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All-Mountain Skis

10 Skis That Won’t Punish Your (Occasionally) Sloppy Skiing Habits

These forgiving skis won’t punish you for imperfect form or technique.

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Every year at SKI Test, we ask our testers to rate how forgiving each ski is. In other words, we want to know how user-friendly it is. Because while there are amazing, powerful, exciting skis out there, some of them do not tolerate mistakes. And those skis can be a lot of work.

But some skis are built to be more accommodating and don’t punish you for getting in the back seat every once in a while. These skis tend to be made from lighter-weight materials and feature more rocker in the tip and perhaps the tail.

When rating a ski in the forgiveness category, testers assess whether the ski makes turning, edging, and tackling unfavorable conditions easier. Skis that require a lot of effort or force to bend to the skier’s will, or skis that punish a skier’s imperfect technique, score lower in forgiveness.

On that topic: Are wider skis easier and more forgiving? Our gear experts weigh in

Some of our readers may skip over this category when reading our annual Gear Guide, because a ski’s forgiveness score may be less important to them than, say, stability at speed or hard-snow integrity. But a ski’s forgiveness score can be telling and a good indicator of how much work this ski is going to require from you; or how accessible it will be to intermediates who are still developing their technical skills.

Related: How we rank and review skis in our annual Gear Guide

If you’re someone who values fun, effortless skiing over technical prowess and power, dive into this list of the most forgiving all-mountain skis from SKI’s 2020-’21 test to find a ski that will work with you on the hill, not against you. And if you’re in the market for skis hot off the press next season, stay tuned for the results from SKI’s 2021-’22 test, available in our October Gear Guide.

Join Outside+ to get early access to next season’s ski reviews

2021’s Most Forgiving Men’s All-Mountain Skis

2021 4FRNT MSP 99

  • Forgiveness Score: 3.94/5
  • Overall Score: 3.72/5
"2021 4FRNT MSP 99 Men's All-Mountain Ski"

Tester comment: “Really enjoyed this ski. It’s so easy to ski. It will do everything you want it to and nothing you don’t. Very versatile in turn shape and conditions. A ski an intermediate skier would enjoy and continue to grow or improve with, but also a ski an advanced/expert skier would enjoy.” —Nick Loomans

Read the full review: 4FRNT MSP 99

2021 Fischer Ranger 99Ti

  • Forgiveness Score: 3.9/5
  • Overall Score: 3.97/5
"2020 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti"

Tester comment: “The Ranger 99 Ti is damp enough to feel comfortable at speed and give a bit of confidence in variable snow; nimble enough to feel quick and easy to ski in bumps and chalky snow; and sturdy and stable enough to ski aggressively in all terrain. A great ski for a strong intermediate to advanced skier that wants to improve and ski more aggressively without as much consequence if they get caught in the backseat or off balance.” —Jon Sexauer

Get all the deets: Fischer Ranger 99Ti

2021 Völkl Blaze 94

  • Forgiveness Score: 3.86/5
  • Overall Score: 3.65/5
"2021 Völkl Blaze 94 Men's All-Mountain Ski"

Tester comment: “The perfect Völkl starter ski. Easy to initiate, but with no metal in it, it’s still surprisingly stable through the turn. Shines in the crud, trees, and bumps. It makes unpredictable terrain easy.” —Luke Larsen

Read the full review: Völkl Blaze 94

2021 Armada Declivity 92 Ti

  • Forgiveness Score: 3.83/5
  • Overall Score: 3.8/5
"2021 Armada Declivity 92 Ti Men's All-Mountain Ski"

Tester comment: “A very well-balanced ski. Perfect blend of stability and energy. It definitely creates energy coming out of turn but still felt very comfortable at all speeds, turn shapes, and in all conditions. Just a really fun ski and easy to maneuver or change turn shape. Really strong, solid edge hold. A great advanced to expert ski.” —Nick Loomans

Get all the details on this ski: Armada Declivity 92 Ti

2021 Rossignol Black Ops Holyshred

  • Forgiveness Score: 3.72/5
  • Overall Score: 3.98/5
"2021 Rossignol Black Ops Holyshred mens all-mountain ski"

Tester comment: “I loved this ski. Perfect blend of playfulness, hard-snow integrity, and quickness. A very versatile ski. Anyone in the advanced to expert range should consider this ski. You could tone it down for a nice buttery skidded turn, and then in the same turn, lay the thing on edge and turn up the throttle and it just shifts into high gear. HolySHRED is right!” —Mike Britt

Read more about this ski: Rossignol Holyshred full review

Most Forgiving Women’s All-Mountain Skis

2021 Völkl Blaze 94W

  • Forgiveness Score: 4.28/5
  • Overall Score: 3.88/5
"The 2021 Völkl Blaze 94 W Women's All-Mountain Ski"

Tester comment: “This ski would be terrific for a skier who is advancing from intermediate to advanced. It initiates turns quickly, has a lot of pep, and is stable on a variety of snow conditions. This wouldn’t be my top choice for a person who charges as it felt a little floppy at speed, but would be great for someone who wants to advance their skiing in off-piste terrain.” —Courtney Krause

Read the full review: 2021 Völkl Blaze 94W

2021 Head Kore 93W

  • Forgiveness Score: 4.11/5
  • Overall Score: 4.20/5
"2021 Head Kore 93 W Women's Best in Test All-Mountain Ski"

Tester comment: “Solid, strong, and silent. This ski is an unsung hero. It doesn’t make a show about how amazing it is, but performs everything predictably well. They won’t beat you up and make you ski faster or harder than you’re willing, but will crush turns all day.” —Courtney Harkins

Get all the deets on the Best in Test women’s ski: 2021 Head Kore 93W

2021 K2 Mindbender 98Ti Alliance

  • Forgiveness Score: 4.05/5
  • Overall Score: 3.87/5
"The 2021 K2 Mindbender 98Ti Alliance Women's All-Mountain Ski"

Tester comment: “Best K2 design in years. Not wimpy yet not demanding. Does everything you ask of it. Fun and playful everywhere. It’s very manageable in the bumps, as you’d expect a K2 to be. Never threw me even when I got a smidge off balance in the bumps. A great confidence-building ski.” —Stephanie Humes 

Read the full review: 2021 K2 Mindbender 98Ti Alliance

2021 Elan Ripstick 94W

  • Forgiveness Score: 4/5
  • Overall Score: 4.17/5
"The 2021 Elan Ripstick 94 W Women's All-Mountain Ski"

Tester comment: “Super responsive when laying over edges. In the bumps, I totally appreciate the forgiving flex and the edge in the tail, and both being willing to schmeer and release as I ski. Yet the underfoot hold is reliable and solid. A huge range of abilities can enjoy this ski, as it can perform on the race track or coax you gently all over the front side.” —Georgie Bremner 

Learn more: 2021 Elan Ripstick 94W

2021 Armada Trace 98

  • Forgiveness Score: 4/5
  • Overall Score: 3.91/5
"The 2021 Armada Trace 98 Women's All-Mountain Ski"

Tester comment: “A docile little darling! Smoothed out the bumpy terrain like nobody’s business and made some big carvers like a boss. At speed it felt very reassuring. Great ski for intermediate and above skiers wanting a ski to explore all over the mountain.” —Robin Barnes

Read the full review: 2021 Armada Trace 98


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