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The 9 Best Carving Skis of 2021-2022 - Men's & Women's

In the ski industry, powder skis just seem to get all the love. Outlets love to gush over the latest fat, floppy pow destroyers that may only be fun a handful of days a year. And that’s fine, it’s fun to ogle aspirational skis. But, when push comes to shove, most skiers spend the majority of their time skiing groomed snow on the piste. And when it comes time to make turns on firm snow, there’s nothing more fun than a great dedicated carving ski. The best skis for carving are designed to help you pull maximum g-forces on edge, turning every run into a slalom race as you dance down groomers. These are the skis for folks who want to make every day on skis a great day, even if it hasn’t snowed in a week.

But, even among similar carving skis, there are subtle differences that set them to work better for various types of skiers. There are nuances in how each ski best approaches the mountain, and in this piece we’re diving into that, to help you figure out what the best carving skis are for you. So buckle your boots down tight, and get well acquainted with the fall line, it’s time to go fast and make aggressive turns as we glide through the best carving skis of 2022!


Atomic Maven 86 + Bindings - Women's

Best carving skis of 2021-2022
 
 

By definition, mavens are striking and powerful, and Atomic’s Maven 86 is no exception. A layer of Titanal helps it have strong edge hold and a damp ride feel, but this is no inaccessible experts-only ski. The subtle tip and tail rocker mean it’s easy to initiate turns, even for more tentative skiers, and it can handle more cut-up snow than some more traditional carvers. But beyond its exceptional performance, the Maven 86 also makes a strong affordability argument. As a package with both skis, and bindings, it still comes in at a lower price than some of the other skis on this list, which means it’s a great choice both for beginners buying their first pair of skis, or more experienced skiers working to justify a quiver.

Atomic’s Maven 86 is a highly competent ski, it gets the job done no matter what shape of turns you want to make. And, since it’s very affordable, it’s easy on your wallet too, making it one of the best women’s carving skis.

Waist WidthRocker ProfileOriginal Price
86 mm15% Tip Rocker / 75% Camber / 10% Tail Rocker$499.99

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Season Kin - Men's & Women's

Best carving skis of 2021-2022
 
 

If you haven’t heard of Season before, that’s ok, it’s a relatively young brand, started by a few snow sports industry heavy hitters. Their philosophy is to make skis that hold up, not just from a durability standpoint, but also from a performance standpoint. These are skis that ride so well that you won’t be casting sidelong glances at the hot new thing next season. The Kin is almost a hybrid of a traditional carver and a park ski. It’s got a tuned-up tail so it’s easy to ski and land switch, but much of its sidecut and shape comes from a more directional background. What does that mean on the mountain? Well, if you just like to ski fast forward, railing turns, the Kin is right there with you. But, if you like to mix it up, hit some rails, ski backward, and generally just mess around, the Kin won’t object.

The Season Kin does a great job of melding the best parts of carving and park skis into one fun, high-performance package.

Waist WidthRocker ProfileOriginal Price
95 mmRocker/Flat/Rocker$549

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K2 Mindbender 90C Alliance - Women's

Best carving skis of 2021-2022
 
 

At 90 mm underfoot, the K2 Mindbender 90c might just be the most versatile ski in their “Alliance” lady’s line. It blurs the line between dedicated caver and all-mountain ski in a really exciting way. If you consider yourself a carving skier and want to do your best racer impression, the Mindbender is up to the task, it feels quick, strong, and responsive when you’re driving it hard in consistent snow. But, it’s not a chore to ski slower, bouncing around off the groomers, looking for stashes and side hits. That combination makes it a winner for anyone looking for a light, versatile carving ski.

If you like to ski the whole hill, even when the snow is bad, the K2 Mindbender 90 C Alliance was made with you in mind. It’s light, it’s versatile, and most importantly, it’s a whole lot of fun.

Waist WidthRocker ProfileOriginal Price
90 mmTip and tail rocker$499.95

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Salomon Stance W 80 + Bindings - Women's

Best carving skis of 2021-2022
 
 

For most skiers, learning to carve turns is a very important step in their progression in the sport. It means you’ve unlocked the power of your edges, and suddenly the rest of the mountain becomes more accessible. For a lot of folks, that’s when it clicks, when skiing gets fun. And Salomon recognized that when they designed their Stance W 80. This is the best carving ski for folks who just figured out how to get their rental skis on edge, and are ready to buy their own setup. The Stance W comes with bindings and is very affordable for the whole package, but it doesn’t sacrifice performance to hit that price point. Instead, it uses a Titanal insert, and wood core to create an accessible, but still powerful ski.

The Salomon Stance W 80 is the perfect first ski for a lot of skiers, but they’ll find as they progress that it still keeps up, even as they ski faster in more difficult terrain. That wide performance range makes it a compelling choice for a lot of women.

Waist WidthRocker ProfileOriginal Price
80 mmAll-Terrain Rocker$499.99

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Black Crows Mirus Cor

Best carving skis of 2021-2022
 
 

Carving skis have been around in one form or another for decades, slowly tweaking and evolving, but rarely going through periods of exponential growth. Black Crows decided to break that mold by going full radical when they designed the Mirus Cor. From its bright orange topsheet to its unique swallowtail, this is a carving ski unlike any other. A very short 13 m turn radius means that the Mirus loves to bounce back and forth through tight turns, but unlike some carving skis that get stuck in a one-dimensional approach to the mountain, the Mirus is also happy to smear, slash, and butter along with making great turns on edge.

So, if you’re looking for a low tide ski that opens up all kinds of possibilities for fun on days when the snow just isn’t up to par off-piste, hop on the Mirus Cor and go rediscover the fun of skiing groomers.

Waist WidthRocker ProfileOriginal Price
87 mmTip and tail rocker$839.95

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Line Skis Blade

Best carving skis of 2021-2022
 
 

Line is probably best known for their playful park and pow skis, nearly everything they make is designed to be fun to ski both forwards and backward, so it came as a bit of a shock when they debuted the Blade, a fully directional carving ski. But, closer examination reveals that the Blade isn’t as far off from Line’s “fun at all costs” ethos. Sure, it’s a good carving ski, a great carving ski even, but it rankles at being forced into any one box. It’s more of a carving ski for skiers who maybe don’t consider themselves traditional carvers. Sure, it’s ready to lay trenches down any groomer you can find, and it holds an edge remarkably well doing that, but as the Black Crows Mirus, it’s also happy slashing, smearing, and even taking the occasional lap through a jump line.

So, if you’ve always considered yourself the type of skier who doesn’t get along with traditional carving skis, but you want to try something more stable and directional, the Line Blade is the ski for you.

Waist WidthRocker ProfileOriginal Price
95 mmTip and tail rocker$749.95

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Völkl M6 Mantra

Best carving skis of 2021-2022
 
 

Völkl’s Mantra might just be the prototypical carving ski. It’s the epitome of what directional skis can be, strong, aggressive, but still somewhat approachable. The Mantra has gone through many iterations, and this M6 version is the most refined yet. Völkl has used a newly shaped Titanal frame to help the ski’s edges grip hard without gaining too much weight and added carbon shaves grams while improving performance.

There’s something to be said for trusty standbys, the skis that withstand the test of time. And the Mantra has certainly accomplished that. So get on a pair, and see what all the years of hype have been about with one of the best men’s carving skis.

Waist WidthRocker ProfileOriginal Price
96 mmRocker/Camber/Rocker$699.99

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Elan Ripstick 96 Black Edition

Best carving skis of 2021-2022
 
 

Elan developed their Ripstick line around a simple idea. For decades, left and right skis have been symmetrical to each other, even though, while you’re making a turn, each ski interacts with the snow differently. So, Elan tweaked the rocker profile and shape of each ski so that while carving you always are on a cambered edge, while the outside edge of the ski is rockered to allow for more float and maneuverability in varied snow. That design means that the Ripstick 96 is more versatile than most carving skis since it can have all the sidecut bite of more traditional ski, with the rocker of a progressive all mountain ski. On the hill, that means that the Ripstick is more comfortable through varied conditions, and favors the skier who likes to do a little bit of everything. And the Black edition turns that up with added carbon for stiffness and stability.

Sometimes you just have to shake up the status quo to figure out what really works, and Elan has done that to great effect with the Ripstick 96 Black, one of the best all mountain carving skis.

Waist WidthRocker ProfileOriginal Price
96 mmRocker/Camber/Rocker$799.99

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Lib Tech Kook Stick

Best carving skis of 2021-2022
 
 

Lib Tech is a snowboard brand that begrudgingly makes great skis, and that philosophy is nowhere more evident than in their Kook Stick. The rocker profile comes from one of their most popular snowboards, and is basically a full rocker, with micro camber pockets in front of and behind the binding. What that does is allow the ski to be very loose when you ski it from a more upright stance with the bases flat, but, when you get it on edge, it grips like no other. Throw in the retro pointed tip and micro fishtail, and you’ve got a recipe for a party. The Kook Stick doesn’t look like traditional carving skis, and it doesn’t feel like them either. Sure, it can lay down trenches with the best of them, but that’s far from its only trick.

So if you like to mess around with unique skis, and don’t mind everyone on the lift constantly asking who makes your skis, the Kook Stick will bring you a whole bunch of joy.

Waist WidthRocker ProfileOriginal Price
97 mmAll-Mountain RAD (Rocker Activated Drive)$649.99

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