For a genre comprised of models that for most skiers will be a second (or third) pair of skis, the Big Mountain Category attracts a ton of cutting-edge technology. Some of that has to do with a higher price tag, but it’s also because Big Mountain skis are usually acquired by experienced skiers who have an expectation of quality and associated performance that can’t be met by halfway measures. 

Skiers in the market for a powder ski tend to think bigger is better. It’s true that there’s no substitute for surface area, but flotation isn’t the only requisite for off-trail conditions. Edging accuracy comes in handy on steep traverses, and short-radius turns are required in pucker-tight couloirs. Point being, the slightly narrower chassis of Big Mountain skis probably make for a better powder ski option for most skiers than the super-wide models that qualify for the Powder club by being next to useless anywhere else.

Every Big Mountain ski pries the tip and tail off the snow to some degree because there’s no better way to motor through crud than with a tip that won’t catch and a tail that won’t hang up. Some Big Mountain skis are cambered underfoot, some aren’t. The biggest behavioral chasm in the category is the separation of models that can be trusted to hold just a ribbon of edge on hard snow and those skis that do their best work in the worst conditions, drifting over rubble like it was ice cream. 

Click through each Editors' Choice ski selection via the link at the bottom righthand corner to find out which men's Big Mountain skis made the favorites list from our equipment expert partners: Realskiers.com, powered by Masterfit.