From opening day's white ribbon of death to the slush fun of spring, these frontside tools with waist widths between 65-85mm will make every bit of groomed snow your personal playground. These skis are for women who live life on edge (and can bend a ski better than the boys). True carving skis designed with approachable race technology, they belong on corduroy if you can get it.

BEST IN TEST: Blizzard Firebird Competition 76

2020 Blizzard Firebird Competition 76

The 2020 Blizzard Firebird Competition 76.

Hold on to your bloomers, gals—this ski is going places, with or without you. The new Firebird Competition 76 is designed to be a tad more forgiving and user-friendly than the more seriously race-oriented Firebirds—but just a tad. With a moderate shovel and multi-radius sidecut, the Competition 76 lets you rip short or long turns and caters to ex-racers who aren’t hurling themselves down gates anymore, but still ski like they’re trying to beat the clock. Brown: “Powerhouse of a ski demanding a fit driver."

Blizzard Firebird Competition 76 Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 4.12 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 126-76-107
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 158, 166, 174, 182
  • Radius (In Meters): 14.5
  • MSRP: $1,080 [BUY NOW]

See more scores for the Blizzard Firebird Competition 76

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

Stöckli Laser AX

2020 Stöckli Laser AX

The 2020 Stöckli Laser AX.

The aptly named Laser AX is a ski with a precise mission: It’s programmed to carve the crap out of corduroy. If you have other ideas about where and how to ski the Laser AX— good luck to you, let us know how that goes. If you’re on board with the ski’s desire to flirt with Mach 1 speeds, you’re in for one exciting ride. Don’t let the ski’s rockered tip and tail fool you—the Laser AX is a carving machine that doesn’t have any interest in exploring off-piste. Humes: “Fun and powerful. Never felt the speed limit.”

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 Stöckli Laser AX

Head iRace Pro

2020 HEAD iRace Pro

The 2020 Head iRace Pro.

Get ready to arc ’em or park ’em. These skis feature Head’s high-tech KERS technology. Science isn’t our strong suit, so here’s our layman translation: There’s a chip in the ski that stores kinetic energy and automatically shoots that stored energy out to the tail of the ski at the end of each turn to stiffen it, so you jet out of each turn with more speed and stability. Sound gimmicky? We’ll buy you a drink if you manage to find this ski’s speed limit. Robinson: “For a gal who knows how to rip and likes to work her quads.”

Head iRace Pro Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 3.87 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 122-68-102
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 160, 165, 170, 175, 180
  • Radius (In Meters): 14.4
  • MSRP: $1,025

Check out more details for the 2020 Head iRace Pro

BEST VALUE: Atomic Cloud 12

2020 Atomic Cloud 12

The white 2020 Atomic Cloud 12.

If you’re going to put “Cloud” in the name of a carving ski, it better ski like a dream—it’s hard to take it seriously otherwise. Lo and behold, testers loved the Cloud 12. Thanks to an active camber profile and light poplar wood core, this ski rebounds with lots of energy from edge to edge. Drive the Cloud 12 as a GS or slalom ski—it will playfully jump between turn sizes while the ski’s Titanium stabilizer hushes chatter at speed. Kennen: “Perfect ski for this category. Fun and zippy turn to turn.” 

Atomic Cloud 12 Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 3.73 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 112-70-97
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 147, 154, 161, 168
  • Radius (In Meters): 15.3
  • MSRP: $950

Learn more about the 2020 Atomic Cloud 12's performance

Nordica Sentra SL7 TI FDT

2020 Nordica Sentra SL7 TI FDT

The 2020 Nordica Sentra SL7 TI FDT.

If skis have a spirit animal, the Sentra SL7’s is a terrier— energetic, agile, and a little mischievous. With a tight turn radius of 12.5m at 160cm, it likes to ski little circles around you and bound from edge to edge. With a balsa core sandwiched between two sheets of metal and a full camber profile, the Sentra SL7 is a slalom ski through and through—exactly what some testers wanted out of a carving ski, but too squirrely for others. Brown: “If shooting off rapid-fire slalom turns is your thing, this is the stick for you.”

Nordica Sentra SL7 TI FDT Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 3.48 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 119-69-103
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 150, 155, 160, 165
  • Radius (In Meters): 12.5
  • MSRP: $1,000

Read more about the Nordica Sentra SL7 TI FDT

Rossignol Nova 14 Ti

2020 Rossignol Nova 14 Ti

The 2020 Rossignol Nova 14 Ti.

Our instructor friends tell us that most skiers who think they can carve, can’t. But it’s not their fault, they could carve if they had the right tool for the job. Enter the all-new NOVA 14 Ti, the most entry-level carver in this category. Its adaptive flex pattern and oversize sidecut enhance stability and control through the turn, boosting confidence and bringing the goal of one day visiting Trenchtown within sight. Brown: “Rare to have a carving ski that encourages a smear into a carve. A ski school tool.”

Rossignol Nova 14 Ti Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 3.48 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 123-74-109
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 153, 160, 167
  • Radius (In Meters): 12
  • MSRP: $1,000

Check out how the Rossignol Nova 14 Ti scored at SKI Test 2020

People Also Ask

What defines a performance carving ski?

Carving skis, also referred to as groomer skis or piste-oriented skis, are skis designed to be used primarily on groomed terrain. Carving skis have a traditional camber profile with narrower waists to encourage quicker edge-to-edge transitions, more edge contact and better grip on the harder snow you find on groomed terrain. These days many brands are making entry-level carving skis that have moderate tip rocker to make turn initiation easier and the ski more forgiving.

Should beginners buy carving skis?

Beginner and intermediate skiers should look for a ski with a medium waist width (something around 75-80mm underfoot) and slight tip rocker. For most beginners and intermediate skiers, that generally means a narrow all-mountain ski that offers more versatility than carving skis, which are primarily designed to be skied on edge. Edging is a difficult skill to learn, and most beginner skiers start out by sliding or pivoting their skis through turns. All-mountain skis with more generous tip rocker than carving skis are generally better suited to pivoting turns. That said, there are some carving skis that have moderate tip rocker to make turn initiation easier and the ski more forgiving.

What length carving ski should I buy?

Women-specific skis generally come in lengths between 150cm-175cm. Unlike all-mountain skis and powder skis, carving skis have a more traditional camber profile. This means carving skis will have a longer effective edge (the length of edge that makes contact with the snow through the turn) than all-mountain and powder skis, which generally have more rocker in the tip and tail and therefore less effective edge.

For that reason, carving skis tend to ski true to length or even longer than their length, so intermediate women should stick to a ski that's slightly shorter than they are tall (roughly forehead height). Advanced women who like to ski at speed or ski medium-sized turns should be on a carving ski that matches their height.

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

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BEST IN TEST: Nordica SENTRA 7

18-19 Nordica Sentra SL7 TI Women's carving ski

The 2019 Nordica SENTRA 7

We’re still dreaming about this ski—that feeling of going mach schnell, hip grazing the ground, snow jetting into our uphill shins.... The SENTRA SL 7 is fully cambered with a wood core sandwiched by two sheets of metal and a sidecut that locks in with just a tilt of your ankles. It’s a carving machine that bites firmly and releases easily. “Slices and dices with amazing precision, power, and energy,” said Gibbons. Read more about the Nordica SENTRA 7 here.

  • Strength: Hard-Snow Integrity, Overall Impression; Weakness: Versatility
  • Overall Rating: 3.87 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 119-69-103
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 150, 155, 160, 165
  • Radius (in meters): 13
  • MSRP: $999 with binding

BEST VALUE: Black Crows Vertis Birdie

18-19 Black Crows Vertis Birdie W Women's Carving Ski

Black Crows Vertis Birdie

The Vertis Birdie proved most versatile in this category, and testers felt its playful carve-ability the minute they got off the lift—a refreshing relief from the “racer-ready” types. Despite a short test length, this ski’s poplar wood core, slight rocker at the tip for forgiveness and initiation, and classic camber underfoot was stable on edge at speed, and proved game for romping on DV’s corduroy. Barnes: “A little rocket.” See more details about the Black Crows Vertis Birdie here.

  • Strength: Flotation, Balance of Skills; Weakness: Forgiveness
  • Overall Rating: 3.83 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 122-85-105
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 152, 159, 169
  • Radius (in meters): 14
  • MSRP: $660 flat (BUY NOW)

Atomic Cloud 12

18-19 Atomic Cloud 12 Women's Carving Ski

Atomic Cloud 12

The Cloud 12 has never met a “slow” sign it didn’t mock. It moves at eye-watering speeds, but a solid edge hold means the only thing to fear is the speed patrollers. A pre-stressed rod on the forebody attaches to the ski fore and aft, which pulls the ski into a state of tension. When the ski is flexed, the rod relaxes and then energetically rebounds. Barnes: “Tip this beast over and it dives into beautiful GS turns.” Read more about the Atomic Cloud 12 here.

  • Strength: Stability at Speed, Overall Impression; Weakness: Forgiveness
  • Overall Rating: 3.8 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 112-70-97
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 147, 154, 161, 168
  • Radius (In Meters): 15.3
  • MSRP: $950 with binding (BUY NOW)

Rossignol Experience 84Ai W

18-19 Rossignol Experience 94 Ai W women's carving ski

Rossignol Experience 84Ai W

Rossi redesigned this line and thankfully gave the men’s and women’s the same name. Testers found it to be less twitchy than its wasp-waisted sisters, with a rounder tip and tail that were happy to drift or feather when asked. A power rail down the center and elastomer in the tip absorb vibrations and keep the ski stuck to the snow. More friendly than bite-y, it’s one of the more playful and versatile offerings in this competitive set. “As comfy as well-worn jeans,” said Gibbons. See the Rossignol Experience 84Ai W's other scores here.

  • Strength: Forgiveness; Weakness: Hard-Snow Integrity
  • Overall Rating: 3.79 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 126-84-116
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 144, 152, 160, 168
  • Radius (in meters): 12
  • MSRP: $700 flat (BUY NOW)

K2 Tough Luv

18-19 K2 ToughLuv women's carving ski

K2 Tough Luv

K2’s new women’s-specific BioKonic core puts less mass down the center and more on the perimeter to give the women’s line stronger edge grip and lighter swing weight. A carbon and flax laminate dampens vibrations, and a sidecut designed for a lower center of gravity eases initiation. Testers thought the Tough Luv was versatile for a wide range of abilities. It has a huge sweet spot for both long and short turns. “One of the stronger skis in the category,” said Knight. See more details about the K2 Tough Luv here.

  • Strength: Balance of Skills; Weakness: Crud Performance
  • Overall Rating: 3.72 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 129-82-111
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 146, 153, 160, 167
  • Radius (in meters): 12
  • MSRP: $900 with binding (BUY NOW)

Stöckli Laser MX

18-19 Stöckli Laser MX women's carving ski

Stöckli Laser MX

This thing can turn a catwalk into a slalom course. The first Laser for women, the MX is certainly aimed at experts—two sheets of Titanal, damping rubber, and fiberglass sandwiched with a wood core. Testers loved it on edge, but they whined that it would only make snappy, tight turns and that it was too short to be stable at speed (the longest length is 162cm). It’s a bit of a one-trick pony—but it sure is incredibly good at that single trick. “Construction is divine,” said Barnes. Read more about the Stöckli Laser MX here.

  • Strength: Quickness; Weakness: Stability at Speed
  • Overall Rating: 3.64 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 119-65-100
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 144, 150, 156, 162
  • Radius (In Meters): 12.4
  • MSRP: $1,049 with binding

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