Now there’s a loaded question!
I’ve read reviews about skis that got rave reviews, skied them, and thought bleh! That’s what they think a good ski is? Not impressed. I’ve had the opposite experience also. Or you hear so and so makes great skis! We’ve all heard it. The thing is, many of the big commercial ski manufactures make so many models and types it’s near impossible to determine what’s the right ski for you. A ski that’s great for an expert male skier probably isn’t going to be a great ski for an expert women. It’s very subjective, almost like judging a chili contest! I may love it but the person next to me, well it does nothing for them.
If your local ski area has a demo day I recommend taking advantage of it. It’s the best way to find out what you like before dropping the big bucks.
So, what makes a great ski? Well, IMHO you need to know what type of skier you are, what type of skiing you like to do most of the time. Don’t buy a back country ski if you only dream of back country skiing, and ski groomers 99% of the time. Don’t buy a full rocker or reverse camber ski because its the latest craze. But hey, if you have the money go for it.
Honestly now, we’re not all Bodie Miller’s, Ted Ligety’s, Lindsey Vonn’s or Mikael Shiffrin’s so a little honesty with yourself will go a long way.
Now that your being honest with yourself you need find a reputable ski shop. There are many out there. Look for one that’s been around for a long time. Chances are they’ll sell you what you need and not what needs to be moved.
So what makes a great ski? Well now that I’m building skis, I know what works for me and I know what to look for in a ski for the type of skiing I do most of the time. For me it’s a firm ski with great edge hold and grip. One that holds well at high speed and doesn’t wash out in tight or GS turns. One that will hold when the hip is about to touch the snow. Does that mean it has to have carbon fiber, kevlar, titanal, titanium or some other exotic materials? No, but most likely it has to be a sandwich construction, definitely needs to be torsionally firm, but not overly firm longitudinally and fair degree of dampness. So now that I know what I like and the skiing I like to do 90% of the time I can can start looking for a ski that will fit the bill.
OR I can just make one 🙂
Good luck and feel free to ask questions, hopefully I can help you out and make a ski that fits you.