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Mens Skis

The Best Men’s Value Skis of 2022

Save some cash without sacrificing performance with these affordable yet highly competent skis.

While “value” and skiing are often two words seen together in the same sentence, this category remains one of the most popular and coveted roundups in the Gear Guide. And 2022 is no exception. After all, it shouldn’t be that hard to find a great-performing ski at a non-outrageous price point, especially for intermediates and those newer to the sport who are in the process of advancing their skills.

If that sounds like you, then this group of skis is right up your alley, having gone toe-to-toe with their more expensive counterparts at SKI Test last winter. Wondering how we calculate our Value skis? To find a ski’s Value Score, we take the ski’s average test score, multiply it by 1,000, and divide this number by the MSRP (If the ski comes with a binding, we subtracted that cost to make things even). We didn’t set a firm price limit this year as the equation demands a low price in order to be competitive, but we did include the ski’s actual test score to allow you to choose what’s most important: a great deal, best-in-class performance, or a mix of both.

Looking for more in-depth ski gear coverage? Join Outside+  to read extended ski reviews, compare ski test scores, and get more insight from SKI’s veteran gear testers. 

Best Value—No. 1: K2 Reckoner 92

  • Value Score: 8.43
  • Overall Score: 3.37/5
  • Strengths: Playfulness, Quickness
  • Weaknesses: Stability at Speed, Crud Performance
  • Dimensions: 124-92-114mm
  • Available lengths: 149, 159, 169, 179cm
  • Radius: 16.9m
  • Price: $400 (Buy now)
2022 K2 Reckoner 92

The Reckoner 92’s top rankings for Playfulness, Quickness, and Forgiveness in the Value skis category mean this ski hits the sweet spot for the majority of recreational skiers all over North America. There is a gradual rise on both ends of this twin-tipped ski, which provides a shortened effective edge. This allows the ski to grow with skiers as they develop stronger skills on groomers, the park, and freeride terrain. Cook: “Pretty much perfect for a value ski. Honestly a lot of fun at slow speeds in all conditions.”

Purchase the K2 Reckoner 92: evo

No. 2: Nordica Navigator 75 CA

  • Value Score: 8.39
  • Overall Score: 3.36/5
  • Strengths: Forgiveness, Overall Impression
  • Weaknesses: Flotation, Crud Performance
  • Dimensions: 125-75-105mm
  • Available lengths: 150, 156, 162, 168, 174cm
  • Radius: 14.5m
  • Price: $500 (Buy now)
2022 Nordica Navigator 75 CA

Those looking for get-on-and-go skis that enable a foundation of proper technique should reach for the Navigator 75 CA. With a generous, easy-to-carve sidecut that includes an especially groomer-friendly 75mm waist, this ski loves to be on edge at all speeds. But the Navigator is still forgiving enough to allow the user to correct mistakes throughout the turn. Gibbons: “Really easy to move with, and easy turn initiation. A comfortable ski to get someone into the sport.”

Shop for the Nordica Navigator 75 CA: Skis.com

No. 3 Line Sick Day 88

  • Value Score: 6.46
  • Overall Score: 3.23/5
  • Strengths: Crud Performance, Flotation
  • Weaknesses: Hard-Snow Integrity, Stability at Speed
  • Dimensions: 127-88-113mm
  • Available lengths: 165, 172, 179cm
  • Radius: 17.4m
  • Price: $500 (Buy now)
2022 Line Sick Day 88

 

While the biggest, burliest, strongest skiers might be underwhelmed by the Line Sick Day 88, the reality is that anyone who doesn’t always want to barrel down the mountain will enjoy these skis. Better yet, anyone who wants to learn how to ski more precisely at moderate speeds and use the entire ski area as a playground will be pleased. These planks won’t weigh you down, either. Schiller: “The side hills and snow piles become mini-park hits. Each kid should own a pair once in their life.”

Buy the Line Sick Day 88: Skis.com

Want to compare against last year’s models? Check out the Best Value Skis of 2021 below.

Best Value: Rossignol Black Ops Smasher (2021)

2021 Rossignol Black Ops Smasher
The 2021 Rossignol Black Ops Smasher.Photo courtesy of Rossignol

Testers were a bit nervous about the 170cm Smasher, but they got to the bottom wholly impressed by this Rossi’s ability to hold a solid edge at moderate speeds. The rocker and shorter effective edge allows the ski to wiggle through and slide over bumps and crud, making it an ideal choice for teenagers and adults who don’t need a lot of ski to have fun.

  • Value Score: 8.11
  • Test Score: 3.24/5
  • Dimensions: 118-90-108
  • Lengths (cm): 130, 140, 150, 160, 170, 180
  • MSRP: $400

Dynastar Menace 90 (2021)

2021 Dynastar Menace 90
The 2021 Dynastar Menace 90Photo courtesy of Dynastar

While it wasn’t revered for its carving skills, the Menace 90 was able to skid down the mountain comfortably in a way that intermediate skiers who like variable terrain will enjoy. The kicked tails help the ski pivot turns in tight spaces. The minimal weight is great for those interested in backcountry skiing, but mostly ride the chairlift when they are in the mountains.

  • Value Score: 7.10
  • Test Score: 2.83/5
  • Dimensions: 118-90-108
  • Lengths (cm): 130, 140, 150, 160, 170, 180
  • MSRP: $400

Armada ARV 96 (2021)

2021 Armada ARV 96
The 2021 Armada ARV 96Photo courtesy of Armada

While the test crew was divided about the graphics, they were universal in praise for the ARV 96’s capabilities. This twin-tipped all-mountain ski’s poplar and ash wood core can handle high speeds but is still poppy and playful. With the highest overall score in the Value category and a nice price, this ski is likely to be a winner for you, too.

  • Value Score: 6.22
  • Test Score: 3.73/5
  • Dimensions: 125-96-117
  • Lengths (cm): 163, 170, 177, 184
  • MSRP: $600

Nordica Navigator 80 (2021)

2021 Nordica Navigator 80
Nordica’s Navigator 80 for 2021.Photo courtesy of Nordica

Testers said Nordica’s value ski needs just a few turns to figure out the sweet spot, but once acquired, the Navigator 80 rewards with solid frontside performance. The skis’ construction and dimensions felt right at home on groomers, bumps, and even expert terrain at Taos. A competitively priced option that intermediates, advanced, and even expert skiers will appreciate.

  • Value Score: 5.77
  • Test Score: 3.17/5
  • Dimensions: 119-80-104
  • Lengths (cm): 158, 165, 172, 179
  • MSRP: $550

Liberty Helix 88 (2021)

2021 Liberty Helix 88
The 2021 Liberty Helix 88.Photo courtesy of Liberty

Narrower than all of the All-Mountain skis tested, the Liberty Helix 88 was appreciated by testers for its tenacity at all speeds, and its ability to transition from hard snow to bumps to chalky steeps with ease. The bamboo and poplar wood core is matched with carbon fiber, and the overall construction allows the ski to be lightweight and snappy.

  • Value Score: 5.68
  • Test Score: 3.41/5
  • Dimensions: 118-88-118
  • Lengths (cm): 168, 175, 182
  • MSRP: $600

Line Sick Day 94 (2021)

2021 Line Sick Day 94
The 2021 Line Sick Day 94.Photo courtesy of Line Skis

At Taos, the majority of testers were more than happy to get on these lightweight planks on a day when the heavy metal options were plentiful. The proprietary Aspenlite wood core makes the ski playful at moderate speeds and allows it to float over crud easily. Skiers who like to have fun and know when to call in “sick” will enjoy it.

  • Value Score: 5.66
  • Test Score: 3.68/5
  • Dimensions: 131-94-117
  • Lengths (cm): 172, 179, 186
  • MSRP: $650