Best Men's Snow Skis

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

19 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
217 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best men’s snow skis

Last Updated December 2019

Skiing is a sport for people who like cold weather, fresh air, and often, daredevil speeds. If anything fast, terrifying, and fun is your cup of tea, you should definitely take up skiing. It is also a tremendous way to stay in shape, improve your reflexes, and sharpen your hand-eye coordination.

The question you need to ask yourself is, what kind of skis are best for your purposes? Although it would be nice to have ten different pairs, for most people, skis are too expensive to make that anything more than a passing fancy. Since you might only buy one or two pairs of skis, you need to decide what kind of skiing you do the most and buy skis that are optimized for that type of environment. It’s true that a great chunk of commercial skis are “all-mountain” skis that supposedly work on all types of terrain, including powdery and hardpack snow. But not all of them are, and this is one of the considerations you need to mull over before buying.

Keep reading, and we’ll help you plow through the information to find the right men’s snow skis for you. We’ve included some of our favorites, too.

The word “ski” comes from the Old Norse word “skīth,” which means a stick of wood.

Key considerations

Type of skiing

The type of skiing you like to do will help you determine what kind of skis to get.

Alpine: Also known as downhill, this is the most well-known and common type of skiing. If this is your style, you’ll almost certainly be at a resort with trails, or pistes, of different degrees of difficulty. Each night, the trails are groomed and prepared for the next day’s skiing.

Backcountry or off-piste: This is mountain skiing anywhere and everywhere except at a resort. “Off-piste” just means you’re skiing on untouched snow that hasn’t been groomed. Backcountry skiing is an advanced version of off-piste skiing. The whole mountain is your playground. There are no ski lodges or amenities. You’ll have to carry any supplies and gear you need. There can be hidden crevices, logs, changes in the snow, and other hazards that will challenge your skills.

Cross-country: Also known as Nordic or XC, this type of skiing mostly takes place on relatively flat terrain. It doesn’t need mountains, per se, and was originally a mode of transportation from point A to point B.

Freestyle: If you’re hotdogging on the slopes, you’re freestyling. You’re jumping, turning, twisting, and doing other tricks. You probably need some Alpine bindings on your skis. Some twin tips wouldn’t hurt, either, for when you want to show off by going backward.

Slalom and mogul racing: Slalom and mogul ski racing is really just a more exciting variation of Alpine skiing. You’ll definitely need some sturdier poles with your skis than in other types of skiing.

Size

There are some general guidelines that can help you determine what size skis to buy. For most people, the right length is a ski that extends from the floor to somewhere between your chin and the top of your head. Since most skis are measured using the metric system, you’ll have to get used to converting inches to centimeters (cm). For example: if you’re 6 feet tall, the suggested ski length for you is 170 to190 cm, with a recommended range of 180 to 189 cm. The more experienced you are and the more you weigh, the longer your skis should be; in other words, closer to the top of your head. Novice skiers who weigh less should choose a length closer to the chin.

Ability

Your experience is the final consideration to take into account before you buy skis.

Beginner: Look for narrower skis with more flex. They should be made of composite or foam or use softwoods in the core. You need a ski that turns easily and is forgiving when you make mistakes. You also want a ski with rockers at both ends to reduce “hookiness” and aid in turning.

Intermediate: Most skiers are at an intermediate level. You need skis that are wider than beginner skis. They should have a much stronger wood for the core and use a sandwich sidewall. Your skis may or may not have a rocker, full camber, or a combination.

Advanced/expert: An expert skier needs skis that deliver superior performance under demanding conditions. The core can be wood, titanium alloy, or foam, with outer layers of epoxy resins, carbon fibers, even Kevlar. These skis are stiffer than intermediate-level skis, which can be challenging at slower speeds.

DID YOU KNOW?

Alpine, or downhill, skiing started in the European Alps.

Features

Material

Skis are made from a variety of materials that make up the core and the exterior.

Core: A core wasn’t an issue when skis were all wood. In the 1970s, foam cores were introduced to make skis lighter, and the race was on to find the best core material. Since then, cores have been made from polyurethane foam, aluminum, and titanium alloys. Poplar and birch are still used in some skis.

Exterior: The ski exterior is made of many different materials, such as fiberglass, carbon fiber, and epoxy resin. The base, or bottom of the ski, is often made with polyethylene. Polyethylene is soft, though, and can become scratched by hard ice and small stones.

Edges: The edges of many skis are made of steel or stainless steel.

Color

Today’s materials lend themselves to mixing and matching colors and graphics. Modern skis can be any color in the rainbow and include manufacturer’s logos, custom designs, and text. There is a color and style for every taste.

Length

Manufacturers try to cater to as wide an audience as possible, so most of their skis come in a range of lengths. Never assume that the ski being displayed is the only length. There is usually a drop-down box where you can choose from the length that is best for your height, weight, and experience level.

Warranty

Skis take a lot of abuse, so they usually only have a limited warranty of one or two years. If you see a longer warranty, double-check to make sure you’re not paying extra for it.

DID YOU KNOW?

The International Ski Federation (FIS) sets the standards for skiing, competitions, equipment, and safety regulations.

Men’s snow ski prices

Inexpensive: Around $400 to $500 is the low price range for beginner-level skis. This price may not include the bindings.

Mid-range: The price range for intermediate skis or longer beginner skis for tall people is $500 to $700.

Expensive: Above $700 is the high price range for advanced or expert skis. You might also find longer intermediate skis for heavier or taller people in this range. The price of a high-end pair of skis could stretch over $1,000.

DID YOU KNOW?

With the right skis, expert skiers can hit speeds well in excess of 100 miles per hour. Simone Origone went 156.2 miles per hour in 2006, a world speed record.

Tips

  • Take care of your skis. Maintenance is the key to keeping your skis in good shape. Always clean and wax them at the end of each day of skiing.
  • Use silicone spray. When the snow is wet or slushy, spray the tips of your skis with silicone spray.
  • Stay in control. On a bumpy run, keep your speed low, and use the edges of your skis to maintain control.

Other products we considered

Don’t see what you need in our matrix? We have a couple more options for you. We like the Rossignol Experience 74 Skis. They have an all-terrain rocker along with an extended sidecut and a light and sturdy poplar core. You get good speed control and confident steering with these skis. The bindings can be adjusted without tools, and the two-plate system allows the skis to flex.

We also like the Rossignol Soul 7 HD Skis. They have a paulownia wood core and the rockers are designed for turns in deep powder. The rocker/camber profile gives you a balance of versatility and float. The new 3D construction delivers a lighter, stronger, and more balanced performance from tip to tail. When the powder is up, grab these.

Astronaut Harrison Schmitt (Apollo 17) said cross-country skiing was the best way to prepare astronauts for walking on the moon.

FAQ

Q. What is waist width?
A.
The waist width tells you what kind of snow the skis are made for. A narrow waist, under 85 mm, is better for groomed pistes, while a wider waist, over 100 mm, is better for powder.

Q. What is the sidecut radius?
A.
The sidecut radius is a fancy formula that gives you a number indicating how long the ski’s turns will be. The higher the number, the longer the turn.

Q. What is the taper?
A.
It’s the difference between the width of the tip of the ski and the width of the tail of the ski. The larger the taper, the easier it will be to skid.

The team that worked on this review
  • Branson
    Branson
    Videographer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Michael
    Michael
    Writer

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