Beginner skis offer great value and an easy platform for learning the basics of turning, balance, and control. In short, they make it easier to learn proper technique in less time. Beginner models come either as an integrated system with bindings or as a flat ski that requires you to purchase the bindings separately (we indicate if they come with bindings in the product title and our comparison table). For our top picks for 2018-2019, we’ve covered both cheap, entry-level models to get you out of rental gear up to all-mountain designs for the athletic or ambitious first timer. For background information to get started, see our buying advice. And to complete your setup, we’ve also written about the best beginner ski boots.
 

1. Rossignol Experience 76 CI w/Xpress 11 Bindings ($500)

Rossignol Experience 76 CI skisDimensions: 123-76-109mm
Turn radius: 15m
Ability level: Beginner to intermediate
What we like: More than just a ski for beginners.
What we don’t: Narrow for all-mountain use.

A beginner ski that you’ll grow out of in a season isn’t necessarily a great buy, which is why our top pick is the very capable Rossignol Experience 76. This ski has all the important characteristics of a great beginner set-up—smooth turn initiation, a low weight, and an easy-to-manage width—with the stability to progress and carve at speed. It’s also a decent value at $500, which includes quality 11-DIN bindings from Look.

The Experience 76 borrows heavily from Rossi’s high-end models, including its lightweight Air Tip and mixed rocker and camber design. The Air Tip was popularized in their freeride “7” line for lightening the ski and giving it a playful nature, and it’s equally effective here. With a moderate rocker along the front, the tip won’t flap at speed and is eager to turn. And once you’re confident, the Experience 76 has very good edge hold for a beginner-friendly design. You can save $50 or more with some of the true entry-level models below, but the higher performance threshold of the Experience 76 earns it our top spot for 2018-2019.
See the Rossignol Experience 76 CI  See the Women's Rossignol Experience 76 CI

 

2. Salomon XDR 78 ST w/Mercury 11 Bindings ($500)

Salomon XDR 78 ST skisDimensions: 126-78-108mm
Turn radius: 14m
Ability level: Beginner to intermediate
What we like: Stable for a beginner model.
What we don’t: A little less forgiving.

The hardpack-focused Salomon XDR 78 ST is a great option for aspiring East Coast or Midwest rippers. Salomon makes an even cheaper version of the XDR, the 76, but we think that model is too basic to be worth the investment. Stepping up to the 78 ST gets you a wood core and solid 78mm width underfoot. And similar to the Head V-Shape V4 below, the XDR is great in the bends with a short turn radius and a willingness to get on an edge.

Where the Salomon breaks from the V-Shape below and Experience above is the use of metal. The XDR 78 has a layer of titanium above its wood core for increased stiffness and top-end stability. While performance frontside skis often have 2 layers, the titanium does make the XDR feel planted at speed. The downside is it takes a little more muscle to get the most out of the ski. This is a plus for the fast learner, but it’s a little less forgiving than the Rossi that narrowly beats it on our list.
See the Salomon XDR 78 ST  See the Women's Salomon Aira CF

 

3. Atomic Vantage 86 C ($400)

Atomic Vange 86 C skisDimensions: 123-86-107mm
Turn radius: 18.2m
Ability level: Beginner to advanced
What we like: Great design for those starting to venture off trail.
What we don’t: Drop in hardpack performance.

Atomic’s Vantage all-mountain ski line goes as wide as 107 millimeters, but we love the 86 C as an introduction to softer snow. Compared to our top pick, the Vantage’s wider shape and increased rocker in the tip give it more flotation and a comfortable platform on hardpack. It’s a little less willing to turn quickly, however, which can be a detriment to beginners. But for casual and medium-width turns, the Vantage is relatively effortless.

At $400 without bindings, the Vantage 86 C is a step up in cost compared to the integrated design of the Experience 76 above (a decent pair of bindings like the Tyrolia Attack 11 will cost you another $170). Another downside is that the ski is a little soft for our tastes as a frontside carver, so it’s best for riders that plan to explore the untracked parts of the mountain down the road or who live in an area with consistently good snow. And for those with big-time powder ambitions, it’s worth considering investing in an even wider ski like the Volkl 90Eight at the bottom of our list.
See the Atomic Vantage 86 C  See the Women's Atomic Vantage 86 C

 

4. Head V-Shape V4 w/PR 10 Bindings ($499)

Head V-Shape V4 skisDimensions: 132-73-113mm
Turn radius: 12.5m
Ability level: Beginner to intermediate
What we like: Light and easy to turn quickly.
What we don’t: Less capable than the Experience above.

Head’s popular Instinct has been replaced by the V-Shape for 2018-2019. As with the prior model, this ski is very easy to control with a light overall weight and moderate rocker profile. Head uses Graphene in the construction—a Nobel Prize winning material—as a way to keep weight down, but a nice surprise is its stiffness at this price. It doesn’t have the loose feel that you get with most cheap composite skis. The V-Shape also is solid in the bends: its wide shovel and narrow 73-millimeter waist give it a very short turn radius of 12.5 meters (most in this category are 15 meters or more).

Despite the advanced construction, the Head V4 still lags behind the Experience 76 for intermediates. Its eagerness to turn is somewhat overwhelmed on wide, sweeping curves and when you really get up to speed. Therefore, we give the nod to the Experience because you won’t grow out of it as quickly. But for a quick turner at a solid price, the Head V-Shape is well worth considering.
See the Head V-Shape V4  See the Women's Head Pure Joy

 

5. Blizzard Quattro 8.0 CA w/TCX 12 Bindings ($600)

Blizzard Quattro 8.0 CA skisDimensions: 125-80-108mm
Turn radius: 16m
Ability level: Beginner to advanced
What we like: Stable for the price.
What we don’t: Harder to turn.

The Blizzard Quattro 8.0 is a simple, no-nonsense beginner option. It features a wood core, a small amount of rocker in the tip and tail, and a comfortable feel. As with most Blizzard models, the ski feels solid on hardpack, and the long edges grip well in the bends. At a price of $600 with 12-DIN bindings, it adds up to a good bargain.

So why does the Quattro 8.0 land in 5th place on our list? We think it falls short is eagerness to turn at slower speeds. It’s a nicely built ski that does well if you’re moving at a good pace, but it seems caught in-between a beginner and intermediate/advanced construction, and isn’t as easy to learn with for true beginners. The Experience 76 is $100 less, but a superior ski overall for taking you from a beginner to a higher skillset.
See the Blizzard Quattro 8.0 CA

 

6. Line Sick Day 88 ($400)

Line Sick Day 88 (2019) skisDimensions: 127-88-113mm
Turn radius: 17.4m
Ability level: Beginner to advanced
What we like: A lot of ski for a great price.
What we don’t: A bit soft for on-piste skiers.

Line Skis never take themselves too seriously—just a quick visit to their website will give you a taste of the brand’s personality—and their updated Sick Day sums this up nicely. In its 88-millimeter width, the Sick Day is light, poppy, and easy to turn for a beginner or intermediate. But the standout feature here is price: for $400, you’re getting a quality aspen wood core, a thoroughly modern shape with tip and tail rocker, and the right amount of stiffness to start testing your limits.

The Sick Day’s line reaches as wide as 114 millimeters, but even their narrowest 88-millimeter ski has a liking for the soft stuff. As a result, if your long-term goals involving staying entirely on-trail and you want to be able to really get out on an edge, this likely isn’t the ski for you. But for high fun factor and one of the best values on the market for 2018-2019, we heartily recommend checking out the Sick Day 88.
See the Line Sick Day 88

 

7. Nordica Navigator 80 ($400)

Nordica Navigator 80 skisDimensions: 117-79-102mm
Turn radius: 15.5m
Ability level: Beginner to intermediate
What we like: Same tip shape as the excellent Enforcer.
What we don’t: Less versatile than the Vantage and Sick Day above.

Building on the success of their all-mountain Enforcer series, last year Nordica released the beginner and intermediate-friendly Navigator. The lineup ranges from 80 to 90 millimeters in width, but we think the narrowest model makes for a great starter ski. Its hammerhead tip shape is borrowed from the Enforcer and offers reliable turn-in, and swing weight is excellent with the lightweight construction. Further, the Navigator is a great-looking ski with clean lines and a classy mountainscape topsheet for this season. 

Our main hesitation with the Navigator is value. At $400, it doesn’t stack up well compared with options like the Vantage and Sick Day above, which are similar performers on hardpack but more versatile on powder days with their wider shapes. You can purchase the Navigator 80 with bindings attached for $500, which helps keep costs in check. But we’d pass on that plastic-heavy build and instead get a pair of upgraded bindings like the Marker Squire 11 for improved long-term performance.
See the Nordica Navigator 80

 

8. Rossignol Smash 7 w/Xpress 11 Bindings ($400)

Rossignol Smash 7 (2019) skisDimensions: 119-92-109mm
Turn radius: 23m
Ability level: Beginner to intermediate
What we like: Fun introduction to a freeride design.
What we don’t: A little too soft and wide for frontside only use.

Rossignol’s 7 Series of skis—highlighted by the Soul 7 HD—is among the most popular on the market today. Their wide, flashy designs are great for folks that spend a good amount of time off trail, but they remain light and playful on a groomed run. The $750 Soul 7 gets the most attention, but their $400 entry-level Smash 7 is the best for the lightweight beginner. You clearly give up a lot in performance, but the Smash offers a fun freeride experience.

At 92 millimeters in the waist and with only 50% camber underfoot, the ski is clearly tuned for soft snow. And its extremely wide turn radius makes it lazy on hardpack. On the other hand, the long rockered tip is easy to turn and it can cruise a groomed run just fine. As a value option for those wanting to explore the whole mountain, it’s a total winner. And as a nice bonus, Rossignol includes the same bindings as our top-rated Experience 76 ski but at a significant discount.
See the Rossignol Smash 7  See the Women's Rossignol Sassy 7

 

9. Salomon QST 92 ($500)

Salomon QST 92 skisDimensions: 130-92-113mm
Turn radius: 17m
Ability level: Intermediate to advanced
What we like: Extra width for soft snow.
What we don’t: The Line and Nordica are better for the beginner.

The Salomon QST 92 represents the next step up in performance from the Line Sick Day above. And it’s not just in dimensions—although the QST does afford you another 5 to 6 millimeters in width for flotation—but also in ability level. Realistically, it’s best for someone that’s already been on skis and has already begun to feel comfortable on the hill. It’s just too wide and stiff for the green runs.

Once you start exploring more of the mountain, the QST 92 shines. It’s stable, fun when you push it, and a decent value for its construction at $500. But it lands lower on our list because it’ll come up short for most beginners. If you plan to head straight to powder, get the Volkl’s below, and we think the Line above is the better design for someone that’s just starting out. And while it’s clearly a better ski overall than the Smash 7 that beats it on the list, it’ll cost you another $250 with bindings, which is why we have it here.
See the Salomon QST 92  See the Women's Salomon QST Lux 92

 

10. J Skis The Allplay ($599)

J Skis The Allplay (2017-2018)Dimensions: 120-98-117mm
Turn radius: 21m
Ability level: Intermediate to advanced
What we like: A well-made ski from an exciting new brand.
What we don’t: Too wide for many beginners.

Up-and-coming J Skis is making waves with an impressive hand-built lineup covering everyone from strong beginners to freestyle pros. One of their most versatile designs for those still working out the kinks in their technique is the aptly named The Allplay. This ski is built for park and all-mountain use, so it’s reasonably soft, forgiving, and easy to handle with a low swing weight. And J Skis’ limited edition graphic releases mean you’re getting a unique, premium product even as a starter ski.

Where The Allplay is a little limited for a true beginner is cost and width. The $599 price tag isn’t the steepest on our list, but it’s still a hefty investment for someone just starting out (and it doesn’t include bindings). More, the 98-millimeter waist and wide 21-meter turn radius make it a little more difficult to control in tight spaces than the narrower options above. But we love to see a smaller brand with real appeal for a wide range of skiers, so if you have powder and park ambitions, The Allplay is a great match.
See the J Skis The Allplay

 

11. Elan Element w/EL 10.0 Bindings ($449)

Elan Element skisDimensions: 127-76-102mm
Turn radius: 15.2m
Ability level: Beginner
What we like: Very good price for new skis.
What we don’t: Fast learners will outgrow it very quickly. 

If the skis above still are stretching the budget and you’re striking out with used or past season’s models, there are some genuinely cheap options out there. Elan excels in this realm, with designs that reach as low as $350 (including bindings). We’ve opted for the Element on this list, which adds wood to the synthetic core for a better feel and flex on the slopes. There isn’t anything fancy here, but the Element’s 76-millimeter width, light tip and tail rocker, and very soft construction make it a suitable first ski set-up.

The Elan Element gets you on the slopes at minimal cost, but we think there are better options even for true beginners. Investing in skis means you’ve likely progressed beyond renting and are at least somewhat committed to the sport, so it’s worth future-proofing a bit more by opting for the higher performing Rossignol Experience, Salomon XDR, or Head V-Shape above. And if you like Elan’s styling, you can get the Elan Amphibio 78 Ti for another $150, which gets you a noticeable boost in material quality and high-speed stability.
See the Elan Element  See the Women's Elan Element

 

12. Dynastar Legend X 80 w/Xpress 11 Bindings ($600)

Dynastar Legend X 80 skisDimensions: 123-80-103mm
Turn radius: 15m
Ability level: Beginner to intermediate
What we like: Quick handling and comes with Look bindings.
What we don’t: Not a great value.

Similar to the Sick Day 88 above, the Dynastar Legend X 80 is the narrowest option in a lineup that stretches well into powder territory. But that’s about where the similarities end—the Legend X has much more of an on-trail design with a narrow 80-millimeter width, short turn radius, and included 11-DIN bindings. As with most skis on our list, the Legend X is a smooth operator at moderate speeds on hardpack with a light fell and eagerness to turn.

Where the Legend X 80 falls short is value. It’s true you get a quality wood core and nice Look bindings—the same as the Experience 76 above—but the rest of the ski is too soft for its steep price tag. Fast learners that stick to groomers will likely prefer the Blizzard Quattro’s stronger edge hold and high speed stability, and those that want to get off trail should opt for a wider and cheaper model. It’s not to say the Legend X isn’t a solid ski, but we think the Line Sick Day and Atomic Vantage above are better all-around designs.
See the Dynastar Legend X 80

 

13. K2 Press Skis ($300)

K2 Press skisDimensions: 113-85-104mm
Turn radius: 20m
Ability level: Beginner
What we like: Great pop and easy to handle.
What we don’t: Flexy and too light.

It may come as a surprise that a park ski makes our list, but the K2 Press is light and easy to handle for true beginners. The ski is very soft in the tip and tail for generating good pop off of jumps, which translates to smooth and easy transitions between turns. Throw on a pair of decent bindings and you have a full system for under $500 (not including the cost of mounting the bindings).

The primary downside of such a light and flexy construction is that it’ll feel flimsy for heavy and powerful skiers. And while it’s easy to turn, the ski prefers wide sweeping turns and won’t provide a lot of grip once it gets on an edge. Its limited performance potential puts it near the bottom of our list, but if you want to go straight to the terrain park, the K2 Press is a nice option.  
See the K2 Press Skis

 

14. Volkl 90Eight ($649)

Volkl 90Eight skisDimensions: 133-98-116mm
Turn radius: 17.9m
Ability level: Intermediate to expert
What we like: A true all-mountain design.
What we don’t: Too much ski for most.

As we touched on above, the term "beginner" can mean different things to different people. For athletic people that expect to progress quickly, it's worth skipping the beginner concept completely. Stepping up to the Volkl 90Eight gets you a ski that is wide enough at 98 millimeters in the waist to perform well on and off trail, while retaining enough of the qualities of an entry-level model to pick up proper techniques along the way.

The price for this high quality of a ski is, well, its price. At $649 without bindings, the Volkl 90Eight is out of reach for most folks who are just starting out, and you should think long and hard about your plans before taking the plunge. But it’s the only ski here that can keep up with you from the beginner lift to back bowls. For more options, see our article on the best all-mountain skis. 
See the Volkl 90Eight

 

Beginner Ski Comparison Table

Ski Price Bindings Dimensions Radius Ability Level
Rossignol Experience 76 CI $500 Included (11 DIN) 123-76-109mm 15m Beginner - intermediate
Salomon XDR 78 ST $500 Included (11 DIN) 126-78-108mm 14m Beginner - intermediate
Atomic Vantage 86 C $400 Not included 123-86-107mm 18.2m Beginner - advanced
Head V-Shape V4 $499 Included (11 DIN) 132-73-113mm 12.5m Beginner to intermediate
Blizzard Quattro 8.0 $600 Included (12 DIN) 125-80-108mm 16m Beginner - advanced
Line Sick Day 88 $400 Not included 127-88-111mm 17.4m Beginner - advanced
Nordica Navigator 80 $400 Not included 117-79-102mm 15.5m Beginner - intermediate
Rossignol Smash 7 $400 Included (11 DIN) 119-92-109mm 23m Beginner - intermediate
Salomon QST 92 $500 Not included 130-92-113mm 17m Intermediate - advanced
J Skis The Allplay $599 No included 120-98-117mm 21m Intermediate - advanced
Elan Element Skis $449 Included (10 DIN) 127-76-102mm 15.2m Beginner
Dynastar Legend X 80 $600 Included (11 DIN) 123-80-103mm 15m Beginner - intermediate
K2 Press Skis $300 Not included 111-86-106mm 20m Beginner
Volkl 90Eight $649 Not included 133-98-116mm 17.9m Intermediate - expert

 

Beginner Ski Buying Advice

What is a Beginner Ski?

Beginner skis are defined by a few shared characteristics: a softer flex for easier turn initiation, a lower price point that typically denotes value-oriented materials in the construction, and narrower dimensions because most skiing will be done on groomed runs. In addition, you often get an integrated binding that comes with the skis. Skis, almost more than any other gear type, can be broken into simple categories purely by price, and for beginner skis, the ski packages (including skis and bindings) should run about $500 or close to it.

The best option for you, however, is more nuanced and can reach well into what’s considered an intermediate-level model. For those starting out that are athletic or will be spending a lot of time on the mountain, it’s often worth foregoing the true beginner category altogether. The more capable skis that made our list, including the Line Sick Day 88 and Atomic Vantage 86 C, have the forgiving characteristics that make them relatively easy to learn on, but are also plenty capable at speed and for all-mountain use. The more advanced construction will cost you more and you often don’t get integrated bindings, but you’ll save money in the long run because you won’t have to replace your skis as quickly. For more intermediate to advanced ski options, check out our article on the best all-mountain skis.
 

Waist Width

Ski width measurements are given in a set of 3 numbers, listed in order of the tip, waist, and tail of the ski. And for an indication of performance in varying snow conditions, identifying the waist width of a ski is quite helpful. While all beginner skis are designed for groomed runs, not all groomed runs are created equal. Some areas are prone to icy conditions where a narrow ski is a great match, while others get so much snow that powder inevitably accumulates throughout a ski day. And should you test your developing skills in the trees, a ski like the Nordica Navigator 80 with a little more waist width can be helpful.

There is not as large a range in waist widths for beginner skis as what you’ll find in more advanced all-mountain or powder ski categories, but here is a good guideline to use:

  • 70mm to 80mm: Tuned for on-trail performance. Not too wide to be inhibiting while practicing basic turns, but still offering a stable base.
  • 80mm to 90mm: More all-mountain capabilities but without compromising on groomed runs. Will often be associated with more expensive, intermediate skis.
  • 90mm+: Intermediate to advanced level skis designed for mixed on and off trail use.
     

Ski Profile

The profile of a ski can be broken into three main categories: camber, rocker, and mixed rocker/camber. There are others, including skis with a flat bottom shape, but the three listed below are the most popular—and for good reason. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses for skier and snow type, and we detail those below.

Camber
Camber is the traditional groomer ski design. The profile has a half moon-like shape that peaks right underneath your boot and contacts the ground towards the tip and tail of the ski. While skiing, your weight presses the ski into the snow, and when you lift coming out of the turn, you get a satisfying pop that propels you into the next turn. The design has been popular for many years because it provides even contact with the snow and superior edge control when carving down a groomed slope. As a result, camber is a popular choice for beginner skis; however, the benefits of rocker technology are changing the market landscape.

Rocker
Also known as reverse camber, rocker is when the tips of the skis are raised on either end, creating a sort of banana shape to the ski profile. This design came about originally for its benefits in deep powder, but it has become popular on beginner skis because the raised tip of the skis makes it much easier to initiate a turn—oftentimes a challenge for beginners. We do not suggest getting a full rocker ski, however, as it just doesn’t hold an edge like traditional camber. Instead, the ultimate beginner ski puts together the two designs with a mixed rocker/camber.

Mixed Rocker/Camber
The most popular ski profile nowadays is the mixed camber/rocker. This is another place where entry-level skis have benefited from earlier advances in technology, but with adaptations to suit casual cruising. There are variations in exactly how manufacturers utilize this mix, and for beginners, our favorite is a modest tip and tail rocker with a traditional camber underfoot. This allows a ski like the Rossignol Experience 76 to turn easily, but also retain good edge hold and natural flex underfoot.
 

Turn Radius (Side Cut Radius)

As your skills advance and you transition your weight into a turn, you’ll feel the skis naturally rotate at a certain angle. And depending on the ski turn radius, this can either be a long sweeping turn or something a little tighter. Side cut radius is measured in meters, and the lower the number the tighter the turn. The number itself is based off of the shape of the ski, moving from the tip to the tail. Most modern skis have an hourglass arc to them, and you get a lower side cut number with a more dramatic the shape (much wider at the tip and tail compared with the waist). For most beginners, a lower side cut radius is a good idea because you more likely will not be all the way out on your edges in a turn. When you have a lower side cut radius, even a more tentative turn can be reasonably tight. Below are some parameters for beginning skis:

  • Carving: Less than 15 meters
  • All-around: 15-20 meters
  • Sweeping turns in powder: 20+ meters

Keep in mind that a longer version of the same ski will increase the turn radius, so if you’re weighing two ski lengths know that the shorter option will be more inclined to turn a little sharper (at the sacrifice of some top-end speed and flotation).
 

Choosing the Proper Ski Length

Picking your ski size used to a pretty simple process, and could be done simply by knowing your height (the center of the forehead was a common match for a ski). Those days are long gone, replaced by more of a scientific process. Now, ski manufacturers are basing their recommendations on height and weight. This allows you to maximize the ski’s potential with proper amounts of flex and power transfer. Other considerations are skiing style and ability: shorter skis are easier to handle for beginners and turning faster, while longer skis float better and are more stable at high speed. In the end, the right skis might only come to your chin or they may reach the top of your head, so all your height should do is give you a good ballpark. We’ve found these ski sizing guides from Backcountry and Evo to be helpful as baseline information.
 

Integrated Bindings

As we touched on above, most entry-level skis come as an integrated system of skis and bindings. And while they’ll still need to be mounted and tuned at a ski shop or at the resort before your first run, you don’t have to worry about binding-to-ski compatibility issues. What about the quality of these bindings? Most have a plastic-heavy construction as a result of being focused on a price point. For casual use, the more basic designs are completely fine and should still offer multiple seasons of good use, and a properly tuned binding should release safely. You will miss out on a longer-lasting metal construction and advanced technology that rotates the bindings prior to releasing your boot in a fall, which can help reduce knee injuries. Beyond that, an entry-level binding remains a reliable option for resort use.

Should you choose a ski that does not include a binding, check out our article on the best ski bindings for our list of recommendations.
 

Ski Binding DIN Rating

You will see a DIN rating given to all integrated ski systems, and this refers to the amount of force at which a binding will release a locked in boot. The numbers range from roughly 1 to 18, and the higher the number, the longer the binding will hold prior to letting go. Understandably, beginner bindings won’t hold you as long and are more inclined to release even at a slower speed to avoid injury, and intermediates will have a higher DIN rating. Skier weight also plays an important role in the binding release, and a higher setting will correspond with a larger skier.

For DIN recommendations, let us start by clarifying that even the charts put together by respected retailers are not a replacement for going into a ski shop. Our take is that if you’re not qualified and it’s a safety item, let the pros take care of it for you. Snowsports retailer Evo has put together a helpful chart that breaks down DIN settings by weight and ability, and when shopping for your right setup, it’s a great idea to use this to ballpark your necessary DIN range. And as mentioned in this article by Evo, it’s best to choose a binding that doesn’t put you at the maximum DIN setting right off the bat (e.g., don’t get a 10-DIN binding if you’re planning on setting it at 10). It’s better to have a little wiggle room to make adjustments once you spend some time on your new sticks. 
 

Where to Find Discounted Skis

Skis are expensive even at the beginner end of the spectrum, but there are deals to be found. The good news is that changes in technologies aren’t typically groundbreaking from year to year. For example, the Rossignol Experience 76 at the top of our list is nearly unchanged for this season other than graphics—so if you’re willing to forego the latest colors, you can sometimes save a bundle. For searching online, we’ve found Evo’s Ski Sale selection to typically be the best, including prior season’s models and even lightly used gear. Skis.com, Backcountry, and REI also have their fair share of discounted skis and ski packages. It’s important to know that things get picked out rather quickly as the winter progresses, so you’ll have the best luck purchasing early, but we think it’s always worth checking the sale section to avoid paying full MSRP.
 

What About Boots?

Don’t start to think that because you’re just starting out skiing that any old boot will do. Trust us, having a nicely fitting and comfortable boot can be the difference between making this a lifelong sport and hucking the whole setup into a dumpster. A beginner boot has a more forgiving feel that flexes rather than a rigid boot that transmits every slight input to your skis. And much like a beginner ski and binding, the softer setup does dull performance, which is why we don’t advise a beginner boot for skilled skiers. To help put together a suitable beginner ski package, we have an article covering our favorite beginner ski boots with the best options for men and women.
Back to Our Top Beginner Ski Picks  Back to Our Beginner Ski Comparison Table

Best Ski Boots for Beginners of 2017-2018

If there is one piece of gear that will keep first timers from sticking with the sport, it’s an uncomfortable ski boot. A cheap boot can pinch and freeze toes turning potential fun...

Best Ski Jackets of 2018-2019

From cold to snow to wind to sweat, choosing a ski jacket is all about managing the conditions that you might encounter on the mountain. The right ski jacket for you depends on the specific kinds of skiing you enjoy most—skinning up a sunny ridgeline...

Best Ski Goggles of 2018-2019

No matter your experience level or budget, there is a great ski goggle waiting to be found. Interchangeable lenses dominate the high end of the market with systems that are getting quicker and easier by the...

Best All-Mountain Skis of 2018-2019

If you're searching for that elusive one-ski quiver, this is the category to find it. The definition of “all-mountain” varies by manufacturer and retailer, but generally includes skis from 85mm to 105mm...

Best Ski Pants of 2018-2019

Ski pants are a critical barrier between you and the elements, and there’s a pair to fit every type of skier and budget. Resort goers typically opt for a classic hardshell design with some light insulation to stay warm on the lift rides up. Backcountry...

Best Winter Jackets of 2018-2019

When the heart of the coldest winter months arrives, it’s time for a serious jacket. Our picks for the best winter jackets and parkas below are among the warmest on the market—they are packed with...

Best Ski Poles of 2017-2018

It’s hard not to admire the utility of the humble ski pole. A pair of ski poles serves a number of purposes, from helping you set a rhythm for turns, to propelling you along flat sections of trail, to having a crutch to lean on in long lift lines...

Best Ski Helmets of 2018-2019

No matter your ability level, picking up a helmet for skiing or snowboarding is a no-brainer. If you’ve been putting off replacing a helmet that’s years old or are new to the sport, recent advancements have...