Backcountry skiing encompasses a variety of experiences, and the type of backcountry skiing you choose often depends on your skill level, preferences, and the terrain you encounter.
When venturing into the vast and unpredictable world of backcountry skiing, using proper skis becomes crucial for your safety, enjoyment, and overall success.
Unlike downhill skis, backcountry skis are lighter and have rockered profiles that allow for efficient skinning (attaching climbing skins) and gliding uphill.
They handle diverse terrain better. Wider waist widths provide float in powder and stability on variable snow, while the flex pattern offers maneuverability in tight trees and crud.
1. Black Diamond Helio Carbon 95 Skis
These skis are a versatile and lightweight option for backcountry skiers who want a ski that can handle a variety of terrain and conditions.
Price: $880 (Black Diamond)
- Versatile 95-mm waist makes the ski stable
- The early rise tip and tail help it float in powder and initiate turns easily
- Pre-preg carbon fiber layup makes the ski lightweight and strong
- Engineered paulownia wood core gives the ski a lively feel
- Full-perimeter 5 mm beveled ABS sidewalls
- ABS tail protector with integrated skin-clip tab
2. Salomon MTN 96 Carbon Skis
A versatile option for backcountry skiers looking for a lightweight, maneuverable ski that can handle a variety of terrain and snow conditions.
Price: $800 (Salomon)
- Made with lightweight Karuba wood core and carbon fiber reinforcements
- 96mm waist width provide plenty of float in powder and stability
- Progressive flex that provides stiffness underfoot for stability and power
- Full sandwich construction provides a smooth, predictable ride and excellent edge control
- Salomon's Cork Damplifier technology helps to absorb vibrations and chatter
3. ON3P Woodsman 102 Tour Skis
The ON3P Woodsman 102 Tour Skis are designed for backcountry adventurers who demand performance without sacrificing efficiency.
Price: $598 (Evo)
- 102mm waist width offers float in powder and stability on hardpack
- Rockered tip and tail for easy turn initiation and float
- Lightweight paulownia and bamboo core
- 2800 hybrid fiberglass/carbon composite provides strength and torsional rigidity
- Full-length UHMW sidewalls
- Tailored for seamless integration with climbing skins
4. Moment Wildcat Tour 108 Skis
A versatile option for skiers looking for a ski that is lightweight enough for uphill travel, but still stable and powerful enough for downhill performance.
Price: $849 (Evo)
- Rockered tip and tail with camber underfoot, making the ski easy to turn and maneuver
- Progressive flex pattern is stiffer in the tip and tail and softer in the middle
- Full-length ABS sidewalls that provide durability and edge hold
- Textured Nylon Topsheet
- 7500 series base is fast and durable
- Available in waist sizes of 96, 108, and 120mm
5. Elan Ripstick Tour 104 Skis
The Elan Ripstick Tour 104 is a versatile ski suitable for powderhounds, carvers, and backcountry skiers alike.
Price: $850 (skatepro.com)
- Designed for floatation in deep snow, with a wide 104mm waist and rockered profile
- Progressive sidecut makes it easy to initiate and exit turns, even in tight spaces
- Lively ski that pops out of turns with ease
- Lightweight ski that is easy to tour with
6. Nordica Santa Ana 93 Unlimited Skis - Women's
A versatile and fun ski that can handle anything the mountain throws at you.
Price: $650 - $800 (Amazon)
- Designed to handle a variety of terrain
- 93mm waist width provides a good balance of floatation and edge control
- Made with a lightweight wood core and carbon stringers
- Rockered tips and tails make them easy to turn and maneuver
- Stable at high speeds due to its full sidewalls and strong edge hold
- A relatively short turning radius to make quick turns in tight spaces easily
- Best suited for advanced and expert skiers
7. WOVN Skis Harrier 108 Tour Skis
The WOVN Skis Harrier 108 Tour Skis are designed for backcountry enthusiasts who value both performance and sustainability.
Price: $800 (WOVN Skis)
- Paulownia wood core is incredibly lightweight
- Mid-wide 108mm waist provides ample float in powder
- Maneuverable in tighter terrain and firmer snow conditions
- stiff underfoot for stability and power at high speeds
- Smooth and even flex into the tip and tail for playful maneuverability
- Flax and carbon fiber reinforcement
- ISOSPORT sintered base
8. Armada ARV 116 JJ UL Skis
A great choice for skiers who are looking for a lightweight, playful, and versatile ski that can handle anything from soft powder to hard groomers.
Price: $850 (Evo)
- Made with a lightweight Caruba core
- 3D beveled base in the tip and tail makes the ski more surfy and playful in soft snow
- Rockered tips and tails make it easier to turn and float in powder
- Core made of poplar and ash
- Thick and durable edge
- Fast and durable base
- Full-length sidewall that provides edge hold and torsional rigidity
9. Black Crows Camox Freebird Skis
The Black Crows Camox Freebird is a versatile freeride touring ski known for its balance of downhill performance and uphill efficiency.
Price: $850 (Amazon)
- 95mm waist offers good handling in both powder and firmer snow
- Progressive rocker and camber profile
- Intermediate flex provides a balance of power and forgiveness
- Titanal reinforcement underfoot enhances edge grip and torsional rigidity
- Lightweight Paulownia wood core
- ABS sidewalls (except tip) absorb impacts and vibrations
- Compatible with various touring bindings
- Available in multiple sizes
10. Line Skis Pandora 110 Skis - Women's
The Line Skis Pandora 110 Skis are a versatile all-mountain ski that is well-suited for intermediate and advanced skiers.
Price: $800 (Line Skis)
- Made with THC technology, with carbon fiber and poplar wood construction
- Easy to ski and maneuver, even in deep snow
- 110mm waist width gives the skis plenty of float in powder
- The rocker/camber/rocker profile provides good edge hold on hardpack and crud,
- Rockered tips and tails make it easy to initiate turns in powder
- Directional flexes are stiffer in the front and softer in the back
11. Atomic Backland 100 Skis
The Atomic Backland 100 is a freeride touring ski that's known for its versatility and performance in a variety of snow conditions.
Price: $750 - $900 (Amazon)
- More surface area than a traditional tip, which helps it float in powder and ski through crud
- The poplar and Caruba wood core is lightweight and strong
- Carbon backbone provides torsional rigidity and edge grip
- Full sidewall construction
- Powder rocker profile has 20mm of rise in the tip and 10mm of rise in the tail
- Directional shape has a wider tip than the tail giving the ski good stability at high speeds
12. Dynastar M-Tour 99 F-Team Skis
A versatile and high-performance option for skiers looking for a ski that can handle everything from groomed runs to powder bowls.
Price: $950 (Dynastar)
- Designed for all-mountain performance
- Stability at high speeds, thanks to their wide waist and full wood core
- Despite their width, the M-Tour 99s are surprisingly easy to turn
- Progressive sidecut and rockered tips
- Made with a lightweight construction
13. Coalition Snow La Nieve Skis - Women's
The Coalition Snow La Nieve skis are designed for women who want a versatile and playful backcountry ski.
Price: $799 (Evo)
- Rocker-camber-rocker profile provides good float in powder
- Cambered section underfoot for a good edge hold on hardpack
- Medium radius sidecut is ideal for making medium-length turns
- The core is made of strong and lightweight FSC-certified birch and poplar
- Triaxial fiberglass laminate provides good torsional rigidity
- Full sandwich construction
- Sintered base
- Easy to handle
- Narrower waist width
14. Völkl Blaze 106 Skis
It is well-suited for skiers who are looking for a lightweight, maneuverable ski that can handle anything from groomers to powder.
Price: $700 (Völkl)
- Lightweight construction makes it ideal for both resort skiing and backcountry touring
- The 3D radius sidecut provides great support for relaxed skiing and liveliness in short turns
- Wider radius in the tip and tail makes the ski stable at high speeds
- Full metal jacket provides power and stability
- Multilayer wood core
- The suspension tip is a rubbery, shock-absorbing material located on the ski's tip and tail
15. Armada Locator 96 Skis
The Armada Locator 96 Skis are designed for versatility and ease on challenging terrain, making them a popular choice for skiers of various levels.
Price: $800 (Evo)
- Rockered/tapered tip, camber underfoot, and flat tail
- Stability and edge control on harder snow
- Caruba Core ensures efficient uphill climbs
- 1.7mm lightweight edge is durable and strong
- UHMW polyethylene and carbon base for an ultra-durable and smooth glide
- Strategic carbon stringers add torsional rigidity and power
- Full-length ABS sidewall