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Carving Skis

10 Skis That Can Teach You How to Carve

We don't have auto-steering skis (yet), but these come pretty close.

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The majority of skiers who think they know how to carve … don’t. We’re not trying to be mean, it’s just a fact. Ask professional ski instructors who teach everyone from beginners to experts, and they’ll back us up. Those who think they are carving down the mountain are, more often than not, performing glorified skid turns.

Want to check yourself? Just look at the tracks you leave in the snow behind you—if you see two precise arcs (or, as the PSIA instructors call them, railroad tracks), then congratulations, you know how to carve. If, on the other hand, you see tracks that get wider or skidded in the apex of your turn, then, unfortunately, you’re not carving—you’re skidding.

And let’s be clear: There’s no shame in a solid skid turn. In fact, 90 percent of the time a solid skid turn is the only turn you need in life, especially if you spend most of your time skiing off-piste, in bumps, and steep, technical terrain.

On that topic: How to become a smart, tactical skier in any terrain

But if you’ve realized you are skidding and wish you were carving, then you have two options:

  1. You can make it your mission to master the fundamentals of carving—in PSIA speak, that means working on your edging skills, pressure control, and rotary movements.
  2. You ditch those wide all-mountain sticks you’ve been skidding around on and get yourself a pair of carving skis that will coax you into a carve.

Disclaimer: No carving ski in the world will get you carving if you don’t already have at least a solid handle on the fundamental skills, so you’ll probably still need to work on those. But there are carving skis that are more user-friendly than others. We affectionately refer to these skis as “teaching tools” or “PSIA skis” because they have a unique ability to make things like edging and turn initiation easy while still delivering on the performance front. They’re not beginner skis, but they are generally a little softer and more forgiving, which makes bending a ski—which is the essence of carving—a little easier.

So if you’re an intermediate or advanced skier and you’ve discovered that you’ve been skidding your turns instead of carving, and you’d like to rectify that, then dig into this list of user-friendly carving skis that score high in what we’re calling “Carvability”—a combination of each ski’s maneuverability and forgiveness scores.

Rossignol Experience 82 Ti

  • Waist width: 82mm
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Skill: Intermediate to advanced
  • Carvability score: 4.21
2022 Rossignol Experience 82 Ti ski
(Photo: Courtesy of Rossignol)

Tester comment: “It’s an enjoyable experience on the Experience 82 Ti. Comfortable at any speed and happy to tip on edge as far as you want it to. The ski will make nearly any turn shape you ask of it with no fuss. Prefers to be engaged through boot flex rather than all out pressure to the ski, making it comfortable for many who are looking for their first carver, or for those who have been on high edge angles for a long time and don’t feel a need to work as hard for a nice turn.” Otto Gibbons

Stöckli Laser AR

  • Waist width: 83mm
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Skill level: Strong intermediate to expert
  • Carvability score: 4.10
2022 STOCKLI LASER AR

Tester comment: “A carving ski that snaps around with a lot of energy. A little wider underfoot than some in the carver category, but it doesn’t lose any on-trail performance because of the extra width. A ski to make you feel like a hero.” —Luke Larsen

Read SKI’s deep dive review and see how the Stöckli Laser AR scored in every skill category. 

Blizzard Thunderbird R15 WB

  • Waist width: 76mm
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Skill level: Advanced, expert
  • Carvability score: 4.09
2022 BLIZZARD THUNDERBIRD

Tester comment: “The Thunderbird R15 WB falls between Blizzard’s HRC and Bonafide lines when it comes to construction materials, using softer wood stringers in the core. This allows for free carving with no backlash. Lots of speed and carving ability, and extremely user-friendly.” —Matt Schiller

Read SKI’s deep dive review and see how the Blizzard Thunderbird R15 WB scored in every skill category. 

Armada Declivity 82Ti

  • Waist width: 82mm
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Skill level: Intermediate, advanced
  • Carvability score: 4.07
2022 ARMADA DECLIVITY 82 TI

Tester comment: “A little soft compared to the rest of the heavy-hitting race brands in the carving category, but the perfect beginner carving ski. The Declivity 82 Ti’s early rise allows you to easily access the front of the ski to initiate the turn properly.” —Mark Syrovatka

Read SKI’s deep dive review and see how the Armada Declivity 82Ti scored in every skill category. 

Stöckli Laser MX

  • Waist width: 67mm
  • Gender: Women’s-specific
  • Skill level: Advanced, expert
  • Carvability score: 4.53
2022 Stöckli Laser MX

Tester comment: “The Laser MX would be a great learn-to-carve ski. It actively wants to get on its edge and easily goes back and forth between turns. Fun and peppy, I think a lot of women would enjoy this ski.” —Courtney Harkins

Read SKI’s deep dive review and see how the Stöckli Laser MX scored in every skill category. 

Armada Reliance 82Ti

  • Waist width: 82mm
  • Gender: Women’s-specific
  • Skill level: Intermediate to expert
  • Carvability score: 4.39
2022 ARMADA RELIANCE 82 TI

Tester comment: “There is no pretense with this ski. It’s super well-rounded in short turns, can cruise at slow or fast speeds, and makes carving easy yet rewarding. For a wide range of levels, though maybe not a super strong hard charger.” —Robin Barnes

Read SKI’s deep dive review and see how the Stöckli Laser AR scored in every skill category. 

Nordica Wild Belle DC 84

  • Waist width: 84mm
  • Gender: Women’s-specific
  • Skill level: Intermediate to expert
  • Carvability score: 4.28
2022 Nordica Wild Belle DC 84

Tester comment: “No speed limit. Slow, fast, whatever. It’s right there. Torsionally stable. Big sweet spot and yet so solid! I think a lot of women would love this ski and grow into if they’re not quite ready for it.” —Stephanie Humes

Read SKI’s deep dive review and see how the Nordica Wilde Belle DC 84 scored in every skill category. 

Head Power Joy

  • Waist width: 68mm
  • Gender: Women’s-specific
  • Skill level: Intermediate, advanced
  • Carvability score: 4.07
2022 Head Power Joy

Tester comment: “Whatever you give to the ski it will give right back in power and joy. Turns are full of energy, and the ski is so easy to roll on edge, whether you’re going slow or fast.” —Erika Northrop

K2 Disruption MTi Alliance

  • Waist width: 72mm
  • Gender: Women’s-specific
  • Skill level: Intermediate, advanced
  • Carvability score: 3.88
2022 K2 Disruption MTi Alliance

Tester comment: “Easy to tip over on edge. It’s like they want to help you start your turn, and once you’re there they hold you through the forces. Would make a great beginner/intermediate carver for those who need help feeling what it’s like to carve.” —Abby Ghent

Read SKI’s deep dive review and see how the K2 Disruption MTi Alliance  scored in every skill category. 

Rossignol Experience 82 W Basalt

  • Waist width: 82mm
  • Gender: Women’s-specific
  • Skill level: Intermediate, advanced
  • Carvability score: 3.88
2022 Rossignol Experience 82 W Basalt

Tester comment: “Nice, firm edge hold though it’s not the traditional carver. It does pull you into a turn easily at a variety of speeds. Makes me think of a technical ski instructor’s ski.” —Tracy Gibbons

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