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Maybe you're looking for a lightweight touring ski that will get you up and down before you clock in for work. Or maybe you're looking for a ski that will first and foremost shred backcountry pow but is light enough to get you up, up, and away. Whatever backcountry mission you have in mind, we have just the touring tools you're looking for, right here.
These women's-specific backcountry skis run the gamut, from narrow-waisted featherweights designed primarily for fast and light cardio missions to all-mountain skis that have undergone a little nip-tuck to make them light enough to get you far beyond the resort ropes. Can't decide what's most important to you--weight savings (narrower waist, lightweight construction) or performance (fatter waist, beefier materials)? Make like Goldilocks and choose something in the middle.
How We Test
Testing backcountry skis is tricky, because every skier is looking for something different in a backcountry setup. Of course, you want a backcountry ski to be lighter than the skis you charge on at the resort. But the total weight you're lugging up the skin track depends on your binding, boot, and ski combination; plus, not every skier cares about having an ultralight backcountry ski, especially if downhill performance is compromised by the lightweight construction. For this reason, we primarily considered downhill performance when testing and reviewing this year's crop of backcountry skis for women.
To be entered into SKI's gear test, each backcountry ski had to weigh in under 2,000g per ski and be mounted with a tech or hybrid binding. A crew of 15 testers then put these skis to test at Sun Valley and in the Colorado backcountry to assess how well they performed across seven skills categories--Versatility, Crud Performance, Responsiveness, Quickness, Stability at Speed, Flotation, and Forgiveness. Testers, a mix of advanced and expert skiers with extensive backcountry skiing experience, rated each ski in each skill department on a 1-10 scale (10 being the highest). The eight women's backcountry skis reviewed below are those that rose to the top of the pile after impressing testers with their performance across all seven scoring categories.
Meet the Testers
Age: 36 | Height: 5'8'' | Weight: 110 lbs
Krass is a freelance ski journalist based in Jackson, Wyoming with work featured in SKI, Powder Magazine, Freeskier, Teton Gravity Research, and Ascent Backcountry Snow Journal. She spends winters backcountry skiing in Grand Teton National Park and riding lifts at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, with the occasional trip to the Alps (for the food, obviously).
Age: 32 | Height: 5'2'' | Weight: 135 lbs
Garett is an assistant ski buyer for Evo in Denver, Colo. When she's not in the shop, you'll find her exploring Colorado's backcountry while testing out the latest skis, or tearing up her home resorts of Copper Mountain or Winter Park.
Age: 38 | Height: 5'7'' | Weight: 140 lbs
SKI's former photo director Keri Bascetta has spent her whole life on skis, and almost as long behind the lens shooting skiers and ski gear for SKI. She lives in Denver, Colo., and splits her ski days between Colorado's Winter Park, Loveland Ski Area, and the backcountry.
Reviews: The Best Women’s Backcountry Skis of 2023
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