SNOW SPORTS

Best Skis For Beginners: Choosing the Suitable Skis for the Aspiring Skier

Best Skis for Beginners
Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

There is a large array of winter sports one can take up, and that includes the ever-popular skiing. Everyone wants to go skiing but has no idea on how to go about it and get started. Aside from actually learning how to ski, many of you will agree that one of the most important things to consider is securing your gear – and that of course includes your trusty pair of skis.

So what should you be looking for when you’re getting your very first pair of skis? This can be a very difficult question for a beginner. Lucky for you, this article aims to help you purchase the best skis for beginners. And if you are open to suggestions, we have highlighted a couple of pairs that we think are best for ski beginners.

NameDimensionsBindingsIntended usePrice
Head Natural Instinct Skis127/74/110 mmTyrolia PR 10 BindingsFrontsideCheck price on Amazon
Atomic Nomad Smoke LT Skis121/76/105 mmXTO 10 BindingsFrontsideCheck price on Amazon
Rossignol Experience 77 Skis122/77/111 mmXellium 10 BindingsFrontsideCheck price on Amazon
K2 Men's Press Skis113/85/104 mmN/AFreestyleCheck price on Amazon
Elan Explore 4 Skis114/70/100 mmEL 10.0 BindingsFrontsideCheck price on Amazon
Atomic Women's Affinity Air Skis120/74/99 mmLithium 10 BindingsFrontsideCheck price on Amazon
K2 Luv 75 Women's Skis115/75/106 mmMarker ERP 10 BindingsFrontsideCheck price on Amazon
Head Pure Joy Women's Skis127/73/107 mm9 SLR BindingsFrontsideCheck price on Amazon
Rossignol Trixie Women's Skis110/80/103 mmN/AFrontsideCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Purchasing

Even when it comes to the best beginner’s skis, one pair isn’t suitable for everyone. With different heights and weights to take into account, as well as gender, there’s a lot more involved than just picking the first one that you see.

So here are some of the most important considerations to keep in mind when you’re at the sporting goods store or surfing for skis online.

Sex Matters

First, your sex should determine the kind of ski that you get. You may think it doesn’t make a difference, but women’s and men’s bodies are structured differently that they have different needs.

Sex Matters

Men’s skis are generally designed to be unisex across the board, capable of catering to individuals of all sizes, shapes, and experience levels.

However, women should really be using women’s skis. This is because they cater to the weight and stance that women have, due to the shape of their hips and the angles of their legs.

Skis for children are designed to be a lot smaller and softer so that they can learn from their mistakes with as few injuries as possible. Over time, they can be readjusted to adapt to the child’s growing feet as well as skill level as they gain more experience.

Skier’s Skill Level

Although this article is discussing the search for beginners’ skis, it’s important that you know what the differences are between the varying skill level skis so that you don’t make a mistake with your purchase.

Features of Skis

A beginner ski is typically softer and easier to lean on when making turns. They’re more forgiving with any mistakes you may make, so that you can learn as you practice. The more experienced the skier, the stiffer the skis tend to become, as advanced skiers focus on speed and more complicated maneuvers.

However, those who are larger or heavier than average should consider moving up a level in ski (the opposite is true; if you are lighter, you should move down a ski level) because the skis will be able to better handle the distribution of weight.

Intended Use

There are various kinds of skiing, and it’s important that you have a pair that’s suitable for your purpose.

This may not seem important to you when you’re just starting, but if you already know the kind of skiing you’re going to be interested in, then it’s important that you know what the various kinds are.

  • Frontside: These skis are available in a wide range of skill sets, so they’re a good all-around ski to invest in. They are made with narrower waists and are most suitable for making carved turns on trails.
  • All-Mountain: All-mountain skis are designed to handle everything on the slopes, no matter what the conditions are. Because of this, they are the most popular in the market, and save you the hassle of having to buy another pair of skis to do a different kind of activity. The widths of these skis range from 85 to 99 mm, so they’re suitable for trails but can be used anywhere on a mountain slope.
  • All-Mountain Wide: These are much wider than regular all-mountain skis, and range from 95 to 105 mm. They’re capable of doing just about anything you want, from carving to turning to plowing through bumps.
  • Freestyle: These skis are designed for those who enjoy high fly skiing, such as taking jumps.
  • Powder: Powder skis are pretty wide, about 111 mm, to allow for maximum flotation across powder snow. They provide more stability than other kinds of skis.
  • Race: If you want to go fast, these are the skis for you. They’re very streamlined so that you can achieve maximum speed down the slopes.
  • Alpine Touring: Lightweight, these skis are fit for hiking, skinning, or skiing through fresh snow. Perfect for longer journeys through the mountain.
  • Skis with/without bindings: Skis with bindings are called system skis, and possess a plate that the binding is attached to in order to improve a ski’s flex. It does this by eliminating the dead spots in the mounting platform of the ski. Skis without bindings are called flat skis, and are typically all-mountain, all-mountain wide, freestyle, or powder skis.

Skier's Skill Level

Hopefully, knowing the various kinds of skis will help you to make the most informed choice when you start shopping for your skis.

Waist Width

The waist of the ski is actually the narrowest part of the ski that is under your foot. Many people think that a wider waist is better, but it really depends on what you plan on doing with your skis.

Skinnier waists are better for making turns, trail carving, and easier maneuverability, so they’re much easier for beginners to use. Wider waists provide more of a float, allowing you to go much faster and achieve more stability, especially when you’re going over jumps or going off-trail.

  • 85 mm: Suitable for skiers who will be spending their time on groomed trails. This narrow waist allows for better agility, and also makes the ski much lighter for beginner skiers to use.
  • 85 to 95 mm: Used for on-trail skiing, but are capable of being used by groomers in certain conditions. They have increased versatility that allows them to be used on powder snow.
  • 96 to 110 mm: Allows for medium to long radius turns to be made easily, and are capable of floating in powder snow.
  • 111 mm and over: Great for off-trail skiing, and provides maximum stability in deep powder and in the presence of crud and bumps. They’re not very agile, however, so you may find it difficult to make short turns quickly.

Waist Width

Rocker Profile

When the ski is laying flat on the ground, this is the slightly bent angle the ends have that help to lift the ski off the ground. This makes the ski more maneuverable by allowing the skier to use the tip to make fast turns, as well as gliding across the top surface of the snow.

This way, you can maintain your speed, minimize your fatigue, and dampen the vibrations as you travel across the snow. In a way, the shape of the ski absorbs the vibrations through the tip and sends it through the body and to the back of the ski so that you won’t experience any pain in your knees or back.

There are various kinds of rocker profiles that serve different purposes.

  • Cambered: The most traditional shape for skis. The center is raised when the ski is flat on the ground, allowing the ski to have great stability for on-trail skiing.
  • Tip Rocker/Camber: The rockered tip is at the front, allowing for very fast turns, while the camber in the body provides stability. A common profile for all-mountain skis.
  • Rocker/Camber/Rocker: Rockers are both in the tips and the tails. The tips allow for fast turns and promote floating on the snow, while the rocker tails provides better maneuverability and helps to release the skis from turns. Best used for both on- and off-trail skiing.
  • Full Rocker: The best way to tell these skis apart from the rest is the U-shape they have when lying flat on the ground. They’re mostly used in deep powder, as they offer the best flotation.

Rocker Profile

Tail Profile

The shape and angle of the tails of your skis determines how you’ll exit a turn. They have various shapes, all of them with different purposes in mind during their construction:

  • Twin tip: The tail of the ski turns just as much as the shovel (the wide, front part of the ski) so you can make very quick turns. This shape allows you to both ski and land backwards, and are mostly used on all-mountain and freestyle skis.
  • Flared: These tail shapes are turned up and are slightly tapered towards the end. They provide grip to make strong carves and require little effort to release the skis from a turn.
  • Flat: These are used in carving or race skis, as they allow for very aggressive movement. They provide both grip and power, and require little effort when exiting turns. They work extremely well in high speeds.

Tail profile

Flex

The flex of skis varies from very soft to very stiff to cater to the needs of the skier and their experience level, your weight, how aggressively you ski, and your skiing conditions.

  • Very soft: These skis are best for beginners and children, because they’re the easiest to learn on. They can be forgiving when mistakes are made so that the skier doesn’t fall down as easily.
  • Soft: Also good for beginners and mellow intermediates who aren’t interested in being aggressive. They work best at slow and medium speeds.
  • Medium: These work best at a variety of speeds, offer great stability, and are very easy to control at slower speeds. Mostly used on powder skis.
  • Stiff: They’re very responsive at high speeds, but do require some experience and technique to keep them under control.
  • Very stiff: Good for hard chargers and aggressive skiers.

Skis for Beginners Flex

Best Products on Today’s Market

Now that you’re familiar with all the features that you should look for in skis, it’s time to take a look at a few products in the market that consumers consider to be the best. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but should give you a basis of what you should really be looking for when you go shopping for your skis.

Head Natural Instinct SkisHead Natural Instinct Skis

Price: $299.99 – $382

Width dimensions: 127/74/110 mm

Best use: Frontside

Specific features: Narrow width, medium flex, tip rocker/camber profile, flared tail profile, composite core material, ERA 3.0 technology, Graphene spine, Head/Tyrolia PR 10 PROMO bindings.

The Head Natural Instinct Skis are considered to be the perfect value for any beginner skier, because of all the features it possesses and how easy it is for anyone to use. It provides a lot of stability, holds edges perfectly, and helps any skier build their confidence to take it to the next level.

The use of Graphene in the spine makes the ski very light but extremely durable, so any mistake isn’t going to break your skis. The rockered tip makes it easy to take turns and allows for improved control as you adjust to those higher speeds. You can enjoy skiing without getting tired and still show off your moves to your friends.

PROS:

  • Durable
  • Worth the price
  • Very lightweight

CONS:

  • Takes some time to get used to

Related: If you’re looking for a more all-terrain ski, then the Head Natural Instinct Ski System for Men could be right for you. It provides improved mobility in all kinds of conditions and even floats across powder with no problem. Definitely a ski for someone more experienced, you won’t feel sluggish using these skis, as the camber sections will generate a powerful energy return that will keep you sailing down those slopes with style and grace.

Check the price on Amazon

Atomic Nomad Smoke Lt SkiAtomic Nomad Smoke LT Skis

Price: Approximately $479.99

Width dimensions: 121/76/105 mm

Best use: Frontside

Specific features: Narrow width, very soft flex, tip rocker/camber profile, flared tail profile, composite core material, XTO 10 Bindings, Atomic’s Step Down Sidewall 2.0 construction.

If you want a very forgiving ski, then the Atomic Nomad Smoke LT Skis is the one to go for. Practice with these skis will help you to overcome your fears and improve your skills over time.

The Atomic’s Step Down Sidewall 2.0 construction provides you with great maneuverability with the cap construction on the tips and tails, and helps you to hold your edge with the sidewall underfoot.

You’ll have great stability with these skis, as well as a great turning radius that allows you to go at your own pace but still have enough control to make those quick turns when you need to.

PROS:

  • Rugged
  • Good stability
  • Good turning radius

CONS:

  • Can be heavy for beginners

Related: If you’re looking for a similar pair of skis to “graduate” to, the Atomic Nomad Smoke Skis would be a perfect choice. Great for intermediate skiers, the skis are very forgiving so you can take the slopes at your own pace. At the same time, they’re capable of keeping up with you if you’re eager to try out those more difficult maneuvers.

Check the price on Amazon

Rossignol Experience 77 SkisRossignol Experience 77 Skis

Price: $337.88 – $399.95

Width dimensions: 122/77/111 mm

Best use: Frontside

Specific features: Poplar wood with carbon core material, narrow width, soft to medium flex, rocker/camber/rocker profile, Xellium 10 Bindings, flared tail profile, Air Tip, extended sidecut, perfect up to advanced intermediate skiers.

Not interested in purchasing a different pair of skis once you’ve gained more experience?

You’re looking at the perfect pair for you.The Rossignol Experience 77 Skis were designed to grow with you and are perfect for skiers who are bordering on the advanced skill set.

The combination of poplar wood and carbon in the core material has created a light ski that is very forgiving with mistakes, and helps you to make turns easily. The Air Tip possesses a honeycomb structure that pushes snow away, allowing you to make smoother and shorter turns while you ski.

PROS:

  • Will improve skiing experience
  • Good for beginners looking to become intermediates
  • Smooth turning

CONS:

  • Tends to skid

Related: The Atomic Nomad Blackeye Ti Skis are definitely a great choice if you’ve upped your game and bordering on the expert level. These skis make it easy to carve through the snow, and can handle any terrain you take them through.

The layers of titanium surrounding the wood core provide you with a lot of stability and speed for those times when you just want to go fast.

Check the price on Amazon

K2 Men’s Press SkisK2 Press Skis Mens

Price: $233.99 – $239.95

Width dimensions: 113/85/104 mm

Best use: Freestyle

Specific features: Narrow width, soft to medium flex, rocker/camber/rocker profile, twin tail profile, Aspen wood core material

The K2 Men’s Press Skis are quite flexible in its use, as it’s great for beginner skis for adults as well as adult skis for younger skiers. It has a lightweight cap construction that maintains stability with speed, but is still maneuverable enough for jumps and boxes.

The waist width allows for use on trails, landing tricks, and carving through the snow with ease. It’s definitely a beginner ski to consider for those who are looking to take their skills to the next level.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Good grip

CONS:

  • Doesn’t float well

Related: The K2 Empress Skis are designed to provide female skiers with a confident ride so that they can learn to improve their skills. Also made for beginners, they’re perfect for adults who are just learning to ski. It’s very versatile on the slopes, for those who just want to coast or those who are interested in doing jumps and tricks.

Check the price on Amazon

Elan Explore 4 SkisElan Explore 4 Ski

Price: Approximately $349.95

Width dimensions: 114/70/100 mm

Best use: Frontside

Specific features: Narrow width, very soft flex, tip rocker/camber profile, EL 10.0 Bindings, Comprex wood and composite core material, flared tail profile

A very lightweight and forgiving ski, the Elan Explore 4 provides you with a lot of control to easily learn the techniques that you need. The rocker tip helps you steer as well as push snow away when you’re making turns. The shape of the ski also helps with the transitioning period between sliding and carving to help you feel comfortable as you adjust to the slopes.

It’s one of the more mellow skis on the market, and is a good way for you to ease into the sport without much effort. It’s definitely one that should be at the top of your list when you’re shopping around for skis.

PROS:

  • Turns quickly and easily
  • Light
  • Provides a lot of stability

CONS:

  • N/A

Related: Another popular ski is the Elan Explore 6, which is another ski that is great for beginners who are looking to become intermediate. You’ll have all the control you need to start carving up the slopes, and you won’t have any problems maneuvering even while you’re going slow. This ski is designed to help you improve with every use, so it’s definitely worth considering.

Check the price on Amazon

Atomic Women’s Affinity Air SkiAtomic Women’s Affinity Air Skis

Price: Approximately $279.99

Width dimensions: 120/74/99 mm

Best use: Frontside

Specific features: Composite core material, narrow width, very soft flex, tip rocker/camber profile, flared tail profile, Lithium 10 Bindings

The 2016 Atomic Women’s Affinity Air Skis are constructed with a slight V-shape to them (narrower in the tail than the tip) so that it’s easy to learn how to make those turns.

You don’t need a lot of experience to make those turns look easy either, and will help you to ease yourself into those more difficult maneuvers once you’re comfortable with the beginner strategies.

The core is made with injected foam in order to maintain the light weight of these skis, and assists in absorbing any vibrations so you can continue to ski pain free.

PROS:

  • Packs very well
  • Has a light weight
  • Looks quite stylish

CONS:

  • N/A

Related: Want a pair of beginner skis with some flare and style? The K2 Luv Bug with FastTrak2 is a great ski with a wonderful design and will help you master those slopes in no time. Turns are pretty easy to make, and you’ll be carving through that powder like an experienced skier. Even with the basics underway, no one wants to continue looking like a beginner to everyone else around them, and this pair will definitely make you look good.

Check the price on Amazon

K2 Luv 75 Women’s SkisK2 Luv 75 Women's Skis

Price: $275 – $399.99

Width dimensions: 115/75/106 mm

Best use: Frontside

Specific features: Narrow width, very soft flex, rocker/camber/rocker profile, flared tail profile, composite core material, Marker ERP 10 Bindings

The K2 Luv 75 Women’s Skis is the perfect pair of beginner skis for the women interested in taking up the sport. It’s a great transition ski for those who are just starting out to learning the slightly more advanced techniques as they improve their skills.

The soft flex and composite core make the skis lightweight and very easy to use, especially in making those important turns.

The tips and tails are a bit rounder than other beginner skis, making it easy to turn without the skis snagging on the snow.

PROS:

  • Easy to learn
  • Comfortable across learning curves
  • Easier turns

CONS:

  • N/A

Related: All-terrain skis will take you to slopes and areas you’d never think of going to before, but the K2 Luvit 76 is great for intermediate skiers who are looking for a sense of style and fun. They’re extremely lightweight, and are very forgiving regardless of skill level and the kind of terrain you’re traversing.

Check the price on Amazon

Head Pure Joy Women’s Skis2017 Head Pure Joy Women's Skis wJoy 9 AC SLR Binding

Price: $329.99 – $399.99

Width dimensions: 127/73/107 mm

Best use: Frontside

Specific features: Narrow width, soft to medium flex, tip rocker/camber profile, flared tail profile, composite core material, 9 SLR Bindings, Power Sidewall jacket, Graphene construction, ERA 3.0 technology

The Head Pure Joy Women’s Skis are a great pair of skis for beginners and mellow intermediates, these are very lightweight and will grow with you as you develop your skills.

The Graphene in the body is only one molecule thick, allowing for ultralight weight, ease of use, and incredible durability.

The core is synthetic injected, making it soft and forgiving with mistakes, but still has some strength to keep you stable as you make those turns and head downhill. The Power Sidewall Jacket provides you with a firm grip on the snow so that you’re the one with all the control.

PROS:

  • Great at taking turns
  • Lightweight
  • Great stability

CONS:

  • A little difficult to use on bumpy terrain

Related: If you’re an avid skier and looking to get a gift for a male member of your family or your partner, then you may want to consider the Nordica NRGY 100 Men’s Skis. They provide a smooth and stable ride to anyone who uses it, and works wonders on any terrain. Even with the light weight, you’ll have no problem making these skis work for you.

Check the price on Amazon

Rossignol Trixie Women’s SkisRossignol Trixie Womens Skis

Price: $399.95

Width dimensions: 110/80/103 mm

Best use: Frontside

Specific features: Narrow width, soft to medium flex, camber profile, twin tail profile, wood core material, Xelium Saphir 100 Bindings

The Rossignol Trixie Womens Skis aren’t only for adult beginners, they’re also well-suited for teenagers and older children who are ready for their first pair of adult skis. There aren’t many skis that provide this in-between stage for teenagers, so this is a great way for them to graduate to the next level.

Very forgiving, the Centered Sidecut makes them easy to control so you can get used to the feel of the skis as you venture through the various terrains and learn different skills.

The stylish design will also attract a lot of attention as you carve your way down the slopes, and will make them easier to identify if you’re traveling with a group of friends.

PROS:

  • Light weight
  • Provides a very smooth ride
  • Very cute look
  • Provides excellent grip

CONS:

  • N/A

Related: Eager to graduate to that next level of skiing? Why not try the Nordica Santa Ana Women’s Skis? They’re a bit on the pricey side, but it’s well worth it. These skis are all-mountain, so there’s nowhere you can’t take them. These are great for carving, but you’ll definitely notice how great its performance is on firm snow.

Check the price on Amazon

Overview

We’ve discussed what you should look for in a pair of skis, and have provided you with a list of some of the best beginners skis to look for or even try out on the slopes. Nothing’s more important than finding a pair of skis that you’re comfortable with, and you can’t do that if you don’t know what’s out there.

Beginners skis

Have a pair of beginner skis that we forgot to mention? Leave a comment below with your suggestion, and we may include it in a future article.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Mueller
Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.

  • Jake Bryan

    Only started skiing last year so I’ve only been demoing skis. Looking to buy my first pair now. I’ve skied around 10 or 12 times so I’m thinking of going for the Rossignol Experience 77’s. I’ve tried them out and they seemed to be great in every aspect. Seem to turn well at all speeds – low and high – and held an edge well too. All in all, they just seem to cope excellently at speed. They seem quite a ‘playful’ ski, if that makes sense?! Would they be a good pair to go for?

  • Jerry Mueller

    These are stellar products and I wish you good luck on your purchase! I’m glad that you chose them. Drop by again soon.

  • Julie Stuart

    What’s your opinion on buying second hand skis? What should I look for? Or do you suggest buying new? I just know I am always looking for a good deal and affordability is important as skiing can quickly become an expensive hobby!

  • Jerry Mueller

    Like anything else, you should buy only from a trusted source. Although you’ll enjoy some savings buying used stuff, the quality may be an issue. Also, if something goes wrong, there’s no customer service to pick up your calls – no warranties, either.

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