After you have learned the basics of the sport, skiing can become an exceptional experience. Intermediate skiers are a significant segment on the slopes, and getting the best skis can help them keep improving on the snow.
I’m Christine, and I love everything about skiing. I created this blog to help other skiers become better and get out in the mountains as much as possible. I have a lot of experience with various ski models and understand the needs of intermediate skiers.
The Blizzard Rustler 11 is my pick for the best skis for intermediate skiers of the year. This is a very capable all-mountain model that will keep you occupied on nearly any type of terrain while helping you improve even more.
I’ll highlight all of the best intermediate skis in this post, so you can choose an option that is best suited to meet your needs on the mountain. Every ski review here comes recommended, so you really can’t go wrong.
Let’s get to it.
Who Should Get This
All of the skis in this guide are geared towards intermediate skiers. These models are for those who already have their snow legs but are not quite ready for the expert runs. They are for anyone who needs a bit of extra help but still isn’t ready to get the most high-end equipment.
Many of the following models can also be used for more advanced beginners. While they are not for anyone just starting or who still needs to get comfortable on skis, they are solid options for newbies who want to move up to something that takes a little more skill.
If you are ready for the next step in your ability level, the skis found here are for you.
What level is an intermediate skier?
An intermediate skier has mastered the basics of the sport but is not quite ready for advanced or extreme skiing. You are an intermediate skier if you can easily go down blue runs but don’t feel comfortable on blacks.
What size skis are for an intermediate skier?
This depends on your height and weight. But a general rule that I go by is that your skis should come up to your mouth or nose when standing on the ground. This is longer than beginner length but not as long as advanced skis.
Are shorter skis better for intermediate?
Shorter skis are typically lighter and easier to maneuver, proving useful for anyone with beginner and intermediate abilities. However, if you want to go fast or challenge yourself, longer skis can still be suitable for intermediates.
Best Skis for Intermediate Skiers: Top Picks
Here are my picks for the best skis for intermediate skiers. Every option you’ll see below comes recommended and can help you continue to get better as a skier.
1. Blizzard Rustler 11
- Best for: Overall
- Key features: Versatile, hybrid rocker profile, progressive wide body, fun to ski, Carbon Flipcore tech, sandwiched sidewalls
- Sizes: 180, 188, 192
- Ability Level: Intermediate to advanced
- Cost: $$$
The Blizzard Rustler 11 (review) is my pick for the best overall ski for intermediate skiers. This is a fun and versatile model that will have you covered all over the mountain while letting you perfect your skills along the way.
I like the hybrid rocker profile that the Rustler 11 comes with. This helps make the skis an effective all-mountain option by giving you a good blend of power, stability, and versatility. You get plenty of rocker in the tip and tails with enough camber to dig in and go.
They also have a progressive wide body that comes in useful when you are in deeper snow. As an intermediate skier, I recommend seeking out a fresh stash of powder as quickly as possible to put this width into action.
The Rustler 11 is also highly durable, making them a good investment that will last you for years as your abilities continue to grow. They have Carbon Flipcore technology built into the core and laminates for added strength and performance.
These are a little expensive, and the graphics on the latest model are somewhat bland, but they really rip and come recommended.
2. Icelantic Nia Pro
- Best for: Women’s Option
- Key features: Women’s specific model, versatile, good edge hold, stable at speeds, Reflective rocker
- Sizes: 162, 169, 177
- Ability Level: Beginner to Advanced
- Cost: $$$
If you are looking for a women’s specific model, it’s hard to find a better option than the Icelantic Nia Pro. These skis are extremely fun to be on and are more than capable in a wide variety of on-snow situations.
I think the Nia Pro is a solid option for the intermediate skier who wants to get out there and explore as much of the mountain as possible. They are easy to control in tight spaces, stable at high speeds, and can float in deep snow as well.
Icelantic makes some of the most durable skis in the industry, and the Nia Pro comes with the legendary bombproof guarantee from the brand. That makes them a trusted investment that you can ski on for years.
A Reflective rocker profile gives a good blend of play and power. When you want to cruise and have fun, the skis will react quickly, but they can also dig and bite the snow when going full throttle.
I don’t have many negative marks about these skis, and they are solid all around. However, they are priced on the higher side and not a budget option.
Also Read: Best Women’s Skis
3. Volkl Mantra M6
- Best for: Speed
- Key features: Stable at high speeds, easy to control, powerful but playful, 3D radius sidecut, Titanal frame
- Sizes: 170. 177, 184, 191
- Ability Level: Intermediate to advanced
- Cost: $$$
The Volkl Mantra M6 is a great intermediate option for skiers with a need for speed. This is a versatile and effective all-mountain model, but it really shines when you want to point downhill and rip.
They come with a 3D radius sidecut that comes into play when turning and carving. The design feature keeps everything stable, and you won’t need to worry about chatter or instability.
The Mantra M6 also comes with plenty of rocker in the tip and tail to let you adapt to variable conditions and handle everything that comes your way. Even with this all-mountain feature, you still get a good edge hold at high speeds.
The skis have a Titanal frame that keeps them stiff, which helps with added control and stability as you increase speed. And full-length sidewalls help to improve response and power transfer from binding to ski for race-like performance.
These can be a little too stiff for some intermediate skiers, but that’s really my only complaint with the Mantra M6.
4. Salomon QST
- Best for: All-mountain
- Key features: Very versatile, all terrain rocker, lightweight, Cork Damplifier, double sidewalls
- Sizes: 167, 174, 181, 188
- Ability Level: Beginner to advanced
- Cost: $$$
If you are looking for high levels of versatility, the Salomon QST (review) is the ski to choose. This model is capable in nearly every condition, providing intermediate skiers with plenty of options when deciding where to explore.
Their all-terrain rocker profile helps the QST stand out all over the mountain. It gives you the perfect blend of camber and rocker to generate power and control when needed while bouncing through variable conditions along the way.
The skis also come with a Cork Damplifier in the tip, which helps to reduce vibrations and provide a smooth and stable ride. This is a great feature for intermediates because it allows you to increase speeds while staying in control.
Double sidewall construction helps keep everything together and also increases durability and strength to ensure many seasons of skiing.
The QST is a little narrow for powder skiing, but can handle just about anything well other than that.
5. Rossignol Black Ops Escaper
- Best for: Budget Option
- Key features: Affordable, versatile, smooth and stable, extended core, light
- Sizes: 164, 172, 178, 186
- Ability Level: Beginner to advanced
- Cost: $$
The Rossignol Black Ops Escaper is my pick for a budget option well-suited to the needs of intermediate skiers.
The Escaper is a fun and versatile model that comes in at a lower price than the other options found here. Rossignol is a trusted brand in the industry and their success often translates to a lower price for skiers.
I’m impressed by how stable these skis stay at higher speeds, despite being pretty lightweight. That’s a good combination of features to help you push your ability levels to the next level without slowing you down.
An extended core adds to this stability and makes the Escaper very easy to control across a wide range of situations. They also come with an Air Tip laminate designed to help make the skis easy to turn.
This is a budget option, but just barely. They are the cheapest model listed here, but you can probably find more affordable skis if you need to.
How to Pick Skis for Intermediate Skiers
Keep the following factors in mind when you are shopping for a good pair of intermediate skis.
Always pay attention to ski length. More advanced skiers will want longer models that measure to the top of their heads. Intermediate and beginner skiers should get skis that measure near their chin or nose.
A smaller ski allows for more control and gives you the ability to make quicker, tighter turns. Both of those are essential for intermediate skiers.
Going hand-in-hand with length is width. Your ski’s waist width largely depends not as much on skill but on the type of skiing you want to do.
Skiers who only hit groomed trails want skis with a width of around 85mm, while those who go both on and off-trail can use a width between 85mm and 95mm.
Skis with a width between 96mm and 110mm are good for skiers who go on and off-piste, while 111mm and up is for people venturing into ungroomed terrain and powder conditions.
Intermediates also need to get tough skis. When you’re zipping around the mountain, it’s easy to fall as you learn. You need skis that can take a beating, so you don’t need to worry about them.
Strong materials are essential, as are models that come from trusted brands. Every option you’ll find on this list is solid and durable for many seasons of regular skiing.
Useful Tips for Intermediate Skiers
Skis, no matter what level they’re for, are an investment. You’ll want to take special care of them. There are many ways to improve your ski maintenance, ensuring your gear will stay in good shape year after year. If you want help with that process, look at this helpful article.
All intermediate skiers can enjoy the above models. However, differentiating between the popular ski styles is not always easy.
Sometimes beginners don’t know when they are ready to move up, and the same goes for intermediate skiers. Check out this quick video if you want to understand the difference between intermediate and advanced skiers.
My choice for the best overall skis for intermediate skiers is the Blizzard Rustler 11. These are an excellent choice for versatility and stability that will help you keep improving as a skier while exploring all over the mountain along the way.
As you become a better skier, you will want to improve your equipment as well. Every ski model you find here can help you as an intermediate skier while encouraging you to dive into new terrain that pushes you to become even better.
What are your favorite ski brands? Are there any we didn’t cover in this guide? Let us know below!