Some would think that it is easier picking out skis for advanced ability than entry level skis, but they would be wrong.
Skis are not really something we buy every season, and if your last pro skis were purchased sometime in the previous decade, you would be amazed at the advancements.
First of all, the average price of professional skis has fallen significantly due to technology. You can expect to buy the best skis for under a grand.
Only the models with all of the bells and whistles, including the binders, will pass $1000, but will still give great value.
Buying expert skis now mean deciding on the type you want. Between groomers, carvers, and powder skiers the models start to differ significantly.
Best Skis for Advanced Ability in 2019
In 2019 there are a few models that stand out from the rest. They are no-compromise models and perform well in most conditions.
With new technologies, we are seeing ski models that have excellent stiffness, excellent edge retention, and increasingly improving turn radius. If properly waxed and maintained, all of these models should last for a very long time.
Finally, you will recognize some of the features that you want from your skiing experience and know exactly which model is best suited for your needs.
One of the most exciting models in the last few years, Mantra 5 combines several features to make is an excellent choice of skis for advanced ability.
Aside from having a lot of power, Mantra 5 is very stable. This means that even if you have skipped your last skiing trip and may not be in top physical condition, you will still be able to use this model to the fullest.
The base multi-layer wooden core is supported by a titanium alloy frame, with tips and tails made from carbon fiber. This balance not only gives more stiffness and more stability but reduces weight.
Finally, due to the excellent ratio, the ski creates a good surface pressure, enabling good handling on both carving tracks and powder.
- Multi-layer wood core
- Titanium frame
- Carbon tips and tail
- 134/96/117 Measurements
- Very Light
- Very Durable
If you still like groomed tracks that have cafes that serve hot cocoa for après-ski, but you also want an adrenaline rush every time you go downhill, the Firebird World Cup is just the thing for you.
The main feature of the Firebird is the carbon composite material that doesn’t just serve for the edge retention but also go through the core, giving simultaneous stiffness and elasticity.
The speed of this ski is incredible, providing smooth riding over the snow and clean carving of those fresh, groomed tracks. The turn radius in the 18.5 meters (~60 feet) at 185cm, which is very good for such a fast ski.
If you want to make even greater cuts, you can go shorter from your average length, but you should make sure not to break the balance of the ski as the waist is very narrow.
- Carbon Composite Supported Core
- Excellent in Hard Snow
- Very Fast
- Very Stable
- 115.5/68/98.5 Measurements
- 18.5m at 185cm Radius
If you are into carving tracks, but you don’t want to be limited by only the perfectly groomed ones, Dynastar 12 TI is the ski for you.
It is a front-side carving ski, with an excellent edge and incredible turning speed. But, unlike many other models, it will easily bust any crud you can find in the way, leaving the skis intact.
Additionally, this model is very stable, especially if you are to take adequately longs skis. Otherwise, if you trust in your ability to withstand high skiing speeds and sudden turns, you can opt to go shorter, placing the turn radius at 13m at 166cm of ski length.
Finally, the SpeedZone 12 TI is very fast and very smooth. You won’t feel most of the debris on an ungroomed track, and if the path is clean, you can go for maximum speed, which equals maximum fun.
- Active Wood Core
- Sandwich Construction
- Konect Binding System
- ‘’Powerdrive’’ Sidecut
- 121/72/106 Measurements
- 15m Radius at 174cm
There are two scenarios where the S/Max Blast really shines. One is if you plan on skiing on carving tracks with a bit of crud, and the other is when you want to go incredibly fast on groomed trails.
It has a very slim waist of 72mm making these skis very easy to walk with, but they are also very firm and can make sharp bends. The profile of the ski is full race camber.
The combination of the full wooden core with firm metal sidewalls and titanium alloy reinforcement will have the skis retain their edge almost indefinitely. With a little bit of wax underneath them, they will be going very fast, regardless of the track.
Finally, the sharp turning capability will make this model stay very stable on steep pistes, allowing you to make slight adjustments on the almost literal fly.
- Extremely Powerful
- Very Lightweight
- Titanium Sidecuts
- Wood/Metal Core
- Edge Amplifier Technology
- 121/27/106 Measurements
- 17m at 175cm
For those that want a smoother ride on harder snow, but still want to go fast, the K2 Ikonic is an excellent choice. This ski is slightly softer than the others, making it more forgiving on your knees, but still very fast and easy to cut bends.
The good stability of the ski also means that you don’t need to be in top physical condition to use it, as it is easy on the body if you want it to be.
The TwinTech sidewalls give a good edge to the ski, making it able to retain its cutting power even though it is not perfectly firm.
- Fir-Aspen Wood Core
- Forgiving on the knees
- Firm sidewall
- Carbon Composite Spine
- 133/84/112 Measurements
- 17.5m at 177cm Radius
Advanced Skis Buyer’s Guide
The ease with which you will be able to buy skis for advanced ability depends on when you have purchased your last skis.
For those that change their gear regularly, it will be easy. They have the best models to choose from in each category and know exactly which type of skis they need to fit their skill and desired track.
For those who have bought their advanced skis a decade ago, or are just upgrading to a more professional model, it might be slightly harder.
Modern advanced skis are stiffer, more flexible, and more versatile than anything we have had before. But, you will still want to match your skis to the track you plan on skiing on if you want to get the best results.
What Makes an Advanced Ski?
Apart from the features that we are also looking for in intermediate skis, advanced skis have several factors that make them better than the rest.
For advanced skis, you can expect much better materials, including high-tech carbon alloys and even titanium frames, which will give your skis two distinct advantages: stiffness and edge retention.
Because of stiffness, these skis will be faster and will glide much easier down the slopes, while the strong edge will allow them to cut the bends and turn even at those speeds.
Depending on your own preferences, if you want to turn even faster glide down the slopes like the wind itself, then you can always use the same models but shorter than your chin height.
All of the new skis make old models look like sponges. What you want to see in an advanced model is a multi-layer wood core with some additional spine reinforcement, either metallic or carbon alloy.
Additionally, you will want your skis to have a strong metal frame and sidewall. As stainless steel is too heavy and aluminum is too soft, you will want something like a titanium alloy that will be light and sturdy.
With new metal alloys, skis were able to borrow a lot of technology from swords when it comes to edge retention. By using high-tech sidewalls and frames, the ski can cut bends even in hard snow without you needing to fix it after each ski trip.
You want your ski sidewall to be stiff and sharp, so it can cut through both snow and ice with ease, but not too hard as to chip on any debris or rocks you might find on some less groomed tracks.
As professional skis have much more parts, proper maintenance is advised.
Use good ski wax and make sure not to leave your skis wet and damp during storage. While water will not damage your skis when it is cold, hot temperatures might cause a volume differential between wooden and non-wooden components.
This difference can significantly reduce the stiffness of your ski for your next trip.
How Short Can You Go?
Depending on your skill, and the track you are skiing on, you can even go as low as your waist. This is mostly for park skiing and doing tricks, where stability is not a big concern.
Generally, if you feel comfortable on your skis, you might want to go up to your chest.
The fact that you were able to become an advanced skier shouldn’t mean that your growth is finished now. Quite the opposite.
Your skis for advanced ability should be the ones that will test your limits in speed and agility and make you try something new and exciting. They should allow you to test your limits.
Thankfully, as the price of skis is dropping, you don’t need to focus on just one type and can buy your skis depending on this year’s plans, predicting that the technology will progress even further.
Image source: Flickr