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Ski Like the Year Depends On It with These Best Skis for Men

12 min read
Ski Like the Year Depends On It with These Best Skis for Men
Ski Like the Year Depends On It with These Best Skis for Men

9 Men’s Skis for an Unforgettable WinterGetty Images

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For some people, skiing is something the whole family can enjoy together over the holidays. For others (like us), all responsibilities get sidelined during winter months to spend every imaginable moment on the mountain.

No matter which side you fall on, everyone can agree that snowsports like skiing are a great way to make a few happy memories during the winter months. And using a set of skiing or snowboarding gear, particularly the best men’s skis to suit your abilities, style, and terrain preference can make or break your time on the slopes.

The Best Men’s Skis

What to Consider

Skis have come a long way from being long, skinny, metal-infused planks. And we understand that to the untrained eye, buying skis can be quite overwhelming due to the never-ending range of shapes, designs, and features, each boasting its own “unique” advantages. To help you be less intimidated and more informed, we’ll explain the most important factors to consider.

Classifications

All-mountain skis are the most common. As the name implies, they’re made to roam the entire mountain, including groomed runs, moguls, and even powder.

And those are just a few types.

Rocker and Camber

  • The camber is the upside-down arc underneath the center of the ski, which contacts the ground when you stand on the ski. Camber helps you initiate and finish turns, and it gives the ski a sense of energy.

  • The rocker is the upturned portion of the ski at the tip and tail. A larger rocker in the front improves flotation on powder, but this reduces the proportion of the ski that is in contact with the ground, which can decrease stability at high speeds and compromise power in turns.

Length

The length you choose depends on many things, including experience level, terrain preference, height, and weight. Generally speaking, a heavier expert male will ride longer skis, while a lighter, less-experienced male of the same height will size down. Length should not be a guess, though — use this chart to figure out what dimensions suit you best.

Widths

A ski’s width is measured in millimeters at the widest part of the tip, the narrowest part of the waist, and the widest part of the tail (referred to as “tip-waist-tail”). Of these measurements, waist width is the most relevant, as it directly affects performance.

Generally speaking, a narrower waist (under 90-95 millimeters) is best for frontside skiing, a wider waist (95-105 millimeters) is an all-mountain ski, and anything bigger (105 millimeters and above) thrives in unmaintained conditions. A ski that’s too narrow won’t float well in powder, and a fat ski might be harder to manage on groomers, so it’s important to consider the trade-offs based on what type of terrain you frequent.

Note: The number in each product title below refers to the waist width, e.g. Atomic Bent Chetler 120 has a waist width of 120 millimeters.

How We Chose

The past few years were quite unpredictable, and we think that a killer 2023 ski season is the best chance at redemption. As of Feb. 1, 2023, most mountains in the mountain west (Colorado, Utah) have received far more than average snowfall, to date. And with all ski resorts back to normal operating procedures, we’ve been clocking as many laps as possible this season.

To us, skiing is life. Seriously. We literally make zero weekend plans — other than skiing — for 4-5 months, so we never have to miss a powder day. And we hope you are just as stoked as us. So we’ve combined our obsession with skiing with our knowledge of the industry to provide you with the most relevant information in hopes that you, too, will feel the stoke.

To compile this list of 2023’s best men’s skis, our editors thoroughly examined a wide variety. We carefully considered design, shape, construction, size, and, of course, style. Some skis were selected based on positive firsthand testing experiences, and others were chosen based on hours of research on current technology, trends, and surveys of user reviews.

Check out our picks for the best men’s skis of 2023, including beginner options for the learner, intermediate skis for the all-mountain explorer, and expert planks that can slay the toughest lines. Don’t worry — we have a guide for women’s skis, too.

Best Overall

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rei.com%2Fproduct%2F214170&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestproducts.com%2Ffitness%2Fa14527722%2Freviews-best-skis-for-men%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Mana 2 Men's Skis</p><p>$699.00</p><p>rei.com</p>

Editor’s Note: Three different lengths are available, but the most popular model is 183 centimeters long and measures 131-102-127 (tip-waist-tail, in millimeters).

Looking for one ski that thrives in all conditions? Look no further than Faction’s new Mana 2.0 — the brand’s replacement for their crowd-favorite CT 3.0 — and a true “one-ski quiver.” The Mana can float on deep powder, weave carefully in tight trees, blast through afternoon slush, and charge down groomers to be first in line for après-ski — all in a day’s work.

The Mana is offered in three different styles — the Mana 2, Mana 3, and Mana 4 — each with a progressively wider waist. But we’ve found the Mana 2 to be the most versatile in the lineup. It features a stiffer (7/10 stiffness) flex, a rocker-camber-rocker profile, and progressive twin tips that are narrower in the tail for better performance on the downhill. It’s aimed at experienced skiers who want power and control to rage without fear, but who also like to jib and butter when the boys come out to play.

With a 102-millimeter waist, the Mana 2 holds an edge on big, wide, hard-pack carves, slashed through late afternoon chunder, surfed over powder stashes, and did it all with a bit of snap. That’s why it’s our choice for the best everyday, all-mountain ski of 2023.

Best Powder Ski

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rei.com%2Fproduct%2F212832&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestproducts.com%2Ffitness%2Fa14527722%2Freviews-best-skis-for-men%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Bent Chetler 120 Skis for Men</p><p>$799.95</p><p>rei.com</p>

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Bent Chetler 120 Skis for Men

$799.95

rei.com

Editor’s Note: The best-selling model is 184 centimeters long and measures 143-120-134 millimeters wide (tip-waist-tail, in millimeters). Women can ride them, too — just ask Atomic athlete Arianna Ticomi. Teens can even ride the Mini Bent Chetler.

If Jackson Hole’s nearly vertical walls are your warm-up, and a waist-deep powder day is more exciting than Christmas morning (we get it), then Atomic’s Bent Chetler should be your powder ski. It’s the go-to ski for The North Face’s powder-obsessed athlete Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and 16-year-old phenom Kai Jones (who skis the 110-millimeter size), so there’s no doubt that it’s worth your praise. You may need a different ski for low-key days at the resort, but if you’re looking (and have the funds) for a powder-only ski for big backcountry lines, these are absolute bombers.

The standout technology here is what Atomic calls HRZN Tech — a horizontal rocker shape that adds 10% more surface area to the ski’s tip — which reduces tip deflection and allows this ski to float like a surfboard. And rather than building the Bent Chetler with a full rocker shape (which is common in dedicated powder skis), Atomic used a significant amount (40%) of camber underfoot, which allows you to grab hold of ice and carve when steep lines turn sketchy.

This ski features the wildest graphic top sheets of 2023, thanks to Chris Bent Chetler’s incredible artistic talent. They are built with a poplar-wood core that dampens big landings and a carbon insert that increases stability without the extra weight. They’re not for everyone, but experienced skiers hoot and holler when they get send-y on these bad boys.

Best Budget Ski

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rei.com%2Fproduct%2F213279&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestproducts.com%2Ffitness%2Fa14527722%2Freviews-best-skis-for-men%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Mindbender 85 Skis for Men</p><p>$399.95</p><p>rei.com</p>

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Mindbender 85 Skis for Men

$399.95

rei.com

Editor’s Note: The 2023 Mindbender 85s are available in multiple lengths, all measuring 130-85-113 wide (tip-waist-tail, in millimeters). If you’re trying to upgrade from beginner’s gear, or if you’re a learner who wants a ski to grow into, it’s tough to find more bang for your buck. If you’re looking for something wider, consider K2’s Mindbender 90C, Mindbender 99 Ti, and Mindbender 116C, instead.

As the slimmest in the Mindbender lineup (85 millimeters underfoot), this is a remarkable option for intermediate skiers who want to upgrade from rentals. They’re ideal for guys who are progressing quickly, gaining confidence on groomers, and like to mess around on side hits. The design and build quality here are comparable to skis that cost upwards of $600, which is what makes this $400 pair our pick for Best Budget Ski.

The Mindbender 85’s shape caters to less experienced skiers who are upgrading from beginner skis. It features an all-terrain rocker profile, which means the tip begins to rise gradually and closer to the tip of the ski, making it more versatile in all snow conditions.

It also has a medium flex (5/10) — the ski has the just-right balance of flexibility and stiffness — which helps the skier initiate turns more easily and finish them with power, and also improves stability at higher speeds.

It’s also a much lighter ski than you’d expect (just 3.8 pounds each), thanks to a full aspen-wood core, so smaller and less experienced skiers can maneuver them with less effort. Sounds like an expensive ski, right? Wrong.

Best All-Mountain Front Ski

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rei.com%2Fproduct%2F212690&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestproducts.com%2Ffitness%2Fa14527722%2Freviews-best-skis-for-men%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Enforcer 94 Men's Skis</p><p>$749.95</p><p>rei.com</p>

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Enforcer 94 Men’s Skis

$749.95

rei.com

Editor’s Note: With the Men’s Nordica Enforcer 94 Skis, the most popular model is 179 centimeters long and measures 127-94-115 wide (tip-waist-tail, in millimeters). For something wider, check out the Enforcer 100, Enforcer 104 Free, or Enforcer 110 Free.

Nordica’s Enforcer 94 continues its performance as a forgiving all-mountain, in-bounds ski since its introduction in 2017. For any intermediate-to-advanced skier who spends most of the day riding fast on groomed, frontside blues, the Enforcer will bring smiles from ear to ear — which made it an easy choice for Best All-Mountain Front Ski.

What sets the Enforcer apart from similar all-mountain skis is its 50% camber profile (more than most). “So what?” you ask. This provides a longer effective edge for better grip, more power from less effort when turning on its 17-meter turning radius, and a solid amount of pop. It also features True Tip technology, which is trimmed to be lower, broader, and lighter than many rockered ski tips, thus increasing edge contact (even more) and reducing unwanted vibrations.

Frontside skiers will love the dampening abilities of this ski at high speeds, thanks to the Energy 2 Titanium construction. Two titanal metal layers sandwich a carbon and balsa wood core, providing top-notch stability when racing a friend from peak to base. Go from average to well above when you click into the Enforcers.

Best East Coast Carving Ski

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rei.com%2Fproduct%2F212798&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestproducts.com%2Ffitness%2Fa14527722%2Freviews-best-skis-for-men%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Brahma 88 Skis for Men</p><p>$699.95</p><p>rei.com</p>

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Brahma 88 Skis for Men

$699.95

rei.com

Editor’s Note: With the Blizzard Brahma 88 Skis, the most popular men’s model is 177 centimeters long and measures 122-88-110 wide (tip-waist-tail, in millimeters).

East Coast skiers, who are more accustomed to ice and sketch than fluffy stuff, are all about these Blizzard skis. The narrower dimensions deliver the just-right combination of edge grip, responsiveness, quick maneuverability, and stability.

What differentiates this ski from others in this list, making it an “East Coast ski,” are its thinner dimensions (88-centimeter waist width) and stiffer flex. A skinnier waist is easier to roll from edge to edge, so you spend less time searching for grip, and more time making quick carves.

It’s a much firmer ski than others, too, which is ideal for going fast on hard-pack and ice, but not for powder or parks. It’s the perfect ski for intermediate to advanced skiers in warmer climates who like to ride hard, fast, and in control (of course).

Best Backcountry Ski

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rei.com%2Fproduct%2F212603&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestproducts.com%2Ffitness%2Fa14527722%2Freviews-best-skis-for-men%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Pagoda Tour 106 C2 Skis for Men</p><p>$1549.00</p><p>rei.com</p>

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Pagoda Tour 106 C2 Skis for Men

$1549.00

rei.com

Editor’s Note: With the Men’s DPS Pagoda Tour 106 C2, the most popular version is 179 centimeters long and measures 137-106-121 wide (tip-waist-tail, in millimeters).

With a love for skiing spreading far and wide, ski resorts are expecting record numbers of visitors this year. Many outdoorspeople are flocking to the backcountry because there are no crowds, no lines, and better snow.

For backcountry skiing, there’s a constant battle between weight and performance when deciding on a set of planks. When skinning uphill, every ounce matters, so a lightweight ski with a touring binding is ideal. But for the downhill, a lightweight setup can leave you skiing more cautiously than normal… until now: DPS has found a way to blend both uphill and downhill performance with this impressive model.

The proprietary technology here is what DPS calls Pagoda Tour. Two layers of carbon laminates sandwich a core of ash, paulownia (wood), and a secret ingredient — an aerospace-grade foam with an incredible blend of strength, energy, and less weight. This delivers a ski that is strong and confident on the descent, yet relatively lightweight (just 3.4 pounds each) for a more enjoyable ascent. It’s so damp and stable that it performs similarly to many downhill alpine skis, with minimal vibration and chatter for a feel that’s predictable and will keep you coming back for more, no matter if you’re skiing hard-pack, chop, or pow.

True to DPS form, the Pagoda Tour is quite the splurge — but those who spend more days in the backcountry than in-bounds will find this a worthy investment.

Best for Beginners

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.evo.com%2Fski-packages%2Fvolkl-deacon-x-skis-vmotion-10-gw-bindings&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestproducts.com%2Ffitness%2Fa14527722%2Freviews-best-skis-for-men%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Deacon X Men's Skis + vMotion 10 GW Bindings </p><p>$499.99</p><p>evo.com</p>

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Deacon X Men’s Skis + vMotion 10 GW Bindings

$499.99

evo.com

Editor’s Note: For the 2023 Volkl Deacon X Skis with Bindings, the most popular length of this unisex ski is 165 centimeters long and measures 123-72-104 (tip-waist-tail, in millimeters). Bindings are included but not pre-mounted. And there are a plethora of other Deacon models for skiers of all sizes, shapes, and abilities.

Learning to ski? No need to get discouraged. Everything about this set from Volkl is intended to make things easier, so you can spend less time focusing on “pizza, french fry,” and more time carving. This pair even comes with bindings, so you’re one step closer to good times, with fewer tough decisions to be made.

The most beginner-friendly feature of these Volkl skis is the shape, with a slight tip rocker and a tapered tail. This design provides increased contact with the snow, basically initiating turns for you, and effortlessly holding an edge throughout — even in icier areas like the Midwest or the East Coast. This shape also improves stability should you start to pick up speed as you get better. The only downside we see is that it might make learning too easy, so good students can outgrow them rather quickly — that’s why you’ll see these used as rentals at ski shops everywhere.

Best All-Mountain Back Ski

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rei.com%2Fproduct%2F214326&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestproducts.com%2Ffitness%2Fa14527722%2Freviews-best-skis-for-men%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Nomad 105 Skis for Men</p><p>$849.00</p><p>rei.com</p>

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Nomad 105 Skis for Men

$849.00

rei.com

Editor’s Note: The most popular Nomad 105 is 181 centimeters long and measures 140-105-130 wide (tip-waist-tail, in millimeters).

Icelantic is a favorite among Coloradans because they are designed and built in Denver, Colorado. Their topsheet artwork is some of the most eye-catching on the mountain, year after year. Each pair of skis is backed by an industry-leading three-year warranty. And to fulfill their motto of “Return to Nature,” Icelantic is a Certified B Corporation and Climate Neutral certified.

Now on to the Nomad 105, Icelantic’s flagship model, and our choice for the best all-mountain back skis. These planks are best described as playful, surfy, and fun. The 105-millimeter waist is one of the most common and beloved widths on the mountain and in ski shops across the world, thanks to its versatility.

These skis have a directional rocker profile — with a larger rocker in the tip than the tail — which increases flotation in powder while improving stability and carving on groomers. The Hybrid Flight Core is super lively, thanks to a poplar and paulownia wood that turns the mountain into your playground. And did we mention these bad boys are fun?

Best Freestyle Ski

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.evo.com%2Fskis%2Ffaction-prodigy-2&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestproducts.com%2Ffitness%2Fa14527722%2Freviews-best-skis-for-men%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Prodigy 2 Skis for Men</p><p>$599.00</p><p>evo.com</p>

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Prodigy 2 Skis for Men

$599.00

evo.com

Editor’s Note: The Prodigy 2 is offered in multiple lengths, but the most popular is 177 centimeters long and measures 127-98-119 wide (tip-waist-tail, in millimeters). The Prodigy series has multiple widths, including the narrower Prodigy 1, plus the wider Prodigy 3 and Prodigy 4.

Want to stomp 50-foot rail slides and be a park-skiing monster like Olympic and X-Games gold medalist Alex Hall? Best to start with the sickest skis. The Prodigy 2 — built by and for Faction’s athletes — is made for slaying anything and everything in the park and pipe, yet versatile enough to ski the rest of the mountain’s natural features.

At the center of this ski is a sustainable poplar wood core — a durable softwood that flexes, pops, and absorbs vibrations for freestyle skiing. Meanwhile, its medium-soft flex pattern makes presses and butters a routine part of every run.

The Eliptical sidecut — a long turn radius underfoot and a shorter radius at the tip and tail — means you can pivot faster and initiate turns more easily — so sick grabs are just a kicker away. Coupled with a clean new topsheet graphic, all you need to complete the package is some practice and a bag of tricks. Snap, crackle, pop.

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