Ski tester arcing a pair of carving skis
(Photo: Keri Bascetta)
2024 Winter Gear Guide

The Best Women’s Carving Skis of 2024

These consumer-friendly carving skis remind us why laying trenches on groomers is so dang fun

Ski tester arcing a pair of carving skis
Keri Bascetta

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We test a lot of skis at SKI Test each year, but the carving category is usually the one that excites our testers the most. And for good reason—skinny skis are some of the most thrilling in the bunch. With a narrow little waist—usually between 70mm-80mm underfoot—and more dramatic sidecut, carving skis are engineered to dig trenches on groomers. At our 2024 carving test at Copper Mountain, Colorado, seven female testers did just that.

When judging carving skis, our testers look for a variety of performance characteristics, and as always, there’s some subjectivity that comes into play. Some of our ex-racers who aren’t ready to let go of their glory days just yet want a carving ski that lets them ski like they’re still trying to beat a clock; other testers look for a more versatile carving tool, one that excels on edge, yes, but one that will also smear turns and teach more intermediate skiers how to carve.

That said, most testers would agree that the skis that stand out in the carving category are those that impress them in our Stability at Speed, Hard-Snow Integrity, Responsiveness, and Quickness scoring categories. So when testers jumped on 2024’s carving crop in mid-March, they put the pedal to the metal and judged just how well these narrow skis can hang out on edge. By day’s end, it was clear that not all carving skis are created equal. Here are the six women’s carving skis that rose to the top of the pack for 2024.

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

How We Test

Women's carving skis on the rack at SKI's 2024 Carving Test
Nine carving skis were entered into the women’s carving category of SKI’s 2024 gear test. Seven female testers took at least one lap on each pair to assess how well they do what they’re designed to do: carve a beautiful arc. (Photo: Photo: Brad Kaminski)

Number of skis tested: 9
Number of testers: 7
Testing location: Copper Mountain, Colorado
Cumulative number of runs skied during testing: 192
Average age of tester: 41
Average height of tester: 5’7”
Average weight of tester: 132 lbs

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

Outside's associate gear director Jenny Wiegand tests a pair of carving skis
Outside’s associate gear director Jenny Wiegand directs SKI’s annual gear test and is also an official tester. (Photo: Keri Bascetta)

Jenny Wiegand

Age: 35 | Height: 5’7” | Weight: 142 lbs

Wiegand is SKI’s gear test director and associate gear director at Outside. She grew up in Garmisch, Germany and cut her teeth on the slopes of the Hausberg, home of the Kandahar World Cup downhill. She ski raced in high school and college, then promptly got herself a job in the ski industry, first as a ski instructor at Crested Butte, Colo., then as an editor at SKI.

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.

Jordan Berde

Age: 34 | Height: 5’2” | Weight: 135 lbs

Berde is a ski buyer for Evo in Denver. After stints as a liftie at Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico, and a ski patroller in Alaska, Berde relocated to Colorado and now spends her time primarily exploring the backcountry ski terrain around Berthoud and Vail Pass. When she’s not chasing untouched pow in the backcountry, you’ll find her skiing resort laps at Winter Park and Copper Mountain.

The Reviews: The Best Women’s Carving Skis of 2024

No. 1: Blizzard Phoenix R14 Pro

2024 Blizzard Phoenix R14 Pro
(Photo: Courtesy Blizzard)

Overall score: 8.46/10
Lengths (cm): 155, 160, 165, 170, 175
Dimensions (mm): 121-70-102
Radius (m): 14 (165)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,740 (165)
Price: $900
Pros: Carving, Hard-Snow Integrity
Cons: Forgiveness, Playfulness

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The Blizzard Phoenix R14 Pro rose through the ranks to achieve No. 1 status for best-performing 2023-24 Women’s Carving ski. As one of the narrower options in this category at 70 millimeters underfoot, it scored high marks for Carving and Hard-Snow Integrity. “It likes fast and firm,” claimed Colorado skier Jordan Berde. “Steep groomers will allow you to get the most out of this ski. It also handled some chopped-up soft snow like a champ.” The Phoenix R14 Pro favors medium- to long-radius turns, with short arcs requiring more work, said testers. Construction includes a double layer of Titanal, a dampening carbon plate underfoot, and a core made from a blend of two different types of wood that create three varying areas of densities: stiffer flex in the center, medium flex around the binding, and softer flex in the tip and tail. According to SKI test director Jenny Wiegand, “It’s a serious carver for serious skiers, bred for charging in early season conditions.”

Read the full review to get more tester feedback and see how this ski scored in every skill department.

No. 2: Stöckli Laser MX

2024 Stöckli Laser MX
(Photo: Courtesy Stöckli)

Overall score: 7.81/10
Lengths (cm): 146, 152, 158, 164
Dimensions (mm): 118-67-99
Radius (m): 13.7 (164)
Price: $1,149
Pros: Quickness/Maneuverability, Carving
Cons: Forgiveness, Stability at Speed

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Packing a one-two punch, the Stöckli Laser MX received the No. 2 ranking for best overall Women’s Carving ski this year, following its No. 1 position in SKI’s 2022-23 test. With a sub-70-millimeter waist, this ski was awarded the top result of any in the group for Quickness/Maneuverability, and testers who skied it at Copper Mountain, Colorado, lauded its snappiness in short- to medium-radius turns down the fall line. The Laser MX received its lowest scores for Forgiveness and Stability at Speed, but even then the numbers were on par with the top five skis in this category. Competent carvers are the target audience for this metal-reinforced model. “Don’t look for forgiveness here, because it’s a hard-charging tool requiring strength,” cautioned Berde. “It’s also single-minded in that it seeks the fall line.” Our crew recommended the Laser MX for intermediates through ex-racers, particularly “strong women who stay up front on their ski most of the time,” noted Wiegand.

Read the full review to get more tester feedback and see how this ski scored in every skill department.

No. 3: Rossignol Nova 14 Ti

2024 Rossignol Nova 14 Ti
(Photo: Courtesy Rossignol)

Overall score: 7.76/10
Lengths (cm): 153, 160, 167
Dimensions (mm): 123-74-109
Radius (m): 13 (160)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,700 (160)
Price: $999 CAN
Pros: Responsiveness, Carving
Cons: Forgiveness, Versatility

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A race ski pedigree with a voluptuous body, the Rossignol Nova 14 Ti has the grit of a frontside charger with an oversized sidecut. “While this ski prefers to be shredding on-piste, it’s comfortable in the bumps and short tree runs,” said Jordan Berde, hardgoods buyer for Evo. “As a bonus, the wide tip has enough rocker to allow the ski to bust through chopped up crud.” Construction of the Nova 14 Ti includes a poplar core, a Titanal insert, and a vibration-absorbing carbon alloy matrix weave, plus Rossignol’s Boost Flex, which tunes the ski to flex evenly, and enhances rebound energy. Scoring high marks for Carving and Responsiveness, the Nova 14 Ti favors medium-radius turns, a surprise to some testers who expected snappier, slalom-ski behavior. But the tradeoff brings versatility: “This ski is great for east or western skiers, and I would trust this on hard snow as well as soft snow,” said Wiegand.

Read the full review to get more tester feedback and see how this ski scored in every skill department.

No. 4: K2 Disruption MTi W

2024 K2 Disruption MTi W
(Photo: Courtesy K2)

Overall score: 7.52/10
Lengths (cm): 146, 153, 160, 167
Dimensions (mm): 115-72-103
Radius (m): 14.7 (160)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,499 (160)
Price: $1,050
Pros: Hard-Snow Integrity, Versatility/Balance of Skills
Cons: Forgiveness, Carving

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It’s unique for a carving ski to achieve even scores across the board for all traits—from Stability at Speed to Hard-Snow Integrity, Responsiveness, and Versatility/Balance of Skills—but the K2 Disruption MTi W’s superpower is the balance of all of these attributes. From steep runs to fresh corduroy to icy slopes, this ski performed well in a myriad of conditions—even in powder, where testers commented that the wider shovel provided some flotation. K2’s Titanal I-Beam construction technology adds strategically shaped metal for stability without packing on too much weight. Dark Matter Damping reduces chatter, while the short, low-rise rocker and flat tail contribute to ease of turn entry and exit, resulting in a top-scoring combo that checks all the boxes. Testers appreciated the Disruption MTi W’s big sweet spot and its ability to mix up turn shapes. “This ski allows you to skid turns, unlike some of the other carving skis we tested, but it still holds up under expert pressure,” remarked Vail, Colorado, ski instructor Malin Johnsdotter.

Read the full review to get more tester feedback and see how this ski scored in every skill department.

No. 5: Völkl Flair SC Carbon

2024 Völkl Flair SC Carbon
(Photo: Courtesy Völkl)

Overall score: 7/10
Lengths (cm): 148, 153, 158, 165
Dimensions (mm): 123-68-102
Radius (m): 13.1 (165)
Weight (per ski in grams): 2,850 (165, including binding)
Price: $1,000 (with VMotion 11 binding)
Pros: Hard-Snow Integrity, Quickness
Cons: Forgiveness, Versatility

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The Völkl Flair SC Carbon has an aptitude for athletic, short turns without necessitating a World Cup workout. “All ability levels are welcome,” enthused Berde, hardgoods buyer for Evo in Denver, Colorado. “Beginners will appreciate the confidence it inspires, and ex-racers will feel like they’re racing gates again.” Testers gave this ski high scores for Quickness and Hard-Snow Integrity, applauding updates that include a new full-sidewall construction with Titanal and carbon strategically shaped and placed to create a lightweight, dynamic feel. As a result, the ski gains a poppy energy that typically accompanies a race-heritage ski. But the Flair SC Carbon’s high-performance metal-and-carbon layup is less fatiguing to make short turns on than a slalom race ski. “This iteration of the Flair is a ski for the masses,” said Colorad-based tester Renée Cernichiari. “It’s light, fun, and can deliver something for most any woman because of its big bandwidth for ability and ski style.”

Read the full review to get more tester feedback and see how this ski scored in every skill department.

No. 6: Dynastar E-Lite 8

2024 Dynastar E-Lite 8
(Photo: Courtesy Dynastar)

Overall score: 6.45/10
Lengths (cm): 149, 158, 166
Dimensions (mm): 124-75-109
Radius (m): 12 (158)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,850 (158)
Price: $850
Pros: Responsiveness, Carving
Cons: Hard-Snow Integrity, Versatility

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A no-surprise ski, the Dynastar E-Lite 8 can cruise or make short arcs consistently. Skiers who appreciate a dependable tool will relish the easy turn initiation and user-friendly flex, making it perfect for intermediates looking to step up their game. A wide tip and 75-millimeter waist help the ski tip quickly and easily on edge without nervous energy. The E-Lite 8 prefers soft groomers and bumps on blue terrain, but on true hardpack testers felt the ski wasn’t stiff enough to bite and grip like a race ski would. Dynastar’s V Tech Ti technology places arm-shaped metal over the body of the ski, designed to add torsional rigidity while reducing weight, which reviewers said resulted in a light and damp feel underfoot. “If you have a game plan and you want to stick to it, consider the E-Lite 8,” recommended Berde. “No surprises or gimmicks—just an enjoyable ride down the mountain.”

No. 7: Renoun Atlas 80

2024 Renoun Atlas 80
(Photo: Courtesy Renoun)

Overall score: 6.11/10
Lengths (cm): 163, 170, 177, 184
Dimensions (mm): 128-80-113
Radius (m): 13 (170)
Weight (per ski in grams): 1,708 (170)
Price: $999
Pros: Stability at Speed, Hard-Snow Integrity
Cons: Forgiveness, Playfulness

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A weighty name like Renoun might leave a lot to live up to, but testers gave resounding acclaim to the Atlas 80. “This is a dependable ski that feels like a race car over the snow,” observed Cernichiari. “It’s fun and loves to be rolled over. Bottom line: It rips.” Founded in 2011, Renoun is headquartered in Vermont with a factory in Canada, where Canadian maple is sourced for the cores. The Atlas 80 received high tester scores for Stability at Speed and Hard-Snow Integrity, thanks in part to two sheets of Titanal and Renoun’s patented VibeStop technology, which features a material that can change properties according to the force applied. Testers were surprised at the Atlas 80’s edge grip on hardpack and its quickness edge to edge. On the stiffer side, this offering trades stability for rebound energy, resulting in a damper feeling. “There’s not a ton of life in the ski, but ex-racers will eat it up,” Cernichiari added.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best carving skis for women?

  1. Blizzard Phoenix R14 Pro
  2. Stöckli Laser MX
  3. Rossignol Nova 14 Ti
  4. K2 Disruption MTi W
  5. Völkl Flair SC Carbon
  6. Dynastar E-Lite 8
  7. Renoun Atlas 80

What defines a carving ski?

Carving skis, also referred to as groomer skis or piste-oriented skis, are skis designed to be used primarily on groomed terrain. Carving skis have a traditional camber profile with narrower waists to encourage quicker edge-to-edge transitions, more edge contact and better grip on the harder snow you find on groomed terrain. These days many brands are making entry-level carving skis that have moderate tip rocker to make turn initiation easier and the ski more forgiving.

Should beginners buy carving skis?

Beginner and intermediate skiers should look for a ski with a medium waist width (something around 75-80mm underfoot) and slight tip rocker. For most beginners and intermediate skiers, that generally means a frontside ski or narrow all-mountain ski that offers more versatility than carving skis, which are primarily designed to be skied on edge. Edging is a difficult skill to learn, and most beginner skiers start out by sliding or pivoting their skis through turns. All-mountain skis with more generous tip rocker than carving skis are generally better suited to pivoting turns. That said, there are some carving skis that have moderate tip rocker to make turn initiation easier and the ski more forgiving. Learn more about the difference between carving skis and frontside skis here. 

What length carving ski should I buy?

Women-specific skis generally come in lengths between 150cm-175cm. Unlike all-mountain skis and powder skis, carving skis have a more traditional camber profile. This means carving skis will have a longer effective edge (the length of edge that makes contact with the snow through the turn) than all-mountain and powder skis, which generally have more rocker in the tip and tail and therefore less effective edge.

For that reason, carving skis tend to ski true to length or even longer than their length, so intermediate women should stick to a ski that’s shorter than they are tall (between nose and forehead height). Advanced women who like to ski at speed or ski medium-sized turns may want a carving ski that’s slightly longer.

Lead Photo: Keri Bascetta

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