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Gear Guide 2018: Men's Value Skis

Is there such a thing as inexpensive sticks that rip? Yes, and these six pairs fit the bill.

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Let’s face it: Skiing isn’t cheap. But there are ways to keep it inexpensive and fun, so to help you help your wallet, we tested a number of men’s skis that don’t require refinancing your house to purchase. Our testers made turns on these skis alongside every other pair found in SKI’s Gear Guide.

To qualify as a “Value Ski,” the price for a pair must be less than $650 (or $850 if bindings are included), and it must be enjoyable to ski. There is no width prerequisite, so any ski category can make the cut. We take the ski’s overall average test score, multiply it by 1,000, and divide it by the price to come up with a Value Score. These are the planks with smallest price tags that stood out.

Pro Tip: Prices here are MSRP, so these skis are probably marked at a lower price in-store. You’re welcome.

Read about the best Women’s Value Skis here.

Nordica Navigator 85

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Nordica dominated certain categories of the ski test, and we salute the brand for making an affordable ski that rips alongside its higher-priced cousins. A layer of strategically cut titanium (Nordica calls this the “Hex Bridge”) laid over a poplar and beech wood core allows this ski to crush crud and stay stable without excessive weight. “Solid and quiet,” said Megroz. “Don’t be afraid to push it.” Read more about the Nordica Navigator 85 here.

Price: $600 flat; Value Score: 5.88

Dimensions: 125-85-109 (179); Lengths: 172, 179, 186.

Category: Men’s All Mountain Narrow.

Völkl Kanjo

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The Kanjo impressed most when it was let off its leash and allowed to go full-throttle. The Titanal band inside a layered wood core and full sandwich sidewalls keep the ski damp in variable snow, but still fun to bounce around with on smoother terrain thanks to well-placed tip and tail rocker. “Great ski,” wrote Todd Casey. “Strong and stable, but feathered with ease to make all sorts of turns.” Read more about the Völkl Kanjo here.

Price: $650 flat; Value Score: 5.38.

D: 123-84-104 (175); L: 154, 161, 168, 175, 182.

Category: Men’s Hard Snow.

Atomic Vantage 95 C

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The Vantage 95 C is slightly wider and significantly less expensive than the award-winning Vantage 90 CTi. Made with a layer of super-light carbon mesh over a poplar wood core, the ski earned its strongest marks in quickness and maneuverability, making it an affordable option for those who enjoy the entire hill. “Quiet and damp,” wrote Luke Larsen. “Great daily driver,” said Brendan Gooding. Read more about the Atomic Vantage 95 C here.

Price: $600 flat; Value Score: 5.18.

Dimensions: 133-95-119.5 (178); Lengths: 162, 170, 178, 186.

Category: Men’s All Mountain Narrow.

Fischer Pro MTN 80

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Like a perfect point guard on the basketball court, the Pro Mtn 80 scored highest in quickness, and always felt springy on hard snow. Carbon in the shovel and sandwich sidewall construction performed best on groomed terrain. Those who prefer corduroy and want a lower price point should give these planks some play. “Perfect amount of flex,” said Gordy Megroz. “Nice solid feel underfoot too.” Read more about the Fischer Pro MTN 80 here.

Price: $700 with binding; Value Score: 4.91.

D: 125-81-111 (173); L: 159, 166, 173, 180.

Category: Men’s Hard Snow.

Dynastar Legend X 80

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The Legend X 80 gives testament to frugal performance. Testers enjoyed its forgiveness, and gave it high marks for maneuverability, important factors for skiers looking to bump up from a skills plateau. The five-point side cut, tip and tail rocker, and solid wood core create a snappy ski and really expresses well from turn to turn. “Rides with assurance,” said Bob Gleason. “Loves the tight spots.” Read more about the Dynastar Legend X 80 here.

Price: $700 with binding; Value Score: 4.47.

D: 123-80-103 (173); L: 152, 159, 166, 173, 180.

Category: Men’s Hard Snow.

Blizzard Quattro 8.0 Ti

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We don’t know how Blizzard put titanium in a ski and kept it in the value category, but we’re certainly not complaining about it. Thanks to 4mm of tip and tail rocker, our testers found this ski to be the most playful, forgiving, and smooth option in the category. A solid choice for those looking for a ski that’s quick to turn but forgiving if you mess up. “Silky smooth,” wrote Larsen. “Just like my satin sheets.” Read more about the Blizzard Quattro 8.0 Ti here.

Price: $840 with binding; Value Score: 4.14.

D: 125-80-108 (174); L: 156, 162, 168, 174, 180.

Category: Men’s Hard Snow.