The season is fast approaching, so now is the time to kit up, whether that’s a new jacket, or a cool pair of skis.
If you’ve read some of my other pages on this site, you’ll know I’m not in the habit of wasting money. However, that doesn’t mean just buying the cheapest skis on offer. Buying cheap skis is likely to be the biggest mistake you’ll ever make.
Below we’ll include only the top ski companies, manufacturing the highest quality skis at the best prices, and suitable for both men and women.
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Do you need to buy skis?
Before sinking 100s of dollars into a set of skis, it’s worth determining whether you need them. If you’re a beginner off for your first trip, it’s probably not wise; simply go to the local ski hire shop closest to your resort.
However, if you’ve been skiing a couple of times, and your experience level is evolving from beginner to intermediate, then it’s worth making the investment.
Not only will you save money on ski hire, you’ll also have a better ride on the slopes; skis on offer from hire shops tend to be the lower quality products on the market. They won’t offer you the precision or stability you need to improve further.
At A Glance
I appreciate this isn’t the shortest article in the world. But I would suggest reading it before making a purchase decision (bookmark it for later if you don’t have time).
However, if you want the short version. We’ve only included top ski brands on this list, and any will suit an all-mountain skier.
Our top pick? The Fischer Ranger Free Ride Skis.
This Year’s Top Ski Brands
Here’s our list of the best ski brands currently available. And alongside each brand, we’ve offered up a recommendation for a specific set of skis from that brand.
In comparison to many of the top ski brands on this list, Armada are a young company, having only been established back in 2002. But they’ve quickly established themselves as one of the top ski companies in the world.
Aramda claim to be one of the first (and only) companies that are rider operated, with one of the founding members being Tanner Hall (among others).
They have close links to ski professionals and major competitions such as the Winter X games. And that means that rather than all development consisting of complicated machinery and math, a lot of the ski manufacturing development comes via direct feedback from some of the best skiers in the world.
If you’re struggling with the sheer volume of choice here, check out the Armada 86s. They’re hybrid, so work perfectly for both beginner and intermediate riders.
They get the likes of a rockered nose and tail which gives you agility at low speeds, but stability at higher speeds.
Atomic are one of the top ski companies in the world, producing a wide range of equipment for all riders on the slopes. That’s everything from goggles to helmets, and of course skis and snowboards.
They’ve been going since 1955, making them one of the oldest ski brands in the world. And they come from extremely good stock. The parent company owns a range of well known outdoor and ski brands, with the most notable being Salomon.
Like all the best ski brands on this list, they have a ton of products in their range, which can make a purchase decision reasonably difficult.
We like the Atomic Vantage 79 Ti, some of the best all-mountain skis on the market.
The focus here is being agile. And this is achieved by Atomic making the Vantage 79 Ti extremely lightweight, thanks to it’s tiny footprint (just 79mm waist). But with its hybrid rocker and camber, you’ll be able to explore everything, both on and off piste.
When we dream about skiing, we dream about Chamonix. And Black Crows isn’t just one of the best ski brands worldwide, it’s also one that was born in the heart of Chamonix; the skiers paradise.
Like Armada, this is one of the younger companies on this list, as it was only established back in 2006. However, its founders have their fair share of experience when it comes to skill and ski development. It was established by professional skiers Camille Jaccoux and Bruno Compagnet.
If Black Crows skis are good enough for them, they’re certainly good enough for me (and probably you too)!
We like the Black Crows Camox skis. They’re more all-mountain orientated than the Atomic skis mentioned about, as they have a larger 98mm waist, compared with the 78mm on the Atomics.
The double rocker enables quick pivots, yet the long side cut means you’ll get balance at high speed. They’re easy to ski on, making the Black Crows Camox suitable for both beginners and intermediates, that tend to avoid going off piste.
There are two things I look for in a company: niche specificity and age. If a company specializes in a limited number of products, they’re able to focus solely on their development. And, if they’ve lasted the test of time, they’re certainly not producing rubbish.
Both can be said of Blizzard Skis. The foundations of the company were in place by 1945, just after the second world war. Anton Arnsteiner, after returning from the war, began making wooden skis in the family workshop, and Blizzard was born.
Since then, the company has been purchased by SCOTT Sports, and has gone from strength to strength, now widely considered as one of the best ski brands in the world.
Buying from Blizzard? Check out the Blizzard Rustler 10 skis, brand new for this season. These are one of the most forgiving all-mountain skis on this list, so are perfect for beginner-intermediate skiers.
You’ll get a solid 102mm waist which is going to give you everything you need in terms of all-mountain performance. That means excellent control in slower icier sections of the slope, yet stability on faster and powdered section of a trail.
For one of the best ski brands in the world, it always surprises me how much under the radar Elan seem to go, when compared directly which its main competitors.
And it’s not like they’re not known for their lack of quality, given they were used in the 1985 James Bond movie, “View To Kill”.
Looking for something a bit different from the norm? Then the Elan Ripstick skis, which are brand new for this season, are certainly worthy of your cash.
They’re considered to be one of the best all-mountain skis on the market. And that’s going to mean you don’t need to buy 2-3 sets of skis for different occasions; you’ll be able to ride powder, park and piste, all with one set of skis.
And you’ll get plenty of stability from the 106mm waist. In general, we’d expect the Elan Ripstick skis to be used by intermediates and advanced skiers.
For the average ski nut, Fischer are going to be the one of the most well known and top ski companies on this list. You’ll struggle to find a reputable snow store that DOESN’T sell Fischer skis, which is a testament to their quality, and their standing in the ski industry.
I’ve already said above, I like companies that focus on specific products, and are long standing; that’s exactly what Fischer skis are all about. They focus on producing the best skis possible for both men and women and have been doing so since 1924.
My pick? The Fischer Ranger 102 Freeride skis. Weighing just 2kg, and with a sleek 102 waist, these are going to be the best all-mountain skis for the money, well, for just about anyone.
Of course, being a Fischer product, don’t expect them to be cheap. But, expensive, doesn’t necessarily mean a waste of money. You won’t be disappointed…
Now, you might not have heard of “Head Kore”, but there’s one name you will have heard of, and that’s HEAD; the international sports product manufacturing company.
Head Kore is the ski arm of Head, and they produce some of the best ski and bindings packages on the planet. And, surprisingly, they’re not as expensive as you think. A typical package from Head Kore is likely to give you change from $1,000, which is more than can be said from a lot of the other top ski companies.
Fan of Head Kore skis? We’d recommend looking into the Head Kore 99 Skis, or the package that includes the world renowned Marker Griffon 13 ID bindings.
For anyone that’s been involved in skating, skiing, or snowboarding previously, K2 isn’t exactly a company that’s going to need an introduction. Decades ago, my first set of inline skates for park were from K2, and they were awesome!
K2 started manufacturing sports gear and equipment back in 1962 and is one of the few brands on this list to be considered the best, in multiple categories.
If I were purchasing a set of skis from them today, I’d be heading straight for the K2 Mindbender 108 Ti.
If you’re ready to have fun, and improve at the same time, this is the set of all-mountain skis for you. You’ll be able to pick lines with precision thanks to the Titanal Y-Beam, but you’ll also feel the superior stability they give compared to cheaper skis, thanks to the PowerWalls.
Another of the top ski brands that seems to consistently go under the radar, is Line Skis, a company which has been producing some of the best ski and snow products since 1995.
However, if you visit ski and snowboard stores (offline or online), you may have started to see them surface. And that’s because they’re a subsidiary of K2, and we all known K2 have had links in the ski industry for decades more than many other companies.
The connection to K2 is a good thing. This isn’t just some no-name brand, as it’s shared technology with K2 means the products rolling out of the Line Skis factory, are better than most.
My personal choice here would be the Line Chronic Skis. They’re reasonably priced but are packed full of character. There’s a mid-sized waist at 95mm, and the profile of the rocker and camber means that these are perfect for anyone at the higher end of beginner, through to the lower end of advanced, and everything in between.
On or off piste, park or powder, the Line Chronic Skis are a great all-mountain ski choice.
Nordica is one of those companies I just love. It’s been established for decades (since 1939) and focuses specifically on one niche (skis, ski poles and related products). You simply don’t keep a company running in such a small industry, unless you’re producing top quality products. Nordica is classed by many ski nuts as one of the top ski brands in the world, and there are only a few on par.
So, what skis from Nordica would we be recommending? Something like the Nordica Enforcer 104 Free Skis are going to be a perfect choice.
Like many skis on this list, the Nordica Enforcer 104 is there to boost your confidence on all types of terrain. They provide the power needed for speed, but also offers stability alongside response thanks to the balsa wood, coupled with carbon and metal. Providing everything you need for pop on all-mountain terrain.
Whether it’s snowboards or skis for men or women, no list of brands in this industry is complete without Rossignol.
The company is one of the oldest on this list, established in 1907. It’s had previous ties to extreme sports giant Quiksilver, so the quality here is certainly not below par; simply check out the reviews online and see for yourself.
We’d be heading for the Rossignol Experience skis. They come in a range of sizes and profiles for both men and women (depending on your height and weight). They’ll give you plenty of feel on the slopes, won’t cost an arm and a leg, but they’ll also give you stability and precision to take your skiing to the next level.
Whether it’s hiking, biking, skiing or snowboarding, you’ll see the Salomon Group name mentioned on all best brand lists. In fact, they’ve now been mentioned twice on this list, given that they own Atomic Skis.
Since 1947, Salomon Group has been creating gear, and acquiring some of the best ski brands in the world. So, if you can’t find what you need from Salomon (unlikely), then you still have plenty of options from the likes of Atomic.
Salomon have a huge range, so it is hard to narrow down a pick if you’ve not purchased skis before. However, we’d be heading for the Salomon QST Skis, which are similar in quality and design to the Salomon QST boards we mentioned in our best snowboard brands list here.
They’ve incorporated their All-Terrain 2.0 Rocker into the QST skis, with the R&D focus here being on making these skis one of the easiest to turn on the planet.
Not been into skiing for long? There’s a good chance there’s a mega brand that’s gone under your radar; Völkl. They’ve been one of the best ski brands since 1923 and continue to release some of the top products in the industry.
Due to their popularity in the ski industry, they’ve now expanded into snowboard gear.
Tempted by something a bit different, and like the cool designs offered by Völkl? One of their best sellers that’s certainly worth a look, are the Völkl M5 Mantra Skis.
The Völkl M5 Mantra skis are popular for one reason; they’re a do it all ski. And that’s going to remove the need to take multiple sets of skis on your next trip. Whether you ride on or off piste, powder or on the park, the M5 Mantras will have you covered.
That’s a wrap on our guide to the best ski brands and companies around the globe.
Got more gear to buy before your next trip? Check out our detailed guide covering ski goggles under $100, and check back soon.