All great skiers have to start somewhere, and getting a great first set of skis will help you get there quicker. Even if you never find yourself on an Olympic podium or in a Warren Miller flick, you’ll become a much better skier much quicker if you’re using skis tailored specifically for beginners.
So what should you look for in beginners skis, exactly? Most beginner skis have a rockered shape that allows for easier turn initiation, and a softer flex that makes the skis easier to control and maneuver with less precise movements. These types of skis give the skier room for error, and won’t punish you if your form is not perfect just yet. Any of the skis in this blog are ideal for skiers just starting out or novice skiers who are still improving.
Rossignol Smash 7
Whoever said novice skiers have to be contained only to the groomers? The Rossignol Smash 7 are beginner to intermediate skis for those who want to explore off trail from time to time while still rocking the groomers. Featuring Rossignol’s Freeride Rocker, the Smash 7 has a camber underfoot for stability but a rockered tip and tail for easier turn initiation and float when you’re in deeper snow. The Poplar Core is reinforced with Fiberglass for a combination of steadiness and forgiveness that will do any beginner well, and the 92mm waist width allows you to skid and slide turns before you get carving down pat.
Salomon XDR 80 ST
Beginners are going to spend the vast majority of their time on the frontside groomers, so it makes sense to start out on a frontside-focused ski. The Salomon XDR 80 ST, with its 80mm waist, is nimble edge to edge and lays tracks on the hardpack with ease. Reinforced with a Basalt layer, the Poplar Woodcore offers a sturdy ride that isn’t too overbearing and comes with ample liveliness. The ABS sidewalls and rocker in the tip and tails provide stability and precision.
Atomic Vantage 79C
The Atomic Vantage 79C is light and powerful, a combination that would make any skier smile. The lower weight of the Vantage 79C makes it highly maneuverable, with a short turn radius for quick-hitting carving action. The Energy Backbone provides tip-to-tail power, and the Prolite Construction cuts down the weight while adding reinforcements in key areas to maintain the integrity of the ski. The Cap Sidewall adds shock absorption to help keep your stability when you begin to push the pace.
K2 Mindbender 85
Beginner skis rarely get more advanced than the K2 Mindbender 85. Built with the foundational Torsion Control Design Philosophy, the Mindbender 85s offer longitudinal and torsional flexes that are independent of each other. This adaptive flex gives you the most precise performance whether you’re on the hardpack or venturing off-trail. A versatile All-Terrain Rocker profile offers easy handling in any conditions, and the Aspen Veneer Core is lightweight with surprising durability for whatever trials and tribulations you experience on them.
Nordica Navigator 80 CA
The Nordica Navigator 80 CA is the ideal option for the beginner or intermediate skier who wants to cruise around the frontside with grace and ease. The narrow 80mm waist is perfect for making smooth, locked-in turns on the hardpack, and the squared-off tail shape makes transitions seamless with added edge hold. A predictable ride mixed with some soft snow performance, the Navigator 80 CA will build your confidence no matter the terrain or conditions.
Elan Wingman 78 C
For aspiring frontside rippers, the Elan Wingman 78 C may be your best choice. A stiffer flex and camber-heavy profile, the Wingman 78 C is more powerful than many of the skis on this list. It can lock-down and hold an edge at speeds thanks to the cambered inside edges that run from the tail to near the tip, but also has rockered outside edges which add margin for error on your carves. Featuring a dedicated left and right ski, the Wingman 78 C is specifically tailored for learning aggressive carving on the hardpack.
Rossignol Experience 76 Cl
The Rossignol Experience 76 CI is the sort of all-around beginner ski that will help improve your skiing from day one. Stability, a light weight, a smooth ride – the Experience 76 CI has it all. It starts with the light but powerful Poplar Wood Core, with added Carbon Reinforcements, and a forgiving RossiTop Cap Construction which allows you to skid turns without consequence. The Air Tip VAS gives the Experience 76 CI a damp ride by putting vibration-reducing materials in the tips of the skis and, with rockered tips and tails, it floats easily over rough snow.