What Should I Pay for Skis?Published on 02/12/2021 · 6 min readWhat you get at different price points - just because a ski is more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better or even the right ski for you!
Photo courtesy of Curated expert Matt Wood
How much should skis cost? It is a question every skier needs to deal with at some point, but there is never an easy answer. You can spend as little as a few hundred bucks on a used setup or over $1,500 on some really innovative and ripper skis. However, just because a ski is more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better or even the right ski for you at all!
For today, we are just going to look at skis instead of full setups, so these prices don’t include bindings or binding mounting. If you do want to get your hands on any of these skis or even if you have something else in mind, head over to my profile and I’ll get you hooked up with the gear that is right for you!
The Line Honey Badgers are some of our favorite budget skis here at Curated. Made for the park and on-piste skiing, these are going to be a great ski for those on the East Coast or those who love to hit rails. A skinnier width underfoot and a wood veneer core help to keep these reasonably priced, but that doesn’t mean they can’t handle some punishment. The materials are less durable than some other, more expensive skis on the market, but that helps you save some dough. Overall, these are an absolutely killer choice if your budget is feeling tight!
The Line Sick Day 94s are going to be your next step up from the Honey Badgers. Still a great deal coming in at just a hair under $500, these skis can handle all kinds of conditions and crush all over the mountain. But you might be thinking—what makes these $150 more expensive than the Honey Badgers? It is all about the build!
The Sick Day 94s are made with a full wood core. This means that they are solid wood instead of a wood and veneer laminate like the Honey Badgers. That makes the Sick Days flex more consistently and be able to have a more predictable feel underfoot in mix conditions. That means you can take these off the groomed runs with confidence!
The sweet spot of ski shopping tends to be $750. At this price range, your options start to grow quite a bit. That means new build material, different widths, and an overall greater variety of what you can get for your money. The K2 Mindbender 108ti is a killer choice if you have a little less than a grand to spend.
These K2s are crazy-versatile and absolute ripper skis. Coming in at 108 millimeters underfoot, these are skis that are made to get off the beaten path and find some powder. One reason why these skis are more expensive than those we looked at before is, once again, the build! These have a metal plate (titanal to be specific) embedded in the ski. This makes them stiff, responsive, and even better at crushing through variable snow. You can trust these no matter how steep or how choppy the snow gets.
The other element of the build that sets these apart is the two types of wood in the core. By combining two types of wood (fir and aspen), the skis stay light and easy to maneuver, even at their larger size, without sacrificing responsiveness and pop. This means that these skis will feel alive anywhere you take them!
Now we are in the upper-level of ski construction. If you are spending $1,000 on a pair of skis, you can expect burly construction, innovative material, and a high-quality product. One pair of skis that really speaks to all of these elements are the Black Crows Ferox Freebirds.
These Ferox Freebirds have cool features that you won’t find in a cheaper ski. First, they have a 3D cutout on the front and back of the binding mount. The team at Black Crows literally designed these with material missing in order to save weight and make these the ideal skis for getting out in the backcountry on a powder day.
Another unique thing here is the use of carbon. The carbon in these skis actually follows the outside edge of each cutout. This allows for all of a skier’s power to transfer directly from their foot to the edge of the ski. This means that you will have no energy wasted, and you will feel every ounce of power you put into a turn. Carbon is used in tons of skis on the market, but the way the Ferox Freebirds use it is unique and the price reflects that.
So if you are thinking about finding powder stashes in and out of the resort and you want to have a super lightweight and energetic ski to do it with—the Ferox Freebirds are going to be your go-tos! You just have to make sure that the $1,000 price tag is within your budget.
Last but not least, we have the skis that fall into the category of well over $1,000. These are going to be for the most serious riders who know exactly what they are looking for and want to spend more days on snow this year than the average Joe will get in the next decade. For this price range, a great example is the DPS Pagoda Tour 112 RP.
The Pagoda’s a dedicated powder touring ski. That means you will be breaking these out when you know the backcountry is deep and your hidden powder stash definitely hasn’t been touched yet. You might be thinking—how could these be different from the Black Crows or even the K2s that we have already looked at? There is one thing to blame and I bet you already know what it is… that’s right, THE BUILD.
When I say the build of these skis justifies the cost, I am talking about the Aerospace Grade Foam that is infused into the core of these skis. DPS has mixed its wood core with a totally unique foam compound made just for its skis. That means that this ski will handle like a powder ski on the way down but get up the skin track like a far skinnier ski. That can make a huge difference when you are having a big day exploring terrain all over the backcountry and doing a lot of climbing!
Now, I know that a $1,300 ski is not for everyone, and there is no reason to pay more than you need to for skis! But spending the extra money can mean you will have the ski longer, it may ski better for your preferences, and you will just be happier on it when you are out there ripping. So, whether you want to spend $500 or $1,500 on your next setup, head over to my profile and let’s talk. The faster we can get you on the right ski, the faster you can tear it up!