Updated: December 2017

Snow Ski Reviews:

Do you want to buy snow skis but don't know where to begin? That's a common issued posed to many skiers. With so many different types of skis on the market, which is the best fit for you. Experts say start with your skiing ability or level - are you a novice, intermediate, or advanced skier? The general rule is to buy a set of skis that are slighly above your current skill level so you can grow into them over time. Don't get anything too much above your ability level or else you may be turned off by the sport with equipment that is too difficult for you to handle. Secondly, do you plan on doing downhill skiing, cross country skiing, telemark skiing, freestyle, etc. Most skiers are alpine skiers meaning they ski at ski resorts and do mostly downhill runs. What type of surface will you be skiing on most often? Sounds like a silly question considering most skis work on all surfaces, but some are specialized for powder, groomed powder, packed powder, or cross country conditions.

The differences between men and women really are noticeably when trying to buy skis. Women tend to have a lower center of mass than men do and they are generally lighter in weight than men meaning they need skis that flex more. The critical aspect in choosing the right ski is never buy skis if you have never skied before. Always take a lesson or two and get out on the mountain before purchasing anything. This will also give you a chance to demo a pair of skis and see how they feel compared to your skill level. Most ski shops (if not all of them) will allow you to put a portion of the rental fee towards the price of the skis if you end up buying them. This is the best advise you can get in terms of making an educated buying decision. Of course ski boots and bindings will determine the quality of your ski experience as well, but they can be adjusted as you go but the length and type of ski you purchase stays the same and can't be changed once you buy them. The top ski brands are K2, Atomic, Salomon, Rossignol, Volkl, Elan, Black Diamond, Dynastar, Scott, G3, Nordica, and Line. We found several articles online that rated skis based on conditions (powder, groomed powder, packed powder) and some ranked them on the type of skiing you would be doing (telemark, alpine, backcountry, cross country, freeride, freestyle, carving). Other sites picked the most popular skis based on skiing ability. Ski-Review.com is an excellent site that always have up to date reviews on the latest skis like the Salomon XW Hurricane, Atomic Metron 11B5, Dynastar Contact 11, and the Volkl Unlimited Ac3 Titanium. If you own a pair of skis on the list, you can submit a review as well. Techsupportforskiers.com is another well done ski review website with loads of information and comparisons on the newest skis. The reviews are done by skiers of all levels (not just experts) and the feedback is straight forward and to the point. Lastly, we looked at reviews done on Skitest.net that rates skis based on the opinions of instructors at ski schools in Austria. This site was the best at grading specialized skis for off-piste terrain and moguls. With so many skiing ability levels, terrain conditions, and styles of skiing it's not easy to come up with a "top ski" so we have tried to break down the results into categories below. Expect to spend anywhere from $350 to $1000 on a pair of skis (not including bindings and ski boots). It's an expensive sport considering many people fly into ski resorts and buy daily lift tickets that surpass $70 in the finest ski areas. If you learn how to ski at a young age, it's the type of activity you can do your entire life. You can browse the up-to-date list of best-selling ski equipment at Amazon (including skis, boots, bindings, goggles, glove dryers, helmets, etc). They also have a nice selection of used skis, which lets you save a lot of money on last years models.

Best Overall Ski:

If you are looking for a good all-around mountain ski that works for skiers at all ability levels, consider the Atomic Metron II B5 ($500) or the Elan Magfire ($750). Both skis are rated for intermediate and above skiers with the Metron II B5 rated slightly higher. The high price tag on the Atomics is justified as they are considered the perfect "all in one" ski eliminated the need to purchase several pairs of skis for specific conditions. The Atomic Metron B5 skis are great in all ski conditions and every terrain. These skis are great for carving, fast turns, high-speed handling, and ultimately keeping you fresher as the day progresses. The increased camber and Active Power Extension system keeps you gripped to the snow and allow you to turn with ease. The skis are relatively new and so far the reviews for them are all positive. Turning to the Elan Magfire 10 - an "all mountain" ski that is responsive, versatile, and powerful. Certainly for the money, the Elan's are worth it when compared to other skis in their class. You can ski in the thick powder or go for the mogul runs with the same precision and accuracy on turns and maneuverability. We read numerous reviews online from skiers that demoed dozens of skis only to come back to the Elan's. There is also the Elan Magfire 12 Fusion ($900) that more powerful skiers will appreciate.

Best Snow Skis - Alpine/Downhill:

Most recreational skiers prefer to stick with the downhill or alpine skiing runs and the best ski for this is the Rossignol's Bandit B3 ($730). The Rossignol ski adapts to all the conditions on the mountain and makes the perfect choice for intermediate or above skiers. Length of the skis range from 160-184cm and the new Shark Nose (an aluminum insert inside the tip of the ski) will improve the torsional rigidity resulting in better feel and control as you make your way down the mountain. Ski school instructors, consumers, and experts all rate this ski very high. The Bandit Series from Rossignol also offers the B-Squad, B3 Respect, B2, and B1. The Bandit B1 is an excellent starter ski for those just migrating from beginner to intermediate. Although Rossignol makes their skis for women as well, we found that the K2 T-Nine series is what women prefer. The Sweet Luv model is the ideal ski to get your girlfriend or wife up on skis since it's made for beginners/intermediate. The K2 is both forgiving and versatile allowing novices to learn to turn and ski down a variety fo slopes. The One Luv performs flawlessly on piste but is versatile enough to go off-piste no problem. Designed with a Bioflex core and the MOD Monic for women, this ski fits advanced skiers the best. You can check out more products online at Rossignol.com or K2skis.com.

Best Telemark Ski:

Telemark skiing is where you turn with one ski advanced in front of the other and the heel of the rear ski is raised. The skier is in an extremely bent knee position as they make the turns. This style of skiing is elegant and stylish and certainly not done by that many skiers on mountains I go to. If you are not familiar with telemark skiing, you should visit Telemarktips.com as the site offer videos to watch on the technique of telemarking and tips on learning. Their online forum is a great way to hear expert advise on the proper skies for this type of skiing. Some of the more popular telemark skis are the K2 Anti Piste Telemark Ski ($540), the Black Diamond - Havoc Skis ($570), and the G3 Ticket ($680). The early feedback on the G3 Ticket is positive with consumers saying "great for smooth arcs in wide-open bowls" and "perfect control in deep powder". Powder Magazine rated the G3 Ticket a "Skiers choice".

Freeride Skis:

Freeride skies are meant for off-piste skiing in crud and powder but they work quite well in the groomed powder found at most ski resorts. The K2 Pontoon Alpine Ski ($700) is the ideal freeride ride that was developed with Shane McConkey (the freeride brainchild). The K2 Pontoon is designed for flotation and is the best powder ski on the market. It features a bowed up tip and tail (similar to a surfboard) which keeps the Pontoon on top of the powder. Riders say the K2 Pontoon is "amazing" and it lets you "surf the powder like no other". The Volkl Sumo ($900) is more expensive than the K2 and the name tells it all. The ski is fat and powerful letting you ski big powder conditions while the sidecut provides assurance you can get across the groomed runs back to the lift. The Sumo's will let you "float on the pow" says one reviewer.

Cross Country Skis:

Many people prefer the quiet backcountry to the crowded slopes you find at ski resorts these days. With the influx of snow boarders slowly taking over the mountains, the peaceful cross country skier remains in heaven. The great thing about cross country skis is that they are priced very reasonable compared to the sportier downhill skis. You can get a quality pair of cross country skis for less than $200. The most popular cross country ski today is the Alpina Sports Solution ($110-$190). The Alpina series offers the Tempest, Vantage, Tracker, and Discovery models are available for men and women. You can find Alpina cross country ski selection on Backcountry.com.

Freestyle Skis:

Freestyle and freeride skis are similar, but we would say that the freestyle skis are designed for more tricks. Line, Armada and Scott all make some terrific freestyle skis. One of the most popular models is the Armada Pipe Cleaner Freestyle Skis ($575). For big air, performance and speed in the terrain park, experts agree the Armada is your ticket.