Gear

Gear Guide 2018: Women's Value Skis

Six inexpensive lady-specific skis that absolutely rip.

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There are two truths in skiing: it can be fun, and it can be expensive. To help keep it awesome but fight the man, we tested a number of skis that don’t require a small bank loan. While they might not have all the carbon fiber bells and Titanal whistles, our testers made turns on these skis alongside every other pair found in SKI’s Gear Guide.

To qualify as a “Value Ski,” the price for a pair must be less than $650 (or $850 if bindings are included), and it must be enjoyable to ski. There is no width prerequisite, so any ski category can make the cut. We take the ski’s overall average test score, multiply it by 1,000, and divide it by the price to come up with a Value Score. These are the planks with smallest price tags that stood out.

Pro Tip: Prices here are MSRP, so these skis are probably marked at a lower price in-store. You’re welcome.

Atomic Backland FR W 102

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The widest entry in this category, the freeride-oriented FR 102 is a refreshing departure from the nimble carvers here. It’s a lightweight ride built for the backcountry, but a carbon insert keeps it strong for resort ripping. Testers loved the way it engaged and released, setting up perfectly for the next arc. It’s a versatile ski for women who explore the whole hill. “One-ski quiver,” Megan Brent said. Read more about the Atomic Backland FR W 102 here.

Price: $600 flat; Value Score: 6.78

Dimensions: 129-102-120 (164); Lengths: 156, 164, 172.

Category: Women’s All Mountain Wide.

Nordica Astral 84

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The new Astral 84 boasts a bad-ass blunt-nose tip, a powerful flat tail, lightweight balsa core, and a sheet of vibration-damping metal with hexagons punched out to reduce weight. Experts who spend most of their time arcing on groomed can push it with all they’ve got, yet it’s forgiving enough to coax anyone into nice, clean arcs. “Confidence instilling,” Barnes said. Read more about the Nordica Astral 84 here.

Price: $600 flat; Value Score: 6.31.

D: 120-84-105 (158); L: 144, 151, 158, 165, 172.

Category: Women’s Groomed.

Fischer My MTN 84

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Fischer’s new My Mtn 84’s relatively wider waist makes it versatile for venturing off-piste, yet without sacrificing any of its classic Fischer carveability. It’s lightweight (air channels are milled into the wood core) and easy to initiate—a great teaching tool for showing how carving is done. “Torsionally stiff enough to hold an edge, and quick through the transitions,” Robin Barnes said. Read more about the Fischer My MTN 84 here.

Price: $600 flat; Value Score: 6.31.

D: 126-84-112 (159); L: 150, 159, 167.

Category: Women’s Groomed.

Völkl Yumi

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The Yumi is more playful, forgiving, and maneuverable than techier options. It’s also redesigned this year with a Titanal band to add dampness and slightly different dimensions (narrower tip, wider waist and tail). It’s still a zippy ride, and will carve perfect arcs with just a tip of your ankle. Perfect for those on the verge of carving all the way up to expert levels. “Filled with energy and zest,” Lovell said. Read more about the Völkl Yumi here. 

Price: $650; Value Score: 6.25.

D: 123-84-104 (161); L: 147, 154, 161, 168.

Category: Women’s Groomed.

Salomon QST Lux 92

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One of the more versatile skis tested, the Lux 92 won praise with its lightweight ease. Its playful energy delighted expert testers, but would still be a good partner for everyone else. A wood core is layered with a carbon/flax weave, which makes it torsionally rigid and lightweight. Honeycomb in the tip and tail keep it easy to move. “Dreamy, creamy turning ability in all radius turns,” said Kristi Lovell. Read more about the Salomon QST Lux 92 here.

Price: $600 flat; Value Score: 6.12.

D: 128-92-111 (161); L: 153, 161, 169.

Category: Women’s All Mountain Narrow.

Blizzard Alight 8.0 Ti

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Blizzard’s new Women to Women Initiative aims to make the most technologically advanced women’s skis on the market. Testers felt the love and returned it in kind, giving all Blizzard skis high marks. The Alight 8.0 Ti is no exception: A lightweight wood core is sandwiched by full sheets of metal (hence the Ti), fiberglass, and carbon. “Think ‘turn,’ and these skis come around,” said Tracy Gibbons. Read more about the Blizzard Alight 8.0 Ti here.

Price: $840 with binding; Value Score: 4.46

D: 124-80-107 (162); L: 144, 150, 156, 162, 168.

Category: Women’s Groomed.

You can find more women-specific skis from the 2018 gear guide here.