Buying your first (or your second…or fifth) pair of skis can be a daunting task. There are a lot of skis out there and it’s hard to know just what you need, especially if you are new to the sport. A good beginner ski will give you enough control to allow you to work on your turns and be forgiving of your mistakes.
However, if you are really serious about skiing, you’ll also want something that will be good for harder slopes and faster turns as you advance. There are a lot of factors that go into making ski choices, so we’ve outlined a few below to help you out on your quest for the perfect pair of skis.
You Must Consider:
- The Shape and Size
- Rocker and Camber
- Materials and Manufacturing
We will be telling you all everything about these elements later on in the article as we begin by presenting you with some great skis. Let’s slide on!
🎿 Our Pick 🎿
Here is an overview of the top 5 skis for beginners that are a sure buy, guaranteed to last and, what’s more, perfect for any newcomer.
|Product Name||Best Use||Rocker/Camber||Tip/Waist/Tail Widths||Flex||Editor’s Rating|
|Elan Element||Learning||Full Rocker||127/76/110||Soft||4.4|
|K2 Secret Luv Women’s Skis||Carving||Rockered tips/Cambered middle||122/76/103||Soft||4.5|
|Blizzard Alight 702||Carving||Rockered tips/Cambered middle||119/72/102||Extra Soft||4.6|
|K2 Press||Freestyle||Rockered tips/Cambered middle||120/75/105||Extra Soft||4.7|
|Atomic Vantage 86||Carving||Front rocker||123/86/106.5||Medium||4.8|
9. Elan Element Skis
The Elan Element skis are made to walk beginner skiers through the first steps of learning how to ski. Groove Technology make these skis extremely forgiving and will compensate when you get knocked off balance or hit some bumps.
Elan’s Power Shell construction is made of wood and composite material, making these ski light and shock absorbing. The Parabolic Rocker will help you get in and out of turns smoothly and without too much energy. Also, these skis are cambered underfoot to ensure you get the stability and grip you need.
While we present the men’s variant, you can also check out the Elan Elements women’s version.
Ideal for: Beginners / Groomed Runs
- Excellent ski for learning the basics
- Athletic and ambitious skiers will outgrow these ski quite quickly
8. Dynastar Legend X 75
These skis are geared to those wanting to develop their carving skills. They are cambered enough for good edge control and rockered at the tips for maneuverability and float. Its poplar and Visco Elastomer construction is light and forgiving with a dash of playfulness.
ABS sidewalls underfoot and medium flex give it the stability you’ll need to build up your confidence for fast turns. The overall result is a lightweight, forgiving pair of skis that is also stable enough for high speeds.
Ideal for: Beginners / Intermediate Skiers~ All Mountain – Mostly Groomers
- Great for learning how to carve
- Skiers will be able to advance to higher levels in these skis.
- Good on hardpack
- Not great for powder
7. Blizzard Alight 7.2 Women’s Ski
These skis are great for riders who want to develop their skills on groomed runs. Their narrow width and full sidewall construction give them plenty of edge control for great grip and effortless weight transfers on turns. Blizzard’s suspension system will reduce vibrations to give you a smoother ride.
Ideal for: Beginners / Intermediate Skiers ~ Groomers
- Easy turning
- Good edge control
- Suspension system
- Not that smooth and stable at high speeds
6. K2 Secret Luv Skis
These skis are great for women who want to quickly perfect their turns. The Catch-Free Rocker is lightly rockered at the tip, with more camber than other skis on this list, which will help you quickly develop strong turns for carving.
You will have great edge control thanks to its hybrid sidewall/cap construction. The mounting point for these skis is a little further ahead, which makes them align better with women’s balance and reduce the effort needed for turns.
Ideal for: Beginners / Intermediate Skiers ~ All Mountains – Mostly Groomers
- Specifically designed for women
- Great for learning to carve
- Not great for powder
5. Volkl Flair 76 Ski – Women’s
Their duel wood core make the Flair 76s lightweight and maneuverable. Their rockered tip will help you initiate turns easily, while the camber on the rest of the ski will give you grip and stability.
A combined cap and sidewall construction offers another balance between lightweight maneuverability and stability. With a medium flex, these skis will help carry you smoothly down groomed runs as you gain confidence and speed.
Ideal for: Beginners / Intermediate Skiers ~ All Mountain – Mostly Groomers
- Lightweight construction
- Great skis for learning how to carve
- Stable and precise turning
- No men’s model available
- Can be a little shaky at high speeds
4. K2 Press Skis
The K2 Press skis are one of the most affordable beginner skis for anyone looking to test out the park. The twin tips allow for backward landings and their Aspen Duratech construction makes the skis durable and gives them a soft flex to make tight turns easier.
This pair has an extra soft, forgiving flex that will help you out when your balance isn’t quite right. It’s Carbon Boost Braid gives this ski a little extra pop that’s perfect for catching a bit of air.
Ideal for: Beginners / Intermediate Skiers ~ Freestyle ~ All Mountain – Mostly Powder
- Lightweight and easy to maneuver
- An affordable option for beginner freestyle skiers
- Stable enough for skiing groomers
- Not great for powder
- No women’s model available at the moment
3. Atomic Vantage 86 C Skis
If you are a confident beginner who wants to charge down the groomers, then you should feel comfortable in giving these skis a try. Their Atomic’s Prolite construction reduces the weight without taking away stability, and the aspen core is light and shock absorbing.
The skis have all mountain rockers on the front, which will help you out when you hit the powder. With 90% camber and full sidewalls, this pair ensure great stability and edge control, allowing for precise turns.
Unlike most other skis on this list, the Atomic Vantage has a medium (rather than soft) flex, making them more responsive, but less forgiving. If your skill has outgrown your rentals and you are keen to push yourself on groomers, then these might be the best beginner’s skis for you! You can also check out the Atomic Vantage 86 Women’s variant.
Ideal for: More Advanced Beginners / Advanced Intermediate Skiers ~ All Mountain – Mostly Groomers
- Lightweight construction
- Stable and responsive – allows for higher speeds
- May not be suitable for early beginners
- Not great for powder
2. Rossignol Smash 7 Skis
If you have a bit of experience under your belt and see some powder in your future, then this pair of skis will likely whisper to you. The 92m width gives you enough float to ski through powder but will still give you enough control for the groomers.
With 50% tip and tail rocker and 50% camber, this is more rockered than most beginner skis. What you lose in stability and edge control, you’ll make up for in maneuverability and float – making them perfect if you want to ski some trees too. They also come with RossiTop cap construction, which offers plenty of control and responsiveness.
Ideal for: Late Beginners ~ All Mountain – Strong Powder Capabilities
- A great option for all snow types
- A great option for beginners who live in an area with lots of powder
- Not a great for people that are trying out skiing for the vert first time
- May not be the best option for eastern hardpack
1. Salomon QST 85 Skis
The Salomon QST 85 are a fantastic pair of skis to progress into. They are responsive enough to get in some string turns and stable enough to give you more confidence with speed. If you planning on sticking to groomers but want to get off trail into the powder from time to time, then this might just be the pair for you.
They also to well in crud. Cap construction on the tips keeps the skis durable, light, and maneuverable, while sidewall construction over most of the ski provides excellent grip. The narrow waist gives you the stability you need for groomers, while the wide rockered tips will help you through powder and crud.
Its combination of deep sidecuts, rockered tips, and narrow waist will help you with smooth, powerful turns in all conditions. If you are feeling confident enough on your skills and want skis that will take you to higher levels, then you likely just found your next pair.
Ideal for: Strong Beginners – More Advanced Users ~ All Mountain
- A good ski for developing more advanced skills
- Excellent control in varied snow conditions
- Not great in deep powder
- Might be too advanced for some beginners.
Suggested: With all that mountain time you’ll be getting on these, you should also check out our ski goggles list.
⛷️ Details on The Most Important Factors to Consider When Choosing Skis 🏂🏽
1. Shape and Size
If you have just started out looking for skis, then be sure to check ones that are a bit narrower and shorter to help give you more control.
You will get a range as you are checking out recommended ski lengths for your height – aim for the lower end – something around nose height.
The width of a ski is measured at the waist, around where your foot goes.
While narrow skis will give you more control, the width should also depend on where you plan on skiing.
– If you ski mostly east of the Rockies, you’ll probably be skiing on more hardpack and should consider something narrower for carving up the groomed runs.
– If you live west of the Rockies, you’ll encounter more powder so you can go a bit wider, but save skis that are 95+ mm for when you’re ready to advance.
2. Rocker and Camber
You will also see the term rocker and camber being thrown around a lot when it comes to skis.
A cambered ski has a slight upward curve in the middle, while rockered ski curves up at the tips.
Cambered skis are considered best for hardpack and groomed runs as they offer more stability, better control, and better grip in icy conditions.
Rockered skis are best for powder as they have better float and are more maneuverable.
While you probably won’t be skiing a lot of powder as a beginner, a bit of rocker will give you some versatility. With the tips off the ground, it will also make the ski seem shorter, making it easier to turn.
However, too much rocker means less contact with snow, giving you less grip and making turns on packed snow difficult.
The best bet for a beginner is a cambered underfoot with rocker front and back, but this may vary depending on your goals.
3. Materials and Manufacturing
Skis usually still have wood cores, though unlike 70 years ago, they are now surrounded by layers of composite materials and plastic. Ski companies all have their own patented combination materials, all of which will alter shock absorption, playfulness, edge control, weight, and flex.
Flex is particularly important for a beginner, as a softer ski is more forgiving when you are out of balance.
Lighter skiers should consider going for a softer flex as well. Women-specific skis are usually a little lighter and softer.
Cap and sidewall construction refer to how the sides are built. Caps construction has the top plastic completely capping the ski, while sidewall construction forms a sort of sandwich with the wood and composite material in the middle.
Cap skis tend to be cheaper, lighter, and more variable.
Skis with a sidewall construction are enforced with a layer of super dense plastic, giving them more edge control and stability.
Many skis have cap construction at the tip and sidewall construction in the middle.
All Ready to Hit the Slopes Now?
We are sure our list will offer you only top-quality and affordable skis to choose from for your next adventure on the slopes. Their pricing won’t break the bank, but their quality will ensure that they last for as long as you keep learning how to ski. After all, you’ll naturally have to move on at one point or another. Let us know if you think that there are other skis that would have deserved to be on our list.
Featured Image Source: Pixabay
This article was updated in February 2019 to present the latest and best beginner skis you can get nowadays complete with all the details you should know about them. We also added a list of factors to consider when choosing a new pair of skis that includes information about each.
Carley is a teacher and nature nerd with a passion for helping people get outside. Apart from teaching, she leads nature programs and outdoor trips for people of all ages. Carley also manages her own YouTube channel, The Last Grownup in the Woods. Before becoming a teacher, Carley worked as a fisheries technician and backcountry park ranger.