Rossignol Bandit XX:
If you're an out-of-bounds enthusiast who has to earn a paycheck for a living, the award-winning Rossignol Bandit XX packs the perfect balance in all-mountain freeride performance. It's specifically designed for skiers who do 50% off piste and 50% groomed terrain, making it ideal for powder days as well as any other time you can afford to get away from the trappings of work. Not only did the 2001-2002 Ski Magazine Buyer's Guide give the Bandit XX a gold medal in their Freerider category, but they also ranked the ski first overall in stability and speed and tied for second overall in short turns. It's a sure bet that the high marks can be attributed to Rossignol's new V-Flex technology, an innovation that varies the flex in the ski from tip to tail, so the tip and center remain stiff for quick turning and better edge grip, but the tail is limber for easy release in a variety of terrain conditions. The Bandit XX also uses a wider waist combined with a new Freeride VAS design, a visco-elastic material that helps absorb vibrations from the edges and jolting impacts along the midbody of the ski, resulting in solid stability at runny eye speeds. As one tester put it in a review, it's "stable but never planky." If you're an advanced skier or an intermediate looking for a solid step up to the next level in performance, the Bandit XX is your floater and flyer across the powder and the crud.