1. Buy Skiing’s Gear Guide (sorry, blatant self promotion).
2. Figure out what type of ski you’re looking for here.
3. Read the reviews in those categories and mark the skis that best fit your style of riding, ability, and dimension and price preferences.
4. Read online user reviews of those skis—try backcountry.com, evogear.com, skis.com, skiandsnowboardequipment.com, epicski.com, or tetongravity.com.
5. Walk into your local ski shop. Describe what you’re looking for and see what the sales person recommends.
6. If your shop will let you demo skis, take your top picks out for a test drive. Or head to a demo day at your local resort. Two or three natural favorites should rise to the top.
7. Don’t judge a ski by its top-sheet graphics. That’s why we mask all of our test skis with white tape.
8. Compare prices for your favorite skis at your local shop versus online stores. Some shops will reduce the price if you find them cheaper online, or they may throw in a free tune or binding mount with your purchase.
9. Determine what length of ski you want. Go shorter if you’re planning on skiing in the East (as the trails tend to be narrower and the trees tend to be tighter), longer if you live in the West. With fatter skis, you can go a bit shorter and still maintain enough surface area for flotation.
10. Buy the skis. Enjoy the ride. Share your thoughts on the ski at skiingmag.com/gear.
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