When it comes to skis, there is no one ski for all skill levels and snow conditions. Ski selections are diverse, varying by size, flex, camber and material to tailor to the needs of different skiers. For beginners, a multipurpose ski with plenty of flexibility will make some basic skiing moves a bit easier. Women should always opt for a women-specific ski for the best balance and control for their unique proportions.
Skis for beginners are a bit more flexible so they're easier to use while you're learning to ski. Flexible skis and ski bindings are the best choice since a beginner doesn't need the stiffness an advanced skier needs for high-speed alpine pursuits. A little bit of flex helps with some basic skiing moves, like wedge turns on shallow terrain. Flexible bindings are also less likely to blister and rub your ankles, making a long day on the slopes less painful.
Since women have different proportions than men, skis designed for the same purpose are different lengths depending on gender. Basically, women's skis are shorter and less thick than men's. Women's skis are also softer and more flexible since a lighter skier doesn't need as much stiffness. Finally, women's skis have a binding that is shifted about an inch forward to account for a lower center of gravity, since women carry most of their weight in their hips.
Cross-country skis are a great variety of skis for beginners because they perform well for deep, back-country snow and groomed ski tracks. For a great pair of beginner cross-country skis, look for a 65 to 70 mm width and skip the metal edge since some cross-country ski tracks ban them. Since cross-country skiing is a popular variation of skiing, these are a good choice if you're looking to ski at dedicated ski mountains with rules and regulations on ski size and type.
All-mountain skis are a more versatile variation of skis that fills the void between cross-country skis and shorter, wider alpine skis. All-mountain skis make a great beginner ski because they perform well on many different types of snow conditions. These are the best choice if you are a casual skier; while they won't excel in any one variation of skiing, they let you experiment with everything from hard-packed ski trails to deep powder. These skis cut through sloppy snow and compensate handily for any mistakes you make while you master downhill skiing.