As this decade comes to a close, it is time to reflect on the game-changing skis that were introduced in the past 10 years. We say “introduced” because we want to recognize the skis that were all new and not carried over from the previous decade.

Blizzard Bonafide and Black Pearl

Let's launch right from the start with the Blizzard Bonafide and Black Pearl, two skis that very well defined the past decade. When Arne Backstrom came up with Flipcore on the way back from a surfing trip, everything changed for Blizzard. At the time Blizzard had just been purchased by the Tecnica Group, which was looking for a ski to market with Tecnica boots and a factory to produce Nordica skis. It took a chance with a (very intelligent) athlete’s construction design, and the rest is history.

The Bonafide immediately catapulted itself to the top spot as the reference ski in the 98-100 category and stayed there for pretty much the whole decade, with only minor evolutionary changes along the way. The Black Pearl defied the status quo in marketing with its purple bull and accessible performance. It basically bitch-slapped the industry to command her place as the queen of women’s skis and became the best-selling ski (not just women’s ski) for years. This is why we also billed it as one of The Most Pioneering Women's Skis of All Time.


Head iRally and Super Joy

The Head Supershapes date back to the previous decade with the iSpeed, iMagnum, and iTitan, but none had a cult following like the iRally, which was introduced mid-decade. It was the 76mm iRally that made the biggest splash and showed the skiing world what the Supershapes were all about. The iRally bridged the gap between the narrower iMagnum and wider iTitan, bringing the Supershapes into the mainstream.

Graphene was the super power marketed as being even stronger than Vibranium itself when it was introduced in the uber-lightweight Head Super Joy. While Graphene was the material used to promote the Super Joy, it was the actual on-snow performance that separated the ski from other offerings. The Joy collection was one of the very few women’s lines that was not derived from a men's or unisex counterpart but instead was designed from the ground up specifically for women. The Super Joy was the carving ski that women who didn’t think they wanted a carving ski went out and bought.


Nordica Enforcer and Santa Ana

The Nordica Enforcer (100) and its sister the Santa Ana (100) did their damnedest to wrestle the title of "skis that all others are judged against” from their in-house cousins, the Bonafide and Black Pearl. For years Nordica tried to retire the original-generation Enforcer and Nemesis -- but they just wouldn't die, retailers just kept ordering them. Nordica removed them from the line for a season, allowing this new brother-sister combo to rise to the top. Their shape and playfulness (along with the “Back in Black” Enforcer Proto) brought well-deserved attention to the collection when it was relaunched. For more than one season Nordica sold out of the Enforcers early in the buying cycle and redefined “early release” when the following season’s offering was on the racks as early as February. While the Santa Ana didn’t experience the sales success of the Enforcer, better women skiers flocked to it -- and for good reason, because it ripped.


Rossignol Soul 7

Whether you liked the Soul 7 or not, it's hard to argue with its influence during the past decade. It was the powder ski that opened up the mountain to thousands of weekend warriors who had only dreamed of skiing the deep stuff like their ski movie heroes. With its simple yellow and black graphics, the Soul 7 was billed as a one-ski quiver, and intermediate skiers and up took the bait, hook line and sinker. The Soul 7 was indeed a turning point in the resurrection of the Rossignol brand.


Stöckli Laser AX

Few might recall that the Stöckli Laser AX actually started as the Laser AR. The Laser AR was a great ski but really had no momentum at all. In 2015, Stöckli changed the name from AR to AX and changed the graphics from black and red to black and yellow, and sales took off -- the only color Stöckli saw was green. The Laser AX has been a darling of not only our test team but also our readership. It is one of the most searched, researched, and discussed skis on the site, and this consumer following can be traced to the ski's versatility. Intermediate skiers with a solid skill set can get on the Laser and it will not overwhelm them; as they progress, the ski will meld with them and the performance will be there as they improve. Yet it is also up to the task of being a top-level ski for experts, just as the comma in its price tag suggests.


Renoun Z-90

Yes, you heard it here when we launched in 2015, we were one of the first to shout from the rooftops that the Renoun Z-90 was one of the Skis of the Decade. Was it lightning in a bottle? Sheer beginner's luck? Or was it the the fortitude and gumption of a millennial college dropout? I think it was a combination of all the above. From the first turn we made on the Renoun Z-90, we knew that young Cyrus Schenk had something special in his HDT-infused wide carver. Renoun’s two-time ISPO Gold-winning Hyper Damping Technology (now known as VibeStop) is indeed the real thing and can be felt on snow because the Z-90 is quiet and supple on the most inconsistent snow. Where the Z-90 also shines is in the wide-body charger shape, a design that was unique in the 90mm segment.

Honorable Mention

Other notable considerations include some skis that continued from the previous decade:

Blizzard Brahma
Blizzard's skinnier Bonafide was the Brahma. Where most 88mm skis at the time were wide narrow skis, Blizzard bucked the trend and made a narrow wide ski. Versatility is the cream that rose to the top.

DPS Wailer 112/112RP
The banana yellow powder ski was the one that all others were compared against. The Wailer 112 made DPS a (ski-) household name.

Head Monster 88
The reincarnated Monster 88 was better than most of the skiers who owned it. I heard more than one whisper, "You make me want to be a better skier."

K2 SuperCharger
This is the first hard snow ski that really went head to head with Head and the other Euro brands.

Kästle MX Series
The MX series made even the most frugal skiers reach deep into their wallets. The MX88 was the face of the MX collection and another ski that we billed as a Ski of the Decade.

Moment Bibby/Wildcat
A late addition brought to my attention by some readers that did change my mind. If the boys in Reno want to get us a pair to spend some time on, I would be willing to add them to our test fleet.

Völkl Mantra/Aura
These skis defined a generation. They were the King and Queen, Mother and Father, Adam and Eve of an entire generation of skis, and no “Best of” list is complete without them.

Völkl Kenja
Women flocked to the Kenja, which was the Princess to the Aura, a powerful women's ski for the masses.

I am sure many of these skis might be up for debate, especially because brand loyalties can sway one's views. But as Dave Petersen's creative image shows up top: change my mind.