 3 to real beginner skiers.
[Brandon] I would recommend the Faction Prodigy 3 to intermediate, advanced, and expert all-mountain park skiers, as well as powder skiers. If you like more of a narrow park ski with a little less swing weight, this ski might not entirely be for you, but I'd feel confident recommending it to those intermediate skiers looking to get into all-mountain and powder skiing, all the way up to advanced skiers.
[Hayden] And coming in at number one for our favorite ski is the Blizzard Rustler 9.
[Theo] I really enjoyed skiing the Rustler 9. I've rarely been on a ski this precise and as easily malleable into any turn shape I wanted. It almost turned before I initiated the movement, like it was anticipating where I was going. I know that is verging on magical realism in the ski technical category, but I felt like that's how much I enjoyed the ride on these.
[Thomas] This ski has some pretty serious rocker in the tip and tails. This is going to help it float in powder and also give it a more pivoty, turny feeling. So it’ll carve well, but it's going to be really good for quick turns, so it's going to be a good ski for trees or one of my favorite skis for bumps.
[Daryl] They were perfectly fine doing short radius turns and carving the entire thing, and then also doing longer radius turns. I had no problems asking these skis to do anything, they were just happy to oblige. A lot of times, skis that I ski that are stable compromise on maneuverability, but I didn't get that sense with these. They're stable at high speeds for sure, and they're also highly maneuverable.
[Thomas] So, these skis have two different categories of people that are going to be a great fit for them. One of them is the East Coast all-mountain skier looking for something playful, looking for something that skis ice well, looking for something that can also ski powder, bumps, and trees – something that's going to be really maneuverable for that. And then the other side of it is more like the Western, like newer all-mountain skier. This is a fantastic ski for someone who is looking to get out of rentals, feels that they're athletic, and wants to just go ski the whole mountain.
So what do you think? Did your skis make the list? Let us know in the comments of the Youtube video. If you don't know what skis are right for you, get matched with a Ski Expert here on Curated for free, personalized recommendations on the best skis for your needs.