There are the privileged few who spend their entire winters cruising the deep drifts of Japan and British Columbia, but the rest of us need deep snow skis that can get us from those first perfect turns in virgin powder, through the choppy leftovers of the afternoon, and back to the chairlift lap-after-lap while staying in control. We took this year’s crop of deep snow skis and a tight-knit testing crew to Monarch Mountain, Colo., where we lapped the soft snow under the Garfield Lift, took the ski area’s snowcat to the powdery glades of Mirkwood Basin, and then ranked, rated, and argued about the best big skis of the season. These are the ones that came out on top.

Click here to see the best men's powder skis of 2020

BEST IN TEST: Nordica Santa Ana 110

Nordica Santa Ana 110 2020

The 2020 Nordica Santa Ana 110.

A wide-waisted ski that excels in both flotation and hard snow performance is a unicorn, something believed to only exist in a skier’s fantasy. And yet, here is the Santa Ana 110, a women’s-specific powder charger with a balsa wood core sandwiched between two sheets of metal that took home top scores in seven out of nine skill departments. The most versatile ski in powder skiing. [$900, BUY NOW]

Buy SKI's Best in Test women's Powder ski on Amazon: 2020 Nordica Santa Ana 110 

Nordica Santa Ana 110 Overall Score: 4.31/5

Get more details about the 2020 Nordica Santa Ana 110

Head Kore 105

Head Kore 105 w pow ski

The 2020 Head Kore 105 Unisex Ski.

Technically a unisex ski—but technically awesome—the Kore 105 comes loaded with the same great tech as the award-winning Kore 99 W in a wider body better suited to storm chasing. Featuring a responsive Karuba wood core reinforced with a graphene-Koroyd-carbon integration, this ski blends quickness, flotation, and stability at speed. [$875, BUY NOW]

Check it out on Amazon: 2020 Head Kore 105 + binding

Head Kore 105 Overall Score: 3.98/5

Read more about the Head Kore 105

Armada ARW 116 VJJ

Armada ARW 116 VJJ ski 2020

The Armada ARW 116 VJJ for 2020.

The fattest ski in this category also got major props for how well it handled less than favorable snow conditions (read: the days between storms). The VJJ can smear even in crud, while a poplar-ash wood core makes the ski light yet damp and powerful. Fans of the Armada Trace 108 who are looking for something a little fatter and with more backbone will dig the reinvented ARW 116 VJJ. [$825, BUY NOW]

Buy it on Amazon: 2020 Armada ARW 116 VJJ

Armada ARW 116 VJJ Overall Score: 3.65/5

Get more details about the Armada ARW 116 VJJ

Blizzard Sheeva 11

Blizzard Sheeva 11 ski 2020

The 2020 Blizzard Sheeva 11.

Despite a fat waist, the Sheeva 11 chomps at the bit to be engaged on edge and will do whatever you ask it to—float, dance through trees, charge the bumps—as long as you go fast. The ski received the lowest marks in Forgiveness but wears that distinction like a badge of honor. Ladies keen on charging will love the Sheeva 11’s damp multi-layer wood core and aggressive demeanor. [$840, BUY NOW]

Check it out on Amazon: 2020 Blizzard Sheeva 11

Blizzard Sheeva 11 Overall Score: 3.63/5

Find out more detail and scores for the Blizzard Sheeva 11

Völkl 100Eight W

Volkl 100Eight W Ski

The 2020 Völkl 100Eight W.

This ski has a full rocker profile, but you wouldn’t know it from the way it performs in packed powder, crud, and even the groomers. Thanks to a damp multi-layer wood core reinforced with lightweight yet sturdy carbon stringers, the women’s 100Eight is a powder-meets-all-mountain ski that will keep you afloat on deep days but also shine on days when the snow report misled you. [$825, BUY NOW]

Völkl 100Eight W Overall Score: 3.57/5

Read more about the 2020 Völkl 100Eight W

Atomic Vantage 107 C W

Atomic Vantage 107 C W ski 2020

The 2020 Atomic Vantage 107 C W.

Surfing powder is supposed to be fun, and the Vantage 107 C W delivers on that front. Testers loved its Powder Rocker, which makes initiating turns and weaving in and out of Monarch’s tight trees a piece of cake. Atomic lends its new Prolite construction and carbon tank mesh technology to this powder ski, minimizing weight despite the wider waist, and certainly maximizing performance. [$775, BUY NOW]

Available on Amazon: 2020 Atomic Vantage 107 C W

Atomic Vantage 107 C W Overall Score: 3.35/5

See all of the Atomic Vantage 107 C W's specs and scores

People Also Ask

What is the best powder ski?

According to our veteran testers who spent a full week testing dozens of skis at Deer Valley, Utah, the Blizzard Sheeva 10 is the best women's powder ski of 2018-'19.

What are powder skis?

Skis with wide waists (generally more than 100mm underfoot), a big shovel and more tail rocker. The big shovel and wide waist increase the surface area of the ski, allowing it to float above the snow rather than dive into the snow like narrower skis with more moderate tip rocker would. Because powder skis generally have more significant rocker than all-mountain skis, the effective edge length is reduced, meaning powder skis don't perform as well on groomed, hardpack snow. Powder skis are also usually heavier than narrower skis because more materials are used in the construction.

What length powder ski should I buy?

Women-specific skis generally come in lengths between 150cm-175cm. While women are usually coached to buy shorter skis because they will be lighter and easier to turn, the idea that women should be skiing short skis is outdated. Ski length should depend on your height, skiing style, and the sidecut of the ski.

Women should be on skis that are at least as long as they are tall. This is especially true for powder skis, since they generally have more tip and tail rocker and therefore less effective edge, meaning the ski will ski shorter than its actual length. 

Women's Powder Skis at a Glance:

  • Who: Powder-seekers anonymous; those who recently got out of a snowcat or heli
  • What: CAUTION: Wide Loads
  • Where: First tram, rope drops, and untouched fields of dreamy powder

The 9 Best Women's Powder Skis of 2019

Kristi Brown at Deer Valley

Tester Kristi Brown at Deer Valley.

Sometimes size does matter, ladies, especially if you're lucky enough to live somewhere that sees regular double-digit snowfall throughout the season. And today's powder boards don't have to be relegated to powder days because the offerings in this category are more versatile than ever: more sidecut, more camber, more manageable waist widths, and shorter turn radii.

BEST IN TEST & BEST VALUE: Blizzard Sheeva 10

Women's powder ski Blizzard Sheeva 10

The Sheeva 10 wins the category not for being the most surfy, but for being the most versatile. A layer of Titanal underfoot gives it torsional rigidity while carbon in the tips and tails allows for more torsional twist, making it easier and more playful in pow. It all adds up to a solid foundation with a light touch. “A great powder ski for the intermediate or an all-mountain tool for the hard-charger,” said Gleason. Read more about the Blizzard Sheeva 10 here.

  • Strength: Forgiveness, Balance of Skills; Weakness: Stability at Speed
  • Overall Rating: 4.25 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 132-102-122
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 156, 164, 172
  • Radius (in meters): 14.5
  • MSRP: $720

Armada Trace 108

Women's powder ski Armada Trace 108

Today’s Armadas are versatile enough for the mainstream yet anything but boring. The Trace 108 is case in point—it shines with personality. It’s a playful powerhouse that floated through powder dreamily and had the backbone to bite into hardpack. The layup? Xrystal Mesh to damp the ski’s rebound, camber underfoot, rocker fore and aft. “Smooth and flowy,” said Knight. Check out more details about the Armada Trace 108 here.

  • Strength: Flotation, Playfulness; Weakness: Crud Performance
  • Overall Rating: 4.07 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 132-108-125
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 156, 164, 172
  • Radius (in meters): 17
  • MSRP: $825

Elan Ripstick 102 W

Elan RipStick 102 W women's powder ski

It’s ticking with whiz-bang tech, like Vapor Tip inserts and Tubelight wood core, but all you need to know is that the Ripstick 102 is a lively shredder. This ski can weave through the trees, carve perfect arcs on groomers, and float above the crud. A few testers dinged the shorter length for Stability at Speed, but those who skied the longer length had no quibbles. Ambrogi-Yanson: “Nimble and easy to drive.” See more info about the Elan Ripstick 102 W here.

  • Strength: Quickness, Balance of Skills; Weakness: Stability at Speed
  • Overall Rating: 4 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 143-102-120
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 156, 163, 170, 177
  • Radius (in meters): 17
  • MSRP: $800

Nordica Santa Ana 110

Nordica Santa Ana 18-19 women's powder ski

The Santa Ana 110 is a refined thoroughbred: smooth, solid, and dependable. Nordica sandwiches a lightweight wood core in two sheets of metal, giving this ski a damp and stable feel. It has the width to float above the bottom chunder in moderate pow and is utterly unflappable in afternoon chop. Generous camber underfoot makes it more directional than smeary, and remains best for advanced and expert skiers who like to go fast. “There for you when you need it,” said Gleason. Read more about the Nordica Santa Ana 110 here.

  • Strength: Stability at Speed, Flotation; Weakness: Playfulness
  • Overall Rating: 3.94 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 139-110-128
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 161, 169, 177
  • Radius (In Meters): 15.5
  • MSRP: $899 (BUY NOW)

Rossignol Soul 7 HD W

2018/2019 Rossignol Soul 7 HD W ski

If you don’t already know all about the seminal Soul 7, you should probably stop reading and reconsider your priorities. This iteration is amplified with a carbon and basalt fabric that makes the ski more damp and crisp (“high-def”) without compromising its playfulness. Now in its second year, the Soul 7 HD continued to wow testers with its easygoing nature and can-do attitude in soft snow (No. 1 in Flotation). It’s a teaching tool for intermediates and a solid standby for experts. “Super forgiving and easy,” said Gibbons. See more of the Rossignol Soul 7 HD W's scores here.

  • Strength: Flotation; Weakness: Stability at Speed
  • Overall Rating: 3.94 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 136-106-126
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 156, 164, 172
  • Radius (in meters): 16
  • MSRP: $850 (BUY NOW)

Black Crows Atris Birdie

18-19 Black Crows atris birdie women's powder ski

This was the first year the Chamonix brand entered our SKI Test melee, marking its success breaking into the U.S. market. (Its brilliant “soft launch” campaign was to send free skis to all the rad local Jackson bros a few years back.) Our team of discriminating testers were impressed, deeming the Atris Birdie a strong contender and awarding it a No. 2 score in Overall Impression. It’s floaty, stable, grippy, confidence inspiring, and fun. “Playful, dynamic, and versatile,” said Greene. Find out more about the Black Crows Atris Birdie here.

  • Strength: Overall Impression; Weakness: Quickness
  • Overall Rating: 3.93 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 136-108-123
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 160, 169, 178
  • Radius (in meters): 20
  • MSRP: $800 (BUY NOW)

Salomon QST Stella 106

2018/2019 Salomon QST Stella 106

Testers loved the Stella but quibbled about why: Some felt it was light and snappy, others burly and rock-solid. Perhaps it’s a sign of this model’s versatility—it can shape-shift to be whatever you want. A super-light Spaceframe wood core underfoot sticks solidly to the snow on groomed, and airy tips and tails surf and play in the fluff. Easy to lay over, it ripped instantly on the scraped-off groomer at the top of the lift and truly got into its groove in the powdery trees. Bremner: “Smooth entry, calm hold, and lovely exit.” See more scores for the Salomon QST Stella 106 here.

  • Strengths: Flotation, Crud Performance; Weakness: Forgiveness
  • Overall Rating: 3.93 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 136-106-124
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 159, 167, 174
  • Radius (in meters): 20
  • MSRP: $850 (BUY NOW)

Atomic Vantage 107 C W

18-19 Atomic Vantage 107c W women's powder ski

The new Vantage 107 C W is a continuation of Atomic’s quest to produce the lightest and strongest gear in the Multiverse. The addition of space-age Carbon Tank Mesh made the ski so stiff that “burly” was a common refrain. Most appreciated its muscle when plowing through afternoon chop, but a few smaller testers complained about a stiff tail that wouldn’t release (likely due to a long test length). Best piloted by turbo-boost-loving experts in soft snow. Brown: “Awesome float and power through crud.” Check out the rest of the Atomic Vantage 107 C W's scores here.

  • Strengths: Crud Performance, Stability at Speed; Weakness: Playfulness
  • Overall Rating: 3.93 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 135-107-122
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 159, 167, 175
  • Radius (in meters): 16.4
  • MSRP: $775 (BUY NOW)

Stöckli Stormrider 105

18-19 Stöckli Stormrider105 women's powder ski

Screw lightweight—this warhorse bludgeoned its way to the winners’ circle. The Stormrider is more of an all-terrain crusher than pow ski. It’s technically unisex, but even unisexuals would have to eat their spinach to steer this bad boy. With a full wood core sandwiched by two sheets of man-eating metal and handcrafted in the Swiss factory (hence the price), it’s smooth, precise, and believes that pain is weakness leaving the body. “Powerful ski for the gal who wants to charge,” said Gibbons. Read more about the Stöckli Stormrider 105 here.

  • Strengths: Stability at Speed, Hard-Snow Integrity; Weakness: Playfulness
  • Overall Rating 3.72 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters) 137-105-127
  • Lengths (In Centimeters) 159, 168, 177, 186
  • Radius (In Meters) 16.9
  • MSRP: $1,199 (BUY NOW)