Völkl made the Kiku more maneuverable and easier to use last season, adding a softer flex. Koehn calls the 2012/2013 version “really easy to ski and easy to change the turn radius or adapt to different terrain.” Fully rockered and wide girthed (107 mm underfoot), the Kiku is designed to surf soft snow, but Völkl’s Tough Box construction means different densities of wood are used in the core, and then wrapped in fiberglass for edge grip, stability and snap. “The softer the snow, the more I enjoyed them,” said Alder. “You have to work for it, but it has good edge hold on the groomers and adapts well to bumps.”