9 Best Powder Skis for Deep Snow

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9 Best Powder Skis for Deep Snow

Powder days are addictive. Once you successfully ski deep snow, it’s hard to ski anything else. When nature drops the goods, you want to have the best powder skis to handle it. Improper skis on a big powder day can lead to frustration, accidents, and an unwillingness to try again.

In this guide, we'll break down the skis you need, with pros, cons, and technical details. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to start piecing together your soft snow kit. Powder skis are NOT everyday skis; they sit patiently in gear closets for mother nature to send a good storm. When she does, these are the skis you want to grab.

My Review Process

I’ve been a skier for 25 years. In that time, I’ve expanded my profile from resort skiing, to ski instructing, to backcountry skiing. I’ve had stellar skis and skis that only served up a bad time. My goal is to get you the information you need to make the best decision possible.

Like most things, skiing soft snow requires astute research and practice. The right set of powder skis can speed up the process. All the selections below were chosen to bridge the gap between intermediate skiers and powder hounds. Some specialized offerings are excluded in favor of skis built for the powder conditions you’re most likely to experience.

Salomon QST Blank Skis

Best Overall Powder Skis

My winner
10 Best Powder Skis for Deep Snow - Salomon QST Blank Skis
Pros

Stable at speed

Great flotation

Surprisingly versatile

Good handling in choppy snow

Maneuverable

Cons

Gets knocked around in crud

Many people have many opinions about modern powder skis. What most can agree on is that the QST Blank Skis handle soft snow well. Across the board, these skis give you fantastic results. They are stable at speed, offer great floatation in fresh pow, and are surprisingly versatile in variable conditions.

Less-than-ideal conditions like crud are not nice to the QST Blanks (or any powder ski), so you wouldn’t take these skis out for a dusting of new snow. However, for deeper days, the intuitive handling and maneuverability make them an absolute joy to use.

Technical Info

  • Length: 178, 186, 194 cm
  • Tip width: 137, 138, 139 mm
  • Waist size: 112 mm 
  • Tail width: 126, 127, 128 mm
  • Turning radius: ~17 meters
  • Ski Profile: Tip/Tail Rocker, modest Camber underfoot
  • Build: Poplar wood core

Salomon QST Blank Skis

Armada Whitewalker 121

Best Deep Powder Skis

My winner
10 Best Powder Skis for Deep Snow - Armada Whitewalker 121
Pros

Playful

Easy to maneuver

Wide for great flotation

Easy to ski switch

Can handle deep powder

Cons

Expensive

Blower powder is pretty rare, so when it hits, you want something you know can handle it. The Armada Whitewalker 121 is tailor-made for the deep conditions featured in professional ski videos. You get a wide enough ski to surf layers of powder while remaining playful and easy to maneuver.

True powder skis like this one are always going to be expensive, and the price tag with the Whitewalker is nothing to laugh about. However, if you get a chance to ski bottomless snow, this selection will guarantee a good time. Plus, its twin-tip design and low swing weight make skiing forward and backward (i.e., switch) intuitive and loads of fun.

Technical Info

  • Length: 183 cm
  • Tip width: 141 mm
  • Waist size: 121 mm
  • Tail width: 137 mm
  • Turning radius: 18 meters 
  • Ski Profile: Tip/Tail Rocker, modest Camber underfoot
  • Build: Caruba core

Armada Whitewalker 121

Line Pandora 110

Best Women’s Powder Skis

My winner
10 Best Powder Skis for Deep Snow - Line Pandora 110
Pros

Easy handling

Great flotation

Approachable for newer skiers

Maneuverable

Lots of fun in fresh snow

Cons

Lots of chatter in hardpack

I love these skis. Not only are they the best women’s powder ski, but they’re also one of the most approachable offerings for newer powder skiers. If you’re a strong intermediate skier with experience with all-mountain designs, the transition to the Pandora 110 is fairly straightforward.

Like most powder skis, the Line Pandora 110 doesn’t like going fast on hardpack. The double rocker means the tips and tails tend to slap against the ground, causing what's known as chatter, which affects stability. Nevertheless, if you like easy handling, maneuverability at slow speeds, fun, and great flotation in fresh snow, these skis are for you.

Technical Info

  • Length: 162, 170, 178 cm
  • Tip width: 144 mm
  • Waist size: 110 mm 
  • Tail width: 130 mm
  • Turning radius: ~17 meters 
  • Ski Profile: Tip/Tail Rocker, Modest Camber underfoot
  • Build: Paulownia and Maple

Line Pandora 110

DPS Foundation

Most Approachable Powder Skis

My winner
10 Best Powder Skis for Deep Snow - DPS Foundation
Pros

Handles resort powder very well

Maneuverable

Stability at speed

Great for building confidence 

Encourages a centered/forward stance

Cons

Not for exceptionally deep powder

Doesn’t handle crud well

The DPS Foundation makes sampling powder a breeze. Not only are these skis approachable, but they also handle resort powder like a dream. If you're a beginner powder skier, check these skis out.

Some powder skiers lean back to achieve float, which strains your knees and quads. Backseat skiers will find that the Foundation takes getting used to because it encourages a center-forward stance. The skis also don’t handle crud that well. However, the DPS Foundations encourages proper form and confidence and are an all-around good resort powder ski.

Technical Info

  • Length: 180, 187, 194 cm
  • Tip width: 138 mm
  • Waist size: 106 mm
  • Tail width: 128 mm
  • Turning radius: 21meters
  • Ski Profile: Tip/Tail rocker, Camber underfoot
  • Build: Aspen wood core with carbon stringers

DPS Foundation

Line Pescado Skis

Best Powder Skis for Advanced Skiers

My winner
10 Best Powder Skis for Deep Snow - Line Pescado Skis
Pros

Exceptionally playful

Supreme flotation

Handles variable snow 

Intuitive turning and pivots

Unique swallowtail design

Cons

Very expensive

The Line Pescado is a thoroughly modern powder ski featuring a “swallowtail design.” It’s like someone took a hole puncher and clipped the ski tail, leaving two little legs. The idea is that in deep powder, the swallowtail design will sink lower into the snow, which elevates the tips above the snowline for a superior float and a playful, surfy ride.

Line Pescado’s are expensive, but the powder performance is unmatched. If you’re skiing deep snow on a set, smiles come guaranteed. With 124 millimeters underfoot, these skis are the widest offerings on our list. They also have a long effective edge, which creates stability on different types of terrain for aggressive skiers.

Technical Info

  • Length: 179, 185, 179 cm
  • Tip width: 140, 141, 142 mm
  • Waist size: 124 mm
  • Tail width: 130, 131, 132 mm
  • Turning radius:  23 meters
  • Ski Profile: Tip rocker, modest camber underfoot, swallowtail
  • Build: Paulownia and Maple

Line Pescado Skis

Blizzard Hustle 11 Skis

Best Backcountry Powder Ski

My winner
10 Best Powder Skis for Deep Snow - Blizzard Hustle 11 Skis
Pros

Great versatility

Stable on the downhill

Light enough to tour with

Handles powder well

Poppy & responsive

Cons

Not the lightest offering for the skin track

The Blizzard Hustle 11s are a cross between their popular Zero-G and Rustler lines. These skis offer great versatility on the uphill and accessible power on the downhill for experienced skiers. They’re poppy, responsive, and handle deep backcountry powder better than most other contenders. 

The Blizzard Hustle 11 is light enough for touring, though multi-day backcountry fiends may opt for something even lighter. For single-day tours, slackcountry, and morning or afternoon skin laps, this is a dependable set of skis.

Technical Info

  • Length: 164, 172, 180, 188, 192 cm
  • Tip width: 139, —,—>, 142, 145 mm
  • Waist size: 112,—,—>, 114, 116 mm 
  • Tail width: 129, —,—>, 132, 135 mm
  • Turning radius: 16-23 meters
  • Ski Profile: Tip/tail rocker, Camber underfoot
  • Build: Beech, Poplar, and Paulownia

Blizzard Hustle 11 Skis

Atomic Bent 110

Best Freestyle Powder Skis

My winner
10 Best Powder Skis for Deep Snow - Atomic Bent 110
Pros

Supremely fun

Maneuverable

Responsive in tight spaces

Floats in powder well

Lightweight profile

Cons

Not for aggressive speed skiers

Fun is the one word that describes this pair of playful powder skis best. One of my top picks for years, the Bent Chetler Line delivers again with the 110. Here, you have a responsive, light ski that floats effortlessly through powder without sacrificing maneuverability.

Unlike others, the skis have a lower speed limit, meaning they aren't the best for aggressive-style skiers whipping down steep terrain. The Atomic Bent 1110 is happiest in fluffy snow, well-spaced glades, and on moderately angled slopes. If you also like jumping off features from time to time, this is a good pick.

Technical Info

  • Length: 172, 180, 188 cm
  • Tip width: 132, 133, 134 mm
  • Waist size: 110 mm 
  • Tail width: 123, 124, 125 mm
  • Turning radius: 16, 18, 19 meters
  • Ski Profile: Tip/Tail Rocker, Camber underfoot
  • Build: Poplar wood core

Atomic Bent 110

Black Crows Camox Jr. Ski

Best Kids Powder Skis

My winner
10 Best Powder Skis for Deep Snow - Black Crows Camox Jr. Ski
Pros

Narrower waist width for younger skiers

Wide enough for powder

Balanced and dependable

Light, easy to maneuver

Carving ability on groomed snow

Cons

Can’t handle deep snow

If you want to introduce your kids to soft snow types early, the Camox Jr. Skis are a fantastic pair of powder skis. Ideally suited for lads and lasses between 12-16, these skis are wide enough to float and powerful enough to deal with less-than-ideal conditions.

Unlike the other offerings in this guide, the 90 mm waist width means that more than a half foot of fresh powder will be tough to handle. However, as a first powder ski offering a balanced, dependable, and maneuverable ride, there are many reasons to consider the Camox Jr.

Technical Info

  • Length: 139, 149, 157, 164 cm
  • Tip width: 118 mm
  • Waist size: 90 mm 
  • Tail width: 102, 105, 106, 108 mm
  • Turning radius: 16-17 meters 
  • Ski Profile: Tip/Tail Rocker, Camber underfoot
  • Build: Poplar core and fiberglass

Black Crows Camox Jr. Ski

Moment Wildcat

Best Value Powder Skis

My winner
10 Best Powder Skis for Deep Snow - Moment Wildcat
Pros

Good powder flotation

Stable on big mountain lines

Fun, maneuverable

Above average carving

A blast to hit pillows with

Cons

Unfriendly to hesitant skiers

Not only is the wonderful Moment Wildcat your best-budget powder ski, but it can also shred varied conditions better than many of its peers. These solid powder skis are very stable on big mountain lines, fun and maneuverable in the trees, and supply above-average carving. It's a rare combination that doubles as both a powder performer and a daily driver.

Due to its aggressive design and accessible power, a centered stance is best. Backseat skiing will make edge-to-edge transitions a lot harder, so this is more of an advanced option. However, if you can stay on top of these versatile powder skis, they’ll take you through groomed snow, crud, and deep powder with little trouble.

Technical Info

  • Length: 164, 174, 179, 184, 190 cm
  • Tip width: 141, —, —, —>, 143 mm
  • Waist size: 116 mm 
  • Tail width: 131, —, —, —>, 133 mm
  • Turning radius: 17.5, 21, 23, 25, 27 meters
  • Ski Profile: Tip/Tail Rocker, modest Camber underfoot
  • Build: Poplar and Ash core

Moment Wildcat

Pros
Cons

Verdict:

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Powder Skis Buying Guide

With the right equipment, skiing powder is a delightful experience. Minimize frustrations and maximize smiles by considering the criteria below before buying your next set of powder skis.

Price

Powder skis are expensive. The combination of technical details and coveted powder performance tends to balloon their price.

A typical range for powder skis is somewhere between $800 and $1500. The lower end presents the best value. The upper end will be able to deal with the deepest conditions but won’t be as versatile as other options.

Width & Length

Powder skis can be anywhere from 105-135 millimeters wide underfoot. The 105-110 range overlaps a bit with freeride all-mountain ski designs, so there’s a bit of terrain versatility built in but less deep powder flotation.

Ski length relates to skier height. Measure yourself from head to toe in centimeters. Then, measure yourself from your toes up to the top of your shoulders. Take those two numbers and find a ski length within the range they’ve created. 

Longer skis are generally more stable and have a higher speed limit but require more effort to control. Shorter skis are easy to whip around in tight terrain but less reliable at high speeds.

Camber/Rocker

Both terms are about the profile, or shape, of your skis. They’re most obvious when you place a ski on a flat surface, step back and then get down until you're even with the ski. 

If you see an upward bend in the middle of the ski, underneath the boot bindings, that’s camber. A reverse camber, or rocker, is an upward bend at the tip of the ski. Tail rocker is an upward bend at the back of your ski. 

Camber helps when you’re carving by acting like a spring and helping you propel into the next turn. Rocker helps your skis float through powder, and maneuver tight spaces, although rocker is less effective for carving.

Sidecut/Turn Radius

Modern powder skis have an hourglass design when looked at from above. The tip is the widest part, the middle is the thinnest, and the tail generally bows back out. You can measure ski width at the tip, tail, and waist; the combination of those measurements is the sidecut. 

A more dramatic sidecut (bigger difference between tip and waist width) creates a smaller turn radius, which is better for tight spaces. Turn radius is the average distance it takes for a ski to make a turn. 10-15 meters is a short turning radius, 15-20 is medium, and 21+ meters is large.

Versatility

One of the largest shortcomings of powder skis is their specialized design. Powder isn't a problem, but variable snow and less-than-ideal conditions can be uncomfortable to ski on.

A powder ski with all-mountain ski tendencies, like a bit of metal in the edges or a skinnier width, will increase performance across a variety of conditions. Personal preference will help dictate how versatile you want your modern powder skis to be.

Float

In the powder category, you want skis to float. This is often achieved through a combination of body position, wide ski tips, and rocker. 

If a ski torpedoes down into fresh snow, you’ll eject out of your bindings and then have to find your skis beneath all that powder. Wider ski tips generally float better, but unique designs like the Line Pescado's swallowtail also help.

Build/Stability

Beneath the fancy tech in skis is a wood core. Some of the most popular core types include Poplar, Caruba, Aspen, Maple, and Beech. Many manufacturers develop their own unique take by combining types with carbon cores, fiberglass, or paulownia elements.

Stability is all about how smooth your ride is, which starts with the wood core. Generally, high-density hardwood trees are heavier and more durable. This denseness helps skis cut through marginal conditions and variable terrain to deliver a smoother ride.

Lighter woods like Poplar cores and Paulownia are more responsive in powder at the expense of stability at speed. Lighter skis tend to bounce up and down on groomed snow and variable terrain, which can be uncomfortable even for skilled skiers.

Stability is great for resorts but less ideal for backcountry skiing, where you want lightweight construction to reduce uphill effort.

Summary

The best overall powder ski is the Salomon QST Blank, with the Armada Whitewalker taking the trophy for best performer in deep snow. New powder skiers will enjoy the approachable DPS Foundation, while advanced powder skiers will gravitate toward the Line Pescado.

If you’re looking for options for the skin track, check out the Blizzard Hustle 11s. Freestyle skiers will find a lot to enjoy about the Atomic Bent 110, and value shoppers should check out the stellar Moment Wildcat and the unisex Line Pandora 110.

Common questions

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I’m happiest on long backpacking trips into little-known pockets of wilderness, skiing down backcountry mountains, and on all-fours, scrambling the rocky spines of alpine ridges. When I'm not adventuring in the outdoors, I'm most likely writing about them.

*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.

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