7 Best Powder Skis Reviews 2020 | Zoom Down the Powdery Mountain Slopes

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3 Top Picks

3 Reviewers

14 Hours of Research

10 Products Considered

One of the more exhilarating ways to ski is through powdery surfaces that let you zoom along the mountain. Unfortunately, without the best powder skis this process can be pretty terrible instead. The wrong skis can be a total buzzkill and send you plummeting down the mountain rather than gliding. Carvers and narrow waisted skis will just sink straight into the snow and make you wet and frustrated.

The modern sidecuts allow for a new type of ski to cut through that nastiness and let you float on top of the snow. The new technology allows turning to be much easier to handle, so the wider skis have gained popularity. Powder skis are the best thing to handle the mountain’s pillowy goodness as long as you don’t need to use them for other purposes, where all mountain skis would be better.

This guide will let you know everything you need to find out about powder skis. You’ll learn what makes a great powder ski, how to choose the right ones, and even see our picks for the best powder skis to get you through the 2020 ski season! 

​[Overall Best Powder Skis]
Black Diamond Boundary Pro 115 Skis

Editor's Rating:

4.7/5

BLACK DIAMOND BOUNDARY PRO 115BLACK DIAMOND BOUNDARY PRO 115

  • Great for all snow conditions
  • Damp charge but quick side to side maneuverability
  • Camber underfoot capable of laying down on hard pack
  • Rockered tip and tail with 115 mm waist 
[Best for the Money]
Volki 2020 Confession Skis

Editor's Rating:

5.0/5

VOLKI 2019 CONFESSION SKISVOLKI 2019 CONFESSION SKIS

  • Stable, damp, and built with solid edge
  • Perfect for big mountains because it can float and destroy chop
  • Built for hard charging through deep snow and rugged terrain

Editor's Rating:

4.6/5

ELAN 2019 RIPSTICK 116 with bindingsELAN 2019 RIPSTICK 116 with bindings

  • Versatile enough for groomers and powder
  • Quick on the edge especially compared to other powder skis
  • Amphibio rocker lets you control edges downhill and power through powder uphill

Powder Skis Buying Guide

This guide’s purpose is to help you make an informed decision when you’re ready to pick out your skis. It is impossible to choose great skis when you don’t even know what you’re looking for, right? We have filled the guide with all kinds of useful information, from what powder skis are to each individual ski statistic that you need to look for in a powder ski. By the end, you’ll know how to pick the right ones for your ski style. 

What are powder skis?

Powder skis are designed to be able to float and maneuver in soft snow. For the west coast, these are probably the typical everyday skis. Their designs have become extremely creative and innovative, and powder skiing is on the cutting edge of the ski market today These skis are a bit wider than all mountain skis on average, but can get extremely wide in special cases.

Powder skis are flexible, pumped up versions of all mountain skis. They have a larger surface area and softer flex so you can handle deep floatation. They also have girthier dimensions and their rocker patterns are much more pronounced. 

Powder Skis vs. All Mountain Skis

Aside from being wider than all mountain skis, powder skis have a few other differences. The best all mountain skis are designed to go anywhere and perform any task. Their shape is similar to carving skis, but they are still capable of skiing down groomed snow. These skis are one of the wider skis for underfoot available, though not quite as wide as powder skis.

Powder skis are wider and longer than all mountain skis. They have a soft flex pattern that allows them to perform in deep snow. The camber profile allows for easy floating in powder, and some of them have reverse sidecuts that look more like waterskies than racing skis. This allows them to maneuver in deeper snow and powder. 

What makes the best powder skis?

Great powder skis will have a balanced length that allows for both speed and maneuverability. They need to be able to float over powder without sinking into it and leaving you slogging through wet snow instead of skiing down it.

Powder skis should have the tip and tail lifted away from the slow, in a rocker fashion. This will maintain maneuverability even when the powder starts thinking it is more liquid than solid. For average skiers, having rockers are better than going without because it allows them to handle the powder using narrower skis instead of being stuck in super wide skis that won’t let you explore.

Powder skis are made to handle days where the snow is very deep and the primary focus of a ski session needs to be floatation and maneuverability. These will take you straight through a storm cycle without sacrificing the fun. 

How to Choose the Right Powder Skis

Choosing the right powder skis depends a lot on your intended use, size, flex preferences, and experience. There are some general rules of thumb to follow to get you started, though.

You want to find a set of skis that will allow you to find and maintain your balance. You will need to steer with your legs, because powder skis aren’t going to be great at carving edges. Aim for a set of skis that lets you stay in the fall line rather than skiing all the way across the hill. 

Wide Waist and Length

Powder skis are usually made with very wide waist and lengths. The extra length provides stability in snow, which is necessary when you’re dealing with powder instead of fresh groomed snow. The waist will help with floatation, so you don’t sink down into the mess and end up walking through pure sludge. The wide waist will make sure you can handle powdery and choppy terrains. 

Flex and Sidecut

The sidecut is the difference in the width at the waist with the tip of the ski. The ratio will determine the turn radius of your ski. Sidecut also determines whether your ski will decamber properly before the edges engage on your feet.

More sidecut will give you a smaller turn radius. This means that if you want maneuverable skis for powder without sacrificing speed too much, you need to look for powder skis that have a fat waist and a narrow tip. The waist will let you balance on the powder, and the narrow tip keeps your turn radius and sidecut small enough to let you maneuver without losing speed.

If you have the right ratio, your powder ski will surf over the soft snow for far longer periods of time than it will spend laying an edge. Smaller sidecuts offer more pivot capacity in deeper snow when you need to maneuver, so unless you’re an expert stick to the short sidecut radius skis. 

Camber/Rocker

These days, powder skis are all about the amount of surface area contacting the snow during turns. Skis used to be designed to maximize ski contact with snow for speed and maneuverability. These days, the technology allows rocker and camber combinations to do that.

Powder skis that utilize a reverse camber will actually minimize how much of your ski comes into contact with the snow when you turn instead. This lets your ski feel shorter while maintaining adequate length to float and maneuver in powdery snow. This design lets you handle that length well, without requiring nearly as much precision, technique, and muscle strength to handle turns while floating.

Rockers come in lots of variations, and many of these come down to personal preference. The terrain you usually powder ski over will determine how much rocker you may need for skiing. A lot of powder ski models come with a cambered underfoot, but the more traditional rockered tips and tails are absolutely the best option for deep powder. After al, that’s what they were made to do.

A reverse sidecut at the tip will make maneuvers easier and snag fewer edges. These skis do well floating over the top layer of powder, and will turn quickly when you’re in trees and stop quickly. Just don’t expect them to hold an edge well. 

Terrain Versatility

Powder skis are built for versatility. While they aren’t as great as all mountain skis at handling certain jobs, they are much better than them at handling specific ones. These skis can easily cut through powdery snow while staying afloat instead of sinking, and thanks to advances in technology the specialized powder skis are no longer as wide as all mountain skis, which allows them to race through narrow groves of trees and quickly turn when dodging unexpected obstacles.

This makes them perfect for nearly any terrain you might encounter when skiing down a mountain instead of skiing through groomed slopes at resorts. It also allows you to ski during a lot of different weather conditions, so you can extend your ski season. When the snow gets pretty slushy and groomed skiers need to call it a day, your powder skis will be able to handle slushy snow, half melted snow, and they can even glide down hard packed snow that is mostly frozen over with ice! 

East Coast Skiing

For powder skiing in the New England area and other east coast destinations, you want a narrow ski (95 to 105 mm) that has a tip and tail rocker. This allows you to get the maximum amount of maneuverability you need. If you spend a lot of time in hard packed powder snow, then you can stick with just a tip rocker. If you have a limitless budget, and you don’t need to rely on a single set of skis for all of your runs, then go ahead and get some fatter skis instead so you can hit the slope the second a big flurry comes down!

Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah

For the average skier in this area, wide skis that have at least 115 to 125 mm measurements will help you in the deep powders found in these locations. Make sure these wide skis include a tip and tail rocker. The more rocker your skis have, the easier it will be to float down the powder here. Just make sure to avoid the snow once it gets too choppy if you have gone for tons of rocker. Powder skis aren’t made for that climate.

Pacific Northwest

If you want to go straight downhill on these powder days because of the beautifully clear terrain in the Sierras and Casades, then grab some powder skis that don’t have tip and tail rockers. These will help you with speed so you can get back to the lift line faster. Use 110 to 120 mm underfoot for your skis unless you want to show off your skill. 

Alaska

If you’re skiing in Alaska, then you don’t actually need our help for picking out good powder skis. If you don’t know how to ski powder guide and are considering a skiing trip to Alaska, may I recommend starting somewhere easier? Alaskan skiing is for very experienced people. 

Europe and Japan

If you are taking a trip to the Alps, then you should treat them the same way you would treat a ski trip to the Rockies. They have crevasses all over their slopes that go unmarked, and liability lawsuits don’t exist over there, so be careful because skiing powder here. Japan gets pretty deep, so make sure your skis have a good rocker. Not very many people ski in Japan, so you can treat the powder like your own private playground. 

Your Experience Level

Your experience level will also dictate what sort of powder ski you need. Newer skiers will need skis that are more forgiving of mistakes and easier to maneuver. Generally speaking, they do well with skis that can handle their poor technique when it comes to turning. 

Beginner

When you’re talking to an expert about your skis, check and see who they are made for Level Once skiers have never skied before. Level Two skiers are able to do a snowplow and turn both ways, and can stop but may not know how to link their turns well. Level Three skiers are confident and can make round turns. 

Intermediate

Level Four skiers are entering the Intermediate skillset and may nee to begin transitioning to better skis as they take on more difficult powder. These skiers can link turns in moderate speed and keep their skis parallel. Level Five skiers can handle blue runs and ski parallel, but may still use a wedge when turning or stopping. Level Six skiers can handle parallel turns and may understand how to use their poles for precision turning. 

Advanced

Advanced skiers can handle blue and black trails pretty confidently. Their focus is on perfect technique and challenging conditions. Level Seven skiers can ski blue-black trails with controlled speed and execute perfect parallel turns. They can adjust their turn length and size and ski on several different terrains and snow types. Level Eight skiers have perfect technique in any terrain and snow condition and can handle moguls and black diamond trains with carved turns. Level nine skiers are out for the major challenge. 

Other Things to Ask About Your New Pair of Powder Skis

You also want to check the stiffness of your skis. There’s no specific measurement standard for this, so you’ll have to feel it out with a hand flex test. Stiffer skis do well in steep pitches, while stiffer ones can handle chunder and crud like it’s nothing.

Your overall length still matters. A lot of powder skis come with recommended ranges, but if you’re extremely short or tall, you may need to adjust those recommendations to your height and weight. Don’t be afraid to talk to the experts about these things so they can find the right powder ski for your specific abilities and needs. 

Best Powder Skis Reviews

Now that you know about powder skiing, it’s time to start looking into a pair of your own skis. These are our favorite 7 skis on the market. They all meet high standards of quality, and come recommended by experts. All of them apply the use of cutting edge technology to make floating over powder a dream come true.


Editor's Rating:

4.7/5

BLACK DIAMOND BOUNDARY PRO 115 black green and greyBLACK DIAMOND BOUNDARY PRO 115 black green and grey

The Black Diamond Boundary Pro 115 Skis are a limited edition version of the Boundary 115 series that have been tuned up for even better performance.

These were built specially for the Black Diamond pro athletic team’s hard charging needs. They are great skis for anyone who wants a playful performance through deep packed snow but can also handle aggressive and steep lines. 

If you have skied the original Boundary 115 series, you’ll know that it’s got a great modern rockered profile and offers a very responsive performance. The flat, solid-core construction adds stiffness and torsion. The upgraded version comes with even more powerful turn capability, improved edge responsiveness and increased stability when going over cliffs, through pillow lines, and in the white room. They were made in Austria, and constructed from pre-preg fiberglass and a poplar wood core.

Things We Liked

  • Rockered tip and tail with 115 mm waist for amazing flotation even in slushy conditions
  • Camber underfoot capable of laying down on hard pack
  • Great for all snow conditions
  • Damp charge but quick side to side maneuverability

Things We Didn't Like

  • Expert level skis that beginners would not be able to maneuver or handle

Editor's Rating:

5.0/5

Volki 2019 Confession SkisVolki 2019 Confession Skis

If you’re looking for a great ski at an affordable price, the Volki 2020 Confession Skis are a great start. They offer a great balance of high quality craftsmanship at more affordable pricing for anyone who is at an expert level skill set without the sponsorship of a professional!

These skis are amazing at charging through really rough terrain, which makes them a top choice for pro skiers.

The Titanal bands create a vertical sidewall with a great underfoot camber and slight rocker stability. These skis are perfect for big mountain skiing, because they’re wide enough to float over fresh powder and strong enough to handle multiple terrains. They’re definitely built for soft snow, and are ideal for big turns over fresh now. 

The skis have a multi-layer core that adds stability while allowing the tips and tails to perform well with slight rocker. This ski won’t waver when pushed thanks to the rocker/camber/rocker profile. 

Things We Liked

  • Built for hard charging through deep snow and rugged terrain
  • Perfect for big mountains because it can float and destroy chop
  • Stable, damp, and built with solid edge
  • Versatile thanks to the rocker/camber/rocker profile – can float or grip the slope

Things We Didn't Like

  • Expert level skis that beginners would not be able to maneuver or handle

Editor's Rating:

4.6/5

Elan 2019 Ripstick 116 skis with Marker Griffon 12 ID BindingsElan 2019 Ripstick 116 skis with Marker Griffon 12 ID Bindings

If you’re an advanced or expert skier, then you’ll love the Elan 2020 Ripstick 116 skis with Marker Griffon 12 ID Bindings! These combine an Amphibio rocker profile with vapor tip inserts and fiberglass reinforcement for an ultimate powder ski experience. 

These skis will allow you to hit the deepest and steepest parts of any mountain. The technological advancements allow for quick turning and plowing through powder with the right profile and construction to handle nearly every type of skiing. The wood core and tubelite technology allow for a lightweight but stiff ski. This lets you turn quickly even while floating over powder and absolutely smash through softer snow.

The Amphibio rocker profile allows for the tips and tails of each ski to behave independently from one another. The inside edges are cambered and the outside edges are rockered, so downhill skiing will result in increased edge control and precision and uphill skiing will behave like a traditional, fully rockered powder ski. 

Things We Liked

  • Amphibio rocker lets you control edges downhill and power through powder uphill
  • Tapered tips will cut right through fresh snow while allowing you to float over powder
  • Versatile enough for groomers and powder
  • Quick on the edge especially compared to other powder skis

Things We Didn't Like

  • Asymmetrical due to difference in rockers

Editor's Rating:

4.7/5

4. 2019 Rossignol Super 7 HD with marker Griffon 13 ID Bindings

This lends an increased stability to the ski and reduces tip chatter over choppy snow. The ski has a wide, 116 mm waist that lets it float well even in deep powder. 

This model is versatile enough to float through powder, power through choppy snow, and maintain maneuverability at speed.

With the marker Griffon 13 ID bindings, the price is more than fair.


Things We Liked

  • 116 mm waist maintains amazing float even in deep and fresh powder
  • Symmetrical reinforcements to the tips allow for greater stability

Things We Didn't Like

  • Not a great ski for beginners

Editor's Rating:

4.9/5

HEAD Kore 117HEAD Kore 117

Head is an extremely reputable brand of ski, and the Kore collection continues to innovate. The Head 2020 Kore 117 Skis are no exception to this tradition of excellence.

The Kore 117 skis will tear through pretty much any terrain. The Karuba wood core ensures an effortless time backcountry skiing because it keeps your ski light but the Graphene and Koroyd carbon reinforcement lends stability at speed.

These skis utilize traditional tip and tail rockers for powder skis, ensuring that you will stay afloat in deeper snowbanks. They still add a camber underfoot so you can maintain versatility in harder snow.

Things We Liked

  • Rocker/camber/rocker design traditional for the best powder skis
  • Rocker/camber/rocker design traditional for the best powder skis
  • Extremely impressive construction offers very few cons to consider

Things We Didn't Like

  • Not for new skiers

Editor's Rating:

4.5/5

Nordica Enforcer SkisNordica Enforcer Skis

These Nordica 2020 Enforcer Pro Skis offer a fantastic ride to expert skiers who want some powder skis with a high rise rip and tail rocker construction that has a full ABS sidewall.
Nordica Enforcers have been a preferred ski of a lot of professional skiers for years thanks to their advanced designs, and the new year’s model are prepared to handle any of those big mountain lines you’ve been dreaming about while waiting for snow season. The Pro series only comes in 1 length of 191 cm because they’re designed for big lines on big mountains. This is why they also come with a 115 mm waist.

These skis are built to handle big powder and cliffs. They’re perfect for shredding and hard charging skiers. The full wood core is lightweight, and the thin sheets of Titanal give these skis strength, speed, and stability. 

Things We Liked

  • Thrives in resort powder days – one of the best lift-served powder skis ever!
  • Minimal tip taper and damp construction allows it to cut through crud and chop

Things We Didn't Like

  • Less float and pivot than 120 to 140 mm powder skis

Editor's Rating:

4.9/5

Line 2020 Sick Day 104Line 2020 Sick Day 104

The Carbon magic fingers, capwall construction, Aspenlite wood core, and tip and tail taper and rocker make the Line 2020 Sick Day 104 Skis a great option for powder slopes.

If you only have room in your home and budget for one pair of skis, this is your best choice. 


These skis can handle the tees, the groomers, and the park. They are nimble and playful but stable enough for powder and slushy snow, so you can ride all season long.

These skis have a 104 mm waist that allows you to float through deeper snow, but still maintain edge control along groomers and firm slopes. 

Things We Liked

  • Light enough for powder skiing, but nimble enough for all mountain skiing
  • Float through deep snow but hold an edge on firm snow.
  • Directional flex initiates turns easily while providing stability at speed.

Things We Didn't Like

  • None – these are amazing skis for expert skiers!
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