Best Carving Skis

Cori Gramms
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Once you've got the skiing basics down, most of you will be eager to try your hand at carving. While special carving skis may not be needed initially, they are essential as you advance. As with any skiing equipment, choosing the correct carving ski might seem daunting at first. When selecting a carving ski, there are several factors to consider. These include the shape, flex, length, width, composition, and weight of the ski – not to mention your budget as well.

This article looks at the five best carving skis we have found, with an explanation of the considerations above. So read on for some purchasing guidance.

NameCategoryProduct
Volkl 2022 M6 Mantra Men's SkisBest OverallVolkl 2022 M6 Mantra Men's Skis
Nordica Santa Ana 93 Ski – Women'sBudget PickNordica Santa Ana 93 Ski - Women's
2021 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti WS Women's Skis w/Tyrolia Attack2 13 GW BindingsUpgrade Pick2021 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti WS Women's Skis w/Tyrolia Attack2 13 GW Bindings

1. Volkl 2022 M6 Mantra Men's Skis

Volkl 2022 M6 Mantra Men's Skis

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Pros:

  • Fans of Mantra's M5 will be impressed by the 2022 M6 upgrade
  • Perfect for advanced and expert skiers
  • Composed of a durable multilayered wood core
  • Tailored titanal frame
  • Tailored carbon tip
  • 3D radius sidecut
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Suitable for all skiers except the lightest finesse skiers
  • Skis do not come with bindings

The Volkl M6 is the much-anticipated upgrade of the highly acclaimed M5. If you have never heard of the M5 or M6, this ski is designed for advanced and expert skiers who enjoy high-speed skiing in all-mountain conditions.

Rather than overhauling something great to begin with, Volkl rather made a few tweaks in the M6 design. The 3D radius sidecut is one of the most notable changes. It allows for differently-shaped turns to match different snow and terrain conditions. This promotes easier turning that is also more predictable.

A buzzword for the M6 is "tailored" – with a tailored frame and tailored carbon tip. The titanal frame is slightly different according to the various ski lengths. Longer skis have more titanal material, which allows for more power transmission and stronger dampening. The second of the two tailored features is the carbon tip of the ski. Carbon stringers (thin strips of carbon that reduce overall weight) are woven in different ways according to the length of the ski. The carbon tip keeps the ski stiffer and more responsive in longer skis and allows for easier turns.

2. 2021 Salomon QST 99 Men's Skis

2021 Salomon QST 99 Men's Skis

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Pros:

  • Constructed from materials that are light and stable on all-mountain terrains
  • Sidecut ensures versatility of the skis
  • Metal is only used underfoot
  • Tip and tail rocker keep you afloat through bumpy trails
  • The skis come with quality Tyrolia Attack2 13 bindings
  • Cork damplifier at the tip is an excellent material to absorb vibrations
  • Suitable for intermediate skiers and above

Cons:

  • Performs less well on fresh powder
  • Can get slightly bumpy at high speeds

The 2021 Salmon QST 99 has been redesigned to be lighter, stiffer, and more maneuverable than its predecessors. With a turn radius of 19.4 meters, these skis are quick and playful when carving and smearing turns.

The Salomon QST 99 is a model of skis designed to suit the needs of skiers with a wider range of abilities. The 99 in the model number is a rating based on the stiffness of the wood core of the skis. This means that they will be easier to turn and control but not so rigid that they will buckle under pressure.

The outer layer of the pair of skis is all about simplicity. The design is completely toned down with no added graphics or other unnecessary elements. These simple graphics give the skis a modernized facelift.

Two slight drawbacks of these skis are that they feel bumpy when skiing at high speeds and perform less well on fresh powder than in other conditions. Having said this, though, these are minor issues.

3. 2021 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti WS Women's Skis w/Tyrolia Attack2 13 GW Bindings

2021 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti WS Women's Skis w/Tyrolia Attack2 13 GW Bindings

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Pros:

  • Designed to be used on all-mountain conditions
  • The ski’s high performance includes both on and off-piste
  • Made from durable wood, metal, and carbon for optimal performance
  • The carbon nose makes the skis feel afloat, regardless of the depth of snow
  • Aeroshape design makes you feel light on your feet
  • Perfect for powerful carving turns
  • Best suited for advanced and expert skiers looking for precision

Cons:

  • It’s a larger ski for women, at 174 centimeters long
  • It is not recommended for those first learning how to carve

The 2021 Ranger 99 Ti is the latest offering by Fischer and has been largely overhauled in design. However, it still offers excellent quality fabrication and materials, as we've come to expect from Fischer.

This is an excellent ski for carving. However, this is only the case for technically proficient, advanced and expert skiers. It is not the best ski to practice your turns for the first time, especially because they are so physically demanding. Beginner skiers should look for a softer flex.

4. Nordica Santa Ana 93 Ski – Women's

Nordica Santa Ana 93 Ski - Women's

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Pros:

  • Featuring a new flex pattern for better maneuverability
  • Lightweight and improved edging power compared to its predecessor
  • Exceptional performance on groomers, but offers all-round versatility
  • "Terrain specific metal" – the amount of metal used provides great grip and energy
  • Suited for advanced and expert-level skiers

Cons:

  • Demanding on the legs if skiing for a long period
  • Does not come with bindings

Nordica's latest edition is an ideal ski for fluid turns on groomers. The 2021 Santa Ana reflected large changes in construction and shape, whereas the 2022 upgrade has made very few changes.

While Nordica Santa Ana skis are exceptional on packed trails, they can still be used on an off-trail run. The wood core and carbon, together with a single sheet of terrain-specific metal, have resulted in lighter skis.

If you are an advanced to expert level skier looking to impressively carve groomers, the Nordica Santa Ana 93 Ski should definitely pique your interest.

5. 2021 Head Kore 99 Skis w/Marker Griffon 13 ID Bindings

Our rating: 10 / 10

2021 Head Kore 99 Skis w/Marker Griffon 13 ID Bindings

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Pros:

  • Good all-around carving ski
  • Suitable for all skiing conditions
  • Perfect for advanced and expert skiers looking for versatility
  • Karuba wood core makes the skis snappy and playful
  • Layers of graphene, koroyd, and carbon stiffen the ski without adding weight
  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • Quality bindings are included

Cons:

  • The 2022 Head Kore ski is currently being released
  • It is not a beginner's carving ski

Head markets the Kore 99 as an all-around carving ski, and it lives up to that description. Although it performs well on groomers, its best performance can be seen off-piste in deep powder.

It’s great for more technically skilled skiers who want to push the ski to its limit or just enjoy relaxed cruising on the slopes.

The Head Kore 99 has been constructed with carefully selected materials: a wood core of karuba and a graphene-koroyd-carbon Sandwich Cap Construction. These materials promote even weight distribution, shock absorption, and maximized agility.

The Kore 99 is stiffer than the Kore 93 and Kore 105, which can be seen in its more stable form at high speeds. Its stiffer flex makes it best suited for advanced and expert skiers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the best skis for carving?

Carving skis are narrow and are designed to allow skiers to turn more fluidly and efficiently. A good carving ski allows skiers to make a turn in the direction of the fall line (where the skier is pointing).

Carving skis range in stiffness, flex, shape, design, and size. Cheaper, more well-rounded skis may also have a sidecut designed for a better turn radius but lack the ability to force the skis to travel downhill on the curve of the turn.

Carving skis tend to be less forgiving compared to all-purpose ski designs. Beginners should start with an all-purpose or semi-all-purpose ski until they develop their carving technique.

Are carving skis good for beginners?

Not in most cases. Skis for carving tend to require a certain degree of speed to make the turn successfully. Beginners will not be gaining sufficient speed to be able to make the carve. Carving skis are less forgiving as they are stiff. It is usually recommended that beginners start on softer, more flexible skis, as they will make the starting-off stage less painful and more enjoyable.

What is the difference between carving skis and all-mountain skis?

Carving skis have a more slender tip and tail than all-mountain skis. They help to increase edge pressure and are better suited for carving through turns on a steep slope. Carving skis are typically stiff and unforgiving, but that’s why they’re so much fun! Most carving skis are on the stiffer end of the spectrum.

What are the best skis for an intermediate skier?

Intermediate skiers can make use of both the new-age racing style skis or the traditional carving style. If you want something a little different and have more money to spend, plus a bit of experience, you may want to check out the carving skis. The key difference with carving skis is the tail shape. It’s more square than on racing skis, which is slightly longer.

Conclusion

We believe that no matter what your specific reasons may be, you should be able to decide which pair of alpine carving skis to buy. We encourage you to compare each of the above models for the best value. Then pick the alpine carving skis that have the best features that fit your needs and budget for the right reasons. We’re confident it will be time well spent.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Volkl 2022 M6 Mantra Men's SkisBest OverallVolkl 2022 M6 Mantra Men's Skis
Nordica Santa Ana 93 Ski – Women'sBudget PickNordica Santa Ana 93 Ski - Women's
2021 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti WS Women's Skis w/Tyrolia Attack2 13 GW BindingsUpgrade Pick2021 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti WS Women's Skis w/Tyrolia Attack2 13 GW Bindings