Best Beginner Skis in 2020

Every skier, from a kid tackling their first jump to an Olympic downhill speedster winning gold for the tenth time, has to start somewhere. However, first braving the slopes can be quite a daunting experience. Though you can go into that experience blind, it’s best to prepare yourself with the proper equipment.

Of course, no piece of gear is more important than the skis themselves. While many beginners may assume that all skis are created equal, that could not be further from the truth. Skis, like any item or accessory, varies from model to model and brand to brand. Some work better for newcomers, while others are tailored to advanced skiers.

The following sections will analyze a range of different beginner skis to help you figure out which ones might be for you. Though every option has a similar purpose (to get newbies out on the slopes) they all come with unique features the others lack. That distinction is what you should follow when making your choice.

Quick Summary

  • Beginners just starting out for the first time will appreciate what the Elan Element has to offer. This ski, while not as advanced or feature-packed as other starting models, is extremely forgiving thanks to its soft rockered tip and tail. It also has an easy-to-manage 76-millimeter waist and a composite core. There are many more advanced beginner skis out there, but if you’re just starting there is simply no better choice.
  • If control is what you’re looking for, go with the K2 Konic 76. This sleek, attractive ski doesn’t just look great, it allows you to take charge of your runs thanks to the flat tails and moderate tip rocker. Those attributes work to give the ski a long edge for better grip and control as you zoom through the slopes. To add to that, these come with a narrow waist that furthers the control while offering high agility and sharper turns.
  • Another great model from K2, the Ikonic 80 Skis are best-suited for beginners looking to push their skills. These skis offer a great middle-ground between beginner and intermediate, allowing you to steadily advance at your own pace. To go with that, the 80mm underfoot gives you agility on groomed runs alongside enough space to travel into some off-piste conditions. There are simply no better skis that grow with you.
  • If you want a lightweight ski that’s easy to control, check out the Rossignol Experience 74. This model may not have the cleanest look on the market, but they more than make up for it with their strong construction. Lighter skis tend to sacrifice durability or strength, but you won’t find that here. This model, despite its weight, is impact resistant and can take a lot of wear out on the slopes. They offer exceptional performance as well.
  • Similar only in name to the Experience 74, the Rossignol Experience 84 is a fantastic beginner ski. This all-mountain option is tough and has enough stability to handle both groomed and off-piste runs. In addition, the progressive sidecut provides the skis with a playful feel. The line control technology keeps you stable no matter where you ride. If you’re a beginner who wants something a bit stiffer, this is the way to go.
  • The Atomic Vantage X 75 has a lot of great features at a reasonable price. As such, it is the best choice for skiers on a budget, or for newbies who want to ease themselves into the sport. These skis have a great look, good control, and are quite easy to maneuver. They also come with included bindings and are one of the most trusted ski brands on Earth. All of that is then wrapped up into one affordable package.
  • The Nordica Navigator 75 CA is the ski of choice for beginners who want to tackle multiple types of terrain. This model will serve you well if you want to carve through groomed slopes or if your goal is to tackle off-piste terrain. Most new skiers won’t start out by diving straight into the backcountry, but it’s nice to have that option if you want it. These also have great construction, making them good for skiers that value durability.

Who Should Get This?

Of course, the skis in this guide are geared towards beginners. However, they cover a wide range of different styles and abilities. Some of the models are best for people just starting out, while some are better for beginners with a little more experience. Also note that there are a good number of options for those transitioning from beginner to intermediate.

Skiers who are more advanced or who are ready to take on more serious slopes won’t need any of the following models. While there is some wiggle room when it comes to beginner and intermediates, seasoned skiers need more specialized options for tougher slopes. The following models truly are for those just getting used to the mountain.

Best Skis for Beginners: What to Consider in 2020?

Width

When picking up beginner skis you want to go with a width that you can handle. That generally means a narrow ski that sits between 75mm and 80mm. Though you do have the option to get wider skis if you want, such options are best-suited for the backcountry. Most beginner skiers will likely stay to groomed runs at ski resorts. Only branch out if you want to tackle different types of terrain.

Length

When choosing your ski length, you want to see how tall they stand relative to your height. Beginners typically want skis that reach up around to their chin, rather than longer models that match their height. Such measurements, which are also good for smaller skiers or those who like to make quick turns, will allow you to focus on getting used to the mountain rather than trying to go beyond your comfort level.

Turn Radius

It is also important to take note of your ski’s turn radius. How well your ski turns depends on the width difference between your ski’s end sections and the middle. As a beginner, your goal should be a lower turning radius. That is because such models tend to make tighter turns, which are much easier to maneuver and control than wide ones.

Construction

Your skis get a lot of use, which is why you need a quality product made with premium materials. First-time skiers or those just getting used to the snow, typically want to get foam or soft wood cores. That makes the models much more forgiving if you slip up. However, do note that there are a few other materials options out there, including synthetic rubbers, carbon fiber, and different metals.

Weight

As with the other dimensions, it is important to know how heavy your skis will be. Though heavy does mean sturdy, beginners want lightweight, comfortable skis that are easy to maneuver and control. While larger options provide more stability for higher speeds, such considerations won’t matter when you start out. You simply want the style that allows you to get used to the mountain without getting in your way.

Camber and Rocker

Another important consideration to make when picking out your first skis are camber and rocker. Camber ski design, which has been the most popular for quite some time, has a convex shape where the middle of the ski sits up off the ground. That allows the tip and tail to act as the contact points. Though this can work for certain beginner skis, it might be a little too difficult for some to handle.

In contrast, rockered skis, which tend to be better for beginners, have a concave shape. That makes it so the ski contacts the ground in the middle, allowing the tip and tail to rise up off of the ground. If that isn’t for you, you can also go with a mixed camber/rocker ski. Those models are popular because they have a camber shape in the middle and a little bit of rocker in the tip and tail. That allows for more versatility.

Best Skis for Beginners: Our Picks for 2020

1. Best Starting Beginner Ski: Elan Element


The Elan Element is a great ski for those hitting the slopes for the first time. Not only does it offer excellent control, but the 76-millimeter waist ensures you’ll never get too in over your head. To add to that, this ski comes with a soft rockered tip and tail. That makes this pair extremely forgiving in any type of terrain. They are also flexible and utilize a special wood composite core. It’s hard to do better for your first time on the mountain.

What We Like:

  • Soft construction
  • Extremely forgiving
  • Narrow waist is easy to control
  • Flexible
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Bright, attractive design

What We Don’t Like:

  • Easy to outgrow
  • Can be hard to get on edge

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

2. Best Control Beginner Ski: K2 Konic 76


The K2 Konic 76, built with an aspen lite wood core, is the perfect beginner ski if you value control. It is easy to lose your way when trying to ski for the first time. This model fixes such issues by providing you with flat tails and a moderate tip rocker, two features that come together to form a long edge. In addition, the narrow waist provides excellent agility and aggressive turns. All of that then comes together in the form of a strong grip and excellent control.

What We Like:

  • Early rise rocker allows for easy turns
  • All-mountain ski
  • Narrow waist
  • Flat tails and moderate tip rocker
  • Long, effective edge
  • Allows for easy control
  • Aspen lite wood core
  • Great edge control
  • Sleek design

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not great off-piste

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

3. Best Transition Beginner Skis: K2 Ikonic 80


If you’re a beginner who wants to get a bit more out of the mountain, check out the K2 Ikonic 80. While not for absolute newbies, these are a great option for skiers who want something that they can steadily grow with. These are lightweight, agile, and offer you the versatility to tackle different types of terrain. While these skis are only meant for forward motion, as you get more comfortable on the slopes you’ll be able to switch and spin on them in no time.

What We Like:

  • All-mountain capabilities
  • Sharp design
  • Versatile
  • Perfect space between beginner and intermediate
  • 80mm underfoot
  • Agile, easy to maneuver
  • M3 10 bindings

What We Don’t Like:

  • Too advanced for first-time skiers
  • Mainly just for moving forward

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

4. Best Lightweight Beginner Ski: Rossignol Experience 74


Skis, while solid, can be quite heavy. That is where the Rossignol Experience 74 comes in. This lightweight pair is easy to control, but also has a sturdy construction that will hold up run after run after run. That combination is rare, but it makes these some of the best skis for beginners who want to ensure their equipment stays with them season after season. On top of that, the Experience 74 has a solid turn radius that everyone will enjoy.

What We Like:

  • Light-but-sturdy design
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent performance
  • For beginner and intermediate skiers
  • Tough construction
  • Solid turn radius

What We Don’t Like:

  • Rather dull appearance
  • Not the best freeride option

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

5. Best All-Around Beginner Ski: Rossignol Experience 84


A bit more advanced than the Experience, the Rossignol Experience 84 is a beginner ski that can do a little bit of everything. The all-mountain option is playful, thanks to the progressive sidecut, and quite stable. The lightweight design keeps you moving through all types of terrain, while the all-terrain rocker offers excellent versatility. Though this is a bit stiffer than other beginner options, it is nothing more seasoned newbies can’t handle.

What We Like:

  • Able to handle different snow conditions
  • Full control
  • Air Tip VAS cuts down on vibrations
  • Excellent contact
  • Stable
  • Strong, tough construction
  • Unique appearance and design
  • Versatile waist works both on and off-piste

What We Don’t Like:

  • A bit stiffer than other beginner skis
  • Might be too large for smaller skiers

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

6. Best Value Beginner Skis: Atomic Vantage X 75


It is easy to forget that beginner skis don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. If you’re looking for a cheap option that doesn’t cut corners, choose the Atomic Vantage X 75. These easy-to-turn skis are maneuverable, stable, and provide excellent control. In that way, they enable any skier much-needed stability on their first runs. The included bindings are a nice touch, and these can be used by intermediate skiers as well, giving them some extra versatility as your skills improve.

What We Like:

  • Easy turn
  • Solid control
  • Included bindings
  • Excellent dimensions for new skiers
  • Can be used as an intermediate option
  • Strong construction, should last for quite some time
  • Affordable

What We Don’t Like:

  • A bit narrow for off-piste adventures

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

7. Most Versatile Ski: Nordica Navigator 75 CA


One of the best beginner skis for those who wish to brave multiple types of terrain, the Nordica Navigator 75 CA is all about versatility. These skis can handle groomed runs, but they also have the ability to stand up to off-piste conditions. That, combined with their solid construction and strong feel, give their user many different options similar beginner models lack. If you want to go out and try different environments, this is your choice.

What We Like:

  • Versatile, works on and off-piste
  • Solid value for the price
  • Good construction
  • Tough
  • Attractive design

What We Don’t Like:

  • A bit narrow for some skiers

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Useful Tips and Information

In the above sections, we touch upon a few vital aspects to consider when getting new skis, such as width, weight, and length. However, there is a lot more to getting a pair. If you want to go even deeper or learn more about different ski types, check out the information listed in this extremely useful article.

Having the right skis, while important, is far from the only you need when first braving the mountain. You also need to be aware of certain safety precautions, skiing stances, and the environment that you’re in. This video, while long, outlines a wide range of different tips that will help you out on your first skiing days.

Once you get your skis, you have to take care of them. That may seem obvious, but it is very easy to forget while you move from place to place. It is also easy to let them get dinged up or damaged during the off-season. The tips here will ensure you don’t have to replace your skis before their time.

Final Words

Skiing is not easy, and going out with the wrong skis can make it even harder. When first starting your goal should be to only focus on getting better. That is what the above models allow you to do and why they come so highly recommended.

Though every ski in this guide helps beginners, they are all quite different in style, feel, and experience level. Don’t just get the one that seems like it would fit your style, make sure you’re getting a model that is best for where you’re at in your skiing journey. If you do that, you’ll definitely be happy with your purchase.

What skis did you use when first starting out? Are there any on this list that you like? Let us know in the comments below.

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