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All-Mountain Skis

10 User-Friendly Skis That Will Forgive Your 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.

If you’re someone who values fun, effortless skiing over technical prowess and power, dive into this list of the most forgiving frontside and all-mountain skis from SKI’s 2023 gear test test to find a ski that will work with you on the hill, not against you.

2023’s Most Forgiving Skis

Rossignol Experience 82 Ti

2023 Rossignol Experience 82 Ti
(Photo: Kevin Zansler)
  • Forgiveness score: 8.11/10
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Category: Frontside

The Rossignol Experience 82 Ti won the Frontside category at the 2023 SKI Test after besting all the other skis tested in nine skills categories. What’s particularly impressive about this ski is that it scored high marks in hard-snow integrity, stability at speed, and carving, yet it also did well in the playfulness and forgiveness categories. It’s one of those skis that intermediates and experts can love equally.

What testers say:

“Easy, just so damn easy. Junkyard dog, ready to hold its ground.” —Peter Nestor

Read the full review and see how the Rossignol Experience 82 Ti scored in every skill category

Armada Declivity 82 Ti

Armada Declivity 82 Ti
(Photo: Courtesy Armada)
  • Forgiveness score: 7.86/10
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Category: Frontside

What testers love about the new generation of Armada skis is that they’ve stepped it up when it comes to on-piste performance without losing the playfulness and user-friendliness of Armada’s park skis. The Declivity 82 Ti is a frontside workhorse that impressed testers with its carving chops and approachability.

What testers say:

“I did not expect this ski to impress me that much but it was so easy to ski. It rips at speed yet is super playful and forgiving. Not a classic groomer ski but way way fun to ski.” —Gabe Glosband

Read the full review and see how the Armada Declivity 82 Ti scored in every skill category

Stöckli Nela 88

2023 Stöckli Nela 88 frontside ski
(Photo: Courtesy of Stöckli)
  • Forgiveness score: 8/10
  • Gender: Women’s
  • Category: Frontside

The Stöckli Nela 88 has been a staple in the women’s frontside rankings over the years, and for good reason: It’s one of the most versatile, well-balanced skis in this category. Testers love this ski’s responsiveness above all else, but they also call it one of the most playful and forgiving skis.

What testers say:

“This is an excellent ski for a lady that likes to cruise around but if she wants to do more, she’s got the ski to do it. Might not be a beginner ski, but could be for someone who’s gone skiing for a season or so and wants a ski for the next foreseeable future.” —Abby Ghent

Read the full review and see how the Stöckli Nela 88 scored in every skill category

Dynastar E-Lite 8

2023 Dynastar Elite 8
(Photo: Courtesy Dynastar)
  • Forgiveness score: 7.25/10
  • Gender: Women’s
  • Category: Frontside

This new offering for ladies from Dynastar impressed testers with its zippy energy. If you’re looking for a frontside ski to fire off short turns on groomers and in the moguls, look no further.

What testers say:

“This is a true Dynastar ski—softer and more playful. A ski for ladies who don’t want to work too hard and stick to the groomed in softer snow conditions.” —Jenny Wiegand

Read the full review and see how the Dynastar E-Lite 8 scored in every skill category

J Skis The Fastforward

J Skis The Fastforward
(Photo: Courtesy J Skis)
  • Forgiveness score: 7.43/10
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Category: All-Mountain

Skiers who value playfulness above all else in an all-mountain ski need look no further than the J Skis Fastforward. While it can hold its own on groomers, hardpack, and in crud, this is not a high performance ski that’s meant to be driven. It’s a playful and forgiving plank looking for a fun-loving driver.

What testers say:

“Surprised how energetic and peppy the ski feels given how soft it is in the tip. Super solid underfoot if kept at moderate speeds. This is just an all-around fun ski you could spend the whole day on and your legs wouldn’t get tired. You don’t need to put a lot of work into it to make it fun and playful.” —Chad Jacob

Read the full review and see how the J Skis Fastforward scored in every skill category

Head Kore 93

Head Kore 93
(Photo: Courtesy Head)
  • Forgiveness score: 7.38/10
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Category: All-Mountain

This season Head adds additional carbon and graphene to the Kore 93 to help lighten the overall package. Thanks to the lighter weight, the Kore 93 is more accessible to a wider variety of skiers, yet can still handle almost every snow and terrain combination.

What testers say:

More energetic and playful than expected. It’s a well-rounded ski that many different people would enjoy. Easy ski to learn and understand.” —Nick Loomans

Read the full review and see how the Head Kore 93 scored in every skill category

Salomon QST 98

2023 Salomon QST 98
(Photo: Courtesy Salomon)
  • Forgiveness score: 7.2/10
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Category: All-Mountain

RMU Apostle 96

2023 RMU Apostle 96
(Photo: Courtesy RMU)
  • Forgiveness score: 7/10
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Category: All-Mountain

It’s a certain kind of skier who will get the most out of the RMU Apostle 96. A playful skier with a surfy style will dig how easy it is to flex this ski and initiate a turn. More novice skiers are likely to appreciate this ski for the same reason. Testers called this one of the most approachable and forgiving skis of the 2023 ski test.

What testers say:

“The ski performed as expected for a pure wood-core ski. Easy to flex, but low energy return from the ski. Still, for those that like to load the ski from bump to bump and bounce and play, it’s a fun playful ski.” —Otto Gibbons

Salomon QST Lumen 98

2023 QST Lumen 98 women's all-mountain ski
(Photo: Courtesy Salomon)
  • Forgiveness score: 8.5/10
  • Gender: Women’s
  • Category: All-Mountain

The new version of the women’s Salomon QST Lumen 98 blew the rest of the skis in the women’s all-mountain category out of the water in the playfulness, quickness, and forgiveness departments, so if those areas are your jam, go ahead and pull the trigger.

What testers say:

“I’ve skied this in a longer length and it was too much swing-weight and tough to muscle around. Moving to the shorter length blew my mind at how energetic playful and responsive it was. In the right length you can literally trust it anywhere on the mountain to be the best, most playful, energetic ride of your life. Close to best in test and definitely the most fun I’ve had all week during the ski test.” —Avery Pesce

Read the full review and see how the Salomon QST Lumen 98 scored in every skill category

Head Kore 91 W

2023 Head Kore 91 W
(Photo: Courtesy Head)
  • Forgiveness score: 7.8/10
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Category: All-Mountain

If we had to choose just one ski to universally recommend to women—no matter their ability or where they ski—the Head Kore 91 W might be it. Thanks to a lightweight caruba-poplar core,  moderate tip and tail rocker, and slimmer waist, this ski is incredibly agile, energetic, and just so easy to swing around.

What testers say:

“Super approachable and turn-friendly for an advanced intermediate but powerful and stable enough for a hard charging advanced skier looking for a ski they can whip around on. Light and responsive in the trees with excellent float. Solid performance in pushing through crud and up and over mashed potatoes. Lively and energetic through the turns on the groomers.” —Avery Pesce

Read the full review and see how the Head Kore 91 W scored in every skill category

 

More 2023 Gear Reviews

The best frontside skis of 2023
The best all-mountain skis of the year
Frontside vs. all-mountain skis—what’s the difference?