Home > Winter > Skiing

The Best Women’s All-Mountain Skis of 2024

For many skiers, a quiver of one makes practical and financial sense. From hard and fast groomers to soft and deep powder, here are the best women's-specific all-mountain skis for the season.

GearJunkie tester Kaylee Walden ripping turns at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Jason Hummel)
Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

We’re perpetually on the hunt for the daily driver: A pair of skis that we reach for regardless of the forecast. Every skier wants a single ski that does it all, and does it well. The weather could call powder or the conditions could be hairy, but a great all-mountain ski has our back in the steeps, trees, moguls, and groomers. Modern technology is astounding, allowing skiers to explore the entire inbounds area without compromise.

We took a wide range of all-mountain skis where the name suggests: All over the mountain, in all types of snow from powder to ice. Depending on your priorities and the conditions or terrain you typically ski, we’ve narrowed down the best all-mountain skis including a variety of sub-categories.

If you’d like to learn more about all-mountain skis and how they’re defined, check out our buyer’s guide and FAQ section at the end of this article. For a quick look at how these skis stack up, see our comparison chart.

Otherwise, scroll through to see all of our recommendations for the best women’s all-mountain skis of 2024.

Editor’s Note: We updated our Women’s All-Mountain Skis buyer’s guide on November 16, 2023, adding newly launched and tested products, educational sections, and field imagery.

The Best Women’s All-Mountain Skis of 2024

Best Overall Women's All-Mountain Skis

Line Pandora 104


  • Profile Rockered tip and tail, camber underfoot
  • Sidecut radius (m) 14.6
  • Waist widths (mm) 104
  • Lengths (cm) 158, 165, 172
  • Best for All-mountain, freeride
Product Badge The Best Women’s All-Mountain Skis of 2024


  • Incredibly playful and lightweight
  • Easy to maneuver and nimble, yet reliable
  • Very reasonable price point


  • Not the best on icy groomers
Best Budget

Atomic Vantage W 75 Skis + Bindings


  • Profile Traditional camber, with a minor rocker in the tail
  • Sidecut radius (m) Short
  • Waist widths (mm) 79, 82
  • Lengths (cm) 140, 147, 154, 161
  • Best for Beginner skiers seeking an affordable, progression-oriented setup
The Best Women’s All-Mountain Skis of 2024


  • Progression-oriented
  • Great value


  • Squirrelly at high speeds
Runner-Up Best Women's All-Mountain Skis

Nordica Santa Ana Free 104


  • Profile Rockered tip and tail, camber underfoot
  • Sidecut radius (m) 16.5
  • Waist widths (mm) 104
  • Lengths (cm) 158, 165, 172, 179
  • Best for All-mountain, powder
The Best Women’s All-Mountain Skis of 2024


  • Playful and intuitive ride
  • Incredibly versatile


  • Shorter turn radius can inhibit stability at high speeds
Most Playful

Icelantic Maiden


  • Profile Rocker tip and tail and camber underfoot
  • Sidecut radius (m) 16 (on the 169 cm) and moderate, 13 on the 155, 14.5 on the 162
  • Waist widths (mm) 101 for each length
  • Lengths (cm) 155, 162, 169
  • Best for Intermediate to advanced skiers, skiing switch
The Best Women’s All-Mountain Skis of 2024


  • Balance of float and edge-to-edge transfer
  • Easy to drive


  • Can get a bit squirrelly on hardpack
  • Not the most aggressive ski
Best of the Rest

Blizzard Sheeva 10


  • Profile Camber underfoot, rocker in the tip and tail
  • Sidecut radius (m) 13 (156), 14.5 (164), 16 (172), 17.5 (180)
  • Waist widths (mm) 102
  • Lengths (cm) 156, 164, 172, 180
  • Best for Intermediate to advanced resort skiers who like to ski all over the mountain
The Best Women’s All-Mountain Skis of 2024


  • A great choice for aggressive skiers
  • Solid edge hold and a smooth ride


  • Not the best choice for beginners
  • Too heavy to be a 50/50 ski



  • Profile Camber with a gradual early-rise in the tip and tail
  • Sidecut radius (m) 16 (on the 165 length) for a moderate turn radius, 15 on the 159, 17 on the 171
  • Waist widths (mm) 99 for each length
  • Lengths (cm) 159, 165, 171
  • Best for Intermediate to expert skiers
The Best Women’s All-Mountain Skis of 2024


  • The weight enhances stability and damping
  • Fairly forgiving


  • Doesn’t handle super icy conditions the best

Blizzard Black Pearl 97


  • Profile Camber in the middle, rocker in the tip and tail
  • Sidecut radius (m) Short (13 on 153, 14 on 159, 15 on 165)
  • Waist widths (mm) 82, 88, 97
  • Lengths (cm) 153, 159, 165, 1771
  • Best for Intermediate and advanced skiers looking to progress their carving skills
The Best Women’s All-Mountain Skis of 2024


  • Damp, smooth ride
  • Excellent for carving on groomers


  • Not the best ski for powder

Völkl Blaze 106 W


  • Profile Camber underfoot, rocker in the tip and tail
  • Sidecut radius (m) 16 (in the 172 length) medium, and 13 in the 158, 14 in 165cm
  • Waist widths (mm) 106 for each length
  • Lengths (cm) 158, 165, 172
  • Best for Intermediate to advanced skiers looking for a daily driver that will go anywhere
The Best Women’s All-Mountain Skis of 2024


  • Lightweight
  • Versatile for different terrain and styles of skiing


  • Flexibility is not prime for aggressive high-speed carving
  • Ungrounded in dynamic, tough snow conditions

Elan Ripstick 94


  • Profile Rocker in the tip and tail
  • Sidecut radius (m) 13.2-16.2 (15 radius in the 162 cm)
  • Waist widths (mm) 94mm
  • Lengths (cm) 146, 154, 162, 170cm
  • Best for Groomers, light powder
The Best Women’s All-Mountain Skis of 2024


  • Great for groomers, also trees
  • Smooth ride
  • Holds an edge well


  • Chattery at high speeds

Völkl Kenja 88


  • Profile Subtle rocker tip and tail
  • Sidecut radius (m) 13 (on the 163 length) and short in the center, long on the tip (23) and tail (21)
  • Waist widths (mm) 88 for each length
  • Lengths (cm) 149, 156, 163, 170
  • Best for Intermediate and advanced skiers that prefer carving groomers
The Best Women’s All-Mountain Skis of 2024


  • Responsive
  • Comfortable at higher speeds


  • Not super playful or forgivable
  • Isn’t a top choice for pow days
  • More expensive

Moment Bella


  • Profile Rockered tip and tail, camber underfoot
  • Sidecut radius (m) 19 (on the 172) and moderate, 15 in the 152cm, 17 in the 162cm, 21 in the 179cm
  • Waist widths (mm) 108 (106 on the 152 length)
  • Lengths (cm) 152, 162, 172, 179
  • Best for Intermediate to expert skiers adventuring everywhere on the mountain
The Best Women’s All-Mountain Skis of 2024


  • Good maneuverability
  • Playful with easy-to-initiate turns


  • Not a speed demon design for groomer laps

Nordica Santa Ana 93


  • Profile Rockered tip and tail, camber underfoot
  • Sidecut radius (m) 13.3 (on the 151) and short to moderate, 14 on the 158cm, 16 on the 172cm, and 17 on the 179cm
  • Waist widths (mm) 93
  • Lengths (cm) 151, 158, 165, 172, 179
  • Best for All-mountain, powder
The Best Women’s All-Mountain Skis of 2024


  • Playful and fun
  • Great on groomers, crud, and powder
  • New slightly wider width on 2023 model aims to please


  • Not the best option for weaker skiers

Rossignol Rallybird 92


  • Profile Rockered tip, camber underfoot
  • Sidecut radius (m) short, 12-16 (14 on the 162 cm length)
  • Waist widths (mm) 92, 102
  • Lengths (cm) 154, 16, 170 (for both the Rallybird 92 and 102)
  • Best for Intermediate skiers who like a light, easy-to-carve ski
The Best Women’s All-Mountain Skis of 2024


  • Playful and lightweight
  • Comfortable on groomers and powder


  • Not our favorite for expert-level skiers

Faction Agent 2X


  • Profile Rockered tip, camber underfoot
  • Sidecut radius (m) Short to moderate, 14-18 (18 on the 171 cm length)
  • Waist width (mm) 96
  • Lengths (cm) 155, 163, 171
  • Best for Intermediate skiers who want a do-it-all ski for both backcountry and resort
The Best Women’s All-Mountain Skis of 2024


  • Eye-catching, cool topsheet
  • Lightweight and good for a crossover ski for backcountry and resort


  • Encourages a “backseat” skiing stance
  • Not a good choice for expert, aggressive skiers
All-mountain skis should enable you to ski just how you want, where you want, no matter the conditions — no compromises; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Women’s All-Mountain Skis Comparison Chart

Scroll right to view all of the columns: Price, Profile, Sidecut Radius (m), Waist Widths (mm), Lengths (cm).

Women’s All-Mountain SkiPriceProfileSidecut Radius (m)Waist Widths (mm)Lengths (cm)
Line Pandora 104$649Rockered tip and tail, camber underfoot14.6104158, 165, 172
Nordica Santa Ana Free 104$849Rockered tip and tail, camber underfoot16.5104158, 165, 172, 179
Blizzard Black Pearl 97$800Camber in the middle, rocker in the tip and tailShort (13 on 153, 14 on 159, 15 on 165)82, 88, 97153, 159, 165, 1771
4FRNT MSP CC$729Camber with a gradual early-rise in the tip and tail16 (on the 165 length) for a moderate turn radius, 15 on the 159, 17 on the 1799159, 165, 171
Atomic Vantage W 75
Skis + Bindings
$380Traditional camber, with minor rocker in the tailShort79, 82140, 147, 154, 161
Icelantic Maiden$879Rocker tip and tail and camber underfoot16 (on the 169 cm) and moderate, 13 on the 155, 14.5 on the 162101155, 162, 169
Blizzard Sheeva 10$800Camber underfoot, rocker in the tip and tail13 (156), 14.5 (164), 16 (172), 17.5 (180)102156, 164, 172, 180
Völkl Blaze 106 W$650Camber underfoot, rocker in the tip and tail16 (in the 172 length) medium, and 13 in the 158, 14 in 165cm106158, 165, 172
Elan Ripstick 94$700Rocker in the tip and tail13.2-16.2 (15m radius in the 162 cm)94146,162,170
Volkl Kenja 88$700Subtle rocker tip and tail13 (on the 163 length) and short in the center, long on the tip (23) and tail (21)88149,156,163,170
Moment Bella$769Rockered tip and tail, camber underfoot19 (on the 172) and moderate, 15 in the 152cm, 17 in the 162cm, 21 in the 179cm106, 108152, 162, 172, 179
Nordica Santa Ana 93$700Rockered tip and tail, camber underfoot13.3 (on the 151) and short to moderate, 14 on the 158cm, 16 on the 172cm, and 17 on the 179cm93151, 158, 165, 172, 179
Rossignol Rallybird 92$650Rockered tip, camber underfootShort, 12-16 m (14 meters on the 162 cm length)92, 102154, 16, 170
Faction Agent 2X$799Rockered tip, camber underfootShort to moderate, 14-18 m (18 meters on the 171 cm length)96155, 163, 171
Don’t be afraid to demo skis so that you get a sense of the type of ski you enjoy, which can evolve over time; (photo/Jason Hummel)

How We Tested Women’s All-Mountain Skis

The GearJunkie product testing team is made up of alpine and backcountry skiers that travel nationwide and around the globe to find snow. We’ve skied hut-to-hut all over North America, bell-to-bell resort powder, and ski-to-surf trips on Vancouver Island and in California. We’ve trained for the country’s toughest skimo races, guided expeditions, and adorned costumes on the slopes.

Contributor and ski tester Kaylee Walden is an American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Advanced Ski Guide, year-round mountain guide, and avalanche course instructor based in Southwest Colorado. Walden spends as much time on snow as possible, and has been skiing since she was 1 year old with her dad in Montana during his ski patrol career.

Snowsports Senior Editor Morgan Tilton started alpine skiing in her backyard at Telluride Ski Resort at age 4. Three decades later, she backcountry skis in addition to snowboarding and splitboarding (split-skiing is by far the most awkward form of skiing) in Gunnison country, where she lives today.

Managing Editor Mary Murphy has been testing ski equipment for three seasons at GearJunkie and has been on skis since age 4. She learned to carve slopes in Summit County, where she still skis today at her home mountain Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.

We put this season’s newest all-mountain skis to the test for hundreds of runs at more than a dozen resorts across the Rocky Mountain West. While testing skis in-bounds, we assessed a range of factors including each design’s stiffness, maneuverability, and playfulness as well as the ski’s energy, damping, chatter, weight, shape, edge hold, and turn initiation.

The size, width, base, and edge tune also influence how a ski performsWe considered what type of skier and conditions are the best fit for each ski.

We’ve tested these skis while carving turns in a range of snow conditions affected by below-zero temperatures, blizzards, blustery wind, intense sun, and even rain.

In addition to our team’s experience, we consider the most innovative, award-winning, and best-selling skis on the market as well as a broad range of price points and a variety of features and applications.

Alpine Skier Morgan Tilton Testing Skis On Piste
Snowsports Senior Editor Morgan Tilton testing skis at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best All-Mountain Skis

‘All-Mountain’ Defined

All-mountain skis are designed to do it all regardless of the terrain. From steeps to moguls to groomers and in any snow conditions from powder to crust to icy hardpack, an all-mountain ski is made to perform. 

Some skis are made for a specific purpose like hitting features in the terrain park, racing through slalom gates, or going uphill in the backcountry. But all-mountain skis are far more versatile. With any of the skis listed in this guide, you’ll be able to explore the resort as you please from wide-open groomers to pow-laden trees.

There are no specific criteria a ski must meet to earn the all-mountain title. Many retailers and manufacturers have their own unique all-mountain standards. Generally, any skis that can handle a wide range of uses will have a few key characteristics in common.

Most all-mountain skis have a mid-wide waist between 75 and 105 mm. This width range sits between super-narrow and super-wide skis — and is ideal for all-mountain use.

Additionally, most skis in this category have a traditional shape and profile. With camber underfoot and rocker at the tip and the tail, all-mountain skis are versatile masters of the mountain. Within this jill-of-all-trades category, all-mountain skis have particular strengths and weaknesses, and some excel in a particular area:

  • All-Mountain: Classic all-mountain skis are built to do it all, and usually feature a rocker-camber-rocker construction
  • Freestyle: Usually a bit softer flex profile with a full twin tip, and on the narrower side, from 88 to 100 cm underfoot
  • Freeride: Freeride-specific skis are meant for hard-charging, expert skiers who want to ski fast, hit cliffs, and ride over the speed limit. Skis that are best for freeride generally feature a longer turning radius and are a bit wider for powder skiing
  • Backcountry: The best skis for the backcountry are on the lighter side, so steer clear of models that have a significant amount of metal (a.k.a. Titanal) integrated into the core construction. For the backcountry, we like a ski that’s at least 95 to 110 mm underfoot for seeking out soft snow
As a general rule, you can select a ski length that falls between your chin and the top of your head to get started; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Types of All-Mountain Skis

All of the skis on this list prioritize versatility and can readily venture onto all parts of the mountain. Still, “all-mountain” is ultimately a spectrum that contains multiple subcategories of skis. Many skiers like to explore the whole mountain while also maintaining a preference for a certain style of skiing or type of terrain.

Depending on where you regularly ski, you may be dealing with certain types of snow conditions throughout the season. If this is true for you, it’s very helpful to have an all-mountain ski with design elements that maximally support your specific personal needs.

Groomer-Leaning All-Mountain Skis

Skis in this category will perform at their best on groomed runs and firm snow conditions. Typically, groomer-leaning all-mountain skis have a relatively narrow waist width between 75 and 90 mm. On firm snow, an ultra-wide ski simply isn’t necessary.

Skis in the groomer-leaning category prioritize, stiffness, high-speed stability, and edge hold. While groomer-leaning all-mountain skis tend to sacrifice float in the deep powder, they’re unbeatable for hard carving and sending it down firm runs with control.

Groomer-leaning skis are especially worth considering for people in the Midwest and East Coast regions. On this list, the Blizzard Black Pearl 97 is one of our favorites in this category.

Using a combination of rocker for float and camber for edge grip is a common construction method in all-mountain skis; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Powder-Leaning All-Mountain Skis

Powder-leaning all-mountain skis are built to thrive in the deep stuff. Generally, skis in this category have a waist width between 95 and 110 mm. If powder lines (and backcountry skiing) are your jam, these are the skis for you.

Skiers in regions with lots of snowfall such as the Cascades and the Wasatch — should certainly consider this category. For maximum floatability and a bit of playful flex, check out powder-leaning all-mountain skis such as the Völkl Blaze 106 and the Moment Bella.

Backcountry-Leaning All-Mountain Skis

Some all-mountain skis, like the Line Pandora 104 and Nordica Santa Ana Free are built to excel both in-bounds and out. These skis generally feature a lightened-up construction with integrated materials like carbon to add stiffness without a weight penalty. Skis in this category are a great option to get into the backcountry without the need for an additional pair of skis. There are a few tradeoffs to this; when you cut weight from a ski, it tends to have compromised stability at speed and weaker performance in chop. The Line Pandora 104, notably did not suffer these downfalls for such a light, backcountry-oriented all-mountain ski.

Holding up a pair of skis to check out the side profile; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Waist Width

Waist width is the width of a ski at its narrowest point. All-mountain skis typically have a waist width between 75 and 105 mm. Within this range, narrower skis are generally better for high speeds and carving on hard surfaces, while wider widths are better for surfing through soft snow and powder.

Many ski models are available in various waist widths. If you like a specific ski and lean toward a certain type of terrain, be sure to select the best waist width for you. For every ski on this list, we’ve listed the waist widths it comes in. For most snow climates, we’d recommend something in the 95-110 underfoot range for an intermediate to advanced skier.

Ski Length

Ski length is an important consideration, and most of the models on this list are available in multiple lengths. In the past, a skier’s height would determine their ideal ski length. In 2023, the process is significantly more nuanced.

While skier height remains an important factor, there are many other considerations for understanding ski length. Shorter skis are easier to handle and maneuver, which makes them a better choice for beginners.

Longer skis have more surface area, which means that they tend to feel more stable at high speeds and float better in powder. A skier’s weight can also have an impact on a ski’s flex, maneuverability, and power transfer. This sizing chart is an effective tool that will help you consider all of the relevant factors.

GearJunkie tester Sarah Stubbe finds the soft snow in the steeps at Crested Butte Mountain Resort during our all-mountain ski test; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Ski Profile: Camber versus Rocker

A ski’s profile impacts its overall performance. Today, the market is full of skis with all kinds of different profiles, from traditional to experimental and everything in between.

Skis with a more traditional camber profile are shaped gently like the letter “C” and rise up underneath the foot, making contact with the ground at the tip and the tail. While skiing, your body weight pushes the base of the ski against the snow.

During turns, the camber shape provides some lift and pop, which propels you into your next turn with an almost spring-loaded sensation. For pure carving purposes, traditional camber is still the leading ski profile, and many skis on this list feature some variation on the traditional camber shape. Traditionally cambered skis tend to be rockered or flat in the tip and tail. A handful of skis on the market feature a reverse camber design, which is more inclined to slide turns than to carve hard, but can also have quicker maneuverability in soft snow.

A ski with a true rocker profile is shaped like a banana — the tip and tail of the ski are lifted higher than the underfoot area. Rocker profiles are newer to the ski design world, but they have plenty of advantages. You’ll find this type of profile on the Rossignol RallyBird 92.

When skiing in deep powder, a rocker profile offers extra float and creates an effortless surf-like experience. The downside of rocker profiles is they generally don’t hold an edge as well as traditional camber, so they aren’t ideal for high-speed carving on firm surfaces.

Many of the leading all-mountain skis have a hybrid profile that combines aspects of camber and rocker. To learn more about ski profiles and the complex differences between them, check out this handy video from snowsports retailer Evo.

Choosing a ski with a turning radius best suited to your skiing style will help you have more fun in all conditions; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Flex and Stiffness

Ski stiffness is a major performance factor that exists on a broad spectrum. On one end of this range, soft and flexible skis are easier to maneuver, more playful, and best suited for beginner to intermediate skiers, like the Faction Agent 2X.

Freestyle skiers who love to hit boxes and rails may also want a relatively soft and flexible ski. One of the downsides of soft skis is they’re prone to chatter at high speeds and feel harder to control.

Stiff skis are preferred by advanced, and expert skiers who crave high-speed stability and long, aggressive carves. These designs are built with rigid materials such as carbon fiber stringers.

The downside of stiff skis is they require power and refined technique to steer properly. For this reason, we don’t recommend ultra-stiff skis to beginners.

Most all-mountain skis fall somewhere in the middle of the soft-to-stiff spectrum. Groomer-leaning skis are usually on the stiffer side to best support speed and stability. Powder-leaning skis are more flexy in order to maximize surfability and play. If you’re looking for pure versatility, midrange flex is the way to go.

Female skier holding skis and looking across slope
While every all-mountain ski is built to handle a range of conditions across the mountain, there are sub-categories, too; (Photo/Jason Hummel)

Turn Radius and Sidecut

The sidecut of a ski, also known as its turn radius, refers to the shape of the curve along either side of its length. To some degree, all skis have an hourglass shape, but the radius of these curves has a crucial effect on steering, speed, and stability.

Skis that are much wider at the tip and tail than in the waist will have a short turning radius. A shorter turning radius is great for quick and nimble movements in the trees and moguls. Anything less than 16 m can be considered a short turning radius. Several skis on this list fall into this category, allowing them to be more nimble, including the Elan Ripstick 94, Blizzard Black Pearl 97, and Icelantic Maiden.

Skis with a longer turning radius are generally preferred for riding fast and carving hard in wide-open bowls and on groomers. While a long turning radius makes small, quicker turns more difficult, it makes for better edge hold and stability when laying down fast, GS-style turns. Anything more than 20 m can be considered a long turning radius.

Many all-mountain skis have an all-around turning radius somewhere between 16 and 20 m. While a ski’s sidecut does partially define its personality, it won’t tell you everything about how a ski will actually feel on the mountain. Other factors — including flex and profile — combine with the shape of the sidecut to define the performance personality of any given ski.

  • Less than 16 meters: Short turning radius
  • 16-20 meters: Medium turning radius for more moderate and long turns
  • More than 20 meters: Long turning radius

The sidecut often changes according to a ski’s length, so be sure to look at the product specifics. In this guide, we list the sidecut for the specific ski length that we tested.

Female skiers descends moguls
Senior Editor Morgan Tilton testing skis on chalky steep moguls at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Parts of a Ski

Most all-mountain skis are highly engineered tools that pack lots of technology into a sleek package. The materials and construction that make up your skis will define your experience using them. A ski is truly the sum of its parts, all sandwiched together during the construction process.

Though there are many different components of a ski, the most important ones to be aware of are the laminates, sidewalls, core, and base.

Core and Laminates

The core of a ski is the innermost material that defines the basic structure, shape, and flex. Most all-mountain skis feature a wood core made from aspen, poplar, beech, or a combination. Foam cores are commonly found in cheaper, beginner-level skis, like the Atomic Vantage 75.

Around the core, additional layers of carbon fiber, metal, and other materials are added to increase or reduce characteristics such as pop, rigidity, and dampness.

Generally, women’s-specific skis are often lighter, softer, have a greater sidecut and the waist is closer to the tip compared to unisex and men’s skis; (photo/Jason Hummel)


A ski’s base is the surface that comes in direct contact with the snow. There are two kinds of bases: extruded and sintered.

Generally, extruded bases are found on beginner skis due to their low maintenance requirements. Skis with extruded bases are increasingly rare, but if you’re looking to prioritize affordability and low maintenance, they’re a reasonable option.

Sintered bases are the norm for almost all high-quality skis on the market. Though these bases require frequent waxing and general maintenance, they’re the best option for consistent all-mountain performance.


The sidewall is the material along the outer edges of a ski. Generally, sidewalls are made from plastic that protects the sandwiched core layers. Sometimes, the fiberglass and top sheet layer are extended to conceal the edge. The sidewall could also be a hybrid construction of both methods.

For all-mountain skis, it’s good to select a medium-width waist that can grip hardpack while also floating in soft snow; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Women’s Skis versus Men’s Skis

While some manufacturers make unisex skis, most models are specifically designed for either men or women. In the current market, men’s skis tend to have a slightly higher overall weight, increased stiffness, and a slightly setback mounting point to account for the way men tend to balance on skis.

Meanwhile, women’s skis are generally a bit lighter and feature a softer flex profile. They can commonly feature a mildly setback stance. While a women’s-specific ski with enough rigidity for pure hard charging is harder to find, there are some excellent options available. On this list, the Black Pearl 97 is a women’s ski with all of the hard-charging power of any ski on the market.

It’s important to remember that all skiers can absolutely enjoy both men’s and women’s models. Ultimately, it comes down to preference. The differences between men’s and women’s models are often subtle, and we recommend prioritizing performance and comfort over a men’s or women’s label.

One subcategory of all-mountain skis is freeride skis, which are geared toward deep snow with a wider width of around 100 to 110 mm; (photo/Jason Hummel)

How to Choose Bindings

Skis are only one part of your setup, and your boots and bindings are equally important components of the system. It’s crucial that all aspects of your setup work well together to provide the best performance possible.

A high-end pair of skis won’t be able to live up to its potential with low-quality boots or bindings. Generally, you want to match the strengths of your skis with boots and bindings with similar traits.

Most boots and bindings can be mounted successfully to most skis, regardless of brand. Still, we recommend checking with the manufacturer’s specs to be absolutely sure. Some manufacturers and websites (like Evo and Backcountry) will allow you to purchase a ski premounted and paired with bindings. The bindings are usually high quality and reflect what the ski maker would want to be ideally paired with that ski.

Types of Bindings

Bindings are generally defined by their DIN rating, weight, and construction. You’ll need a higher DIN-capable binding, also known as the release value, if you’re a very aggressive skier, or skiing fast. Some bindings have a maximum release value of DIN 10, while others go all the way up to DIN 14. Your local ski shop can help set the DIN for you. Please don’t try and do this yourself, as it’s crucial that your skis not only stay on properly, but come off when they should in the event of a crash.

For resort skiing, you’ll want a traditional resort binding that features a ledge capture for the toe of your boot, a break, and a fully release-capable heel. There are many binding manufacturers on the market; a couple of our favorites are Look and Marker.

Some all-mountain skis specialize in powder, giving you extra float on deep days; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Alpine Ski Bindings

As with skis, there is an overwhelming range of choices for ski bindings on the market. And as with skis, you’ll have to determine a few factors to select the right bindings for you: Your ski width, how aggressively you ski, and if you’ll spend any time ski touring in the backcountry. Releasing — or not releasing — from your bindings at the proper moment is also essential for preventing injuries on the slopes. 

We generally prefer an alpine binding for skiing on the resort, which will have a DIN-certified heel and toe piece. Bindings are then usually titled by their maximum DIN, or release value. The lower the DIN, the less force required to eject from your skis. More experienced and aggressive skiers will want to look for bindings capable of a higher DIN setting. We recommend having your DIN adjusted and set by a professional to prevent injuries associated both with unintentional release, or the skis not releasing when they should. A ski technician will set your DIN based on your skier ability, weight, and height.

You’ll then want to look at the brake width to make sure that the brakes are wider than the widest point of your skis underfoot. Ski brakes are designed to stop your ski from sliding down the mountain if it comes off of your foot during a crash. You should choose a brake width that is no less than exactly as wide, and no more than 15 mm wider than your ski’s width. So, if your skis are 100 mm underfoot, try to find ski brakes that are intended for between 100 and 115 mm. Any wider, or narrower, and they won’t work properly. Bindings span a wide price range; beginners can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $250, while expert and backcountry-capable bindings can range from $400 to upwards of $700.

A variety of profiles exist among all-mountain skis from traditional camber to rocker and hybrid options of the two; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Backcountry-Specific Bindings

If you want to ski in the sidecountry or backcountry, you’ll need an alpine touring (AT) capable binding. These systems generally must integrate with your boot, usually by inserting pins into holes in the front of the boot to allow for a pivot that enables walking uphill. While frame bindings can integrate with any boot, they are a bit antiquated, heavy, and very limiting in terms of range of motion for uphill.  

Bindings for backcountry touring run a wide spectrum of styles, from “hybrid” style bindings, like the Salomon Shift, that have pins for uphill movement and transition to a more traditional binding style for the down, or traditional AT bindings that feature only pins to attach the boot to the binding. Check with the manufacturer’s recommendations for your particular boots to make sure they will be compatible with the bindings you choose.

As mentioned above, you’ll generally want to pair complimentary skis, boots, and bindings, in terms of weight, intended use, and compatibility.

Ski Boot and Binding Compatibility

Especially when considering a ski that can do it all on the resort and also venture into the backcountry and sidecountry, it’s essential to confirm that your boots can interface properly with your bindings without releasing. If you’re planning on skiing backcountry boots on area with a DIN-certified binding like the Salomon Shift, you’ll need to ensure that your boots work with the toe ledge of the binding in downhill mode.

Some backcountry-specific boots, especially those with fully rockered soles or without a toe ledge, like the Dynafit Hoji, will not work with those bindings. Additionally, many backcountry-specific boots will not work properly with a resort-specific binding. Ask your local ski shop if your boots and bindings will work together, and be sure to do your research before committing to a particular combination. 

Skis include a set of three numbers, which are the width of the ski at the tip, waist or under the foot, and tail; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Mounting Ski Bindings

For essentially all skis in this guide, we would recommend having your bindings mounted by a professional, in the manufacturer’s suggested mounting place. Depending on your local shop, it will cost anywhere from $75 to $100 or more to have your skis mounted with bindings. Keep in mind that generally a ski can only be remounted in the same drill holes twice without compromising the ski’s integrity. 

To save potentially both money and time, some ski manufacturers offer skis already mounted with bindings of your choice, ready to go. Online retailers like Evo and Backcountry allow you to order many different options of bindings and skis already pre-mounted, saving you some time and hassle, and enabling you to ski your new skis essentially right out of the box. 

Rossignol and Atomic both offer skis premounted with their manufactured bindings, which can be a great option for saving time and money by ordering everything together. Generally speaking, it’s cheaper to order your skis and bindings together, but if you’re set on a specific binding, this may be more challenging. A few skis, like the Atomic Vantage 75, include bindings in the price.

A wider ski means greater displacement a.k.a. float in powder; (photo/Jason Hummel)


While building skis hasn’t traditionally been the most eco-conscious and environmentally friendly, many brands are shaking up the norms and innovating to make their process more sustainable. Faction skis, makers of the Faction Agent 2X, operate in a 100 percent renewable energy factory, while incorporating bio-based resins rather than petroleum-based products. Line Skis also stepped up their sustainability game this year by incorporating bio-resins into all of their skis for 23-24, including our top pick, the Line Pandora 104

Across the industry, brands are getting creative with the materials they integrate into their skis. Salt Lake City, Utah-based ski maker WNDR Alpine is the first fully carbon-neutral ski manufacturer, using all bio-based products and incorporating recycled materials into many elements of new skis to reduce waste. Wagner Skis, a small, custom ski builder based in Telluride, Colorado has been making their ski cores from local aspens that were knocked down during a historic avalanche cycle in 2019.

At GearJunkie, we’re always keeping an eye out for sustainable innovations in ski gear. Check out our article on how to makeover your ski gear to be more eco-friendly.


Women’s all-mountain skis span a fairly large price range, but everything we’ve included in this guide comes in with a price tag below $1,000. 

Far and away the most economical option in this guide, is the Atomic Women’s Vantage 75, which comes pre-mounted with bindings at a very low price of $380. Price rises quite a bit once you leave the first-timers category, with the bulk of all-mountain options coming in around $650-750 without bindings. The Völkl Blaze 106 W ($650), Elan Ripstick 94 ($650), Rossignol RallyBird ($650), Völkl Kenja 88 ($700), 4FRNT MSP CC ($729), Faction Agent 2X ($749), and Moment Bella ($769) all fall around this range, and offer good, all-around performance suited to a variety of skiers.

You’ll pay more of a premium, think over $800, for advanced-expert level and more discipline-specific-skis. The Blizzard Sheeva 10 and Black Pearl 97, great options for hard-charging skiers, ring up at $800. Playful and powder-leaning favorites, the Line Pandora 104 and Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free also cost $800. The Icelantic Maiden, an all-around great ski costs $849, and the groomer-specific Renoun Endurance will set you back $899.

Female skier carves hardpack slope - front view
Senior Editor Morgan Tilton testing skis at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Jason Hummel)


What are the best all-mountain skis?

The best all-mountain skis are the ones that suit your skill level, skiing style, and budget. On this list, we’ve included many top-quality options across a broad range of design characteristics.

Our current top choice for the best overall women’s all-mountain ski is the Line Pandora 104.

Are all-mountain skis good for beginners?

Some all-mountain skis are excellent for beginner skiers. As a beginner, your priorities are progression and comfort. With these needs in mind, we recommend you choose a ski that is reasonably flexible and narrow. Flexible skis are easier to maneuver, and they won’t fight you for control.

Skis in the narrower range (about 70-95 mm in waist width) will be easier to shift from edge to edge. They tend to do better on the groomers where you’ll likely spend most of your time as a new skier.

On this list, we’ve selected the Atomic Vantage W 75 Skis as the best beginner ski.

Female skier standing with alpine skis
Editor Mary Murphy pauses after ski testing the Elan Ripsticks at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Jason Hummel)
Can I use my old boots and bindings with my new skis?

Most likely, you’ll be able to use your old boots and bindings with your new skis. Most skis will accept any bindings, though there are some exceptions. Depending on the quality of your old boots and bindings, it may be worth considering an upgrade in order to get the most out of your new skis.

Are all-mountain skis good for the terrain park?

Most all-mountain skis will perform reasonably well in the terrain park. If you’re a pure park skier, we recommend freestyle skis over all-mountain options.

However, if you enjoy wandering all over the mountain with an occasional visit to the park, all-mountain skis should do just fine. Generally, skis with better-than-average flex and pop are better than stiff and aggressive skis for park riding.

Modern all-mountain skis contain a lot of specific and proprietary technology to ensure the best possible ride in a variety of conditions; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Are women’s skis different than men’s skis?

Compared to  men’s all-mountain skis, women’s skis commonly feature a mildly setback stance and are lighter and more flexible. Though a women’s ski with enough rigidity for pure hard charging is harder to find, there are some excellent options available.

It’s important to remember that all skiers can absolutely enjoy both men’s and women’s models. Ultimately, it comes down to preference. The differences between men’s and women’s models are often subtle, and we recommend prioritizing performance and comfort over a men’s or women’s label.

How do I know what attributes to look for in an all-mountain ski?

You’ll want to consider a few things, primarily how and where you like to ski. How you like to ski, i.e., how fast, where on the mountain, and with how much experience, will determine a starting point for what types of skis to consider. Most skis on the market will list a “best for” tab, which notes in what terrain the ski thrives, and for what type of skier it’s made. 

Where you like to ski most frequently will then help you narrow down a waist width that will best serve you on the mountain. If you’re an East Coast skier, a narrower ski with good edge hold like the Völkl Kenja 88 or Blizzard Black Pearl 97 will be great all-mountain options. If you ski somewhere that sees frequent storms, you might consider a powder-leaning all-mountain ski, like the Völkl Blaze 106 or the Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free.

Female skier descends slope - back view
Senior Editor Morgan Tilton testing skis; (photo/Jason Hummel)
Can I use my resort all-mountain skis for backcountry skiing?

As long as you have touring-capable boots and bindings, technically you could use any ski for skiing in the backcountry. However, that doesn’t mean that you should do so. There’s a couple of considerations for if an all-mountain ski would make a good backcountry ski — namely, its weight and overall construction.

Remember that you’ll be hauling this ski uphill for every foot you ski downhill in the backcountry, so it’s best to consider a lighter option, like the Line Pandora 104Most of the time in the backcountry, you’re skiing fresh snow that will have a variety of surfaces from powder to breakable crust, so you’ll want something with decent float that can also handle a variety of conditions, like the Moment Bella.

Why does turning radius matter for all-mountain skis?

Although it may seem like a confusing attribute of your new skis to decipher, turning radius — a.k.a. sidecut, changes how the ski will feel more than many other aspects of its construction. A ski with a shorter turning radius will be more playful and more maneuverable, which can be better for beginner or intermediate skiers.

A longer turning radius is best for skiers who really like to open the throttle and make large, sweeping GS-turns. A longer turning radius can be more tiring on certain terrain, like in moguls, where quick turns are necessary. Although it provides much more stability at speed, a longer turning radius can also make tree skiing a bit more challenging. You’ll have to think about if stability and speed are higher priorities than playfulness and maneuverability.

Bindings are designed to stay on–and come off—when needed; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Subscribe Now

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!

Join Our GearJunkie Newsletter

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!