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Best Overall: K2 Mindbender 116C at Amazon
"Delivers controlled torsion and flex to make the ski lively, bouncy, and energetic."
Best Value: 4FRNT Hoji at 4FRNT
"Made to float, slash, surf, and quickly dump speed."
Best for Women: Nordica Santa Ana 110 at Amazon
"Comes in lengths more specific to women skiers."
Best Lightweight: Rossignol Super 7 HD at Amazon
"You can charge hard for days without enduring undue fatigue."
Best for Glade Skiing: Elan Ripstick 116 at Amazon
"Easy to maneuver, nimble in tight spaces, and floats like an inflatable raft over powder."
Best All-Mountain: Kastle BMX105 at Amazon
"Purely intuitive to operate, even when pushing for turns tighter than the ideal turn radius."
Best for Versatility: Nordica Enforcer 110 at Amazon
"Made to take on soft snow, these intuitive skis deliver a smooth ride over variable terrain."
Best for Side Country: La Sportiva Vapor Float at Amazon
"Constructed to glide over powder while delivering reliable responsiveness."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: K2 Mindbender 116C
When K2 introduced their Pon2oon ski a few years back, it changed the way people thought about powder skiing and triggered a revolution in ski design that has largely driven today’s powder-specific ski. And now, K2 continues down this deep-snow-lined path with their Mindbender 116C. The lightweight ski boasts a powder rocker profile to add bounce and rise, with a new Carbon Spectral Braid, which applies variable-angle reinforcement to deliver controlled torsion and flex to make the ski lively, bouncy, and energetic. A 30-degree angle to the sidewall helps you find an edge on groomed runs without sapping power or speed, while a mix of maple and paulownia woods in the core absorbs impact with a solid weight-to-strength ratio. The 116-mm width is ideal for skiers who may be poaching powder turns between laps in harder-pack snow, but you can go bigger, with waists that measure in at either 133 or 143, and lengths that include 179, 186, and 193 cm.
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Best Value: 4FRNT Hoji
4FRNT sells high-quality powder skis at a reduced price by offering them directly from its website, which cuts the expenses that are baked into most standard retail practices. So, you get a lot of ski for little cash — especially when you go with the Hoji. This big-mountain ski was designed and tested by pro skier Eric Hjorleifson, and is made to float, slash, surf, and quickly dump speed thanks to a reverse camber silhouette that lets you control the ski underfoot, rather than pressuring the tips in a traditional configuration. This added control also assures that your neoprene-lined tips are always pointing upward when encountering the deep stuff, while its modest weight makes it easy to maneuver in tighter spots or to travel uphill with an AT or touring set-up. The powder ski comes in three lengths, maxing out at 195 cm, each with the same 112-mm waist and a turn radius of 30 meters.
Best for Women: Nordica Santa Ana 110
With the Santa Ana 110, Nordica simply took what already worked (their Santa Ana 100 ski) and made it even more powder-friendly by adding 10 mm to the 100-mm waist. The powder ski rides on a light balsa wood core with carbon fiber, sandwiched between two metal sheets to both dampen the ride and improve edge hold to help power through each turn. The high-rise tip keeps the skis riding above loose and deep powder, while a tail-rocker profile adds playfulness and float. It also comes in lengths more specific to women skiers (161, 169, and 177 cm), and a wide turn radius that spans from 14.5 to 16.5 meters.
Best Lightweight: Rossignol Super 7 HD
The latest iteration of this long-celebrated powder-specific ski was inspired to make deep powder skiing easy, natural, and fun. Rossignol's Super 7 Skis use lightweight materials like carbon alloys and a paulownia wood core, so you can charge hard for days without enduring undue fatigue. Its new, Air Tip 2.0 design reduces the weight at the tip and tail, so they rise to glide over the snow and to blast through the occasional crud, transferring the mass of the ski under your feet. A powder rocker/camber profile adds bounce and pop, while the centered sidecuts — layers of wood, fiberglass, and metal — help find an edge when you transition into hardpack. An ample 116-mm waist keeps you centered and on top, with lengths that vary from 172 to 188 cm.
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Best for Glade Skiing: Elan Ripstick 116
When skiing in tree-filled glades or other tight areas, control and agility are key. And while the Elan Ripstick still boasts a fairly wide 116-mm waist, it also employs Elan’s “Amphibio” profile to deliver exceptional maneuverability and confidence at high speed by integrating both rocker and camber profile into dedicated left and right skis. It also features camber on the inside for edge control and rocker on the outside to add some much-needed forgiveness. SST construction adds rigidity and nimble power transfer while TNT tech integrates advanced composites into the tip and tail to cut vibration and weight. To create the lightweight, strong core, Elan inserted two carbon tubes into the laminated wood core that run the length of the powder ski, following the arc of the sidecut, with fiberglass reinforcements to enhance the flex pattern and overall rigidity. The end result is a ski that’s easy to maneuver, nimble in tight spaces, and floats like an inflatable raft over powder.
Best All-Mountain: Kastle BMX105
With a 21-meter turn radius at 181 cm in length, the MBX105 from Kastle is built for big turns, but a large sweet spot underfoot delivers enough control to power through crud, find a confident edge on groomers and hardpack, and even employ a bit of nimble agility in the trees. Much of that control comes from the rocker at the tip and tail, which let the skis float in loose powder, while the under-the-boot camber offers control and pop, making the powder ski purely intuitive to operate, even when pushing for turns tighter than the ideal turn radius. A traditional wood core and smart fiberglass integration keep things light and easy to smear, and it skis softer than most dedicated all-mountain rigs.
Want to take a look at other options? See our round-up of the best all-mountain skis.
Best for Versatility: Nordica Enforcer 110
Built for taking on soft snow — think the chest-deep powder that’s made Hokkaido, Japan the destination for dedicated powder hounds — riding on the Enforcer 110 feels like you're skiing on a cloud, with a robust 110-mm waist and a high-rise tip and tail rocker profile that lets you plow through crud. Its balsa wood core combines with carbon and two sheets of metal to deliver enough lightweight strength to ride in the back and side country, but they also find an edge easily on hardpack, and can even stand their own in the icy realities of the East Coast. Enhanced response makes them intuitive skis, with a solid vibration dampening to deliver a smooth ride over variable terrain. This isn’t the powder ski to learn how to carve your first turns through the deep, but for experts looking to up their game across the mountain, the Enforcer 110 stands up to any challenge. Sizes range from 169 to 191 cm, with a minimum turn radius of 15.5 meters.
Best for Side Country: La Sportiva Vapor Float
The Vapor Float feels like you're skiing on a magic carpet as you glide over powder, thanks to a carbon nanotube construction and a poplar wood stringer insert that delivers solid torsional rigidity and reliable responsiveness. This powder ski comes with one of the widest waists in the market at 117 mm, and its 26-meter turn radius means it responds best when you’ve got an open field of untracked snow ahead of you. At only 1,650 grams, it’s light enough to outfit with a touring binding set-up, or shoulder for some off-piste exploration at a side country resort gate. Plus, its Kevlar weave component will stand up to the rigors and abuse of the backcountry. That said, for those looking for equal control on all snow, you may want to cast your net wider — this powder ski has proven a bit unpredictable on hardpack and groomers.
Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best backcountry skis can help you find what you're looking for.
Our writers spent 20 hours researching the most popular powder skis on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 12 different skis overall, screened options from 10 different brands and manufacturers, read over 21 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 4 of the skis themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.