Which Skis Should I Buy? Comparing Women's 100mm Skis - 2019 Edition // Helpful Hints
To wrap up our series of ski comparison articles, we’re taking a look at women’s skis around the 100 mm waist width mark. There’s quite a bit of variety within this category, as we’ve seen with just about all of these articles we’ve put together. Whether you’re a hard-charging skier that likes to lay trenches on groomers, an adventurous skier who’s always seeking out fresh snow and new terrain, or just a mellow cruiser who likes to be on a wider platform, there’s a ski in here for you. As always, don’t hesitate to contact our customer service team or leave a comment here on this article with questions. There are plenty of other skis in this category, so if you have a question about a ski that you don’t see here, we’d be happy to help answer it.
2019 Volkl 90Eight W:
The 90Eight W has been around for a few seasons now and it still has a distinct spot in this category. Its construction is quite unique. Volkl’s 3D.Ridge and 3D.Glass construction techniques result in a ski that’s quite lightweight, but also with good longitudinal and torsional stiffness. Because of this, the 90Eight is a very nimble and precise ski. Camber underfoot with subtle rocker in the tips and tails gives it an energetic, yet maneuverable feel. The light weight helps reduce overall fatigue during a long day of skiing, and especially if you’re the type of skier that likes to work a little harder to get to that sidecountry or backcountry terrain. We’ve seen a fair amount of skiers mount the 90Eight with touring bindings, a testament to its light overall weight. The low rise rocker and the flex pattern achieved from the 3D.Ridge construction does give the ski some good stability at speed, although because it’s so light, it will get deflected more than a heavier ski that uses more metal.
Who it's For: Adventurous women who don’t like to be held back by their equipment and like skiing a variety of terrain. You should be a relatively advanced skier, however, as the 90Eight is relatively stiff among this category.
2019 Rossignol Sky 7 HD:
Although it shares the same waist width as the 90Eight we just talked about, the shape of the Sky 7 HD is quite a bit different. In the Sky 7 HD we have much more pronounced rocker and early taper. This design is focused on maneuverability and overall performance in off-piste terrain and softer snow conditions. On firm snow, you’re not going to get the edge grip necessary for hard-charging, aggressive skiing, but that’s not the intended use of the Sky 7 HD. On the other hand, it’s an absolute blast in tight terrain like trees and moguls where you need to be able to pivot the ski on a dime or smear a turn to control speed. Another benefit of the Sky 7 HD is you don’t have to be an aggressive skier to enjoy it. Even somewhat timid intermediates can get a lot out of this ski, and will likely find it to be very confidence-inspiring. The paulownia wood core and Rossignol’s Carbon Alloy Matrix keeps the weight at a minimum, while also giving the ski a nice amount of energy. One of the softer-flexing skis in this comparison.
Who it's For: You value maneuverability for off-piste terrain, and you probably don’t ski super fast. You want to be able to get into the trees, moguls, and other un-groomed terrain with a relatively forgiving, super-fun ski.
2019 Nordica Santa Ana 100:
The Nordica Santa Ana 100 uses more traditional construction than what we’ve seen so far from Volkl and Rossignol. It shares a lot of attributes with the popular men’s Enforcer 100, although at its core is balsa wood, which helps bring the weight down compared to the men’s version. The Santa Ana 100 does get two full sheets of metal, however, which gives it superb vibration damping and stability at speed. It uses camber underfoot with rockered tips and tails, but the rocker is less abrupt than the Sky 7 HD. It also uses very smooth early taper, again less pronounced than the Sky 7 HD. This gives the Santa Ana 100 a longer effective edge when linking carving turns, and thus better edge grip. It’s still relatively maneuverable off-piste and in softer snow conditions, but with the metal it has a stiffer flex and is heavier overall, so does require a higher ability level than a ski like the Sky 7 HD. For aggressive skiers, it's a very versatile ski that will take you across all the terrain and conditions the mountain has to offer.
Who it's For: Relatively aggressive women who like to ski pretty fast. You ski the whole mountain and like to split your time somewhat evenly between on-piste and off and you value stability and vibration damping.
2019 Fischer My Ranger 98 Ti:
The Fischer My Ranger 98 Ti is, in a lot of ways, fairly similar to the Santa Ana 100. They both have smooth rocker profiles and subtle early taper, and they both use some metal in their construction. The Fischer, however, uses an Air Tec Ti core, which does shed some weight. Their carbon tips and Aeroshape design also reduces overall weight. No, it’s not the lightest ski in this category, but considering the level of stability and vibration damping achieved by the metal in the ski, it’s pretty light. The carbon tips give it noticeably light swing weight as well. Fischer designs this ski with a skin clip on the tail, a nod to its potential use as an alpine touring ski. Like the Santa Ana, it’s very versatile in the sense that it can handle aggressive skiing on firm snow, but also performs well in softer snow and un-groomed terrain. As with the Santa Ana, the inclusion of metal in this ski does require a relatively high ability level.
Who it's For: Adventurous skiers who like to ski a variety of terrain, but also value the stability and overall performance that comes along with metal. You might even slap a touring binding on it and rip some big mountain lines.
2019 DPS Nina 99 Alchemist:
The DPS Nina 99 Alchemist shares a similar construction with the Sky 7 HD we looked at before, and also relies heavily on carbon for its performance. It is, however, a little stiffer and a little more stable at speed thanks to the type of carbon DPS uses. DPS is all about using high end materials in their skis, which is reflected in the price tag, and in their Alchemist skis they use vibration tuned, aerospace grace carbon. The downside to carbon is sometimes it can be too responsive, causing a ski to get deflected easily by changes in the snow and bumpy terrain. DPS does a great job countering this with this grade of carbon fiber. Like the Sky 7 HD, the Nina 99 uses very pronounced tip and tail rocker that corresponds to early taper. As we mentioned above, this makes the ski exceptionally maneuverable in tight terrain and lets you release your tail more easily, especially in soft snow.
Who it's For: You value maneuverability and a lightweight feel over power and stability, but you also don’t want a soft-flexing noodle. You might do some touring on the Nina 99 as well, the weight and its downhill performance certainly warrants it.
2019 Blizzard Sheeva 10:
The Sheeva 10 is somewhat unique in this comparison as it arguably is more focused on soft snow performance than anything else we’re looking at here. It’s the widest ski in this comparison, at 102 mm underfoot, and its shape is akin to a lot of powder skis. It uses a rocker/camber/rocker profile with fairly substantial rocker in the tips and tails, and there is some early taper as well, but not so abrupt that it takes away from float in the tips and tails. There is also metal underfoot that tapers and ends as it reaches the tips and tails of the ski. You get really good float throughout the whole ski, which really helps when things get deep. The metal underfoot gives the Sheeva 10 good stability when skiing fast, yet because it doesn’t extend through the tips and tails of the ski, it allows for a softer flex and more forgiveness than skis with full length metal. The Sheeva 10 has an impressive mix of power, stability, maneuverability, and forgiveness.
Who it's For: You ski a lot of soft snow. For some, this could be a dedicated powder ski. For others, especially those out west, the Sheeva 10 could easily be a daily driver. Overall, it has a soft snow focus.
2019 Blizzard Black Pearl 98:
Unlike the Sheeva 10, the Black Pearl 98 from Blizzard does not use any metal. It also uses less rocker and less early taper. The shape of the ski really changes the performance compared to the Sheeva. While the Sheeva likes to pivot and smear turns, the Black Pearl 98 likes to carve and stay on edge. For those that like to stay on edge and track through choppy snow conditions, it’s a great ski. Because it doesn’t use metal, it doesn’t have quite the stability as the Sheeva, but it’s pretty close because of the longer effective edge. There is a fair amount of carbon in the Black Pearl skis, which boosts energy and responsiveness. They’re also not overly fatiguing because of the lack of metal. The lighter weight gives the ski a fun, energetic feel. It’s a more even mix of performance characteristics than the Sheeva. If the Sheeva is a freeride ski, the Black Pearl is more of a wide all mountain ski.
Who it's For: You ski a variety of terrain, but you like carving your turns more than skidding, slashing, or smearing them. You want to ski the whole mountain, but don’t want a ski that feels too soft snow focused.
2019 Atomic Vantage 97 C:
The Vantage 97 C is part of a totally redesigned Vantage collection for 2019. Atomic has essentially removed material in the center of the ski through a central channel. Along the edges is where they position the materials that give the ski its performance, and in this case that material is Atomic’s Carbon Tank Mesh. The Vantage 97 C is quite lightweight, and also quite stiff. It doesn’t use much rocker, and doesn’t use much early taper either. This gives it excellent performance on firm snow among skis this wide, especially for skiers who value quickness and responsiveness. The 97 mm waist width and the fact that the ski is quite light really helps in off-piste terrain and softer snow conditions. Because of the stiffness and responsiveness, it’s not the most forgiving ski, but it’s also not too fatiguing because of the lightweight. Still, it requires a fairly high ability level. Mistakes in technique will be amplified by a stiff, responsive ski like this, but those with accomplished technique will love it.
Who it's For: You value linking carving turns and like the feel of an energetic, responsive ski, but you don’t want to be held back in un-groomed terrain like you would be on a more frontside focused ski.