Although it's ill advised to purchase ski gear (really, anything except maybe gum) on price tag period, who doesn’t love a solid bang for your buck transaction? We know we do. That's why we've tabulated the 2015/2016 skis that stacked up best on the price and performance front for each Ski Test category.
Results are based on performance-to-price ratio between skis that fell below the average price point for their category. We also factored in noteworthy technology, tester commentary and whether or not bindings are included. Editors' Note: These calculations are based on manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) and may not reflect actual store pricing, which is often discounted.
Best Frontside Value Ski: Dynastar Course Speed Fluid
Sold at well under the average price point for the category ($900 MSRP) including bindings, Dynastar's Course Speed Fluid racked up especially high scores in our test for playfulness, being praised for its lightweight and agile characteristics while still holding its own on the carving front.
Frontside average MSRP: $1,067
Best All-Mountain Front Value Ski: Atomic Vantage 90 CTi
Atomic came out guns blazing in our Ski Test this year with five skis represented in our Editors' Choice lineup. Enter: Carbon Tank Mesh technology that serves to add strength while shedding weight from this $725 ski.
All-Mountain Front average MSRP: $828.75
Best All-Mountain Back Value Ski: Nordica Enforcer
With solid scores across the board and a slightly below average $799 sticker price, testers dubbed the Enforcer their favorite men's All-Mountain Back ski for being a 100-mm-waisted carve machine that can crush on every other level, which is why it also landed the title for most versatile.
Also an Editors' Choice and incredible value at $600, the Salomon Q-98 caught testers' attention for its playfulness, float-ability and overall cross-criteria versatility.
All-Mountain Back average MSRP: $827.35
Best Powder Value Ski: Blizzard Bodacious
With a core chock full of poplar/bamboo, titanium and carbon, the latter by way of its evolved Carbon Flipcore technology that adds carbon fiber into the rockered tip and tail of the ski, Blizzard's Bodacious had testers raving about its stability and float performance. At 118 mm underfoot, it's a lot of ski for $840 MSRP.
Powder average MSRP: $890.59
Best Frontside Value Ski: Völkl Yumi
Pulling in an above-four score in every test criteria, the Völkl Yumi rings the cash register at just $650, although you'll have to purchase bindings. Runner up in this category is the Head Super JOY, which dominated in the carving department and retails for $925 with bindings.
Frontside average MSRP: $788.55
Best All-Mountain Front Value Ski: Blizzard Black Pearl
Blizzard's Black Pearl was not only the highest scoring ski in the category, with no less than a 4.25 score in any test criteria, but also happened to pull rank as the top scoring ski of the entire test! At $720, need we say more?
All-Mountain Front average MSRP: $778.43
Best All-Mountain Back Value Ski: Atomic Vantage 95 CW
Ringing in at $600, the Vantage 95 CW posted up one of the best score-to-price ratios of the test, not to mention Atomic's breakthrough Carbon Tank Mesh technology that had the Vantage series showing up in testers' top picks again and again.
All-Mountain Back average MSRP: $749.15
Best Powder Value Ski: Blizzard Sheeva
Sweeping the Powder category, Blizzard also takes the title for best value ski on the women's side with the Sheeva at $720. And just like in the men's department, this ski exceeded tester expectations on the float and stability spectrum, also posting up solid scores throughout.
Also worth noting is the Line Pandora, another Editors' Choice ski that rings up just slightly higher than average at $810 and impressed female testers with its seamless terrain transitions and versatile personality.
Powder average MSRP: $786.90