Testing carving skis at Copper Mountain, Colorado
(Photo: Keri Bascetta)
2024 Winter Gear Guide

The Best Carving Skis of 2024

If you’re in the market for a pair of carvers to slice up the ‘roy and live out your racing fantasy, check out this list

Testing carving skis at Copper Mountain, Colorado
Keri Bascetta

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This article was first published by SkiMag.com.

Looking for a pair of skis to dig trenches on hard snow and make you look good on the groomers? You’ve come to the right place. The carving skis listed here rose to the top of the 2024 pile after impressing SKI’s crew of veteran testers with their ability to dig in on hardpack, leap from turn to turn with energy, and hold steady at speed down the fall line.

Each of these carving skis feature waist widths of around 70 millimeters to 80 millimeters and a more dramatic sidecut than you’ll see on frontside or all-mountain sticks. Why? Because this shape makes carving effortless—these skis are designed to tip onto their edges and help you arc a beautiful turn. Some of these skis even go a step further: They not only carve like recreational race skis, they gently coax carving newbies onto their edges and teach them how to lay ’em over between turns.

So now it’s up to you—what type of carving ski will you choose? One that lets you relive your racecourse glory days? Then look for a ski that excels in our Stability at Speed and Hard-Snow Integrity scoring criteria. Want something a little more mellow, accessible, but still energetic and fun? A carving ski that ranks high in Forgiveness, Versatility, and Playfulness might be just the ticket.

Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong with this list of the best carving skis of 2024. The nine carving skis listed here have strengths and weaknesses, yes, but they all have our testers’ seal of approval.

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Related: Looking for the best carving skis for women? You’ll find those here.

How We Test

2024 carving skis lined up on rack at SKI Test at Copper Mountain
Twelve testers gathered in late March at Colorado’s Copper Mountain to put 12 of this season’s most exciting carving sticks through their paces. (Photo: Brad Kaminski)

Number of skis tested: 12
Number of testers: 11
Testing location: Copper Mountain, Colorado
Cumulative number of runs skied during testing day: 192
Average age of tester: 42
Average height of tester: 5’9”
Average weight of tester: 147

When you need to test skis that are designed to bend it like Mikaela Shiffrin, what better venue than Colorado’s Copper Mountain, home of the U.S. Ski Team’s early-season training center. In mid-March, 2023, we invited a crew of 11 expert skiers and ski industry insiders—ski shop technicians and owners, veteran ski instructors, and bonafide gear nerds—to join us on Copper’s infamous groomers and let it rip on next season’s most exciting carving sticks. Every tester jumped on every ski entered into this year’s carving test and took at least one lap to determine how well the ski did what it was designed to do: get on edge and arc a beautiful carved turn.

After each run, testers fill out a digital scorecard that asks them to rate the ski across eight skill categories (Carving; Hard-Snow Integrity; Stability at Speed; Quickness; Responsiveness; Crud Performance; Forgiveness; Versatility), and also offer feedback on what type of skier, terrain, and conditions the ski is best suited to.

At the end of the day that saw testers racking up more than 28,000 feet of vertical, we gathered enough data on the 12 skis tested to write novels about each ski. Lucky for you, we spend the summer months distilling all that data so you don’t have to. Here, in a nutshell, are the best carving skis of 2024 for ex-racers and recreational skiers alike.

Meet the Testers

Ski tester arcing a carving ski at Copper Mountain
Tester Chris Bivona arcs a turn during SKI’s 2024 Carving Ski Test at Copper Mountain, Colo. (Photo: Photo: Brad Kaminski)

Chris Bivona

Age: 43 | Height: 5’9″| Weight: 175 lbs

Bivona is the owner of Ski Town All-Stars, a ski and hat emporium based in Vail, Colo. Originally from New Jersey, Bivona relocated to the Rocky Mountains as soon as he could to live out his ski bum fantasy. He’s since turned ski bumming into a legitimate operation.

Leif Sunde

Age: 33 | Height: 5’11” | Weight: 165 lbs

Sunde is the founder and owner of the Denver Sports Lab in Golden, Colo., a local shop that caters to ski racers and recreational skiers alike. He’s been on skis since he was 22 months old and has been a life-long student of the sport ever since. He’s been contributing to SKI‘s gear education and maintenance columns since 2018.

Krista Crabtree

Age: 50 | Height: 5’8″ | Weight: 130 lbs

Crabtree spent every winter weekend brown-bagging lunch and skiing bell to bell in New Hampshire and ski racing around New England’s storied race hills. After a stint on the Bates College alpine ski team, she headed west to coach at Ski Club Vail, and then moved to the mountains above Boulder to get her Masters at the University of Colorado. An internship at SKI lead to eight years as an editor and director of the women’s ski test. She has been testing and writing about skis, boots, and gear since 1999.

The Reviews: The Best Carving Skis of 2024

Editor’s Choice: Stöckli Laser WRT Pro ($1,449)

2024 Stöckli Laser WRT Pro
(Photo: Courtesy Stöckli)

Overall score: 9.17/10
Lengths (cm): 167, 172, 180
Dimensions (mm): 118-66-100
Radius (m): 14.8 (172)
Pros: Hard-Snow Integrity, Stability at Speed
Cons: Playfulness, Forgiveness

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If the Stöckli Laser WRT Pro were college bound, it’d be an Ivy League contender. This hard-charging model scored top marks in all testing categories, solidifying its spot as the No. 1 Unisex Carving ski in this year’s test, including near-perfect scores for Stability at Speed and Hard-Snow Integrity. “The responsiveness was next-level,” said tester Geof Ochs, director of marketing for Sync Performance in Vail, Colorado. “This is an energetic, dependable, stiff ski with lots of pop. It will hold onto groomers, ice, or crud—no matter how hard you push it.” The Laser WRT Pro’s construction comes directly from race skis, featuring wide metal edges and stiff racing sidewalls with full edge contact for direct power transfer. The metal-and-carbon sandwich sidewall layup elicited adjectives like “burly” and “bomber”; however, testers were surprised by the variety of turn shapes this ski could offer, as well as what Chris Bivona, owner of Ski Town All-Stars in Vail, Colorado, called its “heat-seeking missile energy” out of each turn.

Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.

No. 2: Nordica Spitfire DC 74 Pro FDT ($1,000)

2024 Nordica Spitfire DC 74 Pro FDT
(Photo: Courtesy Nordica)

Overall score: 8.7/10
Lengths (cm): 160, 165, 170, 175, 180
Dimensions (mm): 124-74-104
Radius (m): 16.5 (175)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,775 (175)
Pros: Stability at Speed, Hard-Snow Integrity
Cons: Versatility, Forgiveness

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If the Nordica Spitfire DC 74 Pro threw a party, one and all would be invited. “East and West, old and young, ex-racer and recreationist: This is an everybody ski,” said Vail, Colorado-based tester and former racer Ryan Collopy. Achieving the No. 2 spot in the category, this model received nearly flawless scores for Stability at Speed and Hard-Snow Integrity, making it a prime choice for low-snowfall days at any mountain. Testers noted that hard chargers can revel in the stability and rebound energy at high speeds, while less-aggressive skiers can benefit from the smooth feel in medium to long turns. Nordica’s Energy TI Double Core construction essentially splits the wood core into two parts, with a sheet of titanium and an elastomer layer placed in the middle. Combined with race-like sidewalls, the result is a ski that grips, dampens vibration, and feels dynamic at the finish of the turn. “The Spitfire DC 74 Pro FDT is a well-balanced, energetic ski for intermediate to pro-level skiers,” reported Bivona.

Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.

No. 3: Völkl Deacon 76 ($1,100 with RMotion3 12 binding)

2024 Völkl Deacon 76

(Photo: Courtesy Völkl)

Overall score: 8.38/10
Lengths (cm): 171, 176, 181
Dimensions (mm): 124-76-104
Radius (m): 17.6 (176)
Weight (per ski in grams): 3,280 with binding (176)
Pros: Hard-Snow Integrity, Stability at Speed
Cons: Quickness, Versatility

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Carving: check. Stability at Speed: check. Hard-Snow Integrity: check. High marks for the Völkl Deacon 76 tell the story of a dependable carving ski. In fact, this model received top scores for Carving, landing No. 3 status in the Unisex Carving category, with testers describing it as solid, stable, and fun. “The Deacon 76 is a classic on-piste carving ski made for the skier who wants to work on their edge-to-edge transitions, link big turns, and not put a ton of energy into the ski for it to come around,” said Collopy. The most notable feature of this ski is the wide, agile shovel featuring Völkl’s Tailored Carbon Tip, where embroidered carbon fibers can increase torsional rigidity and stiffness, adding ease of entry—especially into long turns. It wasn’t as dynamic as some in the category, but testers enjoyed the Deacon 76’s straightforward caving personality. “This ski wants to grip it and rip it, so get it up to speed and let it run,” recommended Ochs.

Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.

No. 4: K2 Disruption MTi ($1,050)

2024 K2 Disruption MTi
(Photo: Courtesy K2)

Overall score: 8.13/10
Lengths (cm): 165, 170, 175, 180
Dimensions (mm): 118-74-104
Radius (m): 18.1 (175)
Weight (per ski in grams): ​​1,834 (175)
Pros: Hard-Snow Integrity, Stability at Speed
Cons: Forgiveness, Quickness

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The performance of the K2 Disruption MTi on groomers and firm snow is actually the antithesis of the ski’s name. Instead of instability, testers found the ski to be focused and dependable—heavily dependable, in fact, with no surprises on the snow. Our crew awarded the 74-millimeter-waisted ski high marks in Stability at Speed and Hard-Snow Integrity, where it rivaled the top three skis in the Unisex Carving category. “Bottom line: the Disruption MTi is a wide-open, hardpack groomer ski that charges hard and rolls easily edge to edge,” said Collopy. K2’s Titanal I-Beam construction adds metal throughout the length of the Disruption MTi in a strategic shape designed to increase both stability and precision, while the Dark Matter Damping system reduces chatter—particularly noticeable at speed. Some testers noted that the Disruption MTi’s 18.1-meter radius and propensity for stretched-out turns may not be everyone’s jam, but embrace the longer GS turn, they said, and the ski will lay down railroad tracks.

Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.

No. 5: Blizzard Thunderbird R15 WB LTD ($1,200)

2024 Blizzard Thunderbird R15 WB LTD
(Photo: Courtesy Blizzard)

Overall score: 7.81/10
Lengths (cm): 158, 166, 174, 182
Dimensions (mm): 126-76-107
Radius (m): 15 (174)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,960 (174)
Pros: Hard-Snow Integrity, Stability at Speed
Cons: Forgiveness, Playfulness

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The Blizzard Thunderbird R15 WB LTD landed in the top-five Unisex Carving skis for 2023-24, impressing testers with its Hard-Snow Integrity, Stability at Speed, and quickness in transitions. “This ski held really well in both medium- and long-radius turns,” said tester Neil Sullivan, former racer and current ski patroller at Eldora Mountain Resort in Colorado. “It’s very predictable.” Though our crew observed that short turns required strength over finesse, medium-radius turns at speed were the bomb. Blizzard designed the Thunderbird R15 WB LTD as a multi-radius tool—a middle-of-the-road option for skiers who love to mix up their turn shapes. The brand’s TrueBlend Piste Woodcore has a double layer of Titanal, a dampening carbon-fiber plate, and a blend of two types of wood creating three different areas of densities: stiffer flex in the center, medium flex around the binding, and softer flex in the tip and tail. “If you are an everyday frontside skier who likes to step on the gas and get some pop out of the ski, this is for you,” stated Collopy.

Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.

No. 6: Fischer The Curv GT ($1,400)

2024 Fischer The Curv GT
(Photo: Courtesy Fischer)

Overall score: 7.67/10
Lengths (cm): 161, 168, 175, 182
Dimensions (mm): 125-76-109
Radius (m): 16 (175)
Weight (per ski in grams): 2,220 (175)
Pros: Carving, Responsiveness
Cons: Forgiveness, Versatility

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“Fast, responsive, and powerful” sums up testers’ descriptions of Fischer’s The Curv GT. A shapelier version of a slalom race ski, this model received race-level scores for Carving and Responsiveness and impressed reviewers with its ability to maneuver quickly into tight turns or hold long arcs on hard surfaces, where the ski excelled in performance. Expert testers and ex-racers appreciated the stiff flex, calling it one of the strongest skis in the Unisex Carving test and recommending it for avid, technically minded skiers. A double-Titanal shell and a carbon-fiber wrap in the wood core add to the ski’s no-nonsense stability and control. The Curv GT’s lowest score was for Forgiveness, and reviewers agreed that its stiffer flex might be too burly for intermediates. “The bottom line,” according to Collopy, “is that strong skiers will love how this ski can shred when you want it to or be your Sunday-morning go-to cruiser to carve up fresh corduroy.”

No. 7: Rossignol Forza 70 ($999)

2024 Rossignol Forza 70
(Photo: Courtesy Rossignol)

Overall score: 6.77/10
Lengths (cm): 163, 173, 181
Dimensions (mm): 136-78-112
Radius (m): 14 (173)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,900 (173)
Pros: Responsiveness, Forgiveness
Cons: Versatility, Hard-Snow Integrity

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Zippy and balanced, the Rossignol Forza 70 suits a range of abilities from new carvers to rippers laying trenches behind them. Testers were surprised at how the 181-centimeter option they skied at Colorado’s Copper Mountain felt shorter than its length. This is due to the ski’s shape, which Rossi calls a “supersized sidecut,” evident in the wide tip, which is slightly rockered and reinforced with a necktie-shaped piece of Titanal. According to Colorado tester Alex Cernichiari, “The ski felt like springs on my feet, jumping from turn to turn. It has a great mix of energy and stability.” Ex-racers of the group felt like the Forza 70’s lightweight construction and forgiving nature might not suit heavy hitters, though once up to speed the ski was capable of high edge angles, allowing skiers to lay it over. Slim of waist and wide of tip, the Forza 70 has a carving sensibility that’s accessible to aggressive and laid-back skiers alike.

No. 8: Dynastar Speed 763 ($1,050)

2024 Dynastar Speed 763
(Photo: Courtesy Dynastar)

Overall score: 6.59/10
Lengths (cm): 158, 166, 174, 182
Dimensions (mm): 124-75-109
Radius (m): 15 (174)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,950 (174)
Pros: Forgiveness, Quickness
Cons: Versatility, Stability at Speed

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“Great to roll over, responsive, and strong: It ticked nearly every box,” said Cernichiari of the Dynastar Speed 763. Testers loved how easily this ski—light underfoot and slalom-leaning—tipped on edge. “It pulls you into the turn,” noted veteran ski instructor Steve Wiegand, who put the Dynastar through its paces on the chalky steeps of Colorado’s Eldora Mountain. “It’s also easy to skid a turn or check your speed.” Tested at Copper Mountain, the Speed 763 received its highest test scores for Forgiveness and Quickness, a combination that suits aspiring carvers to experts, coast to coast. Ex-racers who gravitated toward hard-charging skis noted a lack of rebound energy and stability at speed, agreeing that the Speed 763 is more cruiser than bruiser. In lieu of a full metal sheet, Dynastar’s V Tech Ti technology uses metal “arms” over the body of the ski, reducing weight in the tip and tail. The result? More emphasis on finesse and less muscle needed to make short- to medium-radius turns on the groomers.

No. 9: Kästle RX9 ($849)

2024 Kästle RX9
(Photo: Courtesy Kästle)

Overall score: 6.38/10
Lengths (cm): 150, 156, 162, 168, 174
Dimensions (mm): 116-72-98
Radius (m): 16.2 (168)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,310 (162)
Pros: Forgiveness, Quickness
Cons: Stability at Speed, Versatility

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The Kästle RX9 has a modus operandi that’s more like a manageable race ski than a hardcore carver, unlike some of its burlier Austrian compatriots. SKI testers bestowed upon the RX9 high marks for Forgiveness and Quickness/Maneuverability and praised the lightweight feel and responsiveness. These traits make the ski accessible to burgeoning carvers through advanced skiers alike, and according to tester and Denver Sports Lab co-founder Leif Sunde, “this ski can introduce you to the turn and grow with you through technical turns on groomers and hardpack.” The RX9 has a weight-reducing, semi-cap sandwich sidewall construction and Hollowtech in the tip, along with an energy-absorbing layer in the hybrid metal/wood core. The result, according to testers, is a dynamic ski with a penchant for medium-radius turns at moderate speeds. Experts should not expect race-like grip at high speeds, as the RX9 has an emphasis on manageability. “It’s a ski to leisurely slide around or arc some sweet turns on,” offered Collopy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best carving skis for men?

  1. Stöckli Laser WRT Pro
  2. Nordica Spitfire DC 74 Pro FDT
  3. Völkl Deacon 76
  4. K2 Disruption MTi
  5. Blizzard Thunderbird R15 WB LTD
  6. Fischer The Curv GT
  7. Rossignol Forza 70
  8. Dynastar Speed 763
  9. Kästle RX9

What’s the difference between carving skis and all-mountain skis?

Carving skis are made to perform exceptionally well on groomed terrain, or “piste.” Their construction, sidecut, and bindings are optimized for hard snow performance. All-mountain skis might be able to carve well, but their overall carving abilities might be sacrificed for better all-around performance in moguls and choppy snow. Carving skis have heavier wood cores and thicker sheets of Titanal to optimize performance on edge while somewhat sacrificing performance on ungroomed terrain.

What length of carving ski is right for you?

Carving skis generally come in shorter lengths than all-mountain or freeride skis, but don’t be fooled: There is a lot of ski packed into all of the carving skis listed above. Most advanced and expert skiers opt for a carving ski that is shorter than they are tall—e.g. if you are 5’9″, you may want a carving ski that’s around 165 centimeters long. Carving skis feature more effective edge than frontside and all-mountain skis because they have minimal (if any) rocker. So don’t be afraid to try something shorter if you’re planning to buy carving skis. Learn more about effective edge and how it impacts a ski’s performance here. 

Lead Photo: Keri Bascetta

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