The 12 Best Ski Brands

There are hundreds of ski options out there. To help make your decision easier, here is a top twelve breakdown of the best ski brands so you know where to start.

Someone jumps with their green k2 skis. Their poles are pointed behind them.

Photo courtesy of K2

When looking to purchase alpine skis, there are hundreds of options to choose from with a plethora of information available about each. I’ve found it helpful to understand each brand of skis first to get a feel for what they are trying to accomplish with their skis. Below is a top ten list of high-quality ski brands (in alphabetical order) with some information about each brand. Check them out!

The Armada logo reads "Armada" in black, stylized font.

Armada

If you like skiing in the park or making the mountain your terrain park, Armada skis may be the best for you! With the majority of their skis being twin tips, Armada skis are great for skiers who like to throw tricks everywhere on the slopes. Their ARV series (ARW for women) includes a wide range of waist widths depending on what kind of ski you’re looking for, from 84 millimeters to 116 millimeters underfoot. The Declivity series (Victa for Women) is great for skiers who want to take a high-speed approach to catching air. Lastly, their Tracer series (Trace for women) is an awesome option for those looking to take their twigs into the backcountry. Armadas are skied by the likes of park stars Henrik Harlaut and Phil Casabon (both with their own signature models), as well as well-known pro skiers Tanner Hall and Sammy Carlson.

The Black Diamond logo reads "Black Diamond" in black font. To the left of the text is concentric black diamond shapes.

Black Diamond

Black Diamond’s bread and butter are backcountry skis. Their skis are made specifically to be light on the uphill and stiff enough to make some big turns on the downhill while ski mountaineering. They offer a wide variety of ski sizes and waist widths (from 78 millimeters to 115 millimeters underfoot) for all kinds of ski conditions. With off-piste touring in mind, all of Black Diamond’s skis include a shaped plastic guard to attach skins, which is a nice perk! The Recon series has a light wood core that allows for a more poppy ski, whereas the Helio Carbon series gives skiers a lighter and stiffer ride. Due to their lightweight and high-performance construction, you’ll tend to find Black Diamonds a little more expensive than other touring options. However, mount up some alpine touring bindings, strap on some skins, and take them up your nearest backcountry line, and they’ll show they were worth the investment.

The Blizzard logo reads "Blizzard" in capitalized black font under an image of a white zig-zag shape in a black circle.

Blizzard

If you like to ski fast, carve, or blow through chop, look into Blizzard skis. Most of their skis incorporate some Titanal metal, carbon, and fiberglass around a wood core, making their skis typically stiff and damp. Male directional skiers will enjoy the Brahma, Cochise, and Bonafide. Women who like to go fast down the hill will enjoy the Black Pearl series, one of Curated’s best-selling skis. The Rustler and Sheeva series provide a slightly lighter and more rockered ski that can better handle off-piste conditions and even make a good 50/50 touring ski. You can find Marcus Caston and Elyse Saugstad making beautiful turns down large mountains on a pair of Blizzard skis.

The DPS Ski logo reads "dps" next to a graphic of a snowflake.

DPS Skis

I like to think of DPS skis as the “engineer’s approach” to skiing. Their skis are not cheap, but there’s a great reason for it. DPS, based out of Salt Lake City, Utah, uses the latest and greatest innovations in ski tech to make all of their gear perform to the highest level in all conditions. A great example of this is their Phantom Wax treatment; apply once and your skis are set for years. Leveraging a combination of different woods, carbon fiber, and race bases, DPS puts the utmost thought into its ski design. They are known for having generally wider skis with a heavy nose rocker profile and lighter weights, making them a sought-after option for backcountry skiers.

The DPS Lotus is a great powder ski for those living in climates with a lot of snow. The RP112 makes a good all-mountain option despite being quite wide at 112 millimeters underfoot due to its small 15-meter turning radius. Lastly, the Koala series is DPS’s latest offering for those who like to treat the mountain like a terrain park. While they have a high price, if you do pull the trigger on some DPS skis, you won’t be disappointed as they are made with the highest quality and durability in mind.

The Fischer logo reads "Fischer" in italic black font. To the right is a triangle made up of four smaller triangles, the middle one empty.

Fischer

Fischer has historically been known for their race skis more than anything else. They continue to provide top-notch race and piste (groomer) skis with the intention of going fast while on edge. However, Fischer’s most recent all-mountain skis, the Ranger series, have become incredibly popular over the last few seasons. Offering waist widths from 92 to 115 millimeters with varying constructions, skiers have a wide range of options to choose from when picking a Ranger ski. Their Ranger FR skis utilize carbon in the core for a light and snappy feel, while their Ranger TI line has more Titanal metal for suspension, grip, and stiffness for those looking to really charge down the mountain.

Another cool option Fischer offers is having two colors for each model; they don’t believe in men’s and women’s specific skis but rather offer two color choices with varying sizes. Backcountry enthusiasts also have a few options, between the Transalp series, a more lightweight “skimo” style ski, or the Hannibal series, made for deeper snow. Many Fischer skis are worn by World Cup racers, however, they can also be found on the likes of Big Mountain skiers sharing the same competitive mindset.

The Icelantic logo reads "Icelantic" under a stylized black drawing.

Icelantic

Made just outside of Denver in Golden, CO, Icelantic makes some great-looking and well-made skis. They are made with Icelantic’s signature Bombproof construction, which includes a three-year warranty and consists of multiple layers of wood and fiberglass, giving a snappy feel and suspension without all the weight of Titanal metals. The Nomad and Maiden series are great for those looking for a playful all-mountain option; built with twin tips and camber underfoot, these skis suit those that like to yip with joy while skiing. Those looking for a more hard-charging ski should lean towards the Pioneer and Riveter series. With a little more weight and camber, these skis can go faster down the hill without getting bucked around by variable conditions. Lastly, those wanting even more camber and a flat tail for groomer performance should look to the Sabre and Oracle models. Icelantic also makes lightweight options for those wanting to take their skis uphill on their own power. Owen Leeper and Julian Carr are known to “send it” huge on Icelantic skis.

The K2 logo reads "K2" in an interconnected, single-line text.

K2

Another one of the classic, well-known ski brands, K2 has been making skis for over 60 years. Style has always been at the top of their checklist, and K2 continues to deliver each year with sweet topsheet designs. Their Mindbender series has become a great directional all-mountain fit for many skiers, including beginners, offering different waist-widths (85 to 116 millimeters) and different core materials (conventional layup, carbon layup, Titanal layup). K2’s approach of having one ski shape with different sizes and materials is an awesome way to suit many different kinds of skiers in different climates and conditions. Their other main line, the Reckoner series, is shaped more as a twin-tip freestyle/park option. With waist-widths from 92 millimeters to 122 millimeters, these skis are built with pop and airtime in mind. Finally, for those looking for a touring offering from K2, the Wayback series is made with lightweight materials and is as nimble uphill as it is on the down. You’ll see K2 athletes Karl Fostvedt (the King of Corbets), Amie Engerbretson, Lexi Dupont, and Joss Christensen all repping their skis while taking to the slopes.

The Line logo reads "Line" in a bold, simple font.

Line

Line skis are the “goofballs'' of the ski manufacturing class. In fact, their motto is “Skiing the wrong way since ‘95.” Most of Line’s skis are designed with playfulness in mind—twin tips, soft flex, and cool topsheet designs. Park rats will love the Honey Badger, Chronic, and Blend models, built to withstand the beating that rails and boxes put on skis. For those interested in more float, the Sir Francis Bacon and Outline are two wider powder skis with convex tips and tails, a unique concept that rounds the tips of the skis like a spoon. Another unique design Line has incorporated is the swallowtail on the Sakana and Pescado; both skis are designed for optimal float and surfy feel and do surprisingly well on groomers! Lastly, the Sick Day and Pandora series are for someone looking for a more directional all-mountain ski and are great for intermediate to expert skiers. Rob Huele, Dylan Siggers, Hadley Hammer, and Tom Wallisch all show off their steez on Line skis.

The Nordica logo reads "Nordica" in red, italic font. A peak or arrow rises out of the upstroke on the N.

Nordica

Nordica has been making skis and ski boots for quite a while, founded in the 1930s in Italy by two brothers. In recent years, Nordica has become known for making beefy skis that don’t have much of a speed limit. The Nordica Enforcer (Santa Ana for women’s skis) has become incredibly popular due to its ability to crush through any snow condition while maintaining good stability thanks to its carbon and metal layup in the core. Along with the Enforcer and Santa Ana series, the Navigator and Astrel series provide similar stiff-feeling skis with more camber and narrower waist-widths for more on-piste and hard snow condition skiing. For those looking for a little more of a freestyle ride, the Enforcer Free and Santa Ana Free series include more carbon stringers and twin tips for a more playful ride. Nordica also makes a more park-style ski, the Soul Rider, which comes in various waist-widths. Many of Nordica’s professional athletes can be found skiing their Dobermann race series skis on the World Cup circuit.

The Rossignol logo reads "Rossignol" in dark blue. To the right is a rooster in a shield shape. The rooster is half blue and half red.

Rossignol

Rossignol is one of the classic ski manufacturers. Founded in 1907 and making skis since 1937, Rossignol has a long history in the ski industry. Recently, they made a big pivot from their “Seven Series” skis and revamped their ski shapes with last season’s new Black Ops series. This series, featuring men’s and women’s specific skis, is aimed at those looking for a freeride ski to be driven all over the mountain. From beefy powder skis (BlackOps Gamer) to more park-shaped skis (BlackOps Smasher), Rossignol offers something for everyone. Their other main line, the Experience skis, has been around for several years. With both Titanal and basalt cores, the Experience line is a great option for those looking to have a more directional ski that does best on groomed runs. Several of the narrower-waisted Experience skis come with bindings and are great options for those who are beginners or more price-conscious. Finally, Rossignol is also an excellent manufacturer of top-quality racing skis. They can be found all over the U.S. on kids and adults alike in racing programs all the way up to World Cup skiers. Skiers such as Chris Logan, Parker White, and Petra Vlhova all ski on Rossignols.

The Salomon logo reads "Salomon" under a black square with a white S inside.

Salomon

Compared to Rossignol and K2, Salomon makes skis that are more “down to business.” They focus on making skis that are a little stiffer and ready to ski hard right out of the wrapper. Salomon has been making ski gear since 1947 and is best known for their QST line which has been a favorite demo ski of many ski resorts over the last several years. The QST line’s main features include a carbon flax weave which helps absorb shocks yet remains lively and is relatively lightweight when compared to Titanal. This layup, along with cork tips, helps keep the QST a tried and true favorite on the mountain, ranging in waist widths from 92 millimeters up to 112 millimeters on the QST Blank.

Salomon’s other main ski line, the Stance series, was just released last year. These skis are best for groomer-focused skiers looking to make hard carves on edge and contain Titanal to add rigidity and power to the skis. Human-powered uphill skiers can look towards the MTN Explore series, which has a range of waist-widths from 79 millimeters to 95 millimeters underfoot. The MTN Explores are built specifically with touring in mind and have been used by the likes of Cody Townsend during his Fifty Peaks project. Other famous skiers repping Salomon include Alexi Godbout and Chris Rubens.

The Völkl logo reads "Völkl" in white text in a black rectangle. The rectangle extends to the left and is yellow on that side, with a mirrored, overlapped double-v shape in black inside.

Völkl

If ski manufacturers were musical artists, Völkl would be known as the hard rock band of the bunch. This ski company is known for making heavier skis loaded up with Titanal metal and stiff wood cores to deliver the ultimate “monster truck” experience on skis. The Völkl Mantra (and Secret women’s ski) has become a favorite with many skiers looking for an all-mountain ski that won’t take “no” for an answer. A Titanal frame mixed with a multi-layer wood core and combined with Völkl’s 3D radius sidecut come together to make a ski that can do it all very well. The Katana 108 and Kendo 88 have similar constructions but offer different waist sizes to choose from. Skiers looking for more of a big mountain freestyle ski can look to the Revolt series with a variety of widths, meant for hitting everything from park jumps to Freeride World Tour booters. Lastly, Völkl’s recently added Blaze series has been a big hit for those interested in having a touring ski that can also ski very well in the resort. Völkl’s athletes include Alex Beaulieu-Marchand, Marcus Eder, Ingrid Backstrom, and Jess McMillan.

There are many other brands of skis not mentioned in this article (Moment Skis, Rocky Mountain Underground, and Black Crows to name a few). If you would like to learn more about those brands or any of the above; if you're looking to complete your setup – whether it be a pair of skis, goggles, poles, helmets, ski jackets, gloves, ski pants, or other apparel; or if you're planning a ski trip – whether it be to British Columbia or the French Alps, feel free to reach out to a Ski Expert here on Curated anytime. We’d love to help you find the right gear for your needs.

Like this article?
Share it with your network

Written By
Engineering Supervisor by day; ski-addict by night/weekend. Skiing has taken me to Canada, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and Utah, and all are places I'd rather be skiing than my current location in Minnesota (which, to be honest, isn't that bad...see Marcus Caston's Minnesota Return of the Turn episo...

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Read Next

New and Noteworthy