Your skis are the reason you’re on the mountain – and a poor decision in your purchase can make your day on the slopes much harder than it needs to be. Whether you stick to the groomed runs or prefer to be waist-deep in powder, the best downhill skis for your type of skiing will make you feel like you’re gliding with flair and style.

Skis aren’t something you can ‘grow into’ so you don’t want to buy something too advanced for your level, or you might find yourself struggling to turn and wanting to stay inside the cafe for the day.

Here at The Adventure Junkies, we want to make your decision-making easier when it comes to choosing the right ski gear. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to choose the best downhill skis and show you our selection of the best models of the year.

 

 

FREE BONUS! Click here to download the AJ Quick Starter Guide To Snow Sports

 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST DOWNHILL SKIS

PICTURE
DOWNHILL SKIS
BEST FOR
WIDTH
TYPE OF SKIING
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
DOWNHILL SKIS
BEST FOR
WIDTH
TYPE OF SKIING
PRICE
RATING
Nordica Enforcer 93
Overall
93mm
Groomed + Powder
$$
4.8
Salomon QST 99
Affordable
99mm
Groomed + Powder
$$
4.7
Rossignol Soul 7 HD
Affordable
106mm
Groomed + Powder
$$$
4.8
Armada JJ 2.0
Powder
117mm
Powder
$$
4.9
Line Sick Day 110
Powder
110mm
Powder
$$$
4.8
Head Total Joy
Women's
84mm
Groomed
$$$
4.7
COALITION SNOW OS
Coalition Snow SOS
Women's
105mm
Groomed + Powder
$$
4.9
Rossignol Experience 77
Beginner
77mm
Groomed
$
4.5
Atomic Vantage 85
Beginner
85mm
Groomed
$
4.5
DPS Wailer Backcountry
Backcountry
99mm
Backcountry
$$$
4.8

 

 

DOWNHILL SKIS 101

 

6 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST DOWNHILL SKIS

 

1. TYPE OF SKIING

Where will you be skiing most of the time? There are four basic types of skis, depending on type of skiing you want to do. All-mountain, wide all-mountain, powder and backcountry skis. Different snow and skiing conditions will determine what kind of ski is best suited for your style. If you know you’ll be skiing on mostly groomed runs, choose an all-mountain ski.

 

 

2. WIDTH

Now that you’ve decided what kind of skis you want, you can pay attention to the width of ski. If you know you’ll be skiing in lots of powder, choose a fat ski with a width of over 100mm. Skis with a width in the 89-99mm range are ideal all-mountain skis but can transition to some powder. Under 89mm is best for groomed runs and resort skiers.

 

 

3. LENGTH

 Shorter skis are easier to turn and therefore more appealing to beginner skiers. Experienced skiers tend to want extra length for more aggression. As a rule of thumb, if you stand up a pair of skis, they should reach somewhere between the chin and top of the head for a skier. Beginners should choose skis closer to the chin while advanced skiers can have longer skis closer to the top of the head.

 

 

4. PROFILE

Skis typically come in three different profiles – camber, rocker and flat. Some skis combine all three profiles.

 

CAMBER

Camber is best described as the the arc in the ski. Think of it like suspension. If you place a ski on the ground and look at it from the size, you’ll notice the curve like an arch.

 

ROCKER

Rocker is known as reverse camber, as it looks like an upside down camber.

 

FLAT

A flat ski is reasonably self explanatory in that the main part of the ski lies flat against the snow. High level skiers tend to prefer camber, while rocker skis offer better ‘float’ in powder conditions. Flat skis offer easier transitions.

 

 

5. GENDER

 Typically women have a lower centre of gravity which makes the turning point different to most men. While there’s no reason why women can’t use a generic ski, a women’s specific ski is often lighter and easier to turn. But don’t get us wrong – advanced women’s skis can still offer the same aggressive turning as men’s skis.

 

 

6. STYLE

 The very last consideration is what you want your skis to look like. If you’re determined to have a coordinated style on the slopes for your Instagram page, then you can consider different colors and designs to match your ski boots and outerwear. Different years of the same ski models can change in design so a 2015 ski may look completely different to the same 2017 model.

 

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/dell640

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/dell640

 

DOWNHILL SKIS REVIEWS

 

1. BEST OVERALL DOWNHILL SKI

NORDICA ENFORCER 93

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Groomed runs and some powder. Intermediate to expert.

WOMEN’S VERSION: Nordica Santa Ana 93

WIDTH: 93mm

PROFILE: Tip and tail rocker

PROS: Good for groomed runs, tapered tip design

CONS: Not quite wide enough for lots of powder

 

 

 

 

2. BEST AFFORDABLE DOWNHILL SKIS

SALOMON QST 99

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Groomed and powder for intermediate skiers

WOMEN’S VERSION: Salomon GST 99 Lumen

WIDTH: 99mm

PROFILE: Tip and tail rocker

PROS: A good width to take you from groomed to powder, lightweight, good price for a well-constructed ski for an intermediate to advanced skier

CONS: A little sloppy in bumps

 

 

 

ROSSIGNOL SOUL 7 HD

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Groomed and powder

WOMEN’S VERSION: Rossignol Soul 7 HD

WIDTH: 106mm

PROFILE: Tip and tail rocker

PROS: Versatile and playful ski especially for those who want to start venturing backcountry but still want an all-mountain ski

CONS: Very wide for an all-mountain ski, lacks stability at high speed

 

 

 

 

3. BEST DOWNHILL SKIS FOR POWDER

ARMADA JJ 2.0

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Big powder skiing, speed

WOMEN’S VERSION: Armada JJ 2.0

WIDTH: 117mm

PROFILE: Tip and tail rocker

PROS: Tight turning radius and agile ski for big powder

CONS: A bit tough if riding groomed runs all day

 

 

 

LINE SICK DAY 110

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Powder days

WOMEN’S VERSION: Line Pandora 95

WIDTH: 110mm

PROFILE: Tip and tail rocker

PROS: Light and playful ski for powder, good edge hold

CONS: Not much rocker, a little rough in choppy conditions

 

 

 

 

4. BEST DOWNHILL SKIS FOR WOMEN

TOTAL HEAD JOY

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: All-mountain skiing, advanced skiers

WIDTH: 84mm

PROFILE: Tip rocker

PROS: Solid all-mountain ski in most snow conditions, holds edges well

CONS: A little heavier than others but without sacrificing maneuverability, not as stable at speed

 

 

 

COALITION SNOW SOS

COALITION SNOW OS

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: All-mountain ski for advanced skiers

WIDTH: 105mm

PROFILE: Tip and tail rocker

PROS: Designed for women, by women, excellent for all types of terrain, very responsive

CONS: Stiff and aggressive – may be too aggressive for less experienced skiers

 

 

 

 

5. BEST DOWNHILL SKIS FOR BEGINNERS

ROSSIGNOL EXPERIENCE 77

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Advancing beginner

WOMEN’S VERSION: Rossignol Temptation 80

WIDTH: 77mm

PROFILE: Tip and tail rocker

PROS: Smooth turning and easy to maneuver for beginners, enough stability to transition to intermediate

CONS: Tends to skid and slide

 

 

 

ATOMIC VANTAGE 85

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Beginners

WOMEN’S VERSION: Atomic Vantage 85

WIDTH: 85mm

PROFILE: Tip and tail rocker

PROS: Good width for progressing into softer snow

CONS: Not as responsive when turning

 

 

 

 

6. BEST BACKCOUNTRY SKI

DPS WAILER BACKCOUNTRY

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

BEST FOR: Ski touring

WIDTH: 99mm

PROFILE: Tip and tail rocker

PROS: Ultra-light skis, ideal for lots of powder

CONS: Not so good as an all mountain ski on groomed runs or harder snow, Highly specialized ski

Top 10 Best Downhill Skis of 2017 – Best Ski Gear - Skiing Tips for Beginners -  Skiing Clothes For Women, Men and Kids
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