My football career coincided with skiing for 17 of the 20 years that I’ve been taking trips to the mountains. I was an offensive lineman in high school and college so my peak weight during my playing days was 315 pounds.
Since my playing days ended I have lost my football weight, but I still am and have always been a heavy skier.
Finding the right ski can definitely set a heavy skier up for success on the mountain and that’s why I have you covered with the best picks for you to own the slopes this winter.
Top Pick | Nordica Enforcer 100
The Nordica Enforcer series has been a huge success since Nordica introduced this model a few years back. Each year this ski is consistently at the top of the charts and Nordica continues to take risks to improve a superior product which you don’t see from many companies.
Lengths: 169, 177, 185, 193cm.
Turn Radius (193): 18.5m
I loved last year’s Enforcer model and as a heavy skier, this year’s improvements didn’t change my opinion on if these skis should hold the top spot on the list. These are similar to the Enforcer 94 skis that made our list of the best all-mountain skis.
Nordica is defined by all mountain capability and any skier who loves exploring will be more than happy with the features in this ski. The 2021 Enforcer is the smoothest ski you’ll find on the mountain and allows any skier to power it down the trail with ease.
As a heavier skier, you want a stable ski that supports your ability to get on edge quick. Nordica’s new TrueTip Technology was created with the intention of giving skiers stability on edge and they delivered. This upgrade provides easy edging in all types of snow so you can push hard and still feel comfortable when the snow isn’t ideal for speed.
The versatility of the new Enforcer 100 is unlike any other ski on the market for the price. I never liked traveling off of the frontside because I wasn’t always confident in quick turning ability with some other all mountain skis that I have used.
I’m currently skiing on the Enforcer and it allows me to use my weight to my advantage in situations where I have to pull back and not just power the ski down a frontside carver.
The turn radius, flex, and underfoot length make this ski the perfect fit for any intermediate or advanced skier who wants a stable and playful feel all over the mountain.
Even though Nordica has gotten better incorporating forgiveness into their Enforcer model, it still isn’t perfect so keep this in mind when choosing this ski. Despite this, it’s still the best ski for a heavier skier when forgiveness ability is combined with stability as well as all the other epic features on the Enforcer.
Budget Option | Atomic Vantage 75
For the price, the Atomic Vantage 75 can’t be beat. You’ll feel like you’re sliding down the mountain on skis that are double the price of the Vantage. The Vantage is also a great choice for a heavier skier because of the high tech features it includes leaving other budget options in the dust.
Lengths: 149, 156, 163, 170, 177cm
Turn Radius (177): 15.4m
The length of the ski goes from 147cm all the way up to 177cm. Ski length is based on height and weight so if you are on the heavier end of your height spectrum consider moving up to a longer ski length.
These skis were meant to dominate groomers and their 75mm underfoot couldn’t be better for any terrain on the frontside. The performance of these skis allows you to get on edge quick and make any turn your heart desires. You can make long sweeping turns or make sharp cuts to tear your way down the trail.
The ability to get on edge with ease was a key factor when I made this list. Fast and powerful turns are easier for a heavier skier because you can use your weight as a steering wheel to whip down the mountain.
Depending on the terrain, you will have to make quick turns and this ski allows for you to do just that without much strain. You can still push the pace and get on edge to provide you with one awesome trip down the trail.
My biggest issue with these skis is that they are too narrow to have a great trip in the backcountry. This doesn’t mean that you can’t venture off the trail, but these aren’t the ideal skis for exploring.
Consider your mountain desires when choosing a ski, but if you want to spend most of your time on the frontside and not break the bank, the Atomic Vantage 75 couldn’t be a better choice.
Beginner Pick | Salomon S/Force 7 with M11 GW Bindings
Salomon crushed this beginner model ski. Let me start off by saying that the first great part about this ski is that the S/Force comes with bindings and the price point is still great.
Lengths: 150, 160, 167, 175cm
Turn Radius (175): 15m
These bindings are meant for heavier skiers that love to power their way through tough terrain. Bindings like this are tough to find already built into a beginner ski.
These may be designed for beginners, but they have features that allow any skier to feel one level up on the slopes. Because of the technological advances that Salomon included in the S/Force 7, you won’t have to get rid of these skis when you make the official transition from beginner to intermediate.
In beginner models, stability is often placed on the backburner when crafting a ski. Since beginners don’t usually take trips to tough terrain, companies don’t place an emphasis on making skis that are consistently smooth off of the easy terrain.
I was pleasantly surprised how stable these skis were and this is a huge factor that a heavy skier should consider. It’s tough to chatter on the S/Force 7 and this will give you confidence to put your body into the ski and push downhill as you get comfortable on the slopes.
The biggest flaw with this ski is that soft end of season snow can give you some trouble. As a whole, these skis are extremely forgiving, but as conditions get tough forgiveness level shrinks. This is common for beginner models in general so the S/Force 7 isn’t alone, but overall these are some epic beginner skis that are great for heavy skiers.
Intermediate Pick | Rossignol Experience 88 Ti
The Rossignol Experience 88 Ti are solid for heavier intermediates that want to put in a lot of runs and advance up to an expert level in the future. These skis are extremely durable, so you won’t have to buy a new model as your ability improves which is always a benefit.
Lengths: 166, 173, 180, 187cm
Turn Radius (187): 18m
These are all mountain skis, but they do perform better on the frontside. If you’re a skier who spends most of their day on groomers and takes a few runs in the trees these are an awesome option.
The Experience 88 Ti have elite performance on hard packed groomers. You can make every turn you’d like from wide sweepers to quick carves. The 88mm underfoot length and 15m turn radius are perfect for the frontside and some additional exploring.
You’ll feel like you’re in control at all times which I always love as a heavy skier. I want to feel comfortable using my weight to my advantage to tear down the trail and this ski is ideal for confidence in that area.
This control is thanks to a stiffness level that will give you a great feel on the snow, but also still provide a playful experience to keep you wanting to get back on the chair lift to take another trip down the mountain.
These skis want to turn which makes your life easy and provides for one great day on the slopes. My biggest issue with this ski is that it has a slightly steep price point for a casual intermediate.
You will need to add bindings to this ski on top of its price so take that into consideration when choosing a ski. Although, if you do want to progress quickly and not buy an advanced model next season, the Experience 88 Ti are a superior choice.
Expert Pick | DPS Pagoda Piste 100 C2
These are probably the most technologically advanced skis that you will find on the market this season. DPS prides themselves on craftmanship as well as giving skiers a performance advantage on the mountain.
Lengths: 157, 165, 171, 178, 185cm
Turn Radius (185): 19.5m
The Pagoda Piste 100 C2 are the real deal and they go above beyond for the expert skier. Their stability, edge, and all mountain features make these skis the premier choice for a heavier expert shredder.
The C2 is really fast and the it’s made for bigger skiers who want to FLY down the trail. The speed features are insane for a non-racing all mountain ski. Within the ski, there are two levels of carbon fiber between two separate wood layers. This is unique to DPS which creates the performance advantages that the company markets to potential customers.
Stability is one of the big themes that I’ve tried to base my picks on, and a lot of these skis perform well when conditions are solid. However, when soft snow enters the equation, the other models don’t cut it like the C2. You’ll feel like you’re riding on a freshly groomed trail even when the snow under your skis resembles the complete opposite of a beautiful frontside trail.
At 100mm underfoot, you’ll be able to thrive on the frontside and make quick turns in the trails with ease as an expert skier. Considering the speed that this ski can provide a heavier skier, it’s also very playful on the mountain.
Other companies can’t compete with the craftmanship, care, and quality that goes into the C2. The problem is that the price point resembles how much care goes into the design and building process. If you throw in a solid pair of bindings, this ski is a massive investment.
There are brands that can compete with this DPS model so don’t think this is the only epic advanced ski, but it definitely is the best. Competitor prices do come in at nearly half the cost so assess your priorities when choosing if this is the best ski for you.
I know you’ll be happy with this ski, but your wallet may not be as pleased so take cost very seriously if this ski is towards the top of your list.
As a heavy skier, you want stability and the ability to get on edge with ease. No matter what ski you choose don’t forget these two factors. If you take these two things into account and factor in price, I know you’ll make a decision on a model that you’ll be loving for many winters to come.