8 Best Skis for Beginners of 2021-2022

Best Skis for Beginners

Every year, there are many skis to choose from, and for beginners, it can be hard to keep up with all the options. Whether you want a versatile all-conditions option, fat powder skis, or anything in between, a little clarification always helps. 

I’m Christine, a lifelong skier who loves to get out in the snow as often as possible. My goal is to share great resources and tools with others who love the sport as much as I do. 

My top choice for the best beginner skis of 2021-2022 is the Rossignol Experience 76 Ci. They will help you initiate turns, learn to carve and explore all over the mountain while coming at an affordable price.

In this post, I’ll show you all of my top beginner ski models so you can have some options if you are looking to buy your first setup or find something that matches your skillset. All the skis found here will help you grow. 

Let’s get after it. 

Quick Summary

Who Should Get This

All of the skis in this guide are geared towards beginners. However, they cover a wide range of different styles and abilities. Some models are best for people just starting, while some are better for beginners with more experience. 

I’ve also included a good number of options for those transitioning from beginner to intermediate. If you are buying your first setup, you want a ski that can grow with you and nearly all of the models here offer that. 

While there is some wiggle room between beginner or intermediate abilities, seasoned skiers need more specialized options for tougher slopes. The following models truly are for those just getting used to the mountain and not advanced level skiers.

Best Skis for Beginners: Top Picks

Beginner skiers need to have good equipment to help them navigate the slopes and improve their skills. All of the options you’ll find in this list will do just that and can prove priceless on the mountain. 

1. Rossignol Experience 76 Ci

  • Best for: Overall
  • Key features: All-terrain rocker, progressive sidecut, durable, affordable, lightweight, cap construction
  • Sizes: 154, 162, 178 
  • Ability level: beginner to intermediate 
  • Bindings included: Yes

My pick for the best overall beginner’s ski is the Rossignol Experience 76 Ci. These are a solid all-around option that will give you stable performance to help you learn and grow as a skier. They are designed as an approachable all-terrain type of ski, and that versatility is excellent. 

These are a good option to explore when you want to purchase your first setup and will provide you with well-rounded capabilities so that you can move from mild groomers to more technical terrain.

The Experience 76 Ci comes with an all-terrain rocker profile that gives you plenty of camber underfoot to keep things stable and in control. They also have enough rocker in the tip and tail to let you handle variable snow conditions. 

A progressive sidecut is another beginner-friendly design feature that will help you make turns very quickly while keeping your body in control. This leads to easy control that comes in handy when you are pushing your limits or trying to get comfortable with new skills.  

These aren’t the fastest skis around, but that also leads to more control in the long run. The Experience 76 Ci is a great option from a trusted brand and comes recommended as the top beginner’s pick. 

2. K2 Mindbender 85 Alliance

  • Best for: Women’s 
  • Key features: Women’s specific construction, all-terrain rocker, versatile, SlantWall sidewalls, lightweight 
  • Sizes: 149, 156, 163
  • Ability level: Beginner to intermediate
  • Bindings included: No

The K2 Mindbender 85 Alliance is the best women’s specific ski for beginners. While you don’t always need to get a gender-specific model for best results, sometimes it can help, and this is a model worth exploring. 

These are also some of the best skis to help you progress from beginner level to intermediate and beyond. That makes them a good value because you can use them season after season while your skills improve. 

The Mindbender 85 Alliance is built with an all-terrain rocker profile that gives you a lot of versatility in where and how you can ski. They are stable to help you stay in control with enough bend in the tip and tail to charge through changing conditions. 

The skis are quick to turn thanks to an Aspen Veneer core that is lightweight while maintaining strength. They also come with SlantWall sidewalls that utilize a 30-degree angle to offer excellent response and easy turn initiation.  

K2 is one of my favorite ski brands, and I have been using their models for decades. They always hold up well under heavy use, and quality construction is nearly guaranteed for every model of ski they offer, the Mindbender 85 Alliance being one of these. 

These are expensive for beginners and don’t come with bindings but are an excellent option for female skiers. 

3. Head V-Shape V4 

  • Best for: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Key features: Great ski to grow with, fun and easy to ski, lightweight, Allride rocker, V-shape profile
  • Size: 163, 170
  • Ability level: Beginner to intermediate
  • Bindings included: Yes

As a beginner, you want to use equipment that will help you improve. The Head V-Shape V4 skis will allow you to increase your abilities in a hurry and are my pick for the best beginner to intermediate option. 

These skis have a few design features that will allow you to utilize them to your advantage while your skills improve. 

An Allride rocker increases versatility, giving you reliable performance all over the mountain. The V-Shape profile extends things even further to provide you with a lot of control and stability to keep you safe and in the driver’s seat as you charge down the mountain. 

The V-Shape V4 is another lightweight model that allows you to turn easily and effectively without feeling bogged down. And a strong and durable construction means that you can use these for years of regular skiing. 

There’s not much to dislike about these, but they don’t have a twin shape which might limit your progression in the terrain park or other freestyle situations.

Also Read: Best Skis for Intermediate Skiers

4. Atomic Vantage 75 C

  • Best for: Budget Option 
  • Key features: Affordable, good for brand new skiers, all-mountain rocker, Prolite construction, lightweight
  • Size: 147, 154, 161
  • Ability level: Beginner
  • Bindings included: Yes

If you are looking to purchase your first full setup but don’t want to break the bank, the Atomic Vantage 75 C is the way to go. These are a good set of beginner skis that also come with bindings mounted, so you’ll be ready to rip. 

The skis are designed with beginners in mind and will give you plenty of control and stability to aid you on your first days on the mountain. 

An all-mountain rocker provides plenty of camber underfoot to keep you very much in control, with just enough rocker in the tip to let you effectively adjust to changing snow conditions and other obstacles. 

The Prolite construction results in a lightweight ski that is easy to maneuver, which will help you learn how to turn, carve, and stay in control at all times. 

You might outgrow this model when you reach intermediate skill levels, but it’s a good option to have on your side when getting started. 

5. Icelantic Nomad 95

  • Best for: Freestyle 
  • Key features: Good for progression, versatile, fun to ride, excellent construction, hybrid flight core
  • Size: 171, 176, 181, 191
  • Ability level: Beginner to advanced
  • Bindings included: No

Most beginner skis aren’t focused on freestyle riding, despite that being a popular focus amongst many skiers. 

The Icelantic Nomad 95 is the perfect option for skiers who want to learn how to tear up the terrain park and any other skiing style along the way. 

The Nomad is one of my personal favorite models, and even though I’m not a beginner, these will work for all ability levels. They have a fun and easy-to-ski personality that comes highly recommended. 

A hybrid rocker shape gives you enough camber underfoot to stay in control and increase your speed, while plenty of rocker in the tip and tail allows you to ski switch or work on your freestyle technique.

These are an expensive option for beginners, and the rockered tail results in a little less turning control, but the Nomad is a beast for freestyle situations.  

6. Rossignol Soul 7 

  • Best for: Powder
  • Key features: Good beginner powder ski, versatile, excellent construction, freeride rocker, centered sidecut. 
  • Size: 172
  • Ability level: Beginner to advanced
  • Bindings included: No

Powder is the ultimate skiing experience, but it can be challenging for beginners to handle deep snow. The Rossignol Soul 7 can help you enjoy fresh powder and improve your skiing in other areas as well. 

The Soul 7 is a versatile ski that can work for all ability levels, but its freeride rocker will help beginners handle powder. With plenty of rocker in the tip and tail, you’ll be able to stay on top and enjoy the ride. 

A centered sidecut gives you good edge control that isn’t too aggressive, making these skis easy and fun to turn all over the mountain. 

Thanks to a Paulownia wood core and a Carbon Alloy Matrix laminate layer, they are also very lightweight but durable. 

The Soul 7 can be a bit too much ski for the complete novice, but they hit the mark when you are ready to explore powder. 

Read More: Best Powder Skis

7. Nordica Navigator 85

  • Best for: Versatility 
  • Key features: All-mountain rocker, versatile, great turning performance, quality construction
  • Size: 165, 172, 179, 186
  • Ability level: Beginner to advanced
  • Bindings included: No

Part of learning how to ski involves exploring all kinds of terrains, and the Nordica Navigator 85 will have you covered with versatility in mind. 

These are a good-quality set of skis that can work for any ability level, and the all-mountain rocker comes in very useful for beginners who want to challenge their skills. 

The Navigator is easy to turn and control, whether you are bombing down groomers at high speeds or learning how to bounce around bumps and trees. 

They have a beech and poplar wood core to keep the weight down, and a layer of hex bridge titanium adds strength and durability. 

This is another model that might be just a bit too aggressive for anyone who hasn’t skied before but is still recommended for beginners. 

Read More: Best All Mountain Skis

8. Elan Wingman 78 C 

  • Best for: Lightweight 
  • Key features: Lightweight, easy to control, early rise rocker, good edge bite, quality construction. 
  • Size: 168, 176
  • Ability level: Beginner to intermediate
  • Bindings included: Yes

Lightweight skis can really help a beginner get a feel for the mountain, and the Elan Wingman 78 C is my pick for the best lightweight option. 

These come with an early rise rocker that makes it easy to initiate turns, whether on groomers or in more variable conditions. 

They also have solid edge control that will keep you stable and engaged while your ability levels improve. Sometimes you sacrifice control for weight, but that’s not the case here. 

The Wingman 78 C has a power wood core made out of urethane foam and poplar wood, which helps keep them very light without compromising strength. 

You will notice a loss of power and some chatter at higher speeds, but these are a solid choice if you want to shed ounces for effortless performance. 

How to Choose The Best Beginner Skis

Here are some essential factors to keep in mind when choosing beginner skis, no matter what your ability level currently is. 

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. A narrower ski is lighter and easier to control in the snow. 

Though you do have the option to get wider skis if you want, such options are best suited for the backcountry or more technical terrain. 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

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 because this allows you 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 softer wood cores because these will be easier to handle. 

That makes the models much more forgiving if you slip up. However, note a few other quality materials, including synthetic rubbers, carbon fiber, and different metals. All of the skis mentioned here offer excellent construction. 

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 heavier options provide more stability for higher speeds, such considerations won’t matter when you start. You simply want the style that allows you to get used to the mountain without getting in your way, and lighter is often better with that in mind. 

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. These skis contact the ground in the middle, allowing the tip and tail to rise off of the ground. 

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 bit of rocker in the tip and tail. That allows for more versatility.

FAQs

Here are some quick answers to a few commonly asked questions about beginner skis. 

What size ski is best for beginners?

A smaller length ski is generally better for beginners, but the exact size depends on your height. Generally, you’ll want your skis to come up to your chin or a bit below. Higher than that, and they’ll be too big. 

Are shorter skis better for beginners?

Yes, shorter skis are better for beginners because they are easier to control and lighter in weight. Shorter skis are slower and can’t bust through cruddy snow as well, but they are essential to help you learn the basics. 

How do you tell if your skis are too short or too long?

The general rule is that your beginner skis should come up to your chin when standing flat on the ground. But if you think your skis are too fast or heavy, you’ll want to go shorter. If they are too slow and light, you’ll want to go taller. 

How much should a beginner spend on skis?

Beginners don’t need to spend a ton of money to get a quality set of skis. You can typically find a good setup, including bindings, for $500 or less. Don’t spend any more than that because you might outgrow the skis as your abilities improve. 

What is the difference between beginner skis and intermediate?

From a technical standpoint, not much. Beginner and intermediate skis are more forgiving, meaning they are more flexible and less powerful than advanced skis. But there isn’t a huge difference between beginner and intermediate themselves.

Useful Tips for Beginner Skiers

The above sections 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 good setup than this. 

If you want to go even deeper or learn more about different ski types, check out the information listed in this handy article.

Having the right skis, while important, is far from the only thing 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. 

The in-depth video below 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 moving 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 Verdict

As a beginner, 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, and beginner skis don’t get much better than the Rossignol Experience 76 Ci

All of the models mentioned above are great options for beginners. They will help you develop a strong skill set that will be a solid foundation to build from for many seasons of great skiing to come. 

Nothing will help you improve as much as skiing as often as possible, but having the right equipment is the second most crucial aspect of becoming a good skier. 

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