Extreme Nomads is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More

I used to be a nonbeliever. That is until one day when I got a taste of the good stuff. Soft snow, fresh powder. The look, feel, and sound of it can only be described as pure unbridled bliss. Powder skiing is where I (and many skiers) find our happy place!

However, even on those glorious powder days with the best snow conditions, there are levels. If you want to make the most of the deep snow, you are going to need more than a solid powder ski.

Only the best powder skis, like the Atomic Bent or the Nordica Enforcer, will be able to make the most of the deep powder. They’ve got the side walls and edge hold to carve your way into nirvana. Not to mention the laminates needed for a chatter-free ride.

Skiing powder never felt so good and it won’t ever feel as good without the best powder skis listed below.

Product

Details

Best Overall

Atomic Bent Chetler 120 Skis

  • Ability Level: Advanced-Expert
  • Rocker Type: Rocker/Camber/Rocker
  • Turning Radius: Medium

Best for Choppy Snow

Salomon QST Blank Skis

  • Ability Level: Advanced-Expert
  • Rocker Type: Rocker/Camber/Rocker
  • Turning Radius: Medium

Best Playful Pow Ski

Blizzard Rustler 11 Skis

  • Ability Level: Advanced-Expert
  • Rocker Type: Rocker/Camber/Rocker
  • Turning Radius: Medium

Best Build Quality

Black Crows Anima Skis

  • Ability Level: Advanced-Expert
  • Rocker Type: Rocker/Camber/Rocker
  • Turning Radius: Medium

Best Big Mountain Ski

Nordica Enforcer 110 Free Skis

  • Ability Level: Advanced-Expert
  • Rocker Type: Rocker/Camber/Rocker
  • Turning Radius: Medium

Best for Speed Retention

K2 Mindbender 116 C Skis

  • Ability Level: Advanced-Expert
  • Rocker Type: Rocker/Camber/Rocker
  • Turning Radius: Long

Best for Intermediates

Elan Ripstick 116 Skis

  • Ability Level: Intermediate
  • Rocker Type: Rocker/Camber/Rocker
  • Turning Radius: Long

Best of the Rest

Head Kore 111 Skis

  • Ability Level: Advanced-Expert
  • Rocker Type: Rocker/Camber/Rocker
  • Turning Radius: Medium

The 8 Best Powder Skis for Floatation Fun

If you are going to make the most out of the deep snow, you are going to need a nice powder ski that floats off the snow surface. You’ll also need the same amount of rocker for both the tip and tail of your skis.

Throw in a poplar wood core and a wide waist just to be safe. This should result in a burly ski made for hunting that sweet resort powder. Sounds like we are good to go, but there is one thing missing.

Most powder skis have all of the above, but only the powder skis listed below have the quality engineering and design excellence to bring out your best self.

1. Atomic Bent Chetler 120 Skis

best powder skis

Take a peek down into the molecular level of the Atomic Bent Chetler 120. Amidst the wood shavings and the laminates, you’ll find a well-designed and well-put-together powder ski. One that an experienced skier can use to make quick work of even firmer snow.

How does it do it? Let’s find out.

Excellence at an atomic level

The Atomic Bent gets all of the basics right. Not only does it perform admirably on powder, but not even big mountain terrain poses much of a threat. I believe this consistency, despite the terrain types, is due to the Atomic edges on either side of each ski.

These Atomic edges were made from steel which is five times harder and more durable than regular steel edges. When a pair of skis have quality steel edges, that’s cause for celebration. But when a pair of skis have edges that perform five times better than average steel edges, now you’ve got a reason to pay attention.

It isn’t only the edges that do better than most, even the base of the Atomic Bents was improved upon. Sintered bases have become the norm on high-end skis, but the Bent has a high-density Sintered base.

This base variant not only delivers high speeds but also retains more wax for far longer than competing skis. With just some basic maintenance, you’ll be able to consistently blaze past the best of them.

Truly a stand-out powder skiing monster.

Features

  • Terrain: Big Mountain, Powder, and Alpine Touring
  • Ability Level: Advanced to expert
  • Turning Radius: Medium
  • Core Materials: Carbon and Wood
  • Warranty: Two years

Pros

  • Has Atomic edges that are made from steel that is several times more durable than regular steel edges.
  • High-density sintered base retains more wax and is faster in variable snow than other skis.
  • Sidewalls have great power transmission.

Cons

Atomic Bent Chetler 120 Skis

The price of “Atomic Bent Chetler 120 Skis” varies, so check the latest price at

2. Salomon QST Blank Skis

powder skis

The Salomon QST. This is the one that you take home to the dogs. Durable, and a capable ski that’ll give you a smooth ride, even when cruising through the deep stuff. Fresh pow is a lot of fun, but it’ll take more than a basic camber underfoot on a freeride ski to stabilize your ride.

Most ski manufacturers don’t pay much mind to this issue. Salomon did, and as a result, they were able to deliver the amazing QST Blanks.

No more ski bumps

The Blanks have a wood core that was optimized for stability. Even when heading into uncharted territory, you won’t notice the many bumps and wedges that deep days bring with them.

Anyone with any skiing experience knows that this is possible due to the poplar wood core of the Blanks. However, there are more parts in play than they may realize.

For beyond the wooden cores, tip and tail rocker, and stubbed toes (actually that last one was me not the skis), there lies a laminate. This laminate has a Cork damplifier. A damplifier is merely something that dampens your ride. Removes the choppiness.

This Cork wonder dampens your ride up to 16 times more than Koroyd. Koroyd used to be the gold star standard. Used to, being the keywords.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Blanks have a double sidewall construction. This gives the edges an iron grip. Nothing slips out of reach anymore.

Features

  • Terrain: All-Mountain, Big Mountain, and Powder
  • Ability Level: Advanced skiers to expert
  • Turning Radius: Medium
  • Core Materials: Carbon, Flax, and Wood
  • Warranty: Two years

Pros

  • Double sidewall construction provides an improved grip for the entire edge.
  • Powder ski laminate has a Cork damplifier that is 16 times more absorbent than the leading Koroyd.
  • The wood core was designed for optimum stability.

Cons

  • Weighs more than other best powder skis.

Salomon QST Blank Skis

The price of “Salomon QST Blank Skis” varies, so check the latest price at

3. Blizzard Rustler 11 Skis

powder ski

We can’t all be Olympic heroes, although we sure can fantasize about it. Some of us just want to ski for fun. We are playful souls, and we need powder skis that fit our energy. The Blizzard Rustler 11s are those skis.

Soft snow, Deep snow, fun times

The Rustler 11 was made for having a good time and not much else. It achieves this by including a hefty rocker to both the tail and nose ends of the skis. To complement its rocking bottom is a wide body.

This waist width allows the Rustler to float better and handle that deep snow oh so well.

With these skis, bottomless snow sounds about as much fun as bottomless hot wings. Float is what makes powder so special to ride on in the first place. So you can imagine how great that makes the Rustler feel when it’s got a body that was made for floating.

The only downside here is that while most skis give you a bare minimum of two years of warranty, the Rustler only gives you one. However, this shouldn’t stave away your interest in buying this gem because Blizzard made sure that durability was a feature of the Rustler.

With sandwich construction for the sidewalls, you won’t have to worry about any tears for a long while. Not to mention that alongside the lightweight materials in the core, are metal inserts.

Features

  • Terrain: Big Mountain and Powder
  • Ability Level: Advanced to expert
  • Turning Radius: Medium
  • Core Materials: Carbon, Metal, and Wood
  • Warranty: One year

Pros

  • Sandwich construction for the sidewalls improves powder ski durability.
  • Impressive powder performance thanks to the rocker in the tip and tail.
  • A playful powder ski that benefits from its rising tail and wide body.

Cons

  • Only one year of warranty.

Blizzard Rustler 11 Skis

The price of “Blizzard Rustler 11 Skis” varies, so check the latest price at

4. Black Crows Anima Skis

best powder ski

The Black Crows Animas have got a wild disposition. Most of the qualities of these powder skis make them a better fit for the backcountry than anything else. It’s no wonder that the terrain type of choice for the Animas is the big mountain.

Built for it all

When your core has Kevlar in it, then you know you mean business. Of course, the core of the Anima is best suited for soft snow, but that doesn’t mean that harder snow conditions can’t be handled.

These skis make short work of firmer snow, and they’ve got a great balance in the air. Capable of reaching freeride ski levels of speed and handling the air like it was made for freestyling.

The Animas doesn’t suit any singular ski style, but rather the whole drawer. Despite this, powder still has its place here. With a progressive flex that makes the ski firm and soft in all the right places, it is easy to see why build quality was the defining trait of these skis.

Continuing this trend of forward-thinking design is the progressive rocker that sits at both ends of the Animas. Giving these sticks an upward momentum in even the most stacked conditions.

The last thing I’ll talk about is the design of the side cuts. Rather than fixating on the actual length of the side cuts, the Anima focused on their depth. They’ve got a long curve radius and are perfectly stable for high speeds.

Not a single thing was missing from these skis.

Features

  • Terrain: Big Mountain
  • Ability Level: Advanced to expert
  • Turning Radius: Medium
  • Core Materials: Kevlar, Carbon, and Wood
  • Warranty: Two years

Pros

  • Excellently designed side cuts that have a long curve radius and are stable at high speeds.
  • Progressively designed tip and tail rocker for easy flotation.
  • Progressive flex that performs well in deep powder and firm snow.

Cons

  • Not the best graphics on the exterior of the powder ski.

Black Crows Anima Skis

The price of “Black Crows Anima Skis” varies, so check the latest price at

5. Nordica Enforcer 110 Free Skis

atomic powder skis

Big mountain skiing, the words sound intense. That is fitting because this type of skiing absolutely is intense. With steep terrain that needs speed and power to cut through, you won’t want to head into these lands unprepared.

For the right gear, look no further than the Nordica Enforcers.

The law

The Enforcers have a seriously robust core at their center. Constructed with performance wood and blanketed by not one but two sheets of metal at either edge. This core demands stability and power transmission.

Not a single movement of yours will go unnoticed. What your legs telegraph, the Nordica Enforcer will boldly proclaim. Circling this magnificent core is a ski base that can’t be found in any other ski.

This powder ski base has a unique geometric shape. But what good is this unique shape for? Certainly not for making me a better skier, (writer’s note: I’m god awful). The geometric shape of the powder base increases the acceleration of your skis.

Chart your course and hang on for dear life because thanks to the carbon laminate, this ski is going to fly. The laminate makes your skis stiff, which increases your top speed. This laminate also gives the Enforcers their snap, which increases your air time.

All in all, the Nordica Enforcers have everything you need to feel like a true daredevil. They’ve also got everything I need to send me to the emergency room. Great skis!

Features

  • Terrain: Big Mountain and Powder
  • Ability Level: Advanced to expert
  • Turning Radius: Medium
  • Core Materials: Metal and Wood
  • Warranty: One year

Pros

  • The powder ski base has a unique geometric shape that improves acceleration.
  • Has a carbon laminate that makes the ski stiff and gives it a proper snap.
  • Specially designed powder rocker.

Cons

  • Due to its great quality, comes with a high price tag.

Nordica Enforcer 110 Free Skis

The price of “Nordica Enforcer 110 Free Skis” varies, so check the latest price at

6. K2 Mindbender 116 C Skis

powder skiis

Between the tight trees and tighter terrain, reaching top speed can be a bit of a chore. Even so, once you reach your apex, all it takes is a simple turn or carve to slow you down to the speed of your average highway Prius.

Enter the Mindbender, with a pure carbon and wood core and a mammoth turn radius, you won’t be cruising anytime soon.

Bend the speed limits

A long curve radius can be seen by many as making for an unresponsive ski, but I see it differently. An unresponsive ski is a ski that doesn’t do what you want it to. But if you want to go fast and your ski allows you to go fast no matter what you do, then I’d say it’s pretty responsive to your needs.

That’s what the long turn radius on the K2 Mindbender is for. The longer the turn radius, the more speed you retain as you enter and exit a turn or curve. Of course, every speed demon needs top-quality brakes.

The Mindbenders have a powerful edge. Edge hold here is only further boosted by the camber profile and sidewall construction. Even if you don’t want to slow down, the edges of these skis can be used to clear the way. No more crud, no more problems.

Touching back on the wood core from before. Both Maple and Paulownia combine to give you a lightweight ride that won’t snap upon your first hard landing.

Features

  • Terrain: Big Mountain and Powder
  • Ability Level: Advanced to expert
  • Turning Radius: Long
  • Core Materials: Carbon and Wood
  • Warranty: Two years

Pros

  • Despite the long turn radius, these powder skis are responsive due to angled side walls.
  • The dual wood core construction of Maple and Paulownia makes for a lightweight yet powerful ride.
  • Cut up the crud in your way with its powerful edge and edge hold.

Cons

  • Not optimal for those who want quick turning.

K2 Mindbender 116 C Skis

The price of “K2 Mindbender 116 C Skis” varies, so check the latest price at

7. Elan Ripstick 116 Skis

armada powder skis

If you don’t yet consider yourself a hard-charging skier, then don’t fret. Not all of the skis on our list were made for experts and skiing savants. The Elan Ripstick is the ski for intermediates and those aspiring to improve.

Calling all soon-to-be’s

It isn’t often that you get a quality piece of ski or snowboarding gear that doesn’t go all-in on pandering to experienced skiers. Novices and intermediates need tools as well. This was the first thing that impressed me about the Elan Ripstick skis.

They were specially designed for intermediates and higher-level beginners. This is surprising given the terrain that they excel at, big mountain and powder. The reason why the Ripstick is best suited for newer skiers is due to its flex.

The flex of these skis is low and progressive. All the makings of a forgiving yet capable ride. They’ve also got a wider body, which as we know isn’t just good for powder but also for stability.

Despite these great intermediate-friendly features, there is still a bit of torque to be found within the halls of the Elan Ripstick. SST side walls enhance power transmission and emission. Making it easy for you to whip out a hard carve.

Finish it off with Vaportip inserts for a damper, smoother ride, and you’ve got all the makings of a great pair of skis. A pair of skis that won’t need years of experience to handle or maintain.

Features

  • Terrain: Big Mountain and Powder
  • Ability Level: Intermediate skiers
  • Turning Radius: Medium
  • Core Materials: Ultralight Tubelite wood core
  • Warranty: One year

Pros

  • Has a great flex and wide ski build that makes it the perfect ski for intermediate skiers.
  • SST side walls enhance power transmission and emission.
  • The Vaportip inserts and a wide waist make for a damp ride.

Cons

  • There are better performance options for expert skiers.

Elan Ripstick 116 Skis

The price of “Elan Ripstick 116 Skis” varies, so check the latest price at

8. Head Kore 111 Skis

good powder skis

The end of the list always has the one option that can do a bit of everything, albeit not in the same way as our number one pick. Don’t think of this entry as last place but merely another side of first. In fact, the Head Kore 111s have enough quality to take the top spot.

The reverse first

With a graphene and carbon wood core, the Kore 111s have got the lightweight design of the Elan Ripstick with the durability of the Nordica Enforcer. Fitted with a medium turn radius that is capable of grinding out a hard carve and a quick turn at a moment’s notice.

That kind of versatility is only rivaled by the Black Crows Anima skis. Speaking of carving prowess, the edges of the Head Kore 111s have a rubber foil layer applied to them. This layer of foil makes for a damper ride. Experience minimal chatter even as you carve.

Now that is astounding, and it’s only followed up by something just as good. The Graphene laminate all over the base of these skis reduces their weight. Weight reduction can only mean one thing in the skiing world, speed gains.

You’ll be able to go fast, in fact, the base here was made from the same materials used in the world’s best race skis. With the Kore 111s, you’ll be capable of keeping up with the racehorses of the ski world. If you are interested to buy head kore 93 checkout our article.

There is something special about skis like these.

Features

  • Terrain: Big Mountain and Alpine Touring
  • Ability Level: Advanced to expert
  • Turning Radius: Medium
  • Core Materials: Carbon, Graphene, and Wood
  • Warranty: One year

Pros

  • The ski base is made from the same materials used in the world’s best race skis.
  • Graphene laminate reduces weight and increases speed.
  • Edges have a rubber layer foil for extra dampening qualities.

Cons

  • Only one year of warranty.

Head Kore 111 Skis

The price of “Head Kore 111 Skis” varies, so check the latest price at

Picking Out The Best Powder Skis Designed For You

It’s important to get the right skis for your needs. Take into account the amount of response, weight, and pop that will be required to ski the way that you desire. Keep in mind, that responsiveness can mean different things to different skiers.

Just as we saw with the K2 Mindbender. How can you tell what’s best for you? By using our buyer’s guide below.

It’s important to get the right skis for your needs. Take into account the amount of response, weight, and pop that will be required to ski the way that you desire. Keep in mind, that responsiveness can mean different things to different skiers.

Just as we saw with the K2 Mindbender. How can you tell what’s best for you? By using our buyer’s guide below.

Powder Ski Flex and Ability Level

The flex of a powder ski determines how fast it reacts to your movements. Beginner skiers will definitely want skis with a lower flex. Otherwise, they run the risk of any small movement sending them tumbling into the snow.

Take it from me, pow isn’t as soft as it looks. Especially when you are barreling face-first into it.

More experienced skiers will want a harder flex on their skis because it’ll be able to quickly telegraph their movements. Beginners should get the Elan Ripstick, everyone else can fair with any of the skis on our list.

The Weight of Your Powder Skis

Weight affects how fast your powder skis can go. The less they weigh, the faster they will go. The more they weigh, the longer it’ll take to get them to a respectable speed. A ski’s weight is also indicative of its durability and stability.

Skis that weigh more are more durable and offer a damper ride. Skis that weigh less can be quite chattery. It all depends on what you want, stability or speed. The Rustler 11s can give you both.

What the Best Powder Skis are Made of

The best powder skis are made from a mix of top-drawer materials. For one, you need steel edges in order to be able to carve or shred in the way that powder demands. As for the core of your skis, you can’t go wrong with either maple or paulownia wood.

For increased speed capabilities, a core with carbon inserts will make for a lighter-weighing ski than those without carbon. Kevlar or metal cores have great durability and offer a damp ride.

When it comes to the materials that your skis are made from, take into account your skiing style and terrain. For powder skiing, getting a lightweight pair of skis is optimal.

FAQs

What is a Powder Ski?

You’ve read all about the best powder skis available, but maybe you’re now wondering, what exactly is a powder ski?

Powder skis are skis that are wider than other kinds of skis. They also have the same amount of rocker on both ends of their tips. This is why powder skis are so adept at floating through powder.

What length powder ski should I buy?

The length of your powder skis depends on your height and to a lesser extent, your weight. The best powder ski length for you should be as long as the bottom of your feet and going up all the way to your chin.

Although this isn’t an exact formula for finding the perfect ski length, it is a general rule of thumb that should serve you well.

How Wide Is Too Wide for a Resort Ski?

As I mentioned earlier, a good playful ski for powder churning is generally wider than most skis. But how wide is too wide for a ski that’ll mostly be used at the resort?

Resort skis usually have a waist width that ranges from seventy to eighty-five millimeters. However, true all-mountain skis generally have a waist width of eighty-five to one hundred millimeters.

My Final Thoughts

Great powder days don’t come by often. Even if they did, the chances of us having the time to get away from work and our other commitments just to get some skiing in are pretty low. This is why we should always have one of the best powder skis at the ready.

So that we can seize and truly get the most out of the moment when it comes. But not all powder skis were made equal. It’s not enough to have a dedicated powder ski, you need the right one for your build and skiing style.

Something like the Elan Ripstick is perfect for intermediate skiers but experts should pick up the K2 Mindbender instead. It’s all about knowing yourself, only then will the right powder ski for you appear.

Categories: Skiing

Adrian Salazar

My name is Adrian Salazar and I have been wrapped up in the world of water and other extreme sports since the first time I went kayaking. When I’m not working hard trying to deliver the best writing that I can, I am usually out on a lake or hiking up a mountain. My world is completely dominated by writing and the mix of adrenaline and peace of mind that can be achieved while engaging in new sports. I will use my knowledge, experience, and mistakes, to inform you about the best ways that you can become a part of the world of extreme sports. You can count on me to give you my informed and unbiased opinion about any sporting equipment you may need. I know from personal experience that extreme sports are something that you need to head into completely and accurately informed. Let my experience guide you.

0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published.

en_GBEnglish (UK)