Best Carving Skis Review for Winter 2024 - 2025
CARVING SKIS: RIDE & TESTEDBest for stability, best for initiating turns, best for edging. These are the top skis for carving your turns on the piste for winter 2025.
The STYLE ALTITUDE crew was at the annual SIGB Ski Test in La Clusaz, France, where we experienced varied, but generally good conditions, which was a bonus as when we arrived Monday afternoon it was 7C and raining cats and dogs in the test village at the base of the Balme gondola.
Luckily we woke up the next morning to clear skies and a blanket of around 10cm of fresh above the mid-station, so it was game on!
My brief for last winter was to find the best one-ski quiver. This year I thought I’d mix it up a bit and test the best carving skis on offer, as it’s a fast growing sector of the ski market and something I enjoy myself when conditions off piste are sub-optimal.
I started my carving journey, last season, when the off piste was really poor, but the pistes were in really good shape using the Carv Digital Ski Coach with tech insoles. At first my Carv scores were somewhat disappointing, but as the season progressed and after watching many videos, I started to get the vibe and the feel of pulling big G-forces in the turns, leaving clean railroad tracks in the snow, which put a huge grin on my face.
Mid-season, the purchase of a pair of dedicated SL carving skis ramped it up another notch. After a couple of days when we had hero snow, I really started getting some high edge angles and outside ski pressures. It became a real workout at this point and had me gritting my teeth and huffing.
I can see now why carving is so addictive, but the right ski helps a bunch.
Each ski was tested on the same run, a descent of 1200m, with Carv on board. Obviously the snow conditions changed from day to day and run to run so I’ve tried to make allowances for this.
I approached the major players and asked to demo their recommendation for the best pure on-piste carver and took them at their word.
All ski prices and weights include bindings as tested.
So, in no particular order here are the test reviews:
ATOMIC REDSTER S9 FIS M
This is for sure not the first choice for someone to jump on and rip from the get-go, but a ski I wanted to try to see the difference between a full-on World Cup race ski and a top-end recreational carver.
I was a tad apprehensive of the ski, never having skied anything like this before, not helped by the minimum DIN setting of 8 (I normally ski on 6) and the cheery “good luck!” from the Atomic guy as I walked away from the stand.
Ok, I normally ski on a detuned race SL ski, the Dynastar Speed 963, so not as much a departure from the norm for me compared to some, but still a major leap up in the precision, concentration and effort required to get the max from this ski.
After a few edgy turns, I quickly got into the ski and realised just how much edge grip can be generated without feeling in any way on the limit or unstable.
Sooo quick edge to edge with its narrow waist and powerful rebound, if only I could have spent the whole day on them I think I would smash my Carv PB of 154 without much difficulty!
However, not a ski to be on most people’s carving ski wishlist, partly due to the commitment of effort required, but also the eye-watering cost!
CARV SKI IQ-147
ATOMIC REDSTER X7 REVOSHOCK C
Caveat: the 176cm that I tested was for me too long, but it’s what Atomic recommended and was the only length they had.
Clearly a great all-round piste ski with good edge hold and stability, easy to find fore-aft balance and capable of all kinds of turn shape, very comfortable to ski all day long, but lacking the oomph I was looking for in a high-end carver.</>
CARV SKI IQ-140
ROSSIGNOL FORZA 60 Vti
The Forza series effectively replaces the React from Rossignol and ranges from the 20 to the 70, with the Forza 60 Vti tested being in the upper mid-range and suited for skiers looking for an advanced carver that can be skied all day long.
What stood out with the Forza was its accessibility, probably due to the tip rocker and a great flex pattern, the ski was fast edge to edge and excellent grip, very stable at all speeds with easy turn initiation, in my opinion a great mid to upper range carving ski from Rossignol.
CARV SKI IQ-142
HEAD Wc REBELS e-SL
Well, this ski feels so similar to my own Dynastar Speed 963, sometimes I had to look down to check! A really smooth feeling ski, very accessible and easy to get on with, but responds awesomely to ever-increasing inputs and edge angles.
For a short ski, the e-SL is really comfortable at low and high speeds and really rewards rider input, highly recommended at the upper end of the price range of carving skis.
CARV SKI IQ- 145
The Addikt series looks to be a big seller for Salomon and rightly so, an extremely light-feeling and playful ski with a multi-turn radius for all turn shapes.
A really easy ski to get on with and ski all day long, with good edge hold and stability, but for advanced skiers looking to get more from the ski, try the Addikt Pro tested next.
CARV SKI IQ-141
SALOMON ADDIKT PRO
A very similar ski on the snow to the Addikt, but with the narrower, more SL-oriented sidecut and the added Blade technology, ultimately a faster turning, better edging and more rewarding ride than the regular Addikt without being overly demanding.
In fact, the more you push the ski, the more it gives back and would be a great choice for upper end carver.
CARV SKI IQ-143
DYNASTAR M-CROSS 88 OPEN
Now you may be wondering why I’m testing an all-mountain ski here, but as I was also revisiting my own Dynastar Speed 963 for this test, they insisted I rode the M-Cross to compare, so somewhat reluctantly up I went.
One word sums up this ski, versatility! It’s never going to be the #1 choice for pow or carving trenches on the piste, but the Dynastar guys were right, as it's a really playful carving ski that will obviously work fine to the side of the piste. It’s up there!
The wide shovel engages really nicely and despite the 88 waist is plenty quick edge to edge and the more you push the angles, the more it asks for more.
A really accessible ski for carving to a medium level with the versatility a wider ski brings.
CARV SKI IQ- 143
DYNASTAR SPEED 963 KONECT
Like an old friend, I was comfortable with these from the start as they’re the same as my own skis! It was good to ride them as it gave me a good baseline to allow for variable snow conditions over the duration of this test.
What I like about these skis is that they are extremely accessible and I can ride them all day without getting tired, but put them on their edge and push, you’re one step down from a WC Slalom ski, the performance/ease of use ratio is superb.
They’re stable at all speeds and easy to initiate turns, whether short or long, definitely one to recommend to pretty much anyone from advanced intermediate or upwards
CARV SKI IQ-145
ELAN PRIMETIME 55
So, making sure I had the correct ski on each foot I launched into the final ski of our test.
First impression was how easy to ride the Primetime is, then pushing it progressively harder, how tenacious too. The harder you work it, the more it gives without ever feeling it’s going to bite you!
Great edge grip, very fast edge to edge and stable at all speeds, a truly great set of skis to cater for the carv-hungry advanced skier!
CARV SKI IQ-146
AND THE BEST CARVING SKIS ARE:
Unlike last year’s one-ski quiver test, there was no clear winner from this group, all the skis with the exception of the Atomic FIS Slalom were well-suited for an intermediate/advanced skier looking to perfect their trenches, but three stood out from the rest:
Elan Primetime 55
Dynastar Speed 963
Head WC Rebels e-SL
Maybe if the conditions (and my legs!) had remained constant for the whole test, then one of these three may have edged it, but for me there was nothing to choose between these fantastic sets of carving skis.
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