The best women’s skis of 2021

The best women’s skis of 2021

These skis are purpose-built for women who shred. Performance is at an all-time high in this category thanks to dedicated efforts by brands to build skis that caters to the female anatomy. The following list features everything from directional, piste-focused skis to ultra-wide, powder-hungry planks and everything in between. These are the best women’s skis of the year.

Armada ARW 116 VJJ UL

Armada ARW 116 VJJ UL Best Womens Skis

Like the Valkyries of Valhalla, the all new ARW 116 VJJ UL ascends to the Hall of Legends, one of the best women’s skis of the year. The VJJ returns with an updated, super light caruba wood core that provides increased responsiveness and boosts its popping prowess to the moon. But that’s not all, ladies, Smear Tech—a three-dimensional shape in the tips and tails—allows for 360 degrees of surfy and buttery playfulness that is simply unmatched by other skis in the category.  

Black Crows Camox Birdie

Black Crows Camox Birdie Best Womens Skis

The Camox Birdie returns to the pages of our Buyer’s Guide this year as the ladies once again sang the praises of this versatile all-mountain model. At 97-millimeters underfoot and with a 19-meter turn radius, it can go just about anywhere you want. A healthy dose of camber under the center of the ski allows you to grip the snow while tip and tail rocker keep you agile as you make your way around the mountain. No gimmicky tech here, just good quality ski-building.   

Head Kore 99 W

Head Kore 99 W Best Womens Skis

Hard-charging ladies, look no further than the Kore 99 W, offering the same high performance seen throughout Head’s critically-acclaimed Kore freeride line. Inside, a combination of amazingly lightweight karuba wood, Koroyd and Graphene provide the makeup of a friendly yet responsive ride, and the 99-millimeter waist width ensures it’ll perform all over the mountain. Increase your ambitions and take this ski wherever your heart desires—it’s designed to enhance the freeride experience and carry advanced skiers through deep snow, chop and hardpack as one of the best women’s skis for next season. 

Nordica Santa Ana 93

Nordica Santa Ana 93 Best Womens Skis

The Santa Ana 93 is Nordica’s solution to dynamic all-mountain performance. Here, a wood core is paired with a layer of carbon and a sheet of Terrain Specific Metal to help this ski achieve optimal gas pedal performance on manicured slopes. The tight turn radius is fine-tuned to hang out on edge—a 50-percent camber underfoot adds to this racecar-like feeling—putting you in the driver’s seat. Read more about the Nordica Santa Ana 93, one of the best women’s skis of the season, in our Deep Dive.

Faction Agent 3.0X

Faction Agent 3.0X Best Womens Skis

Faction’s “X” line caters to all the lady-shredders out there who don’t want to skimp on fall-line performance. With a construction that mirrors the Agent 3.0, it features a lightweight karuba wood core with a full carbon weave, providing stability without adding weight. And you’ll ski with confidence knowing that a Titanal plate underfoot ensures binding screw retention and top-notch energy transfer from your boots into the heart of the ski. Tip and tail rocker and a slightly tapered shape provide a surfy feel that’ll free you from nasty “catches” as you get the goods. Don’t get miffed if your friends are jealous, this ski will turn heads next season.

Black Crows Atris Birdie

Black Crows Atris Birdie Best Womens Skis

The Atris Birdie returns as an Editors’ Pick this year, upgraded with an elongated sidecut that equates to a 20-meter turn radius and a slightly sturdier ride at high speeds. This Birdie is lightweight enough to provide maneuverability but stiff enough to provide confidence-inspiring stability at high speeds and in no-fall zones. Tip and tail rocker further enhance that agility by allowing you to pivot on a dime when terrain demands it, or if you just feel like it. Wherever you want to go, the Atris Birdie will take you there.

Decathlon Slash 100

Decathlon Slash 100 Best Womens Skis

Inspired by that feeling of weightlessness when slashing the lip of a wave, this stick was designed to surf on snow. This is made clear by the length of the tip and tail rocker that’s built into the all-mountain chassis. With traditional camber underfoot and a 100-millimeter waist width, this ski is easy to carve but “playful” and “surfy” were the main adjectives used to describe it. As indicated by the 17-meter turn radius, it’s a pretty relaxed ski that won’t tire you out before the day is done, so you can surf right into après.

Elan Ripstick 94 W

The Elan 94 W is completely overhauled this year with an updated tip and tail shape designed to engage in more playful skiing while maintaining that typical Ripstick charge. Inside, a new carbon weave construction is a game-changer for stability, weight savings and eliminating tip chatter at speed. Amphibio Construction gives each ski a uniquely tuned, cambered inside edge to increase mid-turn grip and a rockered outside edge to ease turn transitions. This ski is perfect for all-mountain adventures: Explore groomers by morning and then bash through bumps and tight trees all afternoon. 

Nordica Santa Ana 98

With a fresh redesign this year, the Santa Anna 98 pairs a wood core with carbon and a milled sheet of metal, which delivers a versatile mix of high speed stability and all-mountain performance. Our testers felt encouraged to push the limit on this ski, knowing that Nordica’s bombproof build and new Terrain Specific Metal construction would return the favor. If you’re looking for a wider carving ski that’ll reward your downhill efforts with a sturdy edge-to-edge ride, the Santa Ana 98 should be your go-to this season. 

Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free

The Santa Ana 104 Free is all-new to the Nordica lineup this year and should be considered a daily driver for pedal-to-the-metal skiing. This performance-focused ski blends a wood core with a layer of carbon and a sheet of Terrain Specific Metal boosting the ski’s rigidity for a confident ride. Early rise in the tip and tail, and a significant rocker profile loosen the ski up a bit and give it a surfy feel that’s easy to steer.

K2 Mindbender 98Ti Alliance

The 98Ti is a buttery-smooth and stable ripper that inspires high-speed confidence on the hardpack and swan-like grace in the bumps. Incredibly versatile, this ski adapts to any skier’s style. It’s fun and poppy when skiing through variable conditions and notably damp when charging through chunder. When you really crank up the speed, Y-Beam Technology—a Y-shaped layer of Titanal that runs from the tip to the tail—and Correct Flex construction provide the perfect amount of stability and control. Strap into these bad bitches, cue up your favorite playlist and get to sending.  

Nordica Santa Ana 110 Free

This all-new model­—now the widest ski in the Santa Ana Free lineup—is a powder-hound built for big mountains, big speed and big fun. The construction features a wood core to keep the ski light and playful, and is paired with carbon and a full sheet of metal, which narrows underfoot to add forgiveness and a freestyle feel. Tapered tip and tail shaping provides nimble-in-the-trees and float-like-a-bee performance. For western skiers—think Colorado, Utah, Montana—the latest addition to the Santa Ana collection is an ideal choice for all-terrain gratification.

Head Kore 93 W

Interestingly, the Kore 93 W offers a slightly longer turn radius than its big sister, the Kore 99 W—to enable long, arching turns on-piste. With Graphene in the tip and tail, it’s outrageously light yet stable at speed. Koroyd underfoot provides energy absorption and a stiff, lightweight karuba wood core prevents this ski from losing sight of its freeride roots. For piste-focused skiers with a racing background, this ski is the ideal introduction into freeriding: It’s everything you want from a frontside carver with just enough forgiveness to ensure you’re able to slash’n’burn in the trees, find the fall line on steeper terrain and blast through a few inches of fresh.

Rossignol BlackOps Rallybird Ti

The all-new W Rallybird Ti is one of the sportiest skis in its class and one of the best women’s skis heading into winter. Part of the highly anticipated BlackOps series, this mid-waisted plank is stiff and stable with just enough pop and play to keep you entertained all day, everyday. Here, a slew of technical features provide a versatile build. The extended poplar wood core, Titanal insert underfoot and a layup dubbed “Carbon Alloy Matrix,” ensure responsive skiing, while notable tip/tail rocker and “Air Tip” inserts add to the ski’s playful attitude. Most importantly, the ski is mega damp, reducing potential chatter on hardpack and bumps so you can drive ‘em in the fast lane.

Völkl Secret 102

Expert, hard-charging ladies, you might have just found the Secret Sauce you’ve been seeking to add some flavor to your downhill recipe. With an interior makeup of a multi-layered wood core, Titanal framing (instead of a full sheet underfoot) and carbon tips, accompanied by a triple-radius sidecut designed to engage in a variety of turn sizes, the Secret 102 is a performance-driven weapon. For big terrain and reliance in the steeps—in whatever conditions the day brings—this plank will excel while you’re pressing the pedal to the metal. Ride confidently with nearly a century of Völkl ski-making expertise under your feet. 

Salomon QST Stella 106

The widest of the acclaimed women’s QST series built by Salomon is an easy-to-ride, all day, everyday kinda ski, and it’s one of the best women’s skis on the market. Full sidewalls add beefiness and ensure multi-season performance while a lightweight poplar wood core, cork inserts in the tip/tail and a layer of carbon/flax/basalt weave provide predictable, responsive flex. Negotiating powder days, chopped up, late afternoon snow and everything in between comes naturally to the Stella 106. Ladies who want a ski they can ride right out of the plastic, without having to “figure out” the ski’s sweet spot, this ski is calling your name. 

Blizzard Sheeva 10

Blizzard’s Sheeva series is a direct result of the company’s Women-to-Women initiative; R&D that is conducted by a female cooperative to create skis that better suit the needs of women everywhere. The Sheeva 10 is the middle child of the series which gives it a versatile 102-millimeter waist width that can be skied virtually anywhere. The ski features Blizzards Carbon Flipcore D.R.T. (Dynamic Release Technology) which is a blend of wood, carbon fiberglass and Titanal that’s strategically shaped to add forgiveness in the tips and tails while keeping stability underfoot. Everything you need and nothing you don’t.

Elan Ripstick 102 W

Designed by Elan’s by-women-for-women program—the W Studio—the Ripstick 102 W is a versatile tool aimed at advanced to expert skiers. Composite inserts in the tip and tail add a dampening effect while the wood core holds two carbon tube inlays that give it an aggressive and lively feel. The wide shovel on the ski make it great for ripping through pow and variable conditions but when conditions firm up you can count on the 102-millimeter waist to carve up a storm. For those who want an aggressive daily driver, the Ripstick 102 W delivers.

Faction Agent 2.0X

The Agent 2.0X is more than a pretty, pink ski. Built with the exact same construction as the Agent 2.0, the women’s version simply features different graphics and lengths, a winning choice and one of the best women’s skis this year. Inside is a lightweight karuba wood core with a carbon fiber weave protected by a full sidewall. A Titanal plate ensures retention and strength under your binding and an elliptical sidecut allows you to ease into turns and shape them to suit your terrain and speed. At the resort or in the backcountry, count on this ski to get the job done.