Women's Intermediate Ski Guide

Posted May 6, 2018 @ 11:40am | by Jack Worth

Ladies, this one’s for you (And boyfriends looking for a holiday gift, I see you too). Lots of internet bandwidth has been dedicated to reviews and buying guides for men’s skis, but women’s skis sometimes don’t get the attention they deserve, which can make it tougher when buying a pair of skis to figure out exactly which ski is right for you. This is especially true if you’re an intermediate skier, as there’s typically more skis marketed as “intermediate” than anything else.

So we’re on the same page as to what an intermediate skier is, an intermediate skier spends most, but not all, of their time on groomed blue runs; and can get down any blue trail pretty comfortably. An intermediate skier can navigate their way down black diamond runs, but it might not look quite as pretty. In having conversations with people everyday at our Boston store, it seems like a lot of women have a tendency to sometimes sell themselves short regarding their skiing ability. If you’re flying down black diamond trails or crushing through the back bowls before lunch, then don’t sell yourself short – you’re an advanced/expert skier! If that’s the case, then you would probably think that the skis that we’re going to cover here are a bit too soft for your tastes. (Check out the Volkl Kenja or Nordica Santa Ana though, two awesome women’s expert skis) But if that first example described you pretty well, keep reading for some of our favorite women’s intermediate skis.

(Side note: While some of the images below show the ski mounted, all five of these skis are “Flat Skis,” meaning they do not come with a binding). 

Blizzard Black Pearl 88 Skis 2018

We start at the top, with the Blizzard Black Pearl 88. If you’ve been to any ski resort in the past five years, you’ve definitely seen plenty of people rocking the Black Pearls. In fact, you probably already have three or four friends who own them. The reason the Black Pearl is so popular is versatility. It won’t be the best ski on the mountain at any one thing, but it does do everything really well. For a lot of people, having a ski that’s as easy to ski and as versatile as the Black Pearl is a pretty hard-to-beat combination. Every one knows that the Black Pearl is sick though, and honestly I think there are some other skis just as awesome as the Black Pearl that just less people know about. Read on.

Volkl Yumi Skis 2018

While the Black Pearl often gets compared to the Volkl Kenja, really the Volkl ski it’s the most similar to is the Volkl Yumi. At 84 mm underfoot, the Yumis are a bit narrower than the Black Pearls and will grip a bit better on harder snow. Skis as light as the Yumi that still feel this grippy and stable at higher speeds don’t come around all that often, and on the days when you do get a dumping of fresh snow, the Yumis are a ton of fun in powder. If you demoed the Kenjas but thought they were a bit too stiff, or just too much work, but you still want a responsive and stable ski – check out the Volkl Yumi.

Elan Ripstick 86W Skis 2018

The narrowest ski of their Ripstick series, the Elan Ripstick 86W isn’t going to float as well as her older sister, the Ripstick 94, but at 86 mm versus 94, it will initiate better edge-to-edge. Quicker edge-to-edge means that it will hold up better on-trail – groomers, so if you spend between 60-80% of your time on groomed runs you’ll absolutely love the Ripstick 86W. By inserting two carbon tubes into the core of the ski Elan is able to make a ski that still has tons of pop in it but at a fraction of the weight as other skis with heavier metals. If you thought that having a softer and easier ski meant that you could no longer throw down laps on the iciest New England slopes, the Ripstick 86W is going to make you think again. Finally, due to its really light weight and the shape of its tails, the Ripstick 86W is an awesome choice for an entry-level touring ski if you think that perhaps some light backcountry adventures are in your future. (Pro tip: This ski looks awesome with a white ski binding, see above).

For those who are all about frontside groomers then look no further than the Rossignol Temptation 84.  If you feel like easy turn initiation is a recurring theme among all these skis then you’d be right, and the Temptation 84 is no different. Auto Turn Rocker in the tip and tail of the ski means that this thing loves to make quick turns, and plenty of camber in the ski means that you’ve still got plenty of edge hold and grip on harder snow. Not going to float off-trail quite as well as some of the other skis on this list, but if what others call skiing in the trees you call getting lost, then you’ll love the lightweight Temptation 84.

Fischer My MTN 84 Skis 2018

The last ski on this list is the Fischer My MTN 84. We’ve all been on the Fischer bandwagon for a while now, with the reason being that the stuff they make is just freakin’ awesome. The My MTN 84 is a full wood core with no metal or carbon, which means that it won’t be quite as grippy as the Yumi or Temptation 84, but it will be super light and have more float. Fischer uses a process they call Air Tec to reduce the amount of wood used in each ski, which cuts down the weight by 25%! Similar to the Black Pearl in its versatility, you’ll love the My MTN if you like skis that float really well, are super fun to “smear” rather than carve, and you guessed it, are easy to turn.

There you have it: 5 of our favorite intermediate skis for women. As you can tell, there’s a lot more to this category than just the Blizzard Black Pearl, although that is still a pretty awesome ski. The name of the game in skis these days is lightweight and easy to turn, and all five of these skis accomplish that super well. We love to get nitpicky with some of the details that distinguish one ski from another, but honestly all five of these skis are a ton of fun and pretty similar – so if you like one more than another style-wise that’s a pretty good tiebreaker method too. And remember fellas, this is a way better gift than jewelry.

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