The Best Carving Skis

If you love making big, arcing turns at high speeds, you probably want a carving ski. Carving skis are for those familiar with ski racing, but who want to have fun on the mountain outside of race days. These skis are for hard pack only, not for powder, and specifically excel on groomers, through gates, and over machine-prepped snow. These are designed for skilled skiers who know how to lay down a turn and want a performance piece of equipment to use in all firm conditions on the mountain.

 

Carving Skis Reviews
Blizzard Firebird WRC

The Blizzard Firebird WRC pretty much arced away with the Best in Class Award in the Carving Category. Half of our full team of testers rated it their “Favorite” carver, while the other half rated it as “Excellent.” Also, 60 percent of our test team could not find a single thing to write in the “Bad,” or “Dislike” column on their test cards. This ski rips with ease, precision, and a sense of excitement that could make you seriously consider heading for the groomers on a powder day.

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Elan Amphibio Black Edition

Elan’s Amphibio Black Edition brought a welcome level of finesse and calm confidence to a Carving Category filled with race-inspired skis. Utilizing Elan’s proprietary Amphibio technology—which includes an asymmetrical mix of rocker and camber in the shovel for ease of initiation and improved edge contact, as well as a specific left and right ski—the Black Edition has a silky smooth feel from turn to turn. It’s not the fastest ski in the class, and not the ski we would recommend for anyone who wants to race gates with their carvers. It is an excellent ski for primarily frontside, hardpack skiers looking for a luxury ride and constant control.

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Rossignol Hero Elite Plus

Rossignol’s Hero Elite Plus utilizes 10 percent tip rocker in the design of the ski, and that resulted in a fine-tuned, deep arcing, forgiving ski that is a lot more fun to ski than some of the other models in this class. “Fun as hell,” “Really fun,” “Playful,” and “Fast and agile,” were just a few of the responses from testers who came off the hill grinning after putting this happy little ripper through its paces. While a couple folks on our team felt it might be a bit too damp, or prefer a slightly shorter radius than most of the race ready skis in this category, that could probably be easily cured by sizing up to the 181cm model (the 174 cm was the longest Hero we had at our test).

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Kastle MX84

The Kastle MX84 is a carving ski that has all-mountain capabilities. Built with the brand’s Hollowtech tip and traditional camber, it’s a GS-style ski that is easy to initiate with continuous sidecut that enhances how well the MX84 grabs—and keeps—hold of a medium-radius turn. Which is not to say the ski can’t also lock into short-swing turns with a precision, or better yet, start hauling down the fall-line with superior grip. The MX84 did earn some of the higher scores in the Carving category for its Turn Shape Variability, which increases its all-mountain capabilities. It is an experts-only ski that needs to be pushed to perform and can feel sluggish and bit planky at slower speeds.

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See All Men's Carving Skis Reviews

What is a carving ski?

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When selecting a ski, the dimension that will tell you the most about a ski’s preferred conditions is its waist width, or the wideness of the ski underfoot. In the case of carving skis, you want them to have a waist width between 65-80mm. This narrow dimension allows the ski to have a tight turn radius and quick edge-to-edge action when carving turns on firm snow.

The Best Women’s Skis

For each of our categories, there are men’s or unisex versions and there are usually also women’s specific versions. If you are a female shopping for skis, first determine which type of ski you want, and then look through both the men’s versions and the women’s versions to find the exact model that will work for you.

Women’s specific skis are slightly different than the equivalent men’s versions. Typically, women’s versions come in shorter lengths, lighter weight, and with less stiffness to account for women’s shorter heights and lower body weights. They also come with different graphics to distinguish between the models. Similar to how a women’s jacket is more likely to fit a woman’s body shape better than a men’s jacket, a women’s pair of skis will most likely better fit a woman’s dimensions and be easier to turn and maneuver. However, very advanced women sometimes prefer a stiffer men’s or unisex ski.