The Best All Mountain Skis
All mountain skis are designed to be the most versatile type of ski. This is the style you buy if you only want to own one pair of skis instead of an entire quiver. The perfect all mountain pair will handle a range of terrain and a variety of speeds, so you can carve turns on fresh groomers, make first tracks on a fluffy powder day, and plow through chopped up, refrozen snow (a.k.a. crud). You can take an all mountain model anywhere at a resort, both on piste and off piste. All mountain skis will perform better in powder than your standard frontside ski but not as well as a dedicated powder ski. However since an all mountain ski is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type of equipment, there are limitations to how well they perform in different conditions.
When more than 35 percent of your test team says a ski is their “Favorite,” and the rest rate it “Excellent,” it’s pretty clear you’ve found a pair of boards that truly stand apart. Which is exactly what happened with Kastle’s FX95 HP, which pulled away from the rest of the class. The secret is in matching Kastle’s typically bomber full woodcore sandwich sidewall construction and two layers of Titanal with “Dual Rise” rocker in the tail and the tip. Suddenly, a ski with already impressive edge hold and stability is able to also offer ease of initiation both on-piste and off. Make no mistake, this is an experts-only ski, that needs to be moving at a decent clip for all its features to click. It also doesn’t do short turns as well as the Volkl 90Eight, and a couple testers would have preferred a touch more sidecut. Still, we rarely have this many testers agree on which boards they think earn the Best in Class.
Best Ski for Technical Carvers
Blizzard BonafideAll Mountain Skis, Men's All Mountain Skis, Ski & Snow & Skis
Blizzard did some interesting tweaks to its well-regarded Bonafide in the offseason, most notably widening the tip and tail to improve its carving ability with a deeper sidecut. The result is an All Mountain ski that still blows through the crud but also holds an even better edge on the hardpack. This is not a ski that likes to go slow or has much pop, but it offers thrilling all-terrain performance with unshakeable hold and very smooth ski-to-snow contact underfoot.
Best Ski for Stability
Rossignol Experience 100 HDAll Mountain Skis, Men's All Mountain Skis, Ski & Snow & Skis
The Rossignol Experience 100 HD is a beautifully built ski, with easy-to-access power, great edge hold in all conditions and a snow-grabbing dampness that dials in each turn with an exciting feeling of confidence. Like the Experience 88 HD (reviewed in the Frontside Category), the 100 utilizes Rossi’s Air Tip and Auto Turn Rocker for ease of initiation whether you’re on the groomed or off-piste. The Extended Sidecut adds more engaged, effective edge the harder you drive it. All that fine-tuned technology results in a ski with excellent All Mountain performance for advanced to expert skiers who want their ski to do everything but slarve or skid. The 100 does not have the best Float in this category, and it’s certainly less lively than it is damp, which left a couple testers saying they wish the ski had more response. Overall, we recommend the Experience 100 HD as a go-to, all season ski for GS happy edgeheads from coast to coast.
Best Ski for Resort Float
Line Sick Day 94All Mountain Skis, Men's All Mountain Skis, Ski & Snow & Skis
The Line Sick Day 94 is well named, as it performs at its best when there is fresh snow or soft conditions, and you feel too damn good to go to work. Early Rise Rocker paired with directional flex makes it exceptionally easy to initiate this ski in a variety of conditions, especially off-piste. While the brand’s “Early Taper” and thinner core and sidewall design (“Thin Tip”) are designed to enhance swingweight and increase sidecut to make it easier for you to get into the turn quickly and start cranking from edge to edge. All of which works great, provided you are skiing off-piste, where the Sick Day 94 earned high marks for its Stability, dampness, ease of steering, and great float. The Sick Day feels a little less healthy, and sluggish once you get it back on the hardpack. The board’s superior dampness, bolstered by a 100 percent aspen woodcore and carbon “Magic Finger Filaments,” results in less energy and performance on harder snow when you really want to set the ski on a hard edge. We recommend the Line Sick Day 94 as very fun ski for when it’s snowing or you are skiing almost exclusively off-piste.
As the widest of Head’s Joy line, the Great Joy behaves like a fat slalom ski, capable of carving and flotation, with a progressive flex and high vibration absorption. In short turns the generous girth delayed edge grip and the ski rewards skiers who have a more aggressive stance. All in all, the Great Joy comes closest to the pin for one-ski quiver capabilities in terms of Stability in varied snow conditions, flotation in soft snow and carving performance.
Best Blend of Lightness and Performance
Elan Ripstick 94 WAll Mountain Skis, Ski & Snow, Skis & Women's All Mountain Skis
The Elan Ripstick 94 W is a strong freeride ski with an extensive lightweight construction. The combination of TNT technology, Amphibio inside/outside edge rocker profile, lightweight tips and full sidewalls results in a ski that testers scored high for Carving and Resort Float. The Amphibio profile has assigned right and left skis designed for maneuverability and edge grip. In that vein, the Ripstick 94 takes work to figure out and not as intuitive as other skis. The rockered edges extend up to the tip laden with Vapor Tips, which act as they sound, in order to reduce weight and vibration. Some testers felt the ski was shaky on cat tracks in the flats. To that end, testers praised the Ripstick 94’s acuity in the steeps and many called it “a charger.” Overall the favorable scores for Carving and Resort Float show that Elan’s mission of “taking progressive ladies anywhere and everywhere” succeeds.
Best at Conquering Crud
Dynastar Legend W 88All Mountain Skis, Ski & Snow, Skis & Women's All Mountain Skis
East coast and West Coast alike, the Dynastar Legend W 88 offers stability and responsiveness in a variety of snow conditions and terrain choices. This playful mid-fat ski blends of edgehold, power and maneuverability and suits a range of ability levels. Though sluggish in short turns and soft in the tip, testers felt the versatility of the 88-mm-waisted ski made up for shortcomings, particularly because it performed well as both freeride and frontside skis.
Atomic Vantage 95 C WAll Mountain Skis, Ski & Snow, Skis & Women's All Mountain Skis
The Atomic Vantage 95 C W nails the coveted one-quiver award thanks to its turn-friendly, mid-fat 95 mm waist and sporty yet lightweight construction. Testers gave Atomic’s widest women’s all mountain ski high marks for Stability, Carving and Responsiveness and slightly lower scores for Float. Testers noted a damp feeling and lack of rebound energy out of the turn but all in all, the Vantage 95 C W is a grab-n-go ski strong enough to satisfy most all mountain skiers.