The Best Alpine Ski: A Comprehensive Guide

Hoping for an alpine ski adventure where you can take on big powder days in the backcountry? Or just a comfortable day at the resort? Either way, this 2019 guide to the best alpine skis can help you find your match.

Skiing is a sport that is unlike any other. Being out there on the frozen slopes will get your adrenaline skyrocketed in no time at all. There are some aspects of this that are vital, though, such as the skii's you choose. These will be the determining factor of your entire experience out on the slopes.

Without the proper equipment, any sport is doomed to fail, no matter how much you love it. With bad skis, you may get injured, you won't be comfortable as you ski, and it overall will not be as good of a trip. The shopping aspect for the things that go on your body is important.

Your skis are the only part of your skiing equipment that goes on your body. It is important to make sure they are the best quality, the best fit, and the best build for your particular foot and style.

Reading through the options can help you learn what to look for in a ski and gauge what is appropriate for your goals. Whether you’re a hard-charging expert or a new skier, the right pair of skis can make or break your day out.

Product FAQs

1. What Are Alpine Skis?

2. What Does an Alpine Ski Do?

3. How Do Skis Work?

4. Where Can You Buy Them?

How We Reviewed

The following products were reviewed based on their features, pros and cons and price. We invested time and effort to create to research a variety of ski models and provide you, the reader, with an unbiased list.

Skier wearing a full ski gear and performing a ski trick

Overall Price Range of This Product (and Similar Products)

Skis cost money, but it doesn't have to be a fortune. Depending on the model you want, plan on shelling out anywhere from $$-$$$. The higher-end models tend to be stiffer, more aggressive skis appropriate for experts only, while the lower end models tend to be more flexible.

What We Reviewed

1.) Salomon 2019 QST 118 Skis (192cm)

Salomon 2019 QST 118 Skis (192cm)
  • Sidecut: 142/118/129 mm at 185 cm length Turn Radius: 26 meters at 185 cm length
  • Wood, Carbon, Flax, Koroyd, and metal core
  • Twin Rocker Profile


Features

This is an alpine ski for big powder days. Key features include a wide 118mm waist to provide float on deep powder days and an inverted 3D wood ore with single titanium laminate. Carbon and flax laminate absorb vibrations and enhance the dampening effect of this ski while a lightweight tail insert reduces weight and enhances floatation. It includes tip and tail rocker, with some camber to it.

Pros

  • Stiff enough for hard-charging, big mountain lines
  • A powder ski that still offers solid on-piste performance in a variety of conditions
  • No floppy ski syndrome in chunky snow

Cons

  • Not the quickest-turning ski around
  • Too wide to be highly nimble
  • The stiffness makes this ski too hard and fast for intermediate skiers

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around $$.

2.) Blizzard Cochise Ski - 2018 One Color, 178cm

Blizzard Cochise Ski - 2018 One Color, 178cm
  • Length: 171cm, 178cm, 185cm, 192cm
  • Dimensions: [185] 136 / 108 / 122cm
  • Turn Radius: [171] 23m [178] 25m [185] 27m [192] 29m


Features

The versatile Blizzard Cochise offers a 108mm waist that adapts to powder, crud, and conditions in between. A rockered profile increase float and sandwich compound sidewall construction lend stiffness to the ski while a wood core keeps the ski flexible and playful. Carbon Flip Core technology cuts the chatter that usually comes with a more rockered ski. The tip and tail have carbon fiber for lightness.

Pros

  • A versatile, everyday ski
  • Stable but nimble
  • Makes easy turns
  • Check Circle
    Stiffness means speed

Cons

  • This ski is a generalist, and as such is too heavy to be a true powder ski
  • Its width slows you down in groom conditions
  • A rougher ride in bad snow compared to previous iterations of the Cochise

Price

On Amazon, the Blizzard Cochise ski will cost you in the range of $$-$$$ depending on the size you want.


Features

This carbon alpine ski clocks in at 15 percent lighter than last year’s non-carbon Katana, while maintaining the same wide tip and tail, full rocker, and responsive flex. It features a full carbon jacket through the core of the ski. The ultralight construction makes this ski well-suited to big mountain touring rather than hard carving, and the carbon keeps it stiff. The 112mm waist is suitable for powder but not overly wide. Its center sidewalls make it durable.

Pros

  • Ultralight, making it a good choice for the backcountry
  • Thin edges hold on tight turns, even when the snow is old and chunky
  • Floats easily on powder days

Cons

  • Lightweight skis make for a less hard-charging experience
  • One of the more expensive options
  • Increased stiffness reduces pop and flex, making this ski a harder, faster experience—not a good option for beginners

Price

At nearly $$ on Amazon, this ski will cost you.


Features

Tip and tail rocker, relatively little camber, and a wide 118mm waist make this a good, floatable ski for fields of powder. A flexible balsa wood core integrated with flax fibers gives it more pop than any other flat-camber alpine ski. Fiberglass stiffens the ski for a ride without speed wobbles or chatter. Sandwich sidewall fabrication provides strength and edge control. It features steel edges and a tetanal plate underfoot for additional durability.

Pros

  • Flexible balsa wood core makes for a playful ski with pop
  • A wide waist supports powder skiing
  • Steel edges and a reinforced riser plate make this product dependable and durable in the backcountry

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Flexible core slows this ski down
  • Some skiers say that this type of flat camber ski feels “dead”

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around $$.


Features

With a thin 90mm waist, this alpine ski offers good on-piste turning and edging. A rockered tip and underfoot camber keep things stable while maintaining flotation and easy turns. Extra-thick sidewall blocks reduce chatter on chunky or groomed snow. The ash wood core is reinforced with a titanium laminate, and Carbon Tank Mesh in the tail and tips increases torsional stiffness while maintaining lightness.

Pros

  • Thick sidewall blocks make this a good resort ski
  • The rockered profile makes turning easy
  • Titanium laminate layer increases stiffness and power

Cons

  • The thin waist does not do well in powder
  • A short turn radius means this is not a hard charger
  • Not suitable for advanced, aggressive skiers

Price

Amazon lists this ski at $-$$ depending on size, making this an affordable all-mountain option.

6.) Armada 2019 Tracer 98 Skis (164)

Armada 2019 Tracer 98 Skis (164)
  • Length: 164cm, 172cm, 180cm, 188cm
  • Dimensions: [164cm] 127 / 98 / 121mm, [172cm] 130 / 98 / 121mm, [180cm] 132 / 98 / 123mm, [188cm] 133 / 98 / 124mm
  • Turn Radius: [164cm] 17m, [172cm] 17.5m, [180cm] 18m, [188cm] 18.5m


Features

Designed for powder and big lines, the Armada Tracer offers a wide 118mm waist and rockered profile with camber underfoot. An Innegra Mesh insert in the ski core gives dampness and stability for a smooth ride. The sandwich core features light wood in the tip and tail and denser wood underfoot for a flex pattern that makes turning easier than it is on comparable powder skis.

Pros

  • 118mm waist is well-suited to deep powder
  • Rockered profile floats in deep snow
  • I-Clip tail includes a notch for your skin clips for a better skin hold

Cons

  • A wide waist and rockered profile means these are not suited to groomed slopes or hardpack
  • Wide, stiff skis like these can be more fatiguing than slim, flexible ones
  • The rockered profile is prone to vibrations while you ski

Price

This alpine ski costs in the range of $$-$$$ on Amazon.

7.) Liberty Skis V82 Ski 2019-172

Liberty Skis V82 Ski 2019-172
  • HAMMER ROCKER: Comes armed with an early-rise tip and camber back to the tail for powerful edge grip and precise...
  • VMT: Full-length vertical metal struts sandwiched between bamboo stringers create a damp and powerful ski without...


Features

A fat 122mm waist makes this an alpine ski for big powder days. A rockered profile makes them float on powder, and the bamboo core is strong and flexible. Speedcore carbon increases stiffness without adding weight and fiberglass adds torsional rigidity.

Pros

  • A stiff ski is a pro for expert skiers looking to bomb down big lines
  • Wide waist thrives in deep powder
  • Light, strong, eco-friendly bamboo core
    Cons

Cons

  • Too stiff for beginners—this ski goes fast
  • Not ideal for groomed on-piste conditions due to the rockered profile
  • Too fast for dodging trees in the backcountry

Price

The price of this product varies widely on Amazon, ranging from $$-$$$ depending on size.


Features

With a mid-sized 105mm waist and a wider 134mm shovel, these skis are made for versatility. They feature a rockered tip and tail with camber underfoot for secure turns on hardpacked snow. The sandwich construction with full-length ABS sidewalls offers stability. The Elliptical Radius sidecut combines a narrow turning radius in the tip and tail with a wide turning radius in this alpine ski’s midsection, another technique to add versatility and adaptability. The core is a light silver fir wood, and the edges have a layer of rubber over steel.

Pros

  • Stiff, hard-charging ski will delight advanced skiers
  • The mid-sized waist is versatile in powder or hard packed snow
  • Enough camber for groomers

Cons

  • This ski is a fast slope-bomber, not suitable for beginners
  • 105mm waist doesn’t hold up in the deepest powder though the wide shovel provides some float
  • At nearly $$$, this ski will cost you

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around $$$.


Features

The slight pintail and gently tapered tip make this an aggressive powder ski, different from past iterations of Rossignol’s S7. A light paulownia wood core is supplemented with Carbon Alloy Matrix for stiffness and torsional stability. Standard tip and tail rocker combined with a camber underfoot makes for a versatile ski that handles on powder or hardpacked snow reasonably well. A honeycomb material incorporated into the tip reduces mass and mitigates tip chatter.

Pros

  • 116mm waist is wide enough for deep powder
  • Rocker mitigates the lack of maneuverability of this stiff ski
  • Camber underfoot keeps this ski workable on groomers

Cons

  • Less maneuverable than a more flexible ski would be
  • With standard sandwich construction, rockered tip and tail and camber underfoot
  • Air Tip 2.0 doesn’t fully reduce the chatter that comes with a ski this stiff

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around $$$.

10.) K2 Catamaran Ski

K2 Catamaran Ski
  • Dimensions: 136/120/131
  • Rocker: Powder Rocker
  • Radius: 21m @ 184


Features

A 120mm waist and rockered profile are adapted to powder. Woven fiber stringers in the forebody and tail increase pop and airtime. The Double Barrel wood core is denser at the edges for consistent grip and less dense in the center for reduced swing weight. The unusual asymmetrical design features a taper on the outside edge with a longer inside edge for stability and floatation in powder and control on hardpack.

Pros

  • Wide waist and rocker are great on powder days
  • Flexible and maneuverable, with a playful wood core
  • Braided carbon laminates increase torsional stiffness

Cons

  • Not slim enough for comfortable resort skiing—save these for deep backcountry powder
  • Experts beware: this is not a fast or stiff ski
  • Lack of camber makes skiing groomers a rough prospect

Price

This is a mid-range ski in terms of price, coming in around $$.

The Verdict

Skier wearing yellow and green ski outfit atop a mountain

When it comes down to it, no one ski will be the best in every condition. That said, for beginners, the Atomic Vantage is hard to beat and thrives on groomers. The Kastle BMX 105 is an ideal versatile ski for a more advanced skier, but the price tag brings this alpine ski down to number two on the list of choices for experts. For a more advanced skier looking for something that thrives on powder days, the Volkl V-Werks Katana is the way to go.

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