Skis come in all shapes and sizes for a variety of purposes. Whether you’re just beginning or training to end up on an Olympic podium, selecting a ski brand requires more than random selection.
Thankfully, the FISU World University Games provided several skiers showing why their brand of choice is worth considering. With results like these, they’re now setting their sights on the 2026 Winter Games in Milano-Cortina.
Take a look below to see which might suit your style, both aesthetic and athletic. Pro tip: ski prices usually go down as we head into the back half of the season, so keep an eye on deals as the snow begins to melt.
This Austrian-based stalwart is known for being the largest ski manufacturer in the world, inspired by values like innovation and adventurousness. 2022 Beijing Winter Olympians Jan Zabystran of the Czech Republic and Germany’s Fabiana Dorigo took home gold medals in the men’s and women’s Super-G alpine events. Elsewhere, Yuna Koga took gold medals in the trick-friendly Big Air and Slopestyle women’s freestyle events.
This French brand made waves in disciplines requiring some serious carving. The Men’s Alpine Combined, consisting of a Super-G and Slalom race, was a Rossignol 1-2 punch with Spain’s Albert Ortega and Olympian Andrej Drukarov of Lithuania on the podium with gold and silver, respectively. On the women’s side, Leonie Flötgen of Germany won the Giant Slalom and took bronze in the Alpine Combined. Plus, Michelle Rageth of Switzerland scored two silvers in the freestyle events of Big Air and Slopestyle.
Two skiers repped their home country of France with this local brand, based in the foothills of Mont Blanc. Known for its abstract mustachioed logo, Dynastar anchors its values in pride and technology. Using that, Julia Socquet Dagoreau raced to a silver in the Women’s Alpine Combined on Whiteface Mountain while Jeremie Lagier earned bronze in Men’s Giant Slalom.
Like Germany itself, this brand focuses on bridging the gap between old and new from culture to construction. While alpine skier Valentine Macheret of Switzerland won silver in the Women’s Slalom, two freestyle skiers claimed medals in the Ski Cross (an obstacle course–esque race with jumps and steeply banked curves). Völkl’s hometown hero Tim-Ole Mietz got silver in the men’s event, and Slovakia’s Nikola Fricova earned silver on the women’s side.
Slovenia is not necessarily the first place that comes to mind for freestyle ski manufacturing, but the women on the Ski Cross podium know what’s up. Lin Nakanishi of Japan and Canada’s Liz Filiatrault scored gold and bronze. This brand puts joy and “good times” above all else. The men’s gold medalist, Scott Johns of Great Britain, seems to be ahead of the curve, too.
The sole American brand on this list, founded in Stowe, Vermont, is lauded for its simple and nostalgic designs that glide over all manner of obstacles. Great Britain’s Thea Fenwick knows this well after taking home the bronze in Women’s Slopestyle. Fun fact: Head is also well-known for its expansive range of tennis gear, making them a perfect year-round brand.
This millennial brand was founded in France, starting out with a premiere line of BMX racing bikes. Only four years ago, they forayed into skis with the same blood, sweat, and determination as those dirt track races. Thailand’s Paul Vieuxtemps, one of Southeast Asia’s premier college winter athletes, is part of this new wave. He won two medals in Men’s Freestyle Skiing events: silver in Big Air and bronze in Slopestyle.
Cross-country skiing is a grueling sport for even the most practiced of athletes. That’s why at least half a dozen FISU competitors were spotted at Mount Van Hoevenberg with this Austrian brand. Gold medalists included Verneri Poikonen and 2022 Beijing Winter Olympian Mariel Merlii Pulles, both of Finland, in the Men’s and Women’s Sprint Free events. Pulles also got silver in the Classic and Free 5km races. Fischer is a popular ski brand for Alpine skiers, too, as Spain’s Celia Abad won the Women’s Alpine Combined.
Another name born out of the French Alps, Solomon goes for simplicity in its designs that aim to promote human connection with nature. That ethos worked well for Spain’s Jaume Pueyo, who won silver in Men’s Sprint Free. Germany’s Anna-Maria Dietze, who scored bronze in the Women’s Sprint Free, also sports this brand with pride.
Finnish skier Hilla Niemela of Finland won the Women’s 5km Individual Pursuit Free and 5km Individual Classic on a pair of Madshus. One of Cross-country skiing’s biggest rising stars is 2018 Pyeongchang Olympian Magnus Bøe, who used to compete for Korea but now wears a kit from Norway. At the FISU games, he claimed silver in the Men’s 10km Individual Classic on skis from this 100-year-plus-old company based outside Lillehammer.