Don't Break the Bank – Men's Value Skis 2020

Save some cash without sacrificing performance.
Publish date:
Mike Rogan at Taos

Mike Rogan at Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico.

Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy skis. That doesn’t mean you should run up your credit card to buy a new pair of planks. Instead, we added skis under $675 MSRP into our annual SKI Test to see just how good they are compared to the more expensive models found in the 2020 Gear Guide. We classify these as Value Skis, and—spoiler alert—there are some jaw-droppingly great skis at or below this price point.

To create the Value Score, we take the ski’s overall test score, multiply it by 1,000, and divide it by the ski’s MSRP. This means that the lower the price, the better the ski will do, unless a) It’s a truly terrible ski, or b) It’s astoundingly great, albeit slightly more expensive. There are no category prerequisites, and these skis run the gamut from frontside to all-mountain wide. Make sure you know what category suits you before putting a pair in your shopping cart.

Check out the best value skis for women here.

BEST IN TEST: Dynastar Menace 90

Dynastar Menace 90

The 2020 Dynastar Menace 90.

With a full poplar wood core and capable sidecut, the Menace 90 is great for intermediate skiers who crave cruising, moguls, and steeps. Testers praised the Menace 90’s playfulness in particular, labeling it a perfect one-ski quiver for skiers ready to experiment with turn shapes and catching air.

Dynastar Menace 90 Value Score: 7.31

See more scores for the Dynastar Menace 90

Check out the best Frontside skis from the 2020 SKI Test

Rossignol Smash 7

2020 Rossignol Smash 7

The 2020 Rossignol Smash 7.

The Smash 7 utilizes rocker in the tip and tail combined with a poplar wood core to make a capable, quick ski at a budget-friendly price. While its performance didn’t surprise testers as much as the price point, they still found it responsive, fun, and enjoyable at moderate speeds, making it a solid option for beginner and intermediate skiers ready to advance.

Rossignol Smash 7 Value Score: 6.44

Learn more about the Rossignol Smash 7

Read all about the best all-mountain men's skis for 2020

Head Monster 83 X

2020 Head Monster 83 X

The 2020 Head Monster 83 X.

The Monster 83 X’s tenacious carving abilities punch well above the weight of its feathery price tag. This year, testers commended the ski’s ability to devour hard snow with plentiful stability. The Monster 83 X does get a little sheepish off of groomers, but the wide shovel helps it float through softer conditions if need be.

Monster 83 X Value Score: 5.84

Check out more info about the Head Monster 83 X

Atomic Vantage 97 C

2020 Atomic Vantage 97 C

The 2020 Atomic Vantage 97 C.

Atomic’s translucent Prolite construction turned heads in the test corral, and testers appreciated the friendliness of the carbon tank mesh, which makes the Vantage 97 C easier to manage at slower speeds compared to the Titanal version. Testers enjoyed this ski at moderate to fast speeds in variable conditions, noting it has energy for days.

Atomic Vantage 97 C Value Score: 5.75

Read more about the 2020 Atomic Vantage 97 C

Blizzard Bushwacker

2020 Blizzard Bushwacker

The 2020 Blizzard Bushwacker.

For testers who thought the Brahma 88 was too much ski, the Bushwacker proved to be just the ticket. Featuring similar dimensions without metal, it’s a great resort ski for anyone who wants Blizzard-level performance without a loan application. Non-race testers said the Bushwacker was especially playful in moguls.

Blizzard Bushwacker Value Score: 5.73

Check out more scores for the 2020 Blizzard Bushwacker

Nordica Navigator 85

2020 Nordica Navigator 85

The 2020 Nordica Navigator 85.

With the highest overall performance score for the Value Test, the Navigator 85 has similar chops to the Enforcer family but is significantly easier to ski, making it the best option for intermediate skiers ready to level up or skiers who want effortless reliability. Bargain hunters should be able to easily find it for less than MSRP, too.

Nordica Navigator 85 Value Score: 5.62

More info about the Nordica Navigator 85

Check out the best value skis for women

Best Value Skis of 2019

Mark Elling skiing at Deer Valley

Mark Elling at Deer Valley.

There are a few rules for this category: The MSRP must be at or below $660 (or $850 with a binding), and the ski has to perform on par with the rest of the models at the SKI Test. Any type of skis are welcome. To generate the value score, we take the ski’s test score, multiply it by 1,000, and divide that number by the retail price.

BEST IN TEST: Dynastar Slicer Factory

2019 Dynstar Slicer

The 2019 Dynastar Slicer Factory

This ski is a bit of a throwback—to the days when twin-tips were just as versatile out of the park as in it. Partially designed by Dynastar's athletes, the Slicer wowed testers with carving abilities and playful pop, but it really earned its name in crud, where it attacked like a skilled swordsman. “What a refreshing blast!” said tester Matt Schiller.

Value Score: 6.86 

See more specs and scores for the Dynastar Slicer here

K2 Pinnacle 85

2019 K2 Pinnacle 85

The 2019 K2 Pinnacle 85

K2 calls this ski a “gateway drug” and our testers certainly agreed. Performing best at moderate speeds and shorter turns, the easy-to-ride Pinnacle 85 is ideal for those on the cusp of great skiing, and will likely expedite the process. It's lightweight, nimble, and fun for nearly everyone. “A lot of bang for the buck,” according to Todd Casey.

Value Score: 6.26

See the rest of the K2 Pinnacle 85's scores

Head Monster 83x

2019 Head Monster 83x

The 2019 Head Monster 83x

The Monster 83x was resoundingly nimble and hungry to get on edge, making it a rock-solid candidate for skiers who are learning to love the carve. Testers found it to have sophisticated yet approachable manners on smooth slopes and fresh corduroy. “Holds long to short arcs smoothly and can pivot easily,” commented Erme Catino.

Value Score: 5.99

Find out more about the Head Monster 83x

Atomic Vantage 97 C

2019 Atomic Vantage 97 C

The 2019 Atomic Vantage 97 C.

Atomic’s fully revamped Vantage line of skis has plenty of slick technology with low price tags. The translucent Carbon Tank Mesh forms the Vantage 97 C's backbone, and makes it easy to turn at various speeds, but it struggled in extra tough crud. “A confidence builder for skiers who know their speed limit,” said Jon Jay.

Value Score: 5.73.

See how the Atomic Vantage 97 C scored in every category here

Nordica Navigator 85

2019 Nordica Navigator 85

The 2019 Nordica Navigator 85.

Inspired by the Enforcer series, the Navigator includes similar construction of a full wood core and metal laminates, and provides a playful dampness that can handle variable snow. Testers noticed it was a little uncomfortable at high speeds. “At home in the bumps, sun affected softness, and on firm snow,” said Bob Gleason.

Value Score: 5.58.

You can find the rest of the Nordica Navigator 85's specs and scores here

Völkl Kanjo

2019 Volkl Kanjo

The 2019 Völkl Kanjo.

Quiet, confident, and playful were terms that testers used to describe the Kanjo. Built with a Titanal band and a multi-layer wood core, this ski is a perfect option for intermediate skiers and Völkl fanatics who just want something a bit easier to ski. “Super fun on soft snow,” said Mark Elling. “But surprisingly powerful on edge.”

Value Score: 5.57

Read more about the Völkl Kanjo

Check out the best value skis for women