Only a few years ago, the women’s Frontside genre looked something like the men’s. Now about all the two different collections have in common is a multiplicity of price points that cover the needs of entry-level skiers and those stepping up to something a bit better. Where the two categories diverge is the high end of the market, where the men ride metal-laden carvers with thick plates, integrated bindings and deeply scalloped sidecuts. Today a woman’s Frontside ski is likely to have a design originally intended for off-trail conditions, with no plate and no system binding. Only one of our 2020 Recommended models could fairly be described as a carving ski.

Now the epicenter of the women’s market has shifted to the All-Mountain East category, with its promise of all-terrain versatility. What the women’s Frontside genre has become is home to the step-up ski, a model that will help you improve so you can finally make the move to off-trail skiing. It’s presumed that the already accomplished woman will gravitate to something wider or else use a man’s ski if she really wants a carver.