These are the best tools for frontside lovers who know how to bend a ski and guys who just want to murder corduroy. We test wide-body carvers for softer pistes, but still have World Cup tech with consumer-friendly sidecuts. Get ready for first chair on a groomer day, Thursday night beer league, pristine corduroy, and man-made snow.

BEST IN TEST: Blizzard Firebird HRC

2020 Blizzard Firebird HRC

The 2020 Best in Test Blizzard Firebird HRC.

Using C-Armor and C-Spine technologies, the newest, wide-bodied addition to the Firebird family reigned supreme in the carving category for 2020. Testers gushed about the HRC’s dominant stability at speed and hard snow performance while appreciating the relatively wide 76mm waist in crud and the HRC’s multi-radius sidecut. Gleason: “This is a renaissance carving ski: The crisp, quiet sensation is at a new level, there is no harshness in the edge grip and it’s invitingly gentle with ultimate precision.”

SKI's Best in Test carving ski is available on Amazon: 2020 Blizzard Firebird HRC

Stock up on all-temperature wax: Hertel Super Hot Sauce

Blizzard Firebird HRC Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 3.92 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 126-76-107
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 158, 166, 174, 182
  • Radius (In Meters): 17
  • MSRP: $1,300 with bindings [BUY NOW]

See all of the Best in Test skis for 2020

Check out more detailed results for the Blizzard Firebird HRC

Stöckli Laser AX

2020 Stöckli Laser AX

The 2020 Stöckli Laser AX.

The Laser AX once again pleased former racers and recreational carvers with its wide range of capabilities at a variety of speeds. The ski’s top sheet of Titanal features squiggle-shaped notches—Stöckli calls it Turtle Shell Comfort—which loosens the ski up at slower speeds but locks into place during acceleration, providing ample stability and the highest score in versatility. Schiller: “Excellent balance of power and playfulness with just the right feel and mix of power and pliability.”

Stöckli Laser AX Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 4.02 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 124-78-111
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 154, 161, 168, 175, 182
  • Radius (In Meters): 13.1
  • MSRP: $1,199

Read more about the 2020 Stöckli Laser AX

Salomon S/Max BLAST

Salomon S/Max BLAST 2020

The 2020 Salomon S/Max BLAST.

Elements of Salomon’s race-specific products began to trickle into North America last season, starting with this all-around groomer destroyer. The S/Max Blast performed extremely well in Taos. Testers noted the Edge Amplifier technology increases power transmission from binding to edge, and also garnered comments like “made me smile,” “super quick!” and, perhaps most telling, “category definition ski.” Dyer: “I like the liveliness, edge hold is tenacious, and on a big groomer mountain this would be a blast.”

Buy it on Amazon: Salomon S/Max BLAST

Salomon S/Max BLAST Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 3.74 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 121-72-106
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 160, 165, 170, 175, 180
  • Radius (In Meters): 17
  • MSRP: $1,200 with bindings

See more scores for the Salomon S/Max BLAST

Atomic Redster X9 WB

2020 Atomic Redster X9 WB

The 2020 Atomic Redster X9 WB.

The new wide-bodied edition to the Redster line enabled testers to aggressively take on Taos’ softer piste conditions. The pre-tensioned rod on top of the ski, called SERVOTEC, continues to impress by smoothly engaging and releasing a variety of turn shapes, but was most appreciated at high speeds. This smoothness is not for the weak-legged, however, as the ski is built on the same platform as Atomic’s FIS-legal race skis. Larsen: “If you like laying trenches in the snow, this is your tool.”

Buy this speedster on Amazon: 2020 Atomic Redster X9 WB

Atomic Redster X9 WB Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 3.74 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 128-75-112
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 152, 160, 168, 176
  • Radius (In Meters): 14.2
  • MSRP: $1,200 with bindings

See more stats for the Atomic Redster X9 WB

Liberty V76

2020 Liberty V76

The 2020 Liberty V76.

Nearly every tester unanimously agreed that the Liberty V76 was the surprise carver of the test. The Colorado brand broke through into the top five with the V76. With three vertically laminated alloy struts layered in a bamboo and poplar wood core, plus a full carbon sandwich layup, the V76 outshined a number of brands that make World Cup-level skis and earned the highest category ranks in playfulness and forgiveness. Wallace: “One of the most accessible skis in this class.”

Liberty V76 Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 3.73 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 126-76-106
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 165, 172, 179
  • Radius (In Meters): 15
  • MSRP: $850

Read more about the Liberty V76

BEST VALUE: Nordica Dobermann Spitfire RB 80

2020 Nordica Dobermann Spitfire RB 80

The 2020 Nordica Dobermann Spitfire RB 80, ranked as the Best Value for the category.

With an 80mm waist, the Nordica carver earned high praise for its ability to carve and stay stable at high speeds, but also take on less than perfect piste conditions with assertiveness. Testers noted the Spitfire is enough ski to handle beer league races but stable enough to entertain—and help improve—skiers looking to step up their corduroy carving game. The no-nonsense, dark-as-night top sheet also earned praise in the liftline and beyond. Larsen: “Enough energy out of the turn to power a small city.”

Buy SKI's Best Value carving ski on Amazon: Nordica Dobermann Spitfire RB 80

Nordica Dobermann Spitfire RB 80 Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 3.7 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 130-80-110
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 156, 162, 168, 174, 180
  • Radius (In Meters): 16
  • MSRP: $1,050 with bindings

See more info about the 2020 Nordica Dobermann Spitfire RB 80

People Also Ask

What are the best carving skis?

  1. Blizzard Firebird HRC - Overall Rating: 3.92 / 5
  2. Stöckli Laser AX - Overall Rating: 3.90 / 5
  3. Salomon S/Max BLAST - Overall Rating: 3.79 / 5
  4. Atomic Redster X9 WB - Overall Rating 3.74 / 5
  5. Liberty V76 - Overall Rating: 3.73 / 5
  6. Nordica Doberman Spitfire RB 80 - Overall Rating: 3.70 / 5

What's the difference between carving skis and all-mountain skis?

  • Carving skis are made to perform exceptionally well on groomed terrain, or "piste." Their construction, sidecut, and bindings are optimized for hard snow performance. All-mountain skis might be able to carve well, but their overall carving abilities might be sacrificed for better all-around performance in moguls and choppy snow. Carving skis have heavier wood cores and thicker sheets of Titanal to optimize performance on edge while somewhat sacrificing performance on ungroomed terrain.

What length of carving ski is right for you?

  • Carving skis are usually shorter than all-mountain or freeride skis, but don't be fooled: There is a lot of ski packed into all of the carving skis listed above. And shorter skis are usually quicker edge-to-edge, which can make carving even better. Don't be afraid to try something shorter if you're planning to buy carving skis.

See all of SKI Magazine's Best in Test skis for 2020

Read about the best men's frontside specific skis of the year

Go beyon the groomers with this year's best all-mountain skis for men

Get deep with the top all-mountain wide skis for men

The 6 Best High-Performance Carving Skis of 2019

After years of playing second fiddle to fat and rockered skis, carvers are finally cool again. A number of brands are introducing sexy consumer race set-ups that can go faster than you can ski, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to find out how fast that actually is.

In honor of these new hot rods of skiing, SKI hosted a stand-alone Race Ski Test at Copper Mountain, Colo., using the same slopes that the U.S. Ski Team trains on in November. Brands that participated in our annual SKI Test were invited to bring skis for beer league racers and corduroy killers.

Testers: Chris Bivona, Mike Britt, Tim Dyer, Renée Geary, Nick Loomans, Charlie Noone, Lisa Perricone, and Rex Wehrman. No one won gold, but they did get custom hats from Ski Town All-Stars.

Note: SKI is not responsible for any pulled passes that might result from using the following skis.



The 2019 Nordica DOBERMANN GSR RB.

Nordica’s high-performance GS carver is strong and full of aggressiveness that experienced racers and strong carvers will love. Testers praised the stealthy feel and perfect balance between damp stability and energetic edge-to-edge transfer. Featuring the Marker Recoil Race Plate, this ski was the smoothest and fastest of the test. “Great tool for racers who need a ski that’s well balanced but not too burly.”-Mike Britt

Read more about the Nordica DOBERMANN GSR RB here.

Völkl Deacon 74 Pro

Völkl Deacon 74 Pro

The 2019 Völkl Deacon 74 Pro.

The Deacon 74 PRO is resoundingly stable at speed when skied aggressively and with an athletic stance. A few testers noticed it could get away from them if they were just slightly in the backseat, but Völkl’s versatile super ski rewards good form with easy edge initiation and a variety of turn capabilities. “Very fun and playful and the flex works for various skiing abilities.” - Perricone

Read more about the Völkl Deacon 74 Pro here.

Stöckli Laser WRT

2019 Stöckli Laser WRT

The 2019 Stöckli Laser WRT.

Despite its short length, testers loved the way the Laser WRT remained nimble as they tried to break the speed of sound. Stöckli’s World Cup tech gives this ski the tightest turn radius in the test, making it perfect for beer leagues with tight gates, or those who want snappy, responsive turns at any speed. “Handles various types of turns with no issues, trustworthy through everything!” - Renée Geary

See more about the Stöckli Laser WRT here.

Rossignol Hero Master

2019 Rossignol Hero Master

The racers praised the no-nonsense Hero Master. Each length has a different turn radius, ranging from a manageable 16 meters at 170cm to nearly Super G-sized 23 meters in the 185cm length. Testers loved the aggressiveness and bite, noting this ski as a quintessential beer leaguer made to win. Britt: “Expert race enthusiasts could jump into a GS course and kick butt if this ski doesn’t kick theirs first.”

Read more about the Rossignol Hero Master here.


2019 Salomon S/MAX BLAST

The 2019 Salomon S/MAX BLAST.

The all-new S/MAX BLAST was the most approachable ski of the day, friendly to testers who just finished their college race season, those who hadn’t raced in years, and everyone in between. The compact tip eases into turns comfortably and keeps the ski smooth throughout each arc. It’s suitable for racers and lovers of the carve. The complete package in black. “Excels in everything it’s asked to do.” - Noone

Find more details about the Salomon S/MAX BLAST here.

HEAD iSpeed Pro

HEAD iSpeed Pro

The 2019 HEAD iSpeed Pro.

Extremely damp and seemingly lacking a speed limit, the Head iSpeed Pro means 100 percent business and is not for the faint of heart, or carvers who desire a variety of turn shapes. This ski is made to arc in one specific shape and made to do it fast. You don’t have to be a racer to enjoy it, but you’ll need to be comfortable on edge to unleash this ski’s full potential. “A powerful ski that locks into turns.” - Bivona

Read on about the HEAD iSpeed Pro here.

The 6 Best Men's Hard Snow Skis of 2019

The following were tested at Deer Valley during SKI Test 2019.

BEST IN TEST: Blizzard Firebird WRC

2018/2019 Blizzard Firebird WRC

The 2018/2019 Blizzard Firebird WRC.

The Firebird WRC made fast and beautiful turns quicker than testers could think. With two unique carbon technologies—one that maximizes edge hold and stability through the turn, and another that increases rebound and creates powerful transitions—this ski rewarded testers who invested power into it. Elling: “Get your helmet on, grab these skis and get up early to destroy the groomers.” 

  • Overall Rating: 3.87 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 115.5-68-98.5
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 170, 175, 180, 185
  • Radius (in meters): 18.5
  • MSRP: $1,320 with binding (BUY NOW)

Read more about the Blizzard Firebird WRC here.

Stöckli Laser AX

2018/2019 Stöckli Laser AX

The 2018/2019 Stöckli Laser AX.

The AX doesn’t require a pair of thunder thighs to enjoy, but when testers put the pedal to the metal, this ski was ready and willing. The top layer of Titanal features notches that assist with easy turn initiation and release at lower speeds but lock together as velocity increases for rock-solid high-speed performance. Testers loved it. Gleason: “Crisp turn initiation, super-fast glide, and strong flex in the tail. A real stand out!”  3.79 / 5

  • Overall Rating: 3.79 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 124-78-111
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 154, 161, 168, 175, 182
  • Radius (in meters): 15.9
  • MSRP: $1,199 flat (BUY NOW)

You can find more details about the Stöckli Laser AX here.

Völkl Deacon 76

2018/2019 Völkl Deacon 76

The 2018/2019 Völkl Deacon 76.

The Deacon features a number of new technologies from Völkl’s RaceTiger World Cup skis to create an incredible carver that left testers thunderstruck. Nearly every tester agreed that the Deacon 76 delivers pure carving joy at high speeds, but a number noticed that it still makes enjoyable arcs at moderate speeds, too. Casey: “Strong, quiet, super fun. Just get ready for a meeting with ski patrol.” 

  • Overall Rating: 3.79 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 122-76-103
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 171, 176, 181
  • Radius (in meters): 18.3
  • MSRP: $1,065 with binding (BUY NOW)

Read more about the Völkl Deacon 76 here.

Nordica Dobermann Spitfire

2018/2019 Nordica Dobermann Spitfire

The 2018/2019 Nordica Dobermann Spitfire.

Nordica is known for making no-nonsense skis, but where the brand gets really serious is when it comes to high-performance carvers. With a slalom-specific tip paired with GS waist and tail dimensions, this ski allows for a variety of different radius turns. The carbon race bridge inserts in the tip and tail provide seamless transitions between turns and stability on edge. But, as testers noticed, only experts need apply. Larson: “You won’t find the top speed of this ski without getting banned from your local ski resort.”

  • Overall Rating: 3.73 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 122-72-102
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 156, 162, 168, 174, 180
  • Radius (in meters): 16
  • MSRP: $1,249 (BUY NOW)

Find out more about the Nordica Dobermann Spitfire here.

HEAD Super Shape i.Titan

2018/2019 HEAD Super Shape i.Titan

The 2018/2019 HEAD Super Shape i.Titan.

The most versatile ski in Head’s Super Shape series, the i.Titan is no slouch when it comes to frontside fun. While it can confidently carve corduroy with laser precision, this ski has a recreational ease-of-use that was lost on some race-inspired carvers in this category. Built with two sheets of metal and a graphene layer, the i.Titan went punch-for-punch with many of the race carvers, with a unique level of smoothness and edge grip that set it apart. Sexauer: “Snappy, responsive, and easy to command.” 

  • Overall Rating: 3.73 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 137-80-116.9
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 156, 163, 170, 177
  • Radius (In Meters): 14.1
  • MSRP: $1,200 with binding

Read more about the HEAD Super Shape i.Titan here.

Dynastar Speed Zone 12 Ti

2018/2019 Dynastar Speed Zone 12 Ti

The 2018/2019 Dynastar Speed Zone 12 Ti.

In a category filled with super-spicy race planks or bland frontside softies, this ski’s universal appeal tickled rookie and veteran testers alike. Like a flavorful salsa verde, the Speed Zone 12 Ti brings enough heat to hang with the other race-inspired carvers but remains forgiving enough that skiers without formal race backgrounds can slice, dice, and carve the crap out of freshly groomed snow. Casey: “User-friendly performance means you don’t need to be a World Cup skier to have fun on these.” 

  • Overall Rating: 3.59 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 121-72-106
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 158, 166, 174, 182
  • Radius (in meters): 15
  • MSRP: $1,000 with binding

Get more details about the Dynastar Speed Zone 12 Ti here.

Stöckli Laser WRT ST

2018/2019 Stöckli Laser WRT ST

The 2018/2019 Stöckli Laser WRT ST.

Designed by Stöckli’s World Cup Race Team, the Laser WRT intoxicated like a fine scotch and appealed to testers with formal race training. Those without race back- grounds, however, described the ski with plenty of exclamation points and expletives. These rocket ships aren’t for everyone, but if you long for the days of club racing in college, this short-turn-radius GS ski will provide an advantage at the Beer League races this season. Gleason: “Quick in turn initiation with a feeling of purpose.”

  • Overall Rating: 3.57 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 118-66-100
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 162, 172
  • Radius (in meters): 14.8
  • MSRP: $1,199 flat

Check out more details about the Stöckli Laser WRT ST here.

Atomic Redster X9

2018/2019 Atomic Redster X9

The 2018/2019 Atomic Redster X9.

Nicknamed “The Green Hornet” for ’18-’19, the Redster X9 remains unchanged besides its new jade topsheet color. It still features seven-time World Cup Overall Champion Marcel Hirscher’s Servotec technology, it still has a bomb-proof Titanal-wood-Titanal construction, and it still has one purpose: To arc and destroy every inch of corduroy at your local ski hill. The faster you ski it, the smoother it becomes. Yellow-jacket speed patrol beware: You can’t keep up with this ski. Jay: “Makes groomers as fun as powder.” 

  • Overall Rating: 3.47 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 114-65.5-99.5
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 169, 175, 181
  • Radius (in meters): 15.4
  • MSRP: $1,200 with binding (BUY NOW)

Find out more about the Atomic Redster X9 here.

BEST VALUE: Rossignol Hero Elite MT Ti

2018/2019 Rossignol Hero Elite MT Ti

The 2018/2019 Rossignol Hero Elite MT Ti

Like most of the race-inspired carvers in the category, the Hero MT borrows technology from Rossi’s World Cup race line. In particular, this ski has Line Control Technology (LCT), a rail of vertically aligned Titanal in the middle of the core that locks the ski into carves and smoothly finishes every arc. Testers noted it turns on autopilot so well it could help a Level 2 PSIA instructor pass a Level 3 test, or a former park rat moonlight as an ex-racer. Rogan: “Smooth in almost every turn shape with great adjustability.” 

  • Overall Rating: 3.36 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 123-74-109
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 159, 167, 175, 183
  • Radius (in meters): 15
  • MSRP: $900 with binding (BUY NOW)

Read more about the Rossignol Hero Elite MT Ti here.


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