7 Best Skis for Beginners Reviews 2020 | Stability, Speed & Playfulness for Novice Skiers

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3 Top Picks

3 Reviewers

12 Hours of Research

15 Products Considered

You’ve watched for years from the warmth of the lodge, holding your hot cocoa while the skiers race through the mountain. Finally, you’ve decided to join. It’s time to stop being called a ski bunny and start being called a skier yourself! The only issue is that you know nothing about skis, and are scared that you won’t pick the best skis for beginners when you buy some.

In beginners skiing, it’s very important to have the right ski gear for beginners, because it’s different from what the experts need. The search for the best beginner skis has led you to our guide, and know it’s time to learn everything you need to know as a beginner skier.

We will guide you through the different elements and design constructions of the best beginner ski, so you know what to look for and how your skis should measure up to other skis. Beginners will learn how skis are made, and then be introduced to the 9 best skis for beginners on the market today!


[Best Overall Ski for Beginners]

Atomic Vantage 86 C

Editor's Rating:

4.8/5

​ATOMIC VANTAGE 86 C​ATOMIC VANTAGE 86 C

  • Great design for beginners to off trail skiing.
  • Capable of beginner to advanced level technique
  • Effortless turn at casual and medium widths and speeds.

Editor's Rating:

4.5/5

ROSSIGNOL EXPERIENCE SKIS WITH XPRESS 10 BINDINGSROSSIGNOL EXPERIENCE SKIS WITH XPRESS 10 BINDINGS

  • Air Tip technology lightens ski and gives it a playful feel!
  • All the stability for a beginner, with the capability of handling more intermediate moves.

Editor's Rating:

4.4/5

​BLIZZARD ALIGHT 7.2 WOMEN’S SKIS TLT 10 BINDINGS​BLIZZARD ALIGHT 7.2 WOMEN’S SKIS TLT 10 BINDINGS

  • Super easy to turn and master linked technique!
  • Lightweight and able to handle various conditions!
  • Super easy to turn and master linked technique!

How to Choose the Best Skis for Beginners

There are a lot of factors to consider when purchasing your skis. Whether you’re trying for all mountain skiing, or sticking to the groomed slopes at the resort you need a pair of skis that you can control and maneuver. You never want to pick a pair of skis to grow into the way you do with clothing because using skis that are built for advanced users will make it impossible for you to learn precise technique. Here are some of the things to look for when buying skis.

Did you know that there’s actually no such thing as a beginner’s ski? There are skis that work extremely well for inexperienced skiers, and some that don’t work at all. This is nice because it means that you won’t necessarily have to abandon your skis when your skill level improves unless you choose to trade them for skis that are more precise with your favorite ski style. Most beginners will go for top rated all mountain skis that have measurements within the suggested range for beginners. 

Details on the Most Important Factors to Consider When Choosing Skis

The most important thing to consider when buying skis is where you will be skiing most of the time. The average skier should pay attention to where they’ll do 90% of their skiing instead of trying to buy for the 10% so they’ll be happier overall with their decision.

You should also know what your skill level and ski personality is. The way you ski a mountain determines the type of skier you are, and this makes a huge difference in the type of skis you will need. If you like to charge down quickly and carve turns into the groomers, you need a different type of ski as taking a fun and bouncy approach that feels like surfing. Every model of ski has a personality of its own and you need to find one that is compatible with yours.

Versatility is also important for beginner skiers. You may not know what your favorite type of skiing is until you get the chance to play around and discover them all. If you pick a versatile ski that can handle any condition – whether that’s resort groomers, tight trees, moguls, or cutting through crud, you will maximize your ski time.

Be aware of the terrain and weather conditions in your home mountain. Although it can be temping to buy skis for that gorgeous vacation resort, you’ll get more use out of skis that are made from the resort close to home. You need skis that can handle any conditions at your level of skill.

Shape and Size

Skis with medium or medium soft flex will be the best option for beginners, too. Flex becomes more important the more advanced your skill level becomes, and eventually you’ll just know whether you prefer stiff or soft skis, but beginners need to watch this.

If your flex is too stiff, you can make it harder on yourself to learn to ski. Softer flex is more forgiving on the mountain, and it will be easier to recover I f your weight end sup shifted too far back. This can help smooth out a ride if you hit bumpy snow.

Softer flex patterns are more forgiving, which is good for beginners, but they also let you get more playful on your skis, so they’re great to work with in various turns. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference for most skiers.

Sizing is pretty important. The right size can give you a great learning experience on a mountain. Your ski should be the right height for your size, weight, and ability and style. There’s not really a magic formula. In general, ski length should be somewhere between your chin and the top of your head.

More minor design elements can also influence skis in subtle ways. Ski shapes at the end will all affect the ski’s turn and float performance. Blunt nose skis will increase the tip volume, which improves float without adding length or weight to swings.

Pin tails are slightly tapered and rounded, which makes skis easier to release out of turns and freely adjust. Flat tails with straight edges will extend the sidecut for better hold and grip on edges. These variations are usually minor for beginners, so you don’t need to spend too much time on them. 

Rocker and Camber

For beginners, skis with a comfortable amount of rocker at the tip will be a good decision. This will help you maintain stability and control.

A camber is an upwards bend in the ski that minimizes the amount of contact the center of your ski makes with the snow. These are exceptional for making carved turns by tipping the ski sideways to dig one side into the snow. If you’re just getting started with skis, you won’t be going anywhere near fast enough to effectively utilize this aggressive and precise turn technique.

You’re going to want to focus on staying in control of your skis and not going too fast. You need to learn how to keep your balance while sliding down the mountain, which is the first step every skier needs to learn.

Skis with a full traditional camber make slow turns difficult since the camber is designed to grip onto the snow and dig in instead of sliding easily across it. For sliding turns, a rocker profile is helpful. The rocker just means that the tips and tails are raised off of the ground earlier than they are with a camber. The tip and tail curving upwards helps the ski stay afloat on the snow so the skis will slide around easier.

Rocker skis were originally designed to help the ski stay afloat in really deep snows, but it also makes turning easier and lets your ski tips point across the slope. Ion top of making it easier to make right and left turns, a rocker tip also makes it easier to turn when you’re not skiing really fast. This rocker lets you maneuver at slow speeds while maintaining stability which is helpful when you’re still getting used to turns.

If your ski has a tail rocker, you’ll see even more benefits. Rockered tips make it easier to swing across the hill, and rockered tails only make that easier.

Flat tails will finish turns more powerfully and consistently, which is great if you’re able to put enough pressure on them through your turn with a forward and athletic stance, but that stance is a more advanced technique than beginners will be able to handle.

When you’re using a ski's edges to arc a turn through a fall line, you won’t feel comfortable with the feeling of driving the ski through the arc. It may even be scary for beginners when their ski’s edge starts digging into the snow and picking up speed through turns. You’ll fee out of control, and may lose your balance and fall.

While you work on your balance technique, you will likely end up putting some weight on your heels. With weight distributed towards the back of the ski, flat tails are going to end up catching on the snow.

If you have skis with a bit of tail rocker, they’ll be less likely to grab at the snow when you go down the hill. They release easily out of turns, which lets you make controlled turns even before you’ve mastered the technique, and if you get knocked off balance you can recover instead of falling.

More advanced skiers may enjoy the flat tail, when they’ve learned how to turn with parallel skis and use the edges to carve, but less experienced skiers will need ail rocker.

For this reason, beginners should ignore fully cambered skis in favor of rocker or rocker – camber – rocker profiles. 

Materials and Manufacturing

The materials that are used to make a ski’s core will affect its behavior. This changes your flex and turn, and how you navigate terrain. A good example of solid ski manufacturing can be found in our Volkl Mantra M5 review.

Fiberglass is one of the ma in structural materials used to control the flex of a ski. The thickness, layering patterns, and weave all achieve different flex levels. Carbon is pretty useful depending on where it gets paces. It is used to reduce the weight of skis while enhancing strength. Torsion c an be strong one direction and soft in another when constructed with carbon. 

Wood can create a different ski feel. Nearly every high end ski has a full wood core, but the choice of soft versus hard woods determines how you feel while skiing. Tough woods with low density can provide a strong, poppy experience for playful skiing. 

The construction uses a detailed layering and molding process that gets smoothed out by expert craftsmen. To learn about bi and tri-axial wraps, top sheets, edges, ad more, check out this article on the ski manufacturing process

Length

You also need a great ski length for your skill level. Beginners frequently end up with skis that are way too short for them. In general, you need skis that are about the same height as you, or just a little shorter. Skis with tip and tail rockers will feel significantly shorter on the snow than they look while you’re standing in the shop because the entire surface won’ t be touching the snow.

Shorter skis will be easier to control because they are far more responsive when turning and stopping. Turns and sops are 2 essential skills for beginners to learn and master. These guidelines hold true best in groomed runs, where you should be starting when you are a beginner skier. If you’re heavy for your height, you should look into a slightly longer ski.

Style

There are several different ski styles available, from the best powder skis to all mountain, racing to freestyle. Make sure that you find skis that can handle the type of skiing you want to learn. If you are interested in picking up tricks for the parks, you will need a completely different feel and style than you’d want for skiing through the backcountry off the beaten trail. Here's Nordica Navigator 85 review as an example of all mountain skis of the latest generation.

Measurements

A good width range for beginners is 85 to 105 mm underfoot. This measurement is taken from the narrowest section of the ski.

Narrow skis that range from 85 to 95 mm underfoot are good for learning on firm and smooth snow, but going to narrow can also be a bad thing. Skis that are 70 to 85 mm underfoot are really easy to tip on edge. This means you can flick from uphill to downhill edge easily, and that can help with linking turns.

However, wider skis that go up to about 95 mm are still pretty easy to get on edge for turn linking, but they make it significantly easier for you to ski on softer, bumpier snow, which is pretty common by the middle of the day at a resort since skiers have been pushing snow around all day.

Wider skis, ranging from 95 to 105 mm, will float through loose snow piles on the trail better than narrow skis will. These will also stay o track much easier. This will be important when you learn to trust your skis through your turns. Wider skis won’t make you feel like you’re just getting bounced all over and fighting to control the ski, rather than having the ski control you.

Any wider than 105 mm underfoot, and you’ve got incredibly stable skis that will float better in deep and inconsistent snow, but the stability cones with a sacrifice. You’ll be going too slow to take advantage of the stability offered by the extra width and they’ll be very difficult to get on their edges when you’re learning to link turns and carve through firm snow.

If you are skiing in an area that gets tons of fresh snow all season, or has very soft snow, then skis in the 100 to 105 mm range could be a decent option for everyday use. 

Mistakes to Avoid

One of the biggest mistakes to avoid is choosing a ski that is too light or too heavy. Avoid the far ends of the weight spectrum when choosing your skis. These days, salespeople will convince you that superlight awesome skis are the best thing to do, and you might convince yourself you love lighter skis because they’re easier to carry. Don’t fall for this because mid-range skis are the best bet.

Lighter skis can be easier for beginners to control when it comes to initiating turns in groomed snow, but if your ski is too light you will get knocked around a lot and deflect rough, bumpy, and chunky snow a lot more than heavier skis. This will make it difficult to ski on snow that isn’t perfectly smooth.

Heavier skis don’t get knocked around ass much when skiing at speed in rough snow, so it’s easier to stay balanced on them, but they also lose their playfulness.

Another common mistake that beginners use is sitting in the backseat of their skis. Rather than leaning down the slope, these skiers will lean away from it and put their weight in their heels. This position makes it harder to control your skis, so it’s actually bad for turning.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to ski in jeans or leggings, using sunglasses in lieu of ski goggles, either. You will end up cold and wet, and be miserable. Find some waterproof clothes to wear down the mountain, and invest in some goggles that won’t slide off your face or let the wind into your eyes. 

Learning from Friends

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a beginner is learning how to ski from your friends and family. Unless you have a professional in the family, they won’t be able to teach you well, even if they know how to ski themselves. They may have learned bad technique that they will end up passing on to you. You can end up frustrated, scared, and even hurt if you don’t take a lesson from a professional first. Most resorts offer free or very cheap crash courses for beginners that teach you how to ski, turn, and stop. It’s worth taking it before hitting the slopes! 

Product Reviews – Best Skis for Beginners

Now that you’ve got a bit of background on the right things to look for in a beginner ski, here are 9 of our favorites to help narrow the market down for you and show you some quality beginner skis! 


Editor's Rating:

4.8/5

Atomic Vantage 86 CAtomic Vantage 86 C

One of the best skis available for beginners is the Atomic Vantage 86 C, which is also a great all around ski for any level! 

The Vantage comes in a variety of widths up to 107 mm, but the 86 C is a great place to start for beginners who like softer snow. Their extended rocker tip and wide shape will keep them afloat and give it enough floatation to make it through hard packed snow.

Although the turning is more difficult at speed, it’s effortless at slower paces beginners will take and making medium turns. This allows you to perfect your technique at slower speeds so you’ll be ready to handle turning at higher speeds later.  

Things We Liked

  • Great design for beginners to off trail skiing.
  • Capable of beginner to advanced level technique, so no need to replace them after just 1 season of use!
  • Effortless turn at casual and medium widths and speeds.

Things We Didn't Like

  • Don’t perform as well in hard packed snow.

Editor's Rating:

4.5/5

Rossignol Experience Skis with Xpress 10 BindingsRossignol Experience Skis with Xpress 10 Bindings

With al terrain rockers and included bindings, the Rossignol Experience Skis with Xpress 10 Bindings are a great plan for beginners.

These affordable beginner’s skis are not likely to be something you outgrow after a season of use. They have the smooth turn initiation, easy to handle width, and low weight that work well for beginners with the stability to handle carving at speed once you master your technique.

These bring a lot of features form the higher end models into the more affordable model, including the lightweight Air Tip technology and mixed rocker camber design. This Air Tip makes these skis very effective. The moderate front rocket keeps you afloat and prevents your skis form too much vibration at speed and turns with ease. It’s also got great edge hold considering the overall beginner friendly design, so you can use them to learn technique and transition into more advanced maneuvers.

Things We Liked

  • Air Tip technology lightens ski and gives it a playful feel!
  • All the stability for a beginner, with the capability of handling more intermediate moves.

Things We Didn't Like

  • Not twin tips – flat tails.

Editor's Rating:

4.4/5

Blizzard Alight 7.2 Women’s Skis TLT 10 BindingsBlizzard Alight 7.2 Women’s Skis TLT 10 Bindings

A lot of great skis are unisex with a wide range of lengths, so women aren’t restricted to skis that say women’s only, but the best beginner skis for women we’ve found are the Blizzard Alight 7.2 Women's Skis TLT 10 Bindings

These entry level skis offer amazing performance and value, and come with bindings included. Their wood core and 72 mm waist width make them fun and easy to learn on because of how easy they are to ski. In these, you can handle linked carve turns very quickly because of an easy turn radius and noticeable flex underfoot. Your wake will be clean and pure arcs that look professionally made!

These skis are quick from edge to edge and can handle various snow conditions with ease. They are some of the most beginner friendly skis on the slope! Thanks to the light tip and tail with partial sidewall construction, you’ll be able to maneuver easily while holding your edge. This makes them a great training tool for precision technique mastery. 

Things We Liked

  • Super easy to turn and master linked technique!
  • Clearly felt flex underfoot with clean and pure arcs in turns.
  • Lightweight and able to handle various conditions!
  • Feel like very high end skis despite being friendly and forgiving.

Things We Didn't Like

  • Once you master technique, you will quickly outgrow these skis.

Editor's Rating:

5.0/5

Nordica Enforcer 93

Nordica makes some of the best skis on the market, so it’s no surprise that they’ve made a great ski for beginners in their Nordica 2020 Enforcer 93 Skis with Marker Griffon 13 ID model. 

The Enforcer 93s are really fun to take out in a ton of different conditions and terrains, which lets you experiment and decide which style of skiing you like the best. On firm snow, the camber underfoot will work together with the wood core and the metal laminates and carbon fiber to deliver a damp and smooth feel that doesn’t sacrifice power.

These skis are very quick on their edge and easy to initiate carving turns, so you can seamlessly link turns instead of fighting your skis to get what you want. Softer sow and tricky terrain is easier to maneuver around with these skis thanks to all the metal. Pivoting is a breeze, so you’ll feel very confident skiing direct lines in these. 

Things We Liked

  • Able to handle any terrain and condition you put them in – all mountain skis!
  • Performs like an expert level ski, and a lot of expert skiers love these!

Things We Didn't Like

  • Offer great beginners features, but ride like expert skis. Buy these if you want 1 ski that you will never outgrow and are willing to have a steeper learning curve up front in exchange for not having to replace skis when your skill advances.

Editor's Rating:

4.7/5

Atomic Vantage SkisAtomic Vantage Skis

If you want a great ski to master your technique, then grab the Atomic Vantage 85 Skis. With firewall sides and a light wood core, they make a great first ski! 

The Atomic Vantage skis are great for beginner to intermediate level skiers who make their home mountains in the west. They’re built to help you start venturing off the groomers and into challenging terrains. The AMT rocker makes turns easy to initiate and the rest of the ski effortlessly drifts back out of them.

The firewall sides will let your skis flex naturally and smoothly grip the snow, and the wood core will dampen any vibrations to minimize chatter in higher speeds or across firm terrains. IT’s stable at speeds and flexible enough not to fatigue your feet while you’re learning to ski.

Things We Liked

  • Great beginner ski for mastering technique!
  • Capable of handling challenging terrain if you don’t want to stick to groomers.

Things We Didn't Like

  • This ski is not a powder ski.

Editor's Rating:

4.9/5

K2 Fatty Snowb​​ladesK2 Fatty Snowb​​lades

The funky shape of snowblades became popular very quickly when introduced because they allow you to use shorter skis and have a little more fun. ​ K2 Fatty Snowblades are no exception to this rule, and beginners will love carving in them! 


These blades are a great learning tool for beginners who want to learn how to carve. They’re also great at learning tricks because they’re so short, which makes tricks easy to nail down. These have adjustable bindings with no need for a tool so you can clip them on and get straight to the lift for tons of fun!

These skis are fabulous to play around in thanks to how easy it is to maneuver them. Riding them feels like mixing ice skating with rollerblading and tossing in traditional skiing on the side. Edge turning is similar to normal skis, but everything else is much quicker! 

Things We Liked

  • Great for learning carving and trick technique thanks to short length!
  • Adjustable bindings don’t require a tool or professional!
  • Easy to navigate difficult terrain, and perform jumps and spins in parks!

Things We Didn't Like

  • Turns move much quicker, so be careful not to take on more speed than you can handle at your skill level!

Editor's Rating:

4.8/5

K2 Press Skis 2020K2 Press Skis 2020

With their playful innovation, it’s no wonder that K2 makes the list more than once. The K2 Press Skis 2020 are the best skis for younger beginners, so your teens will love them!

These are solid and durable, so young skiers can hone their skills without worrying about destroying the skis. The Carbon Boost Braid and Aspen core will push the skis while maintaining stability.

These make a perfect first pair of twin tip skis for skiing the park and the rest of the mountain. They are lightweight and forgiving for skiers who haven’t mastered technique yet. With easy turn initiation and a playful touch, they also work well in the park!

Things We Liked

  • Excellent choice for young beginners.
  • Very forgiving for those who haven’t mastered technique.
  • Affordable and cool looking

Things We Didn't Like

  • Slight chatter at higher speeds

Editor's Rating:

4.2/5

Volkl Flair 76 Skis and VMotion 10 Bindings 2019Volkl Flair 76 Skis and VMotion 10 Bindings 2019

Volkl makes some great skis, and the Volkl Flair 76 Skis plus VMotion 10 Bindings are a great beginner’s ski made especially for women who are just getting started! 

The Flair 76 handles like a dream but still offers support and stability for new skiers who need to improve. The partial sidewall construction allows for a smooth ride and secure edge grip, and the binding system will give skiers the perfect amount of power for their maneuvers.

Things We Liked

  • Sidewall makes a huge difference when carving bigger hills.
  • Can handle single black diamond skiing, so they will grow with your technique.
  • Great model for women

Things We Didn't Like

  • Loses stability at maximum speeds.

Editor's Rating:

4.9/5

Dynastar Legend X 75 Skis with Xpress 10 BindingsDynastar Legend X 75 Skis with Xpress 10 Bindings

With 5 point sidecut profile, power drive access technology, and capped construction, the Dynastar legend X 75 with Xpress 10 Bindings is a great ski to learn on that you won’t outgrow as your skill increases.


This ski is extremely balanced with a natural flex from tip to tail, so you get a comfortable ride that is responsive to your control in any snow conditions.

With a progressive sidecut and rocker profile, these skis are versatile with a balanced sweet spot that lets you feel comfortable in any terrain.


Things We Liked

  • Very responsive and forgiving for beginners!
  • Capable of handling multiple difficult terrains. Designed for 50/50 versatility for on or off piste skiing.

Things We Didn't Like

  • Flap a little at higher speeds.

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