Best Ski Boots For Narrow Feet

Ski boots are a critical piece of equipment for a great day on the mountain. Many people with narrow feet have trouble finding a perfect boot. However, this doesn’t have to be the case.

Here are my best ski boots for people with narrow feet.

Top Pick | K2 Mindbender 100 Ski Boots

K2 tends to make boots that sway towards the narrow side of the spectrum. The Mindbender 100 are the perfect boot for intermediate and advanced skiers with narrow feet. If you’re a beginner, the Mindbender 100 may be a great pair of boots depending on your body size.

A narrow last is classified by a boot with a forefoot width between 95mm and 98mm. The K2 Mindbender comes in at 98mm. This is the perfect fit for someone with narrow feet because it’s not too small, but you’ll still have some wiggle room.

The Mindbender works best for someone who has a narrow calf shape because of its design. This is typically the case for narrow fitting ski boots. The boots are constructed with four buckles and a strong power strap to maximize rigidity.

The 100-flex rating on the model can be utilized by all skiers that want to cruise and push the pace. This isn’t a boot that you would want to compete in, but it’s a solid all mountain model.

One of the worst parts about ski boots is walking between runs. Going to the bathroom can be a major inconvenience. K2 helped solve this issue. The boot features a Powerlock Spyne which allows for increased motion while you’re not on the slopes.

When it’s time to ski, lock the Powerlock Spyne in place and you’ll feel much stronger in the boot. The Powerlock Spyne really gives you the best of both worlds on the mountain.

In addition to all this, the liner is heat moldable to ensure that the boot will give you the correct individual fit.

The only flaw with this boot is the price. The Mindbender boots are a large purchase, but they’re reasonable compared to other boots that have similar features.

Budget Option | Atomic Hawx Ultra 100 Ski Boots

High quality narrow boots are tough to find at a reasonable price. The Hawx Ultra are a slightly more expensive boot than I’d like to label as a budget item, but they thrive on the slopes for a reasonable price.

The last or width on the Hawx Ultra 100 is 98mm. This is great for people who have narrow feet of all sizes. The Memory Fit technology within the boot makes this model feel secure for all people with narrow feet.

The Memory Fit Technology is heat moldable, so it automatically adjusts to your feet. This will keep you comfortable all day long on the slopes.

The 100-flex rating can appeal to a wide range of skiing abilities. The power strap on the Hawx Ultra can be customized by each individual skier to find the perfect rigidity for any trail on the mountain.

Atomic is known for making minimalistic ski boots in order to reduce weight while enhancing performance. Prolite Construction allowed Atomic to cut out excess material while still crafting a superior boot.

The main issue with the Hawx Ultra is that it may not be the best boot for a bigger individual. If you have narrow feet, but larger legs, you may experience some discomfort with the Hawx Ultra. However, this is only felt by a small proportion of skiers on the mountain.

Overall, I couldn’t speak more highly of the Atomic Hawx Ultra 100 Ski Boots.

Beginner Pick | Nordica Speedmachine 90 Ski Boots

The Nordica Speedmachine boots have a wider last than you would typically see in a narrow boot. The boots have a last of 100mm. However, the Speedmachine boots are still a perfect choice for a beginner looking to explore the mountain.

The best part about the Speedmachine 90 is that you won’t have to buy a new pair when you graduate to an intermediate level. A flex rating of 90 will still allow intermediate skiers to fly down the trails and control the sticks through the trees.

The calf volume is standard, so the boots favor someone with a regular calf size. A person with a smaller calf size will also enjoy the Speedmachine 90 ski boots. The power strap will lock you into place, so you’ll feel powerful, but comfortable at the same time.

The boot is crafted with Nordica Tri Fit Technology. This gives skiers tons of customization options to ensure the perfect fit for a great day of skiing. This can be tailored towards performance, comfort, or a combination of the two.

The Speedmachine 90 are some of the best boots in the industry for keeping out unwanted moisture and temperature. The liner keeps your feet toasty and dry.

If you have extremely narrow feet, this boot shouldn’t be at the top of your list. However, the innovations in this model make it a great choice for most beginners with narrow feet who are looking to progress their skill level.

Intermediate Pick | Dalbello II Moro Ski Boots

The Dalbello II Moro ski boots dominate in the intermediate skier category. These boots have a sturdy flex rating of 120. This is great for intermediates who want to become advanced skiers in the near future.

A flex rating of 120 gives you the ability to explore the entire resort. You can easily transition between front side and off-piste terrain. Not every intermediate ski boot can give you this much leeway on the mountain.

The last on the model is 98mm. This is the most common width for skiers with narrow feet. The ID Max Liners throughout the boots are what makes the model so special. The ID Max Liners are constructed of closed cell foam to keep the cold air and moisture away from your feet.

The liners are also heat moldable, so you’ll be equipped with a custom fit in the Moro ski boots. Dalbello incorporated Kinetic Response technology into the boot which is a lifesaver when you’re maneuvering through the bumps.

The kinetic response technology helps neutralize vibration that’s caused from the choppy conditions underfoot. These boots help your skis perform better which is a really awesome feature of the Dalbello II Moro model.

The biggest issue I have with these boots is the price point. To give you an idea, the K2 Mindbender boots are also primarily targeted for intermediate skiers. This model typically is priced $100 dollars cheaper than the Dalbello II Moro boots.

However, I guarantee that you won’t have an issue with this model. You’ll want to make sure you’re on the last chair up the mountain every time you hit the slopes in the Dalbello Moro II ski boots. 

Advanced/Competitive Pick | Salomon S/Max 130 Carbon Ski Boots

Salomon is an awesome brand. They make great boots for beginner and intermediate skiers, but the company thrives when it’s time to compete. Salomon prides itself on alpine equipment for advanced skiers and they delivered with the S/Max 130 Carbon ski boots.

The shell on the boot is truly customizable. No other boot on this list can say the same thing. The boot can be custom fitted to your feet with the smallest details in mind.

The boot has a minimum last of 98mm and a maximum last of 104mm. This is thanks to the Custom Shell HD technology in the boot. Many boots are heat moldable, but Salomon takes this process to a whole different level.

The main performance aspect of the boot is the Carbon Coreframe. This feature will take any skiers speed to the next level. You’ll be able to increase your power on the snow while experiencing a smoother ride down the trail.

The Sense Amplifier is also another aspect of this boot that helps with performance. The Sense Amplifier helps you get on edge quicker by promoting a faster transfer of energy through your lower half.

The boot features four aluminum 3D buckles and a strong power strap. The 3D buckles give these boots a true 130 flex rating.

There aren’t too many negative features in the S/Max 130 Carbon ski boots. The boots are very expensive, but I believe that they’re underpriced considering the amount of technological innovation that went into the model.

So, who should buy these boots?

First off, don’t consider these boots if you’re not an advanced skier. If you pass this test, think about how much you ski. These boots are made for the skier who loves the mountain.

If you’re not skiing at least once per week, you probably won’t value these boots for the price point. If you’re an expert who’s constantly going to the mountain, these boots could be the perfect match.

What Brands Work Best For Narrow Feet

Narrow boots are typically defined by performance. Skiers who embrace speed love to be locked into their boots. This makes racing brands a great place to start for your narrow ski boot search.

Atomic, Salomon, and Nordica are three top tier brands that won’t let you down when it comes to ski boots.

Some other great brands that are known for making narrow boots are K2, Tecnica, and Fischer. Out of these three brands, my favorite company is Fischer. However, they tend to cater towards performance and often forget about comfort.

What Skiers With Narrow Feet Should Look For When Choosing Ski Boots

The biggest thing to look at if you’re looking for boots with narrow feet is the last. The last is the width across the forefoot. A narrow last is any measurement between 95mm and 98mm. The largest you should go for a forefoot width is 100mm depending on the contour of your feet.

Boots with heat moldable liners enhance fit so you shouldn’t forget about this during your search.

As far as performance, you need to look at flex rating. A higher flex rating should be utilized by higher-level skiers. Flex rating is also dependent on height and weight. Width and flex are two things you should look for in any boot model that you’re considering.

Best Ski Boots For Flat Feet

A successful day on the mountain is determined by a lot of factors. One reason for a great day on the slopes is caused from wearing a great pair of boots.

Flat feet often set skiers back from experiencing supreme comfort, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

Here are my top ski boots for flat feet!

Top Pick | Nordica Sportmachine 80 Ski Boot

Nordica is a superior alpine brand that is all over every ski mountain throughout the world. When it comes to ski equipment, it’s very difficult for any brand to rival Nordica. Their Sportmachine 80 boot is ideal for skiers with flat feet.

The Sportmachine 80 will assure that you have an awesome day on the slopes. Painful feet won’t dictate when you stop with these boots.

The boots are extremely responsive which neutralizes pain that can be caused from flat feet. This is thanks to their tri-force construction, so you’ll always feel secure pushing the pace down the slopes.

These boots are roomy, but secure at the same time. A person who wears a shoe with an average foot width will do great with these boots. You’ll still have plenty of room to wear thick socks to support your feet in the cold.

The boot’s instep is made with a soft plastic material that helps form to your feet. This is another factor that supports flat arches along with Nordica’s comfort fit liner.

The Sportmachine boots are reasonably priced, but they’re built to perform. They wouldn’t be ideal for a skiing beginner, but intermediates will love the force that they can put into the boot.

Budget Option | Nordica Cruise 70 Ski Boot

Nordica also takes home the best budget spot on my list. This company can craft a boot that performs for every level of skier. The Nordica Cruise 70 is a great budget option, but this boot is for beginners. With a 70-flex rating, beginners will thrive in this boot.

Ski boots are a very expensive purchase, but your wallet will love the Cruise 70. They include some of the features that skiers love in the Sportmachine 80. The liner is unreal for a cheap boot.

Your feet will stay warm and comfortable all day long. This will make for a very successful day on the mountain. The boot has a soft build, so your feet won’t feel restricted. This makes this boot a great option for skiers with flat feet.

The only issue with this boot is that it doesn’t handle anything other than the frontside very well. If you want to take a trip through the woods or bumps, this boot isn’t a great pick, especially with flat feet.

However, if you want to make sweeping turns on the groomers, this is a great budget choice.

Beginner Pick | Rossignol Evo 70

The Rossignol Evo 70 has a width that is on the wider side of the spectrum. This immediately makes them a great choice for flat feet. With a last or width of 104mm, you won’t experience pinching and this which will take pressure off flat feet.

The Rossignol Evo is constructed well for a beginner model. You’ll be able to use this boot as you advance to an intermediate level which is nice. The shell shape is great and maximizes comfort even without a moldable liner.

The boot has three buckles and a power strap which is perfect for any beginner. 70 is a low flex rating, but this is a great range for someone who is relatively new to the mountain. You’ll feel comfortable in the boot at all times.

The boot doesn’t include some nice features that more expensive boots incorporate, but this is neutralized when you see the price. Rossignol crushed this boot for the price point.

Intermediate Pick | Salomon S/Pro 100 Ski Boots

Salomon is one of my favorite alpine brands on the market. They truly care about skiers that wear their gear and this is evident with the S/Pro 100. This boot is built for intermediate to advanced skiers who prioritize comfort over performance.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t push these boots down the trail. However, you’ll experience all day comfort and won’t feel any pain from flat feet. They have a width that ranges from 100mm to 106mm, so they give skiers a lot of room in the boot.

They include a heat moldable liner so the shape of your feet will be able to form to the inside material. This helps with performance as well as comfort. You’ll be able to power through turns on the frontside. The boots aren’t the best for backcountry skiers, but your feet will love even the toughest groomers on the mountain.

The boots have a moderate flex of 100. This will provide a solid amount of rigidity without leaving you feeling constricted. The customizable cuffs and strap give you a rebound effect on the snow, so you’ll feel like a pro in the toughest conditions.

The only flaw with this boot is the price point. They’re priced higher than I’d like to see, but they give skiers a superior level of comfort. They are hands down the best intermediate boot for all skiers, not just people with flat feet.

Advanced/Competitive Pick | Lange RX 120 Ski Boot

Lange consistently makes awesome boots for skiers of all levels. The RX 120 are the perfect mix of performance and comfort. They sway more towards performance, but most skiers with flat feet will be pleasantly surprised with the comfort level of the boots.

They have a medium width which can be a reason that skiers with flat feet feel pain. Despite this, performance boots are built tight. The Lange RX 120 make the most of the space that they give skiers.

They’re an all-mountain boot that thrives in all terrains. They’re built with a Dual 3D Pro Liner. This allows the boot to provide comfort because of the high-density foam that molds to your foot.

This technology removes pain for skiers who have flat feet. They have a stiffness of 120 which is very rigid. You’ll feel locked in and ready to tackle double blacks without any fear.

The RX 120 is made with four adjustable buckles as well as a sturdy power strap. This locks you in and you’ll feel extremely powerful on the snow.

The one issue with the RX 120 is that the boots can restrict some skiers with flat feet. They’re a competitive pick so keep this in mind when choosing this boot. They’re comfortable, but this is secondary to performance.

Make sure you examine your goals before investing in the Lange RX 120 ski boots.

What Brands Are Best For Skiers With Flat Feet

Not all alpine brands were created equal. The best boot brands for flat feet vary every year, but there are a few companies that are consistently at the top of the list. Nordica is my first pick for boots when it comes to flat feet followed by Salomon.

Nordica makes many of their models with skiers of all abilities in mind. Salomon tends to favor upper-level skiers, but they still deliver on comfort in all their non-competitive models.

There are other brands on the market that make great boots so my advice would be to do research. The companies that have a great reputation in the alpine industry will give you the best chance to find a boot that supports flat feet.

Some other great brands that didn’t make the list are Atomic as well as Dalbello. It’s tough to go wrong with these two brands or any of the models that I mentioned.  

What Skiers With Flat Feet Should Look For When Choosing Ski Boots

Flat feet can cause skiers to suffer on the slopes. There’s nothing worse than experiencing pinching in your ski boots all day. When looking to buy boots to prevent this issue, there are a few things to consider.

The first thing you should look at is the width or last of the boot. This is the width of the boot at the middle of the foot. One trigger for flat feet is caused by not having enough wiggle room in the boot.

Always look for a moderate to wide width depending on the shape of your foot. More room in the boot gives your feet a chance to adapt to the inside instead of feeling constricted in a tight model.

The other thing skiers with flat feet should look for in a boot is a customizable liner. These vary depending on the boot brand, but it’s best to find a liner that molds to your feet. This secures your feet without causing pinching to keep you skiing all day long.

If you’re a beginner, it could be tough to find a reasonably priced boot with a moldable liner. In this case, look for a boot that doesn’t restrict your foot or leg. You want the boots to be tight enough where you feel safe, but not overly restricting.

Those are two things to look at specifically for flat feet. However, you still can’t forget about flex rating. A higher flex is important for more advanced skiers. Flex determines how rigid the boot is on your foot.

If you’re a beginner, go with a low flex. If you’re an expert, a flex rating over 100 will be perfect to push the pace on the frontside and crush the backcountry as well.

Best Ski Boots For Wide Feet in 2021

Foot pain is one of the most common struggles that skiers with wide feet experience on the mountain. In my opinion, a great day on the slopes is when you can ski for as long as you’d like without feeling any unnecessary pain.

If you have wide feet, check out these ski boots and you won’t have to worry about foot pain on the slopes.

Here are my best ski boots for people wide feet.

Top Pick | Atomic Hawx Magna 110 S Ski Boots

There isn’t a single model that’s better than the Atomic Hawx Magna when it comes to alleviating pain caused from wide feet. These boots have received rave reviews in the alpine industry, and they dominate in tons of categories.

The width or last on the boot is 102 mm. This is a smaller width for wide feet, but they still manage to alleviate pain. The last isn’t the only feature in the boot that makes it the best option for people with wide feet. The shape of the boot is made to contour to wide feet thanks to the Memory Fit liner.

The boot will naturally expand over time depending on the width of a person’s foot. This technology allows Atomic to separate themselves from the competition.

The boot doesn’t give up in the performance category just because it’s a comfortable fit for many skiers. The Hawx Magna comes with four buckles and a power strap so you’ll feel locked in and ready to attack any trail.

With a flex rating of 110, the Atomic Hawx would be a perfect fit for intermediate skiers and beyond. You can adjust the flex rating of the boot as well with some of the screw technology that Atomic incorporated into the boot.

This boot will cost you a solid chunk of change. This is the only problem that I have with the model. However, it’s very tough to put a price tag on comfort and that’s why the Hawx Magna take the top spot with ease.

Budget Option | Salomon X Access 70 Wide Ski Boots

Although, the Salomon X Access are a phenomenal boot for a casual skier at a great price point. This is Salomon’s marquee wide model, and they deliver in every category. The last in this model is 104mm which gives skiers a ton of room to reduce pinching caused from wide feet.  

If you’re an expert skier, you shouldn’t consider these boots due to their flex rating. A 70 flex is a very low rating, so these boots probably won’t meet your expectations in the performance department.

Salomon can make the last so wide because of the features the company included in the upper region of the boot. You’ll have the ability to make so many adjustments to these boots. You can lock yourself in tight in the calf region of the boot. This makes you feel secure while giving your feet room to breathe.

The X Access also features a flex liner which keeps the cold out and also molds to the shape of your feet. All the technology that Salomon included in the boot made them built to last.

If you have plans of competing in the future, this isn’t the best boot on the market. However, the comfort level in the X Access is superior for an outstanding price point.

Beginner Pick | Nordica Cruise 70 Ski Boots

Nordica is one of the best alpine brands you’ll find on the mountain. Their Cruise 70 is the ideal boot for beginner skiers with wide feet. The first thing that stands out in these boots is their last which comes in at 104mm.

104mm is a great width for skiers with wide feet. It provides plenty of room to limit discomfort from a hard day of skiing on the mountain. In addition to the wide last, the Cruise 70 features a Comfort Fit Liner.

The Comfort Fit Liner provides extra padding to take strain off of wide feet. It also features superior insulation technology to keep feet warm throughout the entire day. Warm feet can be just as uncomfortable as boot pinching so insulation should never be a forgotten feature in any model.

Nordica also designed the boots to provide new skiers with a natural feel. They’re built to support you on the slope. This means you won’t have to lean too far forwards or backwards to feel powerful in the model. This is thanks to the four buckles and power strap which are included in the Cruise 70.

It’s rare to find a beginner boot with this design, but Nordica emphasized this when they introduced the Cruise model.

The only issue with this boot is that it won’t be satisfactory as you move up to an intermediate or advanced level. This boot is a true beginner model so assess your goals before purchasing the Cruise 70.

Intermediate Pick | Rossignol Speed 100 Ski Boots

I would describe the Rossignol Speed 100 boots as the Cruise 70 with much more performance capability. A beginner who has graduated from the green trails would love these boots, but they’re a true intermediate model.

The last is 104mm which puts these boots in the wide category. This gives skiers plenty of room, so foot pinching is extremely rare. Someone with big calves may have difficult with the Speed 100. Rossignol made this area of the boot slightly tighter in order to maximize performance.

This is the major complaint with this boot, but they’re made to perform. The Custom T3 liner keeps your feet warm and custom molds to your feet. This gives you an amazing fit, so you’ll feel cozy while tearing up the slopes.

Rossignol did their best to minimize extra material in these boots. They did just that and it’ll be evident for any skier who puts on a pair of the Speed 100. They’re lightweight which helps minimize fatigue on the slopes as well as when you’re just walking around the resort in between runs.

The price is outstanding for what you’re getting in this boot. There are expert skiers that would love to use this boot, so you won’t have to buy a new boot if you want to start going off-piste and explore the backcountry.

Advanced/Competitive Pick | Tecnica Mach Sport EVH 120 Ski Boots

Tecnica boots are a great option for advanced skiers looking to carve on the frontside and shred throughout the backcountry. The Mach Sport EVH 120 Ski Boots have a massive last of 106mm. This is rare for an advanced boot because space typically dulls performance.

Tecnica found a way to emphasize space, but also implement the necessary technology to allow skiers to push the pace all over the resort. The boot is made with four buckles and an intense power strap to lock you into the boot. The power strap acts as a fifth buckle which isn’t the case in many boots with this design.

The shell is customizable so you can adjust specific pressure points if you feel the need. A boot fitter at your local ski shop can customize it to your liking. This is great for performance and comfort for a long day on the mountain.

With a flex of 120, you’ll be able to apply power to these boots in order to fly down any trail. This will also give you superior control through the trees.

If your feet are on the smaller side of wide, you may be swimming in these boots. These boots are also massive in the calf area, so you need to have bigger legs to feel great in these boots.

If you fit these qualifications, you won’t be disappointed with the Tecnica Mach Sport EVH 120 Ski Boots.

What Ski Boot Brands Are Best For Wide Feet?

Some boots are better than others for wide feet. Even though Atomic takes the top spot, I wouldn’t say they emphasize wide feet like other brands in the industry. The Hawx Magna 110 S is a superior boot, but Atomic usually sways towards performance and smaller widths.

Rossignol is a phenomenal brand for wide feet. They make tons of models that any wide footed skier would be happy to wear. Nordica is also a company that features a wide variety of wide models. They also manufacture narrow models as well so do research before making any purchases.

Another great brand for wide boots is Salomon. They are an amazing alpine brand that attempts to maximize performance while keeping skiers’ feet comfortable all day long.

What Skiers With Wide Feet Should Look For When Choosing Ski Boots

The main thing to look for if you’re a skier with wide feet is last size. Last is the width across the forefoot. This is the primary factor that prevents pinching inside ski boots. A wide last is 104-106mm. Most wide boots are usually 104mm.

If you go under 104mm, you could experience some pinching if you have wide feet. You also want to look at the calf volume measurement. This varies for all skiers with wide feet. If you have big calves, you should look for a boot that’s roomy in that region.

If you’re constricted in the calves, this could lead to foot discomfort on the mountain as well.

Finally, you can’t forget about flex rating. Advanced skiers should look for boots with a higher flex rating. This allows you to stay locked in and push the pace down the trail all day long.

Best Skis For Moguls in 2021

Whipping down frontside groomers is always an enjoyable experience, but this can often be mindless for many skiers on the mountain. Some rippers are looking for more of a challenge which has caused moguls to gain popularity with all different types of skiers from beginner to expert.

One awesome part of the bumps is that no run is the same. Moguls vary in shape, spread, and they often aren’t kept up by groomers on the mountain so they can be one gnarly adventure.

Having the right mogul ski can set any skier up for success and that’s why I have you covered with best skis for moguls.

Top Pick | Rossignol Experience 80 with Xpress 11 Bindings

Rossignol designed these skis with the mogul skier in mind. Everything you want in a mogul ski is included in the Experience 80 and they perform extremely well in the bumps.

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They have a narrow 80mm underfoot and the combination of this with their quick response rocker shape makes turning on these skis mindless. This easy turning ability puts you in control of your skis at all times on the slopes.

Turning with ease will help your confidence level in the bumps which will make for a successful trip down the trail.

Rossignol innovated the tip and tail rocker in this ski by slightly flattening each side. The high tip/tail rocker in previous Rossi skis didn’t give skiers great control and this was a complaint in past years.

The company listened and their innovated technology now gives skiers edge ability without fear of slipping which was something nobody wants when traveling through the bumps on previous Rossi models.

The Experience 80 comes with Xpress bindings which cuts down your cost because you won’t have to look for a separate pair. Xpress systems are high quality bindings that pair perfectly with Rossi models.

Even with the bindings included, the price of these skis can’t be beat for the quality that you’re getting when taking mogul runs. My one issue is that these skis don’t operate great in powder. Due to their small underfoot width, you won’t have much floating ability through the freshies.

Despite this, if you want a high-quality mogul ski that comes in at a fair price, the Experience 80 couldn’t be a better match.

Budget Pick | K2 Press Skis

K2 has created a lightweight option for moguls that holds up better than a lot of skis on the market. The technology in this ski is amazing when you factor in the price.

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The Press comes in at a price that other brands can’t compete with and you’re still getting impressive quality in this model.

In the bumps, lightweight planks are important for skiers to experience a playful trip. With the Press Skis, you’ll be able to rip down zipper lines. This is one of the best skis for moguls and K2 can attribute this success to their rocker design.

The rocker in this ski allows skiers to make quick turns. The Press Skis are very responsive, so you’ll be able to change directions without much physical strain on your legs which will keep you going all day long.

Their 86mm underfoot width makes these skis solid on the frontside, but they still struggle in powder just like the Rossignol Experience. This isn’t uncommon for mogul skis because of their unique design, but just keep your goals in mind when choosing a model.

Even though powder can be tough, you’ll still be able to rip on the frontside and take trips to the bumps for a very fair price. For those reasons, the Press was a no brainer for the best budget choice. 

Beginner Pick | K2 Konic 75 with Marker M2 10 Quickclick Bindings

K2 makes great ski models and this caused them to take home the top beginner spot as well. The Konic 75 are the ideal beginner ski on the market this season. First off, they come with a solid pair of bindings which any skier would love.

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Not having to look for bindings makes ski shopping a breeze for beginners so that’s a plus of the Konic 75.

Beginner mogul skiers most likely aren’t going to be spending all day in the bumps so for the beginner choice I also considered how well they perform on the frontside. These skis are amazing on groomers and allow for quick and easy turns.

The maneuverability is unmatched by the Konic 75 in the beginner ski category so new bump riders will have a smooth transition to moguls. The key to sticking with moguls is to not get discouraged so the Konic make rippers want to keep testing themselves on more advanced terrain.

These skis are lightweight and flexible, but sturdy at the same time providing beginners with the best of both worlds. The rocker was made for speed so when you’re ready to push the pace, these skis won’t let you down.

My one issue with the Konic 75 is that they come in at a higher price than a lot of beginner sets. I think they are fairly priced considering what you’re getting, but make sure moguls are something that you really want to try before committing to the Konic 75.

Intermediate Pick | Blizzard Rustler 11

The Blizzard Rustler 11 gives intermediate skiers the best of both worlds. As an intermediate, you’re probably going to want to transition between all different types of mogul trails. This is where the Rustler 11 thrives unlike other models on the market.

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The noticeable different with the Rustler 11 compared to other mogul skis is that the underfoot width is 114mm. That’s massive compared to my other picks on this list and this design makes the Rustler 11 perform the best overall on varying snow conditions.

Powder, soft snow, slush, and pristine conditions are all situations that the Rustler 11 dominates, and I can’t say that about the other skis on this list.

Mogul skis typically aren’t as wide underfoot to create easier turns and allow skiers to have increased maneuverability. The Rustler 11 destroyed this stereotype with elite performance through the bumps.

The rocker in this ski allows for great command in moguls despite the massive underfoot width. You can make quick transitions and the stability allows you to push hard without the fear of catching an edge.

The only issue with these skis is that they are for strong intermediates who are looking to become advanced skiers. I wouldn’t recommend these skis if you’re a new intermediate who doesn’t want to move up levels in the near future.

This ski can grow with the skier, but the large underfoot length can be a little too much to handle for new intermediates. Although, if you’re an intermediate who is confident in your ability to handle bumps and are looking to improve, this ski will be a perfect match for your goals.

Best For Advanced/Competitive Skiers | K2 244

K2 makes the best advanced mogul ski that you’ll find on the mountain in my opinion with their 244 model. The technology is flawless and really gives a competitive advantage to skiers who are familiar with taking trips down rippers.

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If you live for moguls, spend the majority of your day on these trails, or race competitively, the 244 is the best ski you can buy. K2 crushed the design of the 244 and this will make for some happy mogul skiers this season and for many winters to come.

The underfoot measurement comes in at a slender 66mm which is smaller than any ski on this list. For mogul skiing, this couldn’t be more ideal. The ski response you’ll get on the 244 is unlike any other ski on the market.

With such a small underfoot width, getting on edge in the bumps is seamless and will allow you to efficiently maneuver the toughest terrain on the slopes. The skis don’t widen much at the tip and tail which is another benefit for your ability to carve through mounds and have one epic day on mogul terrain.

As far as a mogul ski, there are no major issues with the K2. The company has changed the game with this ski, but if you’re looking to take some trips to the frontside or float for a big powder day, don’t buy this ski.

The 244 is a pure mogul ski that is strictly meant for moguls. It will not give you a great ride outside of the bumps, but if your sole purpose in buying this ski is moguls then you can’t go wrong with this purchase.

What To Look For in Mogul Skis

If none of these skis match your ideal choice for a pair of mogul rippers, there are some categories that you want to focus on when you’re ski shopping. For mogul skis, the fitting process and model build will be slightly different than a traditional all mountain ski.

Length

The traditional length of a ski should be one that ends between your chin and head when held up from the ground. More advanced skiers typically go for longer skis for added power and performance on the mountain.

The measurement for mogul skis should be a little shorter than you would traditional buy in a frontside or all mountain ski. I would recommend going at least one size down from your suggested length to gain maximum control when taking trips through the bumps.

Width

If you notice the characteristics of the skis I listed, they are all very slender when it comes to their underfoot width except for the Blizzard Rustler 11. Wider underfoot widths make quick turns tougher, so mogul skis tend to be made with smaller widths than your traditional models.

If you want to spend all day in the bumps or are a competitive mogul skier choose a smaller underfoot width. If you want to split your time between the bumps and the rest of the mountain, I would go slightly wider so you get better overall performance throughout the entire resort.

Profile

If you want to conquer the bumps, you’ll want to buy a light ski that has a slight tail and tip rocker. If the rocker is too large, this could be trouble in the bumps because it will increase your turn time. With moguls, quick turns are key for success.

For the rest of the profile, underfoot camber is not required for a great mogul ski, but it can be a bonus for increased speed and control so check this style out as well during your ski search.

If you remember these three characteristics and think about your individual goals, you’ll be successfully ripping down the bump all winter long.

Best Skis For A Heavy Skier in 2021

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.

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Happy Skiing!

Best Ski Boots For Moguls in 2020

Ski boots are the most important purchase for any skier looking to have an enjoyable day on the mountain. When we’re talking moguls, a great pair of boots are even more critical because of the terrain difficulty when you’re maneuvering your way through the bumps.

Moguls are the hard mounds of snow that you typically see on expert terrain because they’re the toughest trails to conquer on the mountain.

For this reason, making a decision on the best mogul boot for yourself can be a tough choice because you want to choose a boot that will optimize your performance, but also be comfortable enough for a full day on the slopes.

That’s why I have you covered to make a great purchase if you’re considering a new pair of mogul ski boots this season.

Top Pick | Lange RX 120

Lange has rose to the occasion for mogul skiers by creating the RX 120. This is the best overall boot on the current market. Performance and comfort are the two most critical categories when deciding on a boot for the bumps and Lange doesn’t fall short in either group.

Width: 97 or 100mm

Click below to compare prices and check availability…

This model is designed from Lange’s RS racing boot. Racing boots are all about performance and lack in comfort to get down the mountain as fast as possible. They kept that performance in this boot, but also added an epic level of comfort to keep you smiling all day long.

It has four buckles and a power strap that fastens you into the boot. This design completely locks you in and has a very stiff feel that will allow you to confidently power your way down the toughest terrain.

This boot has a very quick response ability so if you hit an unexpected rough patch on the slopes, you’ll be able to react quickly and successfully make your way down any mogul run.

The performance in this boot is cutting edge, but as I mentioned before it doesn’t sacrifice comfort considering its stiffness rating. It has an innovative fit to appeal to all different foot shapes and its liner couldn’t be more comfortable. It will keep your warm, snug, and happy when your pushing it hard on the bumps.

There are not many flaws with this boot besides its price point. This boot appeals to mogul skiers of all abilities so for some people it may have too high of a price point. Despite this, there are more expensive boots on the market that don’t deliver like the RX 120 and for that reason it’s an easy choice for the top spot on the list.

Budget Option | Nordica Speed Machine 100

Budget choices usually come with some major flaws, but the Speed Machine 100 defies this stereotype. Nordica couldn’t have given us a better boot for the value. These are my current everyday boots and I couldn’t have been happier with them in every outing on the mountain thus far. 

Width: 100mm

The best part about these boots is the comfort level. They have a fairly high stiffness rating, but comfort is what Nordica prides themselves on in all their everyday boots.

Click below to compare prices and check availability…

The liner in the Speed Machine steals the show. It’s extremely soft and warm thanks to PrimaLoft insulation technology. This will keep your feet comfortable all day while pushing hard through the bumps. The liner appeals to all different foot shapes and I haven’t heard anyone who has an issue with the feel of this boot.

Like the RX 120, this boot has four buckles and a power strap, but it doesn’t have the same performance level as the Lange model. You will still be able to respond quickly on the mountain and feel powerful in this boot, but Nordica took a performance hit to deliver on comfort.

This boot appeals to more of a casual skier, but I’ve been skiing for twenty years and I love this model. You won’t feel much of a hit in performance because these boots still allow you to dominate your way down the trail.

To top it all off, the price point on this boot is unreal for what you’re getting in comfort and performance. You won’t find a better budget boot that will give your feet the ability to ski from first chair to the end of the day on any mogul run.

Best For Advanced Skiers | Dalbello Lupo Pro HD

This is an epic boot, but it has an extremely advanced feel. The flex rating is 130 which is a race level stiffness where you’ll feel locked into this boot. You’ll be able to push your skis to the level your heart desires and not be shifting around when you’re powering through any bumps.

Width: 98mm

Click below to check price and availability…

The stiffness can be an advantage for an expert to feel more under control, but if you’re not an expert I wouldn’t consider this boot. The weight of the boot itself is slightly heavy, but they compensated for this with their liner.

The Lupo comes with an ID Max Light liner which keeps your feet surprisingly comfortable considering how much these boots are built to perform. Dalebllo really focused on the feel of this boot to not sacrifice comfort for the high-level of performance and I think they did a good job.

The ID liner also custom forms to your feet for even more relief when you’re pushing hard down the slopes. The liner is another reason that these boots respond very well to the snow under your skis.

The Lupo Pro HD is an amazing boot. It sides more with performance, but every race style boot does this so don’t get discouraged by this fact. What you should possibly get discouraged about is the price point.

These boots can cost you more than a solid pair of skis so keep that in mind. Despite this, if you assess your ski ability and you feel this boot is for you, I know you will not be disappointed.

 

Best For Intermediate Skiers | Atomic Hawx Prime 110 S

I love Atomic gear. I’ve said it in some of my previous gear reviews, but Atomic is an iconic brand that never disappoints. I think that’s why so many skiers on the world level trust this brand.

Width: 100mm

Click below to compare prices and check availability…

The Hawx Prime 110 S give intermediate skiers the ability to cruise through the bumps for a great price point. They’re light boots that have a sturdy feel which allows any skier to push hard on mogul terrain. 

Since Atomic introduced this model, they have been a best seller in the medium foot width category because of everything they’ve packed into this boot. Since last season, they have improved the fit while lowering the weight and expect Atomic to continue this innovation for years to come.

Like most boots, the Hawx have a four-buckle system along with a power strap. At a 110-flex rating, these are right towards the high end of an intermediate skiing ability, but Atomic made these boots skiable for any intermediate on the slopes.

The liner in the Hawx is made from memory foam so it may take a little time to contour to your foot, but after a few trips you’ll feel like these boots were custom shaped for your feet.

The negative of this boot is performance. As you improve, you will want more performance and this boot doesn’t deliver like the Lupo Pro HD. With that being said, the Hawx Prime are nearly half the price and many expert skiers would be happy in this boot.

This boot is great for intermediates and has the ability to grow in performance as a skier improves in the bumps. For that reason, it’s a great choice for all intermediates. 

Runner Up | Salomon S-Pro 100

The Salomon S/Pro 100 is a great boot, but it fell just short of the top spot because it doesn’t live up to the Lange RX in any category. Don’t let that fool you into thinking this isn’t a great boot because it may be a better choice for some skiers on the slopes than the Lange model.

Width: 100mm

Click below to check prices and availability…

The Salomon X Pro series has been very popular and the S/Pro is a better version of this line. The liner can compete with any top-level boot on the market. It will keep your feet warm while eliminating foot pinching in the boot.

They redesigned the shell to lighten the weight of the boot which allows intermediate success on the slopes by giving skiers more control. The 100-flex rating in addition to the four buckle/power strap system is a perfect combination for skiers of all abilities. This model allows predictable control on rough mogul terrain which couldn’t be more important for a safe trip down the trail.

The negative with this boot is that it can compete in comfort with the Lange, but it doesn’t perform nearly as well as the RX 120 and an expert probably wouldn’t be content in this Salomon model. The Lange can grow with a skier’s ability where the S/Pro has a cut-off point when attacking mogul terrain.

With that being said, the S/Pro comes at a slightly lower price than the Lange RX, but this still didn’t sway me from awarding the runner up to the S/Pro.

 

What to Look for in Mogul Ski Boots

There are tons of boots on the market that would thrive in the bumps so if none of the models I mentioned fit you, here’s what you need to look for in a pair of mogul ski boots.

Flex Rating

The first thing to consider with a pair of ski boots for moguls is the flex rating. Moguls come on intermediate/expert terrain so you will need a pair of boots that fit this qualification. In bumps, you want even more control so I would say to begin your boot search at a 100-flex rating.

100-110 is made for an intermediate, 110-120 is an advanced rating and 120-130 is an expert flex. A higher flex means that a boot is stiffer. Stiffness allows for control and power with expert skiers, so a stiffer boot is key for success in moguls.

Height and weight play a role in flex choice as well. A bigger person will want a higher flex to be able to powerfully control their boots.

Flex is recommended by your skiing level and body, but stiffness is really a personal choice. I would recommend testing some boots with varying flex ratings and seeing what you’re comfortable with on the slopes.

Width or Last

Boots are measured in length, but manufacturers also account for foot width. Choosing a boot with the correct width (last is an interchangeable term) is key for all day comfort. You never want boot pinching and correct width choice can prevent this from happening.

There are three categories of last: narrow (97 to 98mm), average (100mm), and wide (102-106mm). I recommend a boot technician at your local ski shop measuring last for you to get the correct fit because this is such a major component for comfort.

Price

I believe price does and should play a huge role in mogul ski boot choice.

Anything that nears $1000 is a very expensive boot so don’t look for models in this ballpark unless you’re an expert. I would say that you can get a great pair of boots for $400 and anything up to $600 is a solid purchase for an intermediate to advanced skier.

You’ll get more technologically advanced features with higher priced boots, but in the end of the day the skier makes the boots. As long as a boot feels powerful enough for you to ski it through the bumps, the skier is the main factor in boot success.  

Don’t let high prices make you think that the boots will make you a better shredder because the skier always makes the equipment.

I hope this was helpful in your search for a perfect boot. If you think about what your goals are as well as your skiing ability, you won’t go wrong with whatever model you choose!

Best Ski Helmet To Prevent Concussions In 2020

Ski helmets are continuing to grow in popularity on the mountain and for good reason. The ski helmets on the market are technologically advanced and do a great job keeping skiers safe on the slopes.

The modern helmets also look awesome so more and more riders are adding these to their alpine gear.

We’re continuing to learn how the long-term side effects of concussions can impact our lives, so ski helmets are a great way of making sure that your head stays protected. Like all ski gear, some brands and models deliver more than others and for something as important as a helmet it’s good to know as much as possible.

That’s why I got you covered to learn about the best ski helmets to prevent concussions on the market today!

Top Pick | Oakley Mod 5 with MIPS Liner

Oakley is known for great ski goggles, but they are also one of the top contenders in the helmet market. The Oakley Mod models burst on to the scene at the winter Olympics when we saw athletes from all over the world rocking this sweet helmet.

There are other similar helmets to the Mod 5 on the market, but Oakley comes in slightly cheaper than other top of the line models which solidifies the top spot on the list.

This helmet is built to protect your head for a very long time. It’s extremely durable and even though it’s slightly heavier than other market models, Oakley did a great job distributing this weight throughout the helmet making it barely noticeable.

When you discuss concussion prevention, Oakley has taken extra steps to ensure skier and rider safety. The shell is built with ABS hard shell material which Oakley claims is like a second skull for impact protection.

The MIPS liner is another added layer of protection. This is optional, but when talking concussion prevention, it’s a great upgrade because it’s a liner that moves independently from the shell to lessen brain impact.

The Mod 5 also comes with a BOA fit system which allows you to custom fit the helmet tightness to your liking.

The Mod 5 includes a lot of protective measures, but this does come with a slight reduction in ventilation ability. The helmet does keep your head warm, but breathability wasn’t as good as other top of the line ski helmets even though it didn’t fall too short.

When we consider concussion prevention though, the Mod 5 takes home the top spot. This is a great helmet and should give you an added layer of confidence to explore the backcountry or push the pace on the frontside.

Budget Option | GIRO Ledge MIPS

The GIRO Ledge MIPS is a great budget choice when picking a helmet that helps prevent concussions. The MIPS liner, which is also featured in the Mod 5, is a lifesaving design for all skiers and riders.

Getting a budget helmet with MIPS is a market premium and should grab your attention. No other helmets on the market deliver like the GIRO Ledge so this model should be considered when you’re looking for a helmet.

MIPS comes at a cost and because this is a budget helmet, it does lack in other categories despite delivering in safety. Before we get into that, lets discuss the features that come with the helmet.

It comes with a goggle strap, a fit system that is manageable for a decent fit, and removeable ear pads. For me, removeable ear pads are a plus because I like wearing a beanie under my helmet and this helps with comfort for that look.

It’s got a skate design so extreme shredders will fall in love with the look and GIRO offers a lot of colors.

Unfortunately, this helmet doesn’t fit as naturally as other budget helmets and the material on the inside isn’t as comfortable as I would’ve hoped.

This helmet secured top budget pick because it can compete in the safety department with top priced models for a fraction of the price.

Best Helmet for Kids | GIRO Launch MIPS

GIRO really does pride themselves on safety and that’s why they include MIPS in most of their helmet designs. Finding a youth helmet with MIPS isn’t easy to do, but when we talk about kids there’s a lot of other factors to consider.

Kids fall a lot and are often reckless on the mountain, so safety is a parent’s primary concern. This is the safest youth helmet on the market in my opinion.

It has a tough polycarbonate shell and GIRO’s construction fuses this with the inside protective liner which allows for breathability, protection, and comfort.

Kids want to stay cool on the mountain and this helmet has superior ventilation for a youth model. It also has a dial fitting system which is easy to adjust so your child can fix their helmet easily on their own which will maken your family day run smooth.

Kids also want to look stylish on the slopes and the GIRO Launch looks like a helmet for a little shredder. They have a variety of neon colors that come in a matte finish. Your kids will love it and you’ll be able to locate them easily if you let them ski ahead.

The one negative with this helmet is the price point. It’s an expensive helmet for a child, but it delivers when talking about concussion prevention so it’s a clear winner of the best youth ski helmet for my list.

Runner Up | Smith Vantage MIPS

The Smith Vantage MIPS can throw punches with the Mod 5. It’s a very similar model and lives up to the hype in every category that you’d want in a helmet. The reason it falls just short on my list is because it’s slightly more expensive than the Mod 5.

The Smith Vantage is winner when it comes to concussion prevention. The shell is constructed with Honeycomb Aerocore technology as well as the MIPS integrated liner. This is first class in the safety department.

The Smith helmet also shines in comfortability. It’s light and is actually easy to forget that it’s even on your head. This is a testament to the soft liner that they have implemented in this helmet.

The ventilation on this helmet can’t be beat. It has 21 total air vents which is 13 more than the Oakley Mod 5. This eliminates stale air and heat being trapped in your helmet which will lead to added comfort on the mountain.

The Vantage is equipped with a BOA system which is standard for top model helmets, but it’s still important to note and a great selling point that Smith highlights.

The style of this helmet isn’t my first choice, but lots of skier love the vibe of the Smith Vantage.

There isn’t a lot of bad in this helmet. I know if you purchase it you will love it for a very long time. Its price point is steep though and Oakley is doing it just as well for a better price. If ventilation is your number one concern though, this is the helmet that you should buy.

Although, I’m focusing on concussion prevention and the Mod 5 is just as capable in that area as the Vantage which puts this model as a close runner up.

What to Look for When Choosing a Helmet?

From color to style, there are some helmet qualities that really are a personal choice. Despite this, I believe there are some areas that we all should look for when choosing a helmet.

The helmets on this list are my favorite, but if you don’t think any of these styles would be best for you, here’s what you should try to find in your next ski helmet.

MIPS Protection System

If you noticed a theme throughout this review, every helmet I listed had a MIPS protection system. This is a deal breaker for me, and I will not wear a helmet that doesn’t have this protective system.

MIPS stands for multi-directional Impact Protection System. For certain impacts, the MIPS system can reduce harmful forces transmitted to the brain. MIPS a pioneering helmet protection addition and it’s an added safety measure in some helmets.

MIPS comes with a price increase in helmets, but I believe in this system, so it doesn’t bother me when I buy a helmet.

I believe that you can never be too careful on the slopes and MIPS gives me confidence that I can push myself on tough terrain.

This isn’t a necessary feature, but more helmets are adding MIPS to their models so definitely consider checking out a helmet with this added safety measure.

Comfort, Warmth, and Breathability

Obviously, protection doesn’t mean much if our head isn’t comfortable. When looking for a helmet, you need to find one that you can wear for a full day on the slopes. That means it keeps you warm, but cool at the same time and it doesn’t strain your body.

If you can forget that you’re wearing a helmet, it’s a great choice. A great liner adds comfort and extra ventilation allows you to stay cool when you’re working hard on the mountain.

Breathability is measured by how many vents are on a helmet. Not everyone needs a lot of vents to stay cool so comfort comes down to a personal choice.

You also don’t want a helmet that’s too heavy because that will be a chore to wear all day long. You need to find a sweet spot between lightness and protection for an epic fit.

I can’t tell you what helmet will feel good on your head, but I can tell you that you want one that you won’t mind wearing on the chair lift, in the trails, or when you’re shredding a frontside groomer.

Goggle Compatibility

Your helmet choice can change depending on your goggle style. You want a helmet that supports your specific goggles because this can be uncomfortable if they don’t pair well.

Every helmet says they have great goggle integration, but I recommend trying goggles on with the helmet to make sure it’s a smooth fit before you make any purchase.

Goggles squeezing against your eyes can often be worse than a helmet that doesn’t fit just right.

There’s a lot of helmets on the market and they all offer different features. Some have removable ear pads and others have audio capability. These are all smaller additions, but I think a helmet’s primary function should be safety followed by comfort.

Use those two categories first to eliminate outliers and then factor in the minor features that you’d want in a helmet.

If you do that, I know you’ll be one happy skier no matter what terrain you choose to tackle.

See you on the slopes!

Why Do Skiers Wax Their Skis?

Ski waxing is critical for mountain success, but it’s often overlooked by a majority of skiers who spend a lot of time on the slopes.

Skiers wax their skis in order to decrease the friction of the skis on the snow. Many people think ski waxing is unnecessary because snow is believed to always be slippery, but waxed skis can help improve movement on varying snow conditions as well as prolong ski life.

What Does Ski Wax Do?

Ski wax does a lot for skiers of all abilities. When you’re flying down trails, wax helps your skis perform efficiently. Friction decreases speed so the goal of wax on the mountain is to allow your skis to slide with limited friction.

Waxing may not seem critical on a perfect powder day or when you’re attacking a perfect groomer, but as conditions get worse wax plays a pivotal role.

When snow gets really slushy, it’s very hard to pick up speed and make turns down the trail. There aren’t many days where you experience perfect conditions from first to last chair so it’s always smart to have waxed skis.

The wax will create a more enjoyable ride for the times of the day when snow conditions get challenging.

Wax also helps with ski longevity. This is more critical than performing well in my opinion because skis are an investment. Ski prices can venture north of $1,000 so you want to make sure that you make them last and waxing is the best way for this to happen.

Friction destroys surfaces so even though snow may seem like it doesn’t grind your ski bases, it takes its toll over time. Friction on snow causes your skis to dry out which will decrease the time that they’ll be safe to use on the mountain.

If you’ve ever had a pair of skis where the bottoms were fading from their original color, this means that your skis were drying out. As they continue to fade, skis can actually shrink which can cause them to get brittle and lose their performance ability.

Another fact about waxing that skiers often forget is that wax helps with carving capability. Wax provides a layer of protection against moisture so you’ll be able to make sharper turns for a longer period of time because your edges will take longer to dull.

Wax is needed to keep the skis healthy and performing well so don’t think waxing is a waste of your time even if you’re not the most advanced skier.

Do You Need to Wax Your Skis?

Yes, yes, and yes again. The answer to this question will always be yes because as I mentioned before wax prolongs ski life and helps make epic turns on all trails.

Consistent waxing isn’t necessary for someone that makes two trips to the mountain per year, but if you make an investment in skis it’s a great idea to take care of them. Skis are meant to last so if your skis become brittle and you haven’t been waxing, that’s the primary reason.

Before I knew the importance of ski waxing, I never did it to any of my skis. I would always see my dad doing it to his skis, but the importance didn’t register in my mind.

I was 16 years old skiing on a pair of skis I owned for probably 4 years and I hit a spring day where the whole mountain was loaded with corn snow. I could barely slide on the snow and I had no speed at all.

By the end of the day when my friends were blowing me off the mountain, I realized how important ski waxing was for long term success so please take my advice, so this doesn’t happen to you on the mountain.

Do You Need to Wax New Skis?

Brand new skis don’t need to be waxed, but I recommend that you still wax them to set yourself up for long term success. Skis typically come pre waxed, but you never know how long ago this wax took place in the factory.

Factory wax most likely has already dried out once you get your new skis so it’s a good idea to wax to create epic early runs. Old wax will slow you down and it will contribute to your skis drying out so it’s not necessary, but I still recommend waxing a new pair of skis.

Waxing will only help ski longevity and performance so never fear a tune up. I don’t wax my skis every trip, but I try to wax them once every couple of weeks and depending on expected terrain, I may add an additional wax to make sure I’m sliding with ease.

Choosing the Right Type of Wax

Ski waxes come in various styles for different conditions and performance desires. Choosing the right ski wax can be tough because of the vast amount of possibilities on the market.

The most common type of ski wax is block wax. This lasts the longest amount of time and it’s the best base wax for great mountain performance. You heat it up with an iron and then distribute it evenly across the bottom of your skis. Once it cools you have to scrape it off the ski base and you’ll be ready to attack the trails.

Block wax is the long-term wax solution, but there’s many other products that provide speed and health, but don’t last nearly as long.

Liquid wax is applied to skis with a cloth. This can be applied over block wax for added performance, but this is unnecessary unless you’re competing in a race. This is easier to apply, but it only provides a day or two of protection on the mountain so don’t mistake the longevity of liquid wax for block wax.

Paste wax is similar to liquid wax, but it’s even easier to use. It doesn’t need to be heated and all a skier has to do is buff it into the bottom of their skis. It doesn’t last nearly as long as block wax, but it’s a great choice when you have time constraints, or you just want a quick tune up for your epic day of shredding.

Powder and spray wax are two other types of waxes on the market. These should be applied as additives to your base wax because I’ve learned that they’re really just speed enhancers. Don’t rely on these two types for long term protection.

When choosing a wax, always start with block wax. It’s the number one way to keep your skis healthy and performing efficiently.

Wax is critical for skiers of all abilities and once you do it for the first time, you’ll experience a notable increase in sliding ability while getting the most out of your purchase for years to come.

Best Skis For Tree Skiing (In 2020)

Shredding a nice groomer first thing in the morning just feels good on your skis, but a lot of mountains offer great terrain on more than just the frontside. Not everyone dares to venture into the trees, but the backcountry can be filled with playful terrain that’s even more satisfying than a frontside groomer.

Your decision to go off the trail and get in the trees is a huge because that means you’re a daring skier that has made the choice to explore.

Frontside carvers are great on the groomers, but definitely aren’t your best option for taking your first trip to the backcountry. So, if you want to take a gnarly trip off the groomed trails, keep reading to find out my picks for the skis that will you give you the best ride for tree skiing.

Top Pick | Nordica Enforcer 94

When Nordica introduced their Enforcer series a few years back, the alpine community went crazy for these skis. Any Nordica Enforcer is the real deal and the updates that Nordica has made this year with the 94 is top of the line.

Dimensions: 127-94-115.5mm
Turn Radius: 17.1m

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The Nordica Enforcer has been my primary ski for the past two years and it doesn’t disappoint. Anyone I’ve talked to on the mountain who uses Enforcers say the same thing…These skis are legit. Let’s find out why!

When you explore trees and ungroomed parts of the mountain, you’re going to want control and a ski that can turn. The Enforcer 94 can do just that and do it better than their previous best-selling models.

The Enforcer can get on edge quick and make sharp turns, but also still sweep long and fast down the trail. Its turn radius is 17.1m which is low for an all mountain ski, so this performs well when the trails get tight. This ski is very lightweight, especially in the tips, so it gives you the ability to make quick turns when needed.

Even though this ski is easy to turn and lightweight, you can still power it down the mountain. It has a great high-quality build which is no surprise because Nordica doesn’t disappoint in this department. In the new 94 there are two sheets of Titanal, a new carbon fiber chassis, and an extended wood core which really allows you to push these skis harder than other responsive models.

Even though you’ll want to take a trip to the trees with the Enforcers, you’re not giving up any quality on frontside groomers. This ski performs well all over the mountain.

There’s really not a lot of negative that comes with this ski. My only complaints would be that even though the tips are responsive, the tail can be slightly stiff which will hurt you in really soft snow. This isn’t the best ski for a lot of powder days, but it still has an above average ride in those conditions considering it has a 94mm underfoot.

For the price and quality, this ski can’t be beat and that’s why it’s sitting at the top of the list!

Budget Option | Line Sick Day 88

The price point of skis with all mountain capability that can provide a great ride in the trees is more expensive than a ski with less capability. I don’t know how Line did it with their Sick Day model, but they have changed the game with this ski at the price they’re offering.

Dimensions: 127-88-113mm
Turn Radius: 17.4m

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Skis that are lower in price typically don’t give you the feel that Line has done with the Sick Day 88. It has the design of a frontside ski, but provides a fun and playful option in the trees.

It’s a great ski for someone making their way up the ranks from beginner to intermediate as it provides a lot of control, it’s easy to turn, and it’s very forgiving on soft snow. At a 17.4m turn radius you’ll be able to control the ski, but by design it will take a little more power to get on edge on hard snow.

The lightweight design is a plus when maneuvering through the trees, but we need to remember that this is a budget ski. If you’re looking for a model with a super long lifespan, you’re not going to get it with the Sick Day 88.

Despite the life, the ski will be your best friend on the mountain when you’re tearing up the trees.

It’s not a great ski for a powder day and I found it somewhat unresponsive as trail difficulty rose, but overall Line crushed this ski for an amazing price point.

It’s the best budget ski on the market and you’ll be able to add bindings and boots for the price of other skis if you purchase the Line Sick Day 88.

Best for Advanced Tree Skiing | Salomon QST 106

The QST 106 is an expert ski that delivers in the trees. Salomon tends to be a little pricier, but they deliver with quality and if you’re an advanced skier looking for a playful responsive ski in the backcountry the QST 106 is your perfect companion.

Dimensions: 138-106-124mm
Turn Radius: 18m

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Stability has been something that Salomon has been trying to perfect in the past few years. They totally did this with the QST model and made it the ski that all advanced skiers were craving.

The body of this ski still features the popular wood core. Some material changes have been made in the tips and tails for added performance, but the redesigned ski shape is what really caught my attention.

Salomon cut down their tip and tail taper which traditionally makes turning a little tougher, but it adds stability when the mountain throws you an inevitable rough section. These are advanced skis though, so the slight shape change isn’t detrimental and has been called a benefit by many skiers who have tested this model on the mountain.

These skis are still able to turn just as easy as older models and hold up well when the backcountry gets choppy. Powder days are fun with the QST 106mm underfoot design. You have the ability to get on edge quick which is surprising with this big of a waist width, sweep down the mountain on the frontside, and feel totally in control in tough tree terrain.

This model was built slightly heavier than the previous QST as well which gives you true all mountain capability.

So, what’s the problems with this ski. First off, they are an investment especially when considering the added price of bindings and boots. Price is the toughest part of this ski and if you’re an advanced skier who puts in the time off the trails, these skis are worth the investment.

Best for Intermediate Skiers | Volkl Kendo 88

The Volkl Kendo is the ideal ski for intermediate skiers looking to take their skis to the trees. It’s a great ski for someone looking to start shredding off the groomers.

Dimensions: 129-88-111mm
Turn Radius: 17m

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With that said, it’s engineered to shred on the frontside with ease which is positive for an intermediate skier because you want to still be able to comfortably push hard on the frontside.

This ski is stable and chattering is very minimal for rough conditions. There’s obviously give and take so this ski isn’t the most playful on the market. With that said, edging is still mindless, and you feel in control at all times which results in a wide range of epic turns.

At an 88mm underfoot, this ski operates surprisingly well in moderate powder days. In light powder, this ski absolutely shreds. It’s a great ski to continue honing your craft on the mountain.

Volkl cut the weight of this ski down which made it more forgiving and easier to turn than past models. Despite the lightness of the ski, stability wasn’t compromised.

The tip and tail are slightly curved with a camber underfoot. This design makes this ski able to make any turn your heart desires. Now does it make every turn perfect…Of course not, but it’s a great all mountain ski that thrives in the tress for an intermediate skier.

While this ski has improved in firm snow, it still struggles which is a downfall. I also wish it was a little more playful on the mountain, but its turning capability in all areas is still pretty epic so this doesn’t bother me too much.

If you’re looking for a great intermediate tree ski that will make you a better skier this is a perfect model.

If you’re just getting started, check out our guide to the best skis for beginners.

Runner-Up | Blizzard Rustler 9

For me, when I think of tree skiing Blizzard always come to mind. I don’t know why, but this company creates some really great gear that I feel goes under the radar.

Dimensions: 127.5-94-117mm
Turn Radius: 17m

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I couldn’t create this list and not find a spot for the Blizzard Rustler 9. This ski should start on the feet of an intermediate skier, but I believe that an advanced skier would be just as pleased with this model.

In the past, Blizzards all mountain capability was positioned more towards the frontside, but the Rustler 9 ended that reputation.

This ski is defined by playfulness and it’s ability to make quick poppy turns whenever your heart desires. It has three available underfoot widths, but for control in the trails I would stick with the 94mm waist width.

The playfulness isn’t as noticeable with the larger underfoot widths and the ski loses its all mountain control with the bigger sizes. Powder won’t be your best friends with the 94mm underfoot, but you’ll also be able to maneuver it while still having all the other capability that the Rustler 9 offers.

If you are in more powder skiing areas consider moving up a size, but this ski isn’t as fun with a larger underfoot.

The metal underfoot design allows you to push hard when you want, and the tips are also very light which makes life easy in rough snow. If you’re looking for an epic day on the mountain, this is a great choice. 

The reason it fell to a runner up spot is because its solid all around, but doesn’t shine like some of the other skis on the list. Don’t let that statement fool you though because this is an awesome ski and I look forward to seeing what Blizzard does in the future because of the excitement that this model generated in the alpine community.

What to Look for in Tree Skis

You can’t go wrong with any ski on this list depending on your goals. Although, if you don’t feel any of these skis are a great fit here’s what you need to look for in your next pair of shredders.

Underfoot or Ski Width

Underfoot or ski width is measured in millimeters at the narrowest part of your ski. Depending on ability and where you’re skiing you should look for a pair of skis that have an 80-110mm underfoot length.

There are some tradeoffs to take into account. A larger underfoot length allows you to float more in powder and dominate loose snow. The lower the underfoot length, the better the ski will operate on hard packed snow.

In the trees you’ll encounter a whole bunch of different conditions. You truly never know what you’re going to get, but think about the weather in the area you typically ski and that should give you some ideas of your local backcountry conditions.

If you know powder isn’t prominent where you live like in the East, I would recommend staying below 100mm for tree skiing. There’s no secret formula for any skier though and this should be based off the type of skis that you feel comfortable with under your feet.

Mixed Camber/Rocker Design

Mixed camber/rocker designs are very popular in skiing now because they provide the best of both worlds. Camber, the half-moon shape that rises under your feet, is awesome for groomers. Rocker is when the tips of the skis are raised on either end which is great in tougher snow conditions.

The combination of these two designs creates skis with an epic ride that can thrive in any tree situation. I would look for a ski with a mixed design because this is most versatile option on the market for different snow types that may arise on the mountain.

Turn Radius

The turn radius refers to the shape of the ski. The measurement is based off the tip, waist, and tail dimensions and is listed in meters. When the tip/tail is significantly wider than the waist, the turn radius will be shorter, and this is typically seen on skis designated for carving.

A shorter turn radius is great in the trees because you’ll need to make quick maneuvers instead of long sweeping turns. A longer turn radius also gives you more control on tough snow.

I would personally look for a turn radius between 16-20m so you get great turning ability in the trees, but also can bomb down open areas and still shred on the frontside.

All Mountain Versatility

Skiing in the trees is a lot of fun because it allows you to explore. Even though the unmarked trails are great, that doesn’t mean you’ll never hit the frontside again.

There will be days when you want to push hard on the frontside so my recommendation with tree skis would be to look for a model with true all mountain capability.

Every ski on my list has all mountain capability, but some were better than others in different areas. Assess your goals and that will help you make a great decision on what categories you want to excel in and where you want to take a hit.

I will always say that the fancy technology in skis makes a difference, but the skier makes the ski more than the ski makes the skier.

Ski shopping can be overwhelming, but always remember that statement and you’ll be a pro!

Best Skis For Beginners in 2020

So, you’ve made the choice to buy your first pair of skis. This is a huge milestone in your ski career and it’s a big choice because a pair of skis can last a really long time.

In 2020, as skiing technology continues to grow there are lot of skis on the market that could potentially be a great choice for your first pair of shredders. Despite this, due to the number of skis on the market this can be a very confusing process, but I have you covered for the best types of beginner skis you can buy today.

Top Pick | Rossignol Experience 76 with Xpress 11 Bindings

The Rossignol Experience is the beginner ski we’ve always wanted, but never have truly gotten before from any company. At a 76mm underfoot, you’ll be shredding groomers and still have solid control when an unexpected powder day arises or at the end of the day when conditions may get a little sloppy.

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Dimensions: 123-76-109mm
Turn radius: 15m

It’s light weight and has the ability to turn with ease on the mountain. The flex on this ski makes it very forgiving while making turns. From the very first time you lock into this binding, you’ll feel that you control this ski.

It has a mixed rocker/camber design which will allow you to cruise down the mountain, make great turns, and carve with control. The low tip rocker combined with a 15m turn radius made these skis perfect for carving. With the Experience’s you’ll make nice turns with ease and that was a huge factor that put these skis as the top pick on the list.

Because of all the great technological advances that come with this ski, you won’t be having to buy a new pair next season. The Rossignol Experience 76 are a true beginner ski that have the capability to progress with your ability and still provide an epic ride down the mountain.

The Xpress 11 bindings were also a reason this ski landed the top spot. A lot of skis are adding integrated bindings which makes it so easy to fit any boot to a particular ski. At the beginner level, I think integrated bindings are a huge benefit, so these Rossi’s didn’t disappoint in that category.

If you have the intention of staying on groomers, this ski can’t be beat. The one downside I see with this ski is that when it comes to all mountain capability, it could be better. Despite this, it still provides you with a solid ride when conditions aren’t perfect.

The price point is faintly higher because of all the features that are included in this ski, but overall the slight expense is minimal when you breakdown the value of the Experience 76.

Best Budget Option | K2 Press Skis

The K2 Press Skis are a true beginner ski with a lot of positives. They’re very easy to handle on the mountain and you will feel in control of this ski most of the time. This ski also has a lot of flex which can be a positive for beginner skiers.

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Dimensions: 111-86-106mm
Turn radius: 19m

Big turns will come with a lot of forgiveness, but it can often be too much forgiveness. These are the type of skis that are so light, it could potentially be a negative for a more powerful skier.

You’ll be able to carve on the frontside and explore the trails off the beaten path because of the skis 86mm underfoot design which is a positive. This is an all mountain ski, but it doesn’t sacrifice too much for frontside groomers which is a benefit.

However, the ability to explore the entire mountain brings some negatives on the frontside. This ski is meant for sweeping turns which is the most common turn for a beginner, but if your skill level improves and you start pushing the pace, don’t be surprised if you catch an edge every once in a while.

I do like these skis, but we need to take them for what they’re worth. It’s a great budget choice. The Press Skis don’t come with integrated bindings, but adding a decent pair will still give you a full set for a great price point.

If you want to progress rapidly, this ski isn’t for you because you’ll be back at the ski shop very soon. This is a great ski for someone looking to stay at the beginner level for a while and really get comfortable with the basics before advancing to tougher terrain.

Runner-Up | Atomic Vantage 86 C

Ever since I took my first ride on an Atomic Ski at 11 years old, I fell in love with this company. Atomic is one of those brands that’s iconic in the ski industry.

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Dimensions: 123-86-107mm
Turn radius: 18.2m

If you’re looking for a high-quality ski that doesn’t break the bank, but still delivers on the mountain the Atomic Vantage 86 C is for you! Let’s get into the details.

This is a true all mountain ski. I can’t express this enough. With an 86mm underfoot, this ski is a great introduction to getting off groomers and exploring the whole mountain. This could be a positive or negative depending on where you live and if you get a lot of powder, but this ski is the real deal at a great price point. 

Its tip rocker is higher than a lot of other beginner skis which will allow you to float on powder, but still throw down some sharp turns on the intermediate groomers. At an 18.2m turning radius, the Atomic Vantage 86 C is sitting right at the middle spot of what you look for in an all mountain ski.

There’s a lot of good, but let’s talk about the negative. First, this ski doesn’t come with integrated bindings and that immediately takes this ski off the top spot. A good pair of bindings is going to make this ski a little pricier than I’d like, but the quality is solid, so I had to put it as a runner up.

If you’re looking for an all mountain ski this is a great choice, but you are going to give up some responsiveness on groomed trails. This ski turns easily for moderate to large turns, but if you’re looking for a pure frontside carver this ski isn’t the best option.

Best Lightweight Beginner Ski | Head V-Shape V4 with PR10 Bindings

The Head V-Shape V4 ski was MADE for the frontside. I personally love this ski because I stick to groomers more than the woods, but there are some beginners that want to venture off the frontside. Let’s see what this ski has to offer!

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Dimensions: 132-73-113mm
Turn radius: 12.5m

First off, it’s my pick for best lightweight ski and for good reason. When you’re looking at a lightweight ski, you need to be careful. Some skis can be too light for the rider, but the Head V-Shape V4 crushes it for every type of beginner rider.

The rocker on this ski is moderate and it has a 12.5 m turn radius. This ski has the ability to carve down the mountain. On the frontside, you’ll feel like you have control, but I wouldn’t recommend venturing off the beaten path with this ski.

Even though it’s lightweight, it still delivers in the stiffness department. Some lightweight skis flex like crazy which can be detrimental depending on the rider. These have a nice moderate flex to someone who wants skis with power and others who want to just go for a nice ride down the trail.

The flaw with this ski is that it doesn’t grow with the skier. As your ability improves and you want to pick up speed with a larger turn radius, this ski can’t deliver. It’s lower than the traditional low-end turn radius of a frontside carver so take this ski for what it’s worth.

It comes with integrated bindings which is a benefit no matter what ski you buy so that’s a plus. This ski, like the K2 Press would be a great choice for someone looking to stay at a beginner level for an advanced period.

This ski is very stable, but its life won’t be long if your skills on the mountain improve quickly. Despite this, for a true beginner ski, Head crushed the technology and for that reason it had to make the list.

Best Transition Beginner Ski | Salomon QST 92

Let me start this review off by saying Salomon never disappoints. I’d recommend anything they produce because the amount of care that goes into their products is amazing.

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Dimensions: 130-92-113mm
Turn radius: 17m

The QST 92 isn’t a pure beginner ski, but if you feel that you’re an athlete that wants to progress quickly, this ski could be the perfect match. Let’s break it down.

92mm underfoot is pretty big for a beginner, but it’s nothing that an athlete can’t handle especially if you go with a shorter ski length. Due to the increased underfoot size, there could be a small learning curve at first on the frontside.

Once you get good on the groomers and venture to uncharted terrain this ski will become your best friend. I wouldn’t recommend this ski unless you were serious about improving because it’s definitely on the stiffer end of the scale. Stiff isn’t forgiving like the previous flexier options that I listed.

The stiffness will be a benefit when you start to push harder down the mountain, but don’t consider this ski as a beginner unless you want to move up quickly.

It also doesn’t come with an integrated binding system so these skis will be an investment, but they can be worth it if you’re willing to struggle early for a better ride down the road!

Even though there may be a learning curve, you have the ability to shred on the frontside and venture to backcountry successfully with the Salomon QST 92.

What a Beginner Should Look For When Choosing Skis

There are obviously great skis on the market that didn’t make my list. If none of these skis end up coming to the mountain with you, here’s a brief guide for what beginners should look for in their first pair of skis!

Turn Radius

Turn radius is the shape of a ski determined by its tip, waist, and tail width, usually expressed in meters. All the small details of turn radius aren’t too important for a beginner, but a beginner should traditionally look for a smaller turning radius.

A smaller turn radius equates to skis that are meant for carving on the frontside. The frontside is the trails that are in good condition on the mountain. As your turn radius increases, the skis are designed to go off the beaten path.

The width of the tips and tails increase for the rough patches encountered out on natural terrain which causes the turn radius to rise.

Most beginners are only staying on the frontside, but there are some who desire to get off the trail and explore. 16m and under is a great radius for a beginner, but it’s okay to go bigger depending on your goals. The maximum radius I would consider as a beginner is 22m, but even that can be tough to control for someone new to the mountain.

Ski Length and Underfoot Width

Ski length combined with underfoot width are two important beginner concerns for ski control. Smaller underfoot width and shorter skis equal more control on the frontside, but these skis won’t perform nearly as well in the backcountry.

For a point of reference, a 5’10” skier has a recommended ski length of 170-179cm. If you’re a beginner, a shorter ski will give you more control, but as people progress in the sport they tend to go with longer skis for increased speed.

Once you gain confidence over your skis, length and underfoot play a smaller role. As a beginner though, the ability to confidently make turns is huge for long term success.

Ski underfoot, or waist width, is measured at the narrowest point of the ski. A narrower waist width makes for easier turns, but a larger underfoot performs better in tough conditions.

A beginner should assess their goals and the terrain they’d like to ski when deciding on a specific model. It’s easy to learn with a narrower waist so I would recommend that a beginner goes as narrow as possible.

If you do choose a narrow underfoot and you have backcountry dreams, don’t think that the ski will prevent you from venturing off of the groomers. It may not perform like a wider model, but a confident skier trumps a ski model any day of the week.

Ski Flex

Flex, like length and waist is better at a lower level for a beginner skier. Flex can be measured at every point in the ski and for more advanced models these numbers are often provided. For a beginner, you should worry about flex on a comprehensive 1-10 scale.

On the scale, 1 is the most flexible option while 10 is the least flexible choice. I would say beginners who want to ski aggressively can venture slightly above a 5, but a skier who wants to be a little more cautious on the slopes should find a pair of skis below a 5.

Body size should also be factored into this equation. A person with a bigger body could afford a stiffer ski and not see any downfalls so take this into consideration as well when making your purchase.

Price

Price always plays a factor in our decisions and it should be considered as a beginner making your first ski purchase.

I think some other questions need to be asked when thinking about price:

  1. How much am I going to use this equipment?
  2. How long do I want this equipment to last?
  3. What are my skiing goals?

The answers to these questions are going to determine how much you want to spend on a pair of skis.

In my experience and from what I have seen, I think you can get a great pair of beginner skis for $500 or less. The ranges vary with this, but as a brand-new skier I would try to get a complete set of skis and bindings for under $500.

Depending on your goals you can deviate to either side of this price point, but I think $500 will get you a great set of skis that you can use for years to come!

That covers your basic beginner guide on ski shopping. I wish you the best with your purchase and I hope to see you on the mountain.