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Womens Skis

Top Women’s Value Skis of 2022

If affordable planks that don't sacrifice performance are on your wishlist this season, these skis are just the ticket.

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While “value” and “skiing” are not 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 are 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 (system skis had the price of their bindings subtracted 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 Alliance

2022 K2 Reckoner 92 Alliance

2022 K2 Reckoner 92 Alliance Specifications

  • Value Score: 8.44
  • Overall Score: 3.38/5
  • Strengths: Playfulness, Quickness
  • Weaknesses: Hard-Snow Integrity, Stability at Speed
  • Dimensions (mm): 124-92-114
  • Available lengths (cm): 149, 159, 169
  • Radius (m): 14
  • Price: $400 (without binding)

This Value category is all about reducing entry barriers to our sport, and for that, the Reckoner 92 Alliance hits the nail on the head. Testers skied the 149cm length at the test, which is much too short for most ladies, but even so they had a good time boppin’ around in bumps and showing off short turns. Because this ski features a pronounced twin tip profile, you’ll want to size up so that you have enough ski and edge underfoot. Gibbons: “A great first pair of skis for a gal who wants to ski the whole mountain.”

Shop the K2 Reckoner 92 Alliance: evo

No. 2: Nordica Wild Belle 78 CA

2022 Nordica Wild Belle 78 CA

2022 Nordica Wild Belle 78 CA Specifications

  • Value Score: 6.97
  • Overall Score: 3.49/5
  • Strengths: Forgiveness, Hard-Snow Integrity
  • Weaknesses: Crud Performance, Flotation
  • Dimensions (mm): 127-78-106
  • Available lengths (cm): 138, 144, 150, 156, 162, 168
  • Radius (m): 13.7
  • Price: $600 (with binding)

“Does this ski know it’s a value ski? Because it skis up there with the best of them. It’s smeary, carvy, and offers nice versatility when it comes to how you can ski it. A great ski for beginners and even strong intermediates. Both would have a blast on this Wild Belle and could grow their skills on it.”  –Stephanie Humes

Purchase the Nordica Wild Belle 78 CA: REI

No. 3: Elan Wildcat 82 C

2022 Elan Wildcat 82 C

2022 Elan Wildcat 82 C Specifications

  • Value Score: 6.47
  • Overall Score: 3.24/5
  • Strengths: Quickness, Crud Performance
  • Weaknesses: Versatility, Stability at Speed
  • Dimensions (mm): 129-82-112
  • Available lengths (cm): 146, 152, 158, 164
  • Radius (m): 13.1
  • Price: $750 (with binding)

Cut from the same cloth as her Wildcat sisters but with a lighter core construction, the Wildcat 82 C is more approachable to beginners and intermediates. That said, it doesn’t offer the same stability at speed and dampness that the other Wildcats are known for. Still, testers appreciated how energetic this more affordable option is, especially in bumps and crud. Harkins: “A great, simple ride if you abide by its speed limit.”

Buy the Elan Wildcat 82 C: evo

Top Women’s Value Skis of 2021

Best Value: Head Absolute Joy

Head Absolute Joy 2021

The 2021 Head Absolute JoyPhoto courtesy of Head

This piste-oriented women’s ski wowed our female testers on the groomers. Despite a lightweight construction of graphene and a composite wood core, the Absolute Joy has a knack for carving and holding steady at speed. Testers loved this skis’ quick turn initiation and release thanks to its lighter weight and Allride Rocker. An approachable carving ski for intermediates.

Head Absolute Joy Details

  • Value Score: 7.40/10
  • Test Score: 4.07/5
  • Dimensions: 131-79-109
  • Lengths (cm): 143, 148, 153, 158, 163, 168
  • MSRP: $750 with binding

Nordica Astral 78 CA

2021 Nordica Astral 78Ti
The 2021 Nordica Astral 78 CA with binding.Photo courtesy of Nordica

Featuring a lighter construction than Nordica’s top-performing Santa Anas, the Astral 78 CA is more forgiving and accessible for ladies learning to tip their skis on edge and explore off-trail. A full wood core paired with a lightweight matrix of metal make this ski a smooth ride at moderate speeds, though testers caution it definitely has a speed limit.

  • Value Score: 7.33/10
  • Test Score: 3.66/5
  • Dimensions: 115-78-100
  • Lengths (cm): 144, 151, 158, 165
  • MSRP: $600 with binding

Rossignol Black Ops Dreamer

2021 Rossignol Black Ops Dreamer
The all-new 2021 Rossignol Black Ops DreamerPhoto courtesy of Rossignol

She may be small, but she’s scrappy. While our expert female testers couldn’t push the Dreamer to perform at high speeds, they acknowledged it would make a great introductory ski for teens and petite ladies alike. Designed to introduce young women to all-mountain skiing, the ski’s maneuverability won tester praise, who recommend it to skiers looking to master moguls and short turns.

  • Value Score: 7.06/10
  • Test Score: 2.82/5
  • Dimensions: 118-90-108
  • Lengths (cm): 130, 140, 150, 160
  • MSRP: $500 with binding

Armada Victa 93

2021 Armada Victa 93
The 2021 Armada Victa 93Photo courtesy of Armada

Because the Victa 93 doesn’t boast the rigid layer of Titanal that her Victa TI sisters do, she’s even more playful and forgiving (not to mention, cheaper). Thanks to a carbon-Kevlar strut that reinforces a poplar core, the Victa 93 still holds her own at speed, and testers felt it would make a great all-mountain ski for intermediate to advanced ladies.

  • Value Score: 6.35/10
  • Test Score: 3.82/5
  • Dimensions: 131-93-108
  • Lengths (cm): 151, 159, 167
  • MSRP: $600

Line Pandora 94

2021 Line Pandora 94
The 2021 Line Pandora 94.Photo courtesy of Line

Though the Pandora 94 serves up a more directional shape than we’re used to seeing from Line, this ski still stays true to Line’s M.O. of smearing rather than carving turns. Line’s Carbon Magic Finger technology gives this ski enough backbone to tackle hard snow while a light aspen core makes it user-friendly and quick from turn to turn. A great playmate for intermediate ladies and above.

  • Value Score: 5.82/10
  • Test Score: 3.79/5
  • Dimensions: 131-94-117
  • Lengths (cm): 151, 158, 165, 172
  • MSRP: $650

K2 Mindbender 90C Alliance

2021 K2 Mindbender Alliance 90 C
The K2 Mindbender 90C Alliance.Photo courtesy of K2

Ladies who gravitate towards even-keeled skis will enjoy the predictable performance of the women’s-specific Mindbender 90C. Testers agreed this mid-bodied Mindbender—featuring K2’s Spectral braid technology and an aspen veneer core—offers a steady ride that’s just what intermediate skiers need to advance to the next level. Bremner: “A great ski to take your skills up a notch without any arguments or drama.”

  • Value Score: 5.65
  • Test Score: 3.67/5
  • Dimensions: 127-90-113
  • Lengths (cm): 149, 156, 163, 170
  • MSRP: $650