The Best Women’s All-Mountain Wide Skis of 2024
These all-mountain skis have a little more underfoot, more rocker, and more fun in powder
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This article was first published by SkiMag.com.
Not only do these wider-waisted planks bust through crud like nobody’s business, they also know a thing or two about laying it over and holding steady at speed. Perfect for adventurous ladies looking to get off the beaten path, these crud crushers moonlight as powder skis and are well suited to getting off the groomers and exploring the wild side of the resort. When you want a wider do-it-all ski that does it all well, here’s your category.
How We Test
Number of wide all-mountain skis tested: 15
Number of testers: 11
Testing location: Sun Valley, Idaho
Average age of tester: 38
Average height of tester: 5’6”
Average weight of tester: 139 lbs
SKI has been running its annual ski test for decades now, but we’re always tweaking and perfecting the process. As in the past, we invited a crew of seasoned industry professionals—ski instructors, ski shop employees, coaches, and former World Cup racers—to join us for a week-long gear test in Sun Valley, Idaho, a resort known for its steep and manicured groomers, legendary bump runs, perfectly gladed tree runs, and of course, “the Burn,” sidecountry terrain that powder dreams are made of.
The mission: Jump on every pair of skis entered into our five categories (Carving, Frontside, All-Mountain, All-Mountain Wide, and Powder), put them through their paces all over the mountain, and then fill out a digital scorecard with comments and impressions of how each pair of planks performed across various skill categories—from carving chops and crud performance to stability at speed and responsiveness. We ask our crew of 24 testers to identify a ski’s primary strengths, its weaknesses, who it’s designed for, and what terrain and snow conditions it’s most adept at. At the end of the week, we have enough hard data on the 100-plus pairs of skis tested to make your head spin, and we use it all to bring you these reviews of the best skis of the year.
When judging an all-mountain wide ski, we primarily assess how well it performs in deeper snow, be that fresh pow or days-old crud. Lucky for us, we didn’t have to make do with stale powder during our test in Sun Valley—it was nuking on the day of our All-Mountain Wide category test. The skis that impressed us the most with their ability to float through pow, charge through crud, and hold steady in variable conditions made this list of the best women’s all-mountain wide skis of the year.
Women’s Skis vs. Unisex Skis
The idea of women’s-specific skis is still a contentious one today. Some brands don’t make anything but unisex skis because they argue that gender doesn’t factor into how a ski performs—only weight, height, strength, and skier ability counts. They therefore only produce unisex skis, but make them in shorter lengths (sometimes down to 162 centimeters or even 158 centimeters) to be more inclusive towards women.
Other brands have invested a lot of time and money into developing truly women’s-specific skis—skis that feature construction modifications from their unisex counterparts to account for a woman’s physique and body mechanics. Finally, some brands appear to offer women’s-specific skis, though often those skis are exactly the same as their unisex counterparts and just feature a different top sheet and women’s-specific model name.
This makes the whole idea of testing “women’s” skis a little complicated. Because many of the skis we’ve covered on our “best women’s skis of the year” lists in the past are, in fact, unisex skis that female testers loved, we decided to change things up this year. This time around, we allowed brands to enter their unisex skis into our women’s categories provided the ski comes in an approachable length for women (in the 170-centimeter range or below), and the brand doesn’t offer a women’s-specific alternative.
So some of the skis on this list are unisex skis that our lady testers loved and would not hesitate to recommend to other ladies. If you, like many of our female testers, prefer a longer ski that has some heft to it, don’t be scared off by the “unisex” designation. Rest assured that all the skis on this year’s list (whether unisex or women’s-specific) are tested by women and recommended for women.
Meet the Testers
Age: 42 | Height: 5′9″ | Weight: 174 lbs
Northrop grew up skiing at Taos, N.M. from her home in El Paso, Texas. She has worked in the ski industry since college, bopping between Colorado and the Pacific Northwest before moving back to Taos to wok as the area manager for Christy Sports ski shop.
Age: 47 | Height: 5′4″ | Weight: 112 lbs
Kimberly Beekman has been testing skis and writing gear reviews for longer than she’d like to admit. She’s a former editor of SKI and freelance contributor to both SKI and Outside. She lives in Steamboat Springs with her wonderful daughter and terrible cat.
Age: 27 | Height: 5′8″ | Weight: 120 lbs
Krass grew up skiing Cascade Concrete in the PNW before moving out to the Rockies to study Spanish and Italian at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She now calls the Tetons home and works as a freelance writer in the ski, outdoor, and adventure travel industry. She’s a regular contributor to the gear pages that appear on SKI and Outside.
The Reviews: The Best Women’s All-Mountain Wide Skis of 2024
Overall score: 8.47/10
Lengths (cm): 158, 165, 172, 179
Dimensions (mm): 133-104-122
Radius (m): 16 (165)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,745 (165)
Pros: Versatility, Responsiveness
Cons: Hard-Snow Integrity, Playfulness
The Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free appeals to skiers of many abilities, from intermediates through ex-racers, with testers noting that it will meet you where you are and eagerly take you anywhere you want to go. Its comfort in all conditions earned this ski the highest score for Versatility in the Women’s All-Mountain Wide category while also guaranteeing it took home impressive marks for Crud Performance and Flotation. Testers reported that, wide appeal notwithstanding, advanced and expert skiers will be best able to maximize the Santa Ana 104 Free’s performance. Some in our crew were concerned that this ski could feel dull and lack energy, which saw it ranked low in the Playfulness category. Despite those reservations, however, Avery Pesce, a Boston, Massachusetts-based tester, described the Nordica as the “ultimate all-mountain ski, to be taken anywhere regardless of the conditions or terrain.”
Overall score: 8.42/10
Lengths (cm): 156, 162, 168, 174, 180
Dimensions (mm): 133.5-102-122.5
Radius (m): 16.5 (174)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,735 (164)
Pros: Versatility, Quickness
Cons: Flotation, Stability at Speed
Blizzard took its high-performing Sheeva lineup and revamped it for 2023-24, and testers were impressed with how well the Sheeva 10 could handle everything they threw at it. Tracy Gibbons, a Pacific Northwest–based tester, called it “a hard-charging ski that actually makes you feel like you don’t have to work hard.” Skiers praised its ability to perform on-piste and in soft snow—unsurprising for a ski that batted well for Hard-Snow Integrity, Crud Performance, and Versatility. Several testers noted how approachable this model could be while still allowing for progression in skier ability. Lily Krass, who spends her winters skiing in Wyoming’s Tetons, predicted that “ladies who want to push themselves will find a new BFF” in the Sheeva 10, describing it as “super ideal for advanced rippers” but also “approachable for intermediates who want to start to ski more aggressively.”
Overall score: 7.96/10
Lengths (cm): 155, 162, 169, 176, 183, 190
Dimensions (mm): 137-102-127
Radius (m): 18 (176)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,900 (176)
Pros: Flotation, Forgiveness
Cons: Hard-Snow Integrity, Stability at Speed
With plenty of capability all over the mountain, the Fischer Ranger 102 had testers raving about its versatility not only in terms of environment, but also in its appeal to a broad spectrum of skiers. Where this model truly shines is in its ability to manage whatever terrain it’s in—while meeting you at your current ability level. Steamboat Springs, Colorado-based tester Kim Beekman considered it “a very solid ski for someone who wants a dependable ride,” pointing out that the Ranger 102 “would be good for an aspiring expert.” All testers commented about this ski’s ability to not beat you up, awarding it high scores for Forgiveness. Although some in our crew were concerned that this option may not satisfy aggressive skiers looking to always ski hard, Gibbons still called the Ranger 102 “a confidence booster you can trust to get you where you’re going without any drama.”
Overall score: 7.44/10
Lengths (cm): 157, 165, 173
Dimensions (mm): 137-106-124
Radius (m): 17 (165)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,810 (165)
Pros: Forgiveness, Playfulness
Cons: Hard-Snow Integrity, Crud Performance
Salomon created a ski with mass appeal in the QST Stella 106. Testers found it enjoyable nearly universally, even if it might not have been the strongest performer in a single type of terrain or conditions. The ski had its lowest scores in Hard-Snow Integrity and Crud Performance, but it was a split decision among our team on how the ski managed in different environments. Even with some polarizing opinions—some thought it performed great in variable and firm snow, while others found fault—testers concluded that the QST Stella 106 was one of the best in the Women’s All-Mountain Wide category. The Salomon earned high numbers for Forgiveness, Playfulness, and Versatility, which allow the ski to be utilized by less-advanced skiers to up their skills yet still stay capable enough to keep up with those with more experience. Krass described the QST Stella 106 as “a truly excellent All-Mountain Wide ski” that is “smooth, consistent, and confidence-inspiring.”
Overall score: 7.43/10
Lengths (cm): 163, 171, 178
Dimensions (mm): 137-102-127
Radius (m): 16 (171)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,800 (171)
Pros: Flotation, Playfulness
Cons: Hard-Snow Integrity, Stability at Speed
Testers agreed that the Rallybird 104 Ti was an approachable Women’s All-Mountain Wide ski that nearly any skier could have a good time with, and that Rossignol still managed to keep it engaging and powerful for more-aggressive and advanced skiers. At 104 millimeters underfoot, this ski prefers off-piste terrain, but our team didn’t have any issues transitioning between bumps, crud, and groomers and ranked it highly for Flotation and Playfulness. Concerns that it was a little uncertain at faster speeds caused it to score low for Hard-Snow Integrity and Stability at Speed, but testers felt that a longer length could offer more confidence. Sun Valley, Idaho, local Alysha Herich described the Rallybird 104 Ti as a “great ski for growing with,” explaining that you can “push it to the limit and it’ll go with you, but you can also push your own limits without the ski taking you for a ride.”
No. 6: Head Kore 103 W ($875)
Overall score: 7.42/10
Lengths (cm): 163, 170, 177
Dimensions (mm): 132-103-123
Radius (m): 16.5 (177)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,750 (177)
Pros: Responsiveness, Forgiveness
Cons: Quickness, Stability at Speed
The Head Kore 103 W surprised our crew with how eager it was to power through crud and soft snow in such a lightweight package. It didn’t require an overly forceful style of skiing, and it rewarded finesse and nuanced edge control. Some testers, however, felt that led to a lack of confidence at speed and in firmer conditions. At 103 millimeters underfoot, this option provides plenty of flotation for exploring powder stashes off-piste but can still edge into groomers on the way back to the chairlift for another lap. With its lighter weight, testers were confident that less-experienced skiers could happily direct the Kore 103 W without working too hard, and it earned its highest scores in Responsiveness and Forgiveness. SKI’s executive editor, Samantha Berman, said the Kore 103 W “is a great choice for a moderate to light powder day and is perfectly capable of handling whatever type of snow you might throw at it.”
No. 7: Armada Reliance 102 Ti ($975)
Overall score: 7.39/10
Lengths (cm): 164, 172, 180
Dimensions (mm): 134-102-124
Radius (m): 17.5 (172)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,850 (172)
Pros: Quickness, Flotation
Cons: Hard-Snow Integrity, Stability at Speed
If you’re looking for a ski that can handle just about anything with accessible power, but doesn’t require you to have the confidence of an ex-racer, the Armada Reliance 102 Ti delivers. Testers enjoyed this model’s agile and responsive demeanor, rewarding it with high marks in Quickness/Maneuverability. The 102-millimeter waist provides ample flotation in soft snow and is confidence-inspiring in variable conditions, helping open the door for developing skiers to start exploring more of the mountain. Testers reported that the Reliance 102 Ti could feel a little short, especially for more-aggressive skiing, so skiers with more turns under their belt should consider sizing up to get the most performance. Colorado-based tester Jenny Wiegand recommended this ski to “anyone looking for a super-solid All-Mountain Wide option that’s not overly demanding,” praising the Reliance 102 Ti for its ability to put out a lot of energy without asking much of its driver.
No. 8: Elan Ripstick 102 W ($900)
Overall score: 7.07/10
Lengths (cm): 154, 162, 170, 178
Dimensions (mm): 143-104-120
Radius (m): 17 (170)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,750 (170)
Pros: Forgiveness, Flotation
Cons: Quickness, Hard-Snow Integrity
The Elan Ripstick 102 W provides a forgiving platform that reassures intermediate through expert skiers who enjoy wandering all over the mountain. This model handles best in the soft stuff; testers commented on how it provided a confidence boost in chopped-up snow on tired legs, which points to its high scores for Forgiveness, Flotation, and Crud Performance. The Ripstick 102 W also received kudos for its intuitive turn initiation and predictable edge hold, which allowed the ski to come to life on the groomers. The Elan did have some trouble with quick, short-radius turns, though, and could feel a bit underpowered on firm snow, resulting in low rankings for Quickness/Maneuverability and Hard-Snow Integrity. The ski’s strongest attributes are “confidence and ease,” according to Gibbons; she recalled the Ripstick 102 W making “the perfect turn so easy to achieve.”
No. 9: Völkl Secret 102 ($800)
Overall score: 6.99/10
Lengths (cm): 156, 163, 170, 177
Dimensions (mm): 142-102-124
Radius (m): 26-16-23 (170)
Weight (per ski in grams): 2,020 (170)
Pros: Stability at Speed, Hard-Snow Integrity
Cons: Forgiveness, Quickness
The Völkl Secret 102 won testers over with how well it could hold an edge on groomers, which earned it top scores for Stability at Speed and Hard-Snow Integrity, as well as its ability to plow through any type of variable snow with confidence. This ski can “find the perfect turn for every condition” according to Erika Northrop, a New Mexico–based tester. Stronger and aggressive skiers will get the most out of the Secret 102, but it’ll still allow intermediates venturing off-piste to feel sure of themselves—as long as there’s room to let the ski run. The Völkl could be overpowering in tight terrain, and a handful if you let yourself get off the sweet spot, which is reflected in its low numbers for Forgiveness and Quickness/Maneuverability. Weigand called the Secret 102 “a powerhouse All-Mountain Wide ski that can also handle groomed and hard snow.”
No. 10: Line Pandora 104 ($750)
Overall score: 6.89/10
Lengths (cm): 158, 165, 172
Dimensions (mm): 137-104-121
Radius (m): 14.6 (165)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,690 (172)
Pros: Playfulness, Quickness
Cons: Stability at Speed, Hard-Snow Integrity
Skiing should be fun, and Line got the memo when it designed the Pandora 104. Northrop said this model is for “a lady who loves to wear costumes and is all about the experience,” and Beekman echoed a similar sentiment, claiming the Pandora 104 is “like a party on your feet.” They weren’t the only testers who felt that this option was fun-focused: It received high scores for Playfulness and Quickness/Maneuverability. Some skiers will love the approachable and lighthearted demeanor of the Pandora 104, but ex-racers might find it lacking the power they prefer; testers gave this ski its lowest scores for Stability at Speed and Hard-Snow Integrity. Even if it doesn’t come off with a full-throttle attitude, the Line Pandora 104 “doesn’t take itself too seriously,” said Berman. “It just wants to have a good time.”
No. 11: Peak 104 by Bode ($1,090)
Overall score: 6.89/10
Lengths (cm): 160, 168, 178, 184, 190
Dimensions (mm): 133-104-121
Radius (m): 22.3 (168)
Pros: Stability at Speed, Hard-Snow Integrity
Cons: Playfulness, Forgiveness
The Peak 104 is a powerful ski that demands an athletic, assertive skier to tap into its full potential. Its weaknesses are “slowing down and scrubbing speed,” according to Northrop, New Mexico area manager for Christy Sports. “It almost taunts you for braking.” This isn’t a good choice for the timid, but testers claimed that if you can push the ski, it will deliver, granting it high scores for Stability at Speed and Hard-Snow Integrity to prove it. The Peak 104 isn’t a well-balanced ski in terms of adapting to different terrain or having broad appeal to different experience levels, so it received low rankings in Playfulness and Forgiveness. In soft, unbroken snow, the Peak 104 floats with ease; in crud, the ski’s stout construction allows you to drive it with authority; on groomers, it really shines. Gibbons said that “as an ex-racer and a skier from the Pacific Northwest, I appreciate the solid feel and drive of this ski.”
No. 12: K2 Mindbender 106C W ($700)
Overall score: 6.68/10
Lengths (cm): 155, 162, 169, 176
Dimensions (mm): 138-106-127
Radius (m): 15.7 (169)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,770 (169)
Pros: Flotation, Playfulness
Cons: Quickness, Forgiveness
“Low effort, high reward” was how Herich described the Mindbender 106C W. She wasn’t alone in finding the K2 to be an energetic ski that excelled in soft and variable snow, with the team awarding its top scores in Flotation and Playfulness. That’s not to say that all testers found this option to be very versatile, with several folks calling out its struggles with quick, shorter-radius turns and dropping its scores for Quickness/Maneuverability. Our skiers weren’t as confident pushing the Mindbender 106C W on firmer snow or chopped-up groomers, as it required more attention to control. Those concerns aside, testers agreed that the K2 shone in conditions like fresh, untouched powder in the trees or late-afternoon crud. For “advanced and expert skiers who ski soft snow and crud the majority of the time,” Wiegand, Outside’s associate gear director, thinks that the Mindbender 106C W is a no-brainer to add to the quiver.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best wider all-mountain skis for women?
- Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free
- Blizzard Sheeva 10
- Fischer Ranger 102 (Unisex)
- Salomon QST Stella 106
- Rossignol Rallybird 104 Ti
- Head Kore 103 W
- Armada Reliance 102 Ti
- Elan Ripstick 102 W
- Völkl Secret 102
- Line Pandora 104
- Peak 104 by Bode (Unisex)
- K2 Mindbender 106C W
What are all-mountain wide skis?
All-mountain wide skis are slightly wider than typical all-mountain skis, with waist widths that hover between 100-110mm. While they’re still versatile all-mountain skis, they cater more to soft snow and powder and less to groomer skiing than slimmer all-mountain skis. Like all-mountain skis, all-mountain wide skis feature tip- and tail rocker and larger turning raddi. However, unlike all-mountain skis, wider all-mountain skis tend to include less (or no) metal in the core to keep the weight of the ski more manageable at wider dimensions.
Who are all-mountain wide skis for?
Wider all-mountain skis are better suited to skiers who primarily ski off-piste, at resorts that see abundant snow fall. Wider all-mountain skis generally handle powder and crud better than narrower all-mountain skis. However, wide all-mountain skis sacrifice edge performance, so skiers who care about making precise turns and carving on groomers occasionally should look to narrower all-mountain skis.
How wide is too wide for a resort ski?
Skilled skiers will be able to manage a wide ski (100mm-plus) in most conditions and will still be able to make these skis carve. But intermediate skiers still working on their skills may find wide all-mountain skis to be more work in the types of conditions you are likely to encounter at the resort. Learn more here.
What’s the difference between men’s and women’s skis?
In truth, most skis are unisex and not gender-specific. Many brands produce the ski with the exact same construction technologies for both genders, but often create two different top sheets to appeal to men vs. women. A handful of brands are making truly women’s-specific skis, where the ski takes a woman’s physique into account when building the ski. Men and women can ski on the same ski but may want to choose different lengths depending on their height and their skiing ability.