9 Best Powder Skis of 2021-2022

powder ski

Powder skiing is the ultimate ski experience for many skiers. Though many new styles have emerged over the years, from the park to all-mountain, nothing can replicate the sheer joy that comes from a great powder day.

Hi, I’m Christine, a lifelong skier and founder of TheSkiGirl. I’ve been lucky to have experienced dozens, if not hundreds, of powder days over the years and I’m well experienced with understanding the unique needs involved with powder skiing. 

My pick for the best overall powder skis is the Atomic Bent Chetler 120. These skis will float over deep snow with the best of them and have excellent power response for technical situations. They are a blast to ride and amazing in powder conditions. 

In this post, I’ll show you all of the top powder skis that are currently available. There are many good options, and if you want a model that will perform well when the snow starts to stack up, every ski here is recommended. 

Bring on the snow. 

Quick Summary: 

Who Should Get This? 

If you want to enjoy powder skiing, you need to get powder skis. Many of the skis listed here work well in most conditions, but they truly shine when the snow starts coming down hard. 

If you try to tackle deep powder conditions in a smaller, narrower ski, you are likely to be left frustrated and burnt out in no time.

If you’re a serious skier, you probably have different skis for different situations. If you are lucky enough to have multiple skis, I would always suggest adding powder skis to the lineup. 

When the conditions are right, and you find yourself in a big storm, you can pull out the powder skis and go.

Beginners rarely need powder skis. Though they can use some of the items listed above, true powder conditions are best suited for those who have at least intermediate experience. 

Best Powder Ski: Top Picks 

Any time you get the chance to ski in powder, you’re in for a good day. Get yourself a set of the best powder skis, and that day turns even better. All of the models below are highly recommended. 

1. Atomic Bent Chetler 120

  • Best for: Overall
  • Key features: Stable in deep snow, good float, powder rocker profile, HRZN tech tip and tail, Atomic edges
  • Sizes: 176, 184, 192
  • Ability Level: Intermediate to advanced
  • Cost: $$$

The Atomic Bent Chetler earns my pick for the best overall powder ski of the year. This model has been in the Atomic lineup for over ten years now, and they keep getting better and better. 

The skis feature a super-light karuba wood core on top of a horizontal rocker that allows them to float on top of the deep stuff. This ski model is a long-standing success in the world of powder skiing. 

These powder-specific skis keep getting better and better, now moving on to their second decade of existence. They can handle regular use in deep snow and allow you to charge, turn, and bounce at your leisure.

They also have excellent pop and tear through difficult conditions while keeping a playful nature. They are built to handle powder and do a fantastic job at it. 

I don’t have many complaints about the Bent Chetler, other than they might be too expensive for any skier on a budget and can be too much ski for a beginner to handle. 

2. Icelantic Nomad 115

  • Best for: Beginners
  • Key features: Plenty of rocker, good float, bombproof construction, durable edges, versatile
  • Sizes: 171, 181, 186, 191
  • Ability Level: Beginner to advanced
  • Cost: $$$

If you are just getting into the world of powder skiing, the Icelantic Nomad 115 is a good beginner option. These skis can work for all ability levels, and they will give you versatile performance that is easy to handle in deeper snow. 

It features a tip and tail rocker in addition to a poplar core that allows for a stable but playful feel. This model is not just of premium quality, it feels much more fun than the average powder ski. If you live for the bounce or lively feel of a steep-powder run, you’ll love the Nomads.

The Nomads are a personal favorite all-mountain ski for when the snow gets deep. These skis have a symmetrical design and a poplar core, two features that enable any skier to tear up difficult conditions without sacrificing play. 

The width of these skis is excellent for powder conditions, and the playful yet sturdy nature allows them to perform well in deep snow. They are still versatile enough to handle other terrain as well. 

These aren’t exclusively a powder ski, so they aren’t quite as wide or flexible as other models. 

Also Read: Best Skis for Beginners

3. Blizzard Rustler 11

  • Best for: Intermediate
  • Key features: Hybrid rocker/camber profile, incredible float, progressive wide body shape, durable laminates, sintered base
  • Sizes: 180, 188, 192
  • Ability Level: Intermediate to advanced
  • Cost: $$$

The Blizzard Rustler 11 is a great powder ski for intermediate skiers looking to tackle challenging terrain and expand their horizons. 

These have a profile design that is specifically designed to handle deeper snow, and the hybrid rocker/camber gives you plenty of float and stability in powder without compromising performance. 

Increased rocker in the tip and tail keeps you up on top of the snow even at higher speeds, and you’ll still get enough camber underfoot to use these when conditions aren’t as soft. 

They also come with a wide body that is pretty unique from a construction standpoint. It allows the Rustler to be very playful in powder to let you bounce, carve and get creative with your lines. 

The skis also have a very solid construction that will hold up well under heavy use. Carbon Flipcore technology uses a carbon frame to keep everything strong but light and sandwiched ABS sidewalls help with control and power. 

These aren’t the widest powder skis around, and some purists might not like them as much knowing that. But I still recommend them for intermediate skiers who are on the hunt for fresh powder. 

4. Head Kore 117

  • Best for: Trees
  • Key features: Good control, quick to turn, ample rocker, lightweight, strong and stable construction 
  • Sizes: 177, 184
  • Ability Level: Beginner to advanced
  • Cost: $$$

If you want to bob and weave through the trees for fresh tracks on a powder day, the Head Kore 117 comes highly recommended. These are an easy to control model that still offers plenty of float when the snow turns deep. 

These skis feature a karuba wood core but expand on that construction with graphene and koroyd. Those attributes stiffen the core without adding too much extra weight. They can easily float in powder while also cutting through any other condition that might come your way. 

The Kore 117 is also lightweight for a powder ski, which means they are easy to maneuver – making them a solid option for the trees. The model is easy to handle and enables skiers to tackle a wide range of conditions. 

They can also work well for all types of skiers, so they are good for beginners looking to explore trees for the first time or expert riders who want to go big. 

They aren’t the widest powder ski and don’t have as much rocker as other options on the list, affecting performance outside of the trees. 

5. K2 Mindbender 108 Ti

  • Best for: Heavy Skiers
  • Key features: Wide profile, stable in all conditions, all-terrain rocker profile, solid construction
  • Sizes: 172, 179, 186
  • Ability Level: Intermediate to advanced 
  • Cost: $$$

If you are a larger skier, you’ll need skis that are built with your mind. The K2 Mindbender 108 Ti are some of the best powder skis for heavier skiers, and they don’t compromise performance.

These have a wider profile that gives you additional surface area to stay on top of deep snow. They also come with an all-terrain rocker profile that will keep the tip and tail from sinking into powder, no matter how much weight is on top of them. 

A Powerwall construction allows the Mindbender 108 Ti to remain active and engaged when bombing down bowls of fresh snow or tackling any type of condition on the endless hunt for powder. 

They also come with oversized ABS sidewalls that give you a stable grip on the snow, so you don’t experience chatter or slide at higher speeds. A Titanal Y beam along the edges and front end of the skis enhance this stability to another level.

These can be a little too much for beginners or lightweight skiers, and they are also on the heavy side. 

6. Fischer Ranger 115

  • Best for: Touring
  • Key features: Reliable performance, quality construction, lightweight, good float, 
  • Sizes: 172, 178, 188, 196
  • Ability Level: Intermediate to advanced 
  • Cost: $$$$

The Fischer Ranger 115 is a recommended model for all the backcountry powder seekers out there. These are the widest skis that the brand builds, making them great in deep snow, but they are more than capable as a touring ski

These skis are a superb blend of playful and powerful. That gives you reliable performance in any situation, which is required any time you head deep into the backcountry. They are hard-charging yet fun at the same time. 

The Ranger 115 also comes with quality construction that stays strong while offering you lightweight dynamics that can prove useful on backcountry ascents. An areoshape design enhances torsional stability while keeping the weight down.

They also come with a Freeski Rocker profile that helps initiate quick turns and keeps your tips up off the snow. And everything is held together nicely with a sandwich sidewall construction for durability you can count on. 

These are a very expensive model, and some backcountry purists might say that they are too big to tour with. But if you want powder performance in the backcountry, it’s hard to find better.

7. Elan Ripstick 116

  • Best for: Japan
  • Key features: Excellent powder performance, solid construction, playful but powerful, Amphibio rocker profile
  • Sizes: 177, 185, 193
  • Ability Level: Beginner to advanced
  • Cost: $$$

The Elan Ripstick 116 can help you conquer the legendary powder Japan is well known for. These are a fun and dynamic model that will also work well anywhere else in the world you want to roam. 

This stable ski holds up in powder conditions and gives you control when zooming at high speeds. This model has a core made of three different types of wood – beech, poplar, and paulownia. 

That combination, alongside built-in carbon tubes, gives the skis a fun and powerful feel. These also feature three different types of wood in their core, and the composite tip keeps chatter down. They are also flexible and bouncy, which is rare for a heavier ski. 

The Ranger does have a bit of a throwback look that might not appeal to any newschoolers out there. And a traditional camber results in less rocker in the tail. 

8. Rossignol Black Ops Sender Ti

  • Best for: East Coast
  • Key features: Versatile, effective powder performance, good edge hold, solid construction
  • Sizes: 180, 187
  • Ability Level: Beginner to advanced 
  • Cost: $$$

Powder days on the East Coast are not a given, so you’ll want a powder ski that can do more than just handle deep snow if you live or visit the region. The Rossignol Black Ops Sender Ti is a top choice with that in mind. 

These feature a medium rocker in the tip and tail to give you enough float when the going gets deep while still allowing you to maintain control if you are on an iced-out run. 

They also have a poplar wood core that gives you a good amount of flex and play without compromising strength or high-end performance demands. 

Carbon alloy laminate construction helps keep the skis together and makes them very rugged and durable to handle an inevitable rock encounter. 

These aren’t purely a powder ski, so you might not want them if you are looking for a dedicated option. 

9. Dynastar Menace Proto F-Team

  • Best for: Budget Option
  • Key features: Affordable, sturdy but flexible, versatile performance, good float
  • Sizes: 180, 189
  • Ability Level: Beginner to intermediate
  • Cost: $$

For a good budget powder ski option, check out the Dynastar Menace Proto F-Team. These are a versatile and agile take on a powder ski.

They have a tip-to-tail rocker that tapers the ski and gives it a maneuverable feel/play out on the mountain. 

The Menace Proto F-Team also has a floaty feel when on powder that accentuates the already enjoyable deep snow sensation. 

They are on the heavier side, which makes them better suited for experienced skiers. This can result in making them a little difficult to turn in the trees or moguls. 

How to Choose Powder Skis

Keep the following factors in mind when shopping for the best set of powder skis to match your needs, preferences, and ability level. 

Size

When powder skiing, a larger size ski translates to more surface area, which lets you float over the snow. Most powder skis are longer and wider than other ski types, which you want on the powder. 

Choose one with a good width if you want an all-mountain type that can still handle big powder conditions. You’ll notice that all of the models here are pretty large and wide.

Construction

Many different types of construction go into ski technology. These can vary from brand to brand and model to model. 

Typically, you want to look for a ski with a solid wood core surrounded by metal or composite elements for maximum strength and flexibility. The edges and outer laminate should also be well-constructed. Look for durable, long-lasting materials.

Weight

Weight also comes into play when choosing powder skis. 

As powder skis are longer and heavier than normal ones, many people assume that they weigh more. While that can be true, many models are built with lighter materials. Note that a heavier ski, though usually faster, can be harder to maneuver in variable conditions.

Play

I like skis with a lot of play. That means they’re easy to maneuver, fairly flexible, and can be controlled when turning and carving through a range of different conditions. 

Stiffer, less playful skis allow for speed on groomed runs, but a powder ski with a lot of play enables you to pop, bounce, and turn through the deep snow.

Shape

Shape is another consideration when picking out powder skis, and that choice comes down to either personal preference or desired capability. I prefer a more symmetrical ski, which means the tip and tail have a similar shape. 

You might prefer a more asymmetrical design with drastic differences between the tip and tail. Whatever you choose comes down to how you like to zip around the slopes.

Powder Skis FAQs

Here are some quick answers to a few common questions relating to powder skis. 

Do you need special skis for powder?

You can technically ski powder on any kind of skis, but powder skis give you the best performance when the snow gets deep. These types of skis are generally wider, giving you more surface area to float over powder. 

Are longer skis better for powder?

Usually, yes, but it depends on the size of the skier and their ability level. More surface area will give you more float in the snow, and a longer ski typically gives you more surface area. But wider skis do this as well, and you don’t always need to go longer. 

Are powder skis good on groomers?

Not really. You can ski groomers with your powder skis, but you will notice some disadvantages in reaching high speeds. Almost all powder skis have heavily rockered tips and tails, which limits your ability to go fast and stay in control on groomers. 

Is it harder to ski in powder?

Skiing in powder is hard work. It’s not necessarily a more technical skiing style, but it requires you to be actively engaged at all times. In that sense, it’s harder on your muscles and joints, which makes it feel more difficult at the end of the day. 

Why do skiers love powder?

If you want an honest answer to this, you need to go ski powder yourself. There really isn’t anything like it. My favorite ski days of all time have all been powder days, and they can literally make the experience feel like you are skiing through the clouds. It’s unreal! 

Useful Tips

Powder skiing takes some getting used to. It is probably my favorite form of skiing, but it can be difficult if you’ve never done it before.

If you want to learn how to powder ski, you need practice and experience. Check out this video for some good tips and tricks on how to correctly move through deep snow. There are also some common mistakes that skiers inexperienced with powder can make in this video.

If you’ve never skied powder before, a good lesson with a hands-on instructor can go a long way. While you can always go for it on your own, having someone help you navigate the elements can pay off.

Final Verdict

The Atomic Bent Chetler 120 is my top pick for powder skis this year. These will let you seek and destroy all of the fresh powder you are lucky enough to find while also giving you the ability to handle variable conditions when fresh snow isn’t available. 

If you want to ski powder, you need equipment that can live up to the demands of this style. All of the skis you’ll find on this list will give you extra float in deep snow so you can take advantage of each and every powder day you get this season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *