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No. 1: Choose your category.
No. 2: Click on the corresponding link, and read the reviews of the winning skis within your category.
No. 3: Pick a ski. (All skis reviewed here are excellent; we only write about the winners. The right one for you is a matter of personal preference.)
Moderately wide waists (80–90 mm) for softer snow and steeper steeps
Who it’s for: Expert skiers who can handle any terrain, spend most of their time inbounds and are likely to use it mostly on soft snow (e.g., Western resorts, Eastern powder days)
Terrain: Big mountain, inbounds
More traditional widths (70–80 mm) for harder snow and high-speed carving
Who it’s for: Experts who appreciate the coiled power of carved turns and spend most of their time on hard snow, especially on Eastern or Midwestern slopes—or just prefer the quickness,
precision and edge-grip of a narrower ski
Terrain: Hardpack, frontside
Versatile and high-performing, moderate widths (70–80 mm), but not too demanding
Who it’s for: Skilled and discerning advanced-to-expert skiers who stick mostly to the groomed, want a good value and aren’t interested in a ski that talks back
Terrain: Groomed, moderate crud
Easygoing, affordable rides (70–80 mm) that will patiently help you improve
Who it’s for: Intermediate and advanced skiers who need tolerance and forgiveness from a ski as they master a few of the fundamental skills. Or laid-back experts looking for good value.
Terrain: Groomed, cruisers
Extra-wide waists (90–105 mm) that will float and skim the deepest powder
Who it’s for: Experts will use the flotation to chew up untracked and crud at higher speeds than ever. But for powder novices, these are excellent “cheater skis,” too.
Terrain: Crud, powder
The powder purists: ultra-wide waists (105 mm and up) for unparalleled flotation and stability
Who it’s for: Strong, aggressive experts use these specialty tools to surf and skim over bottomless powder at speeds once reserved for groomed runs.
Terrain: Powder—lots of it