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.
A true all-mountain ski that straddles the line between performance and playfulness, the Dynastar Legend W96 adapts well to terrain and snow variations, found on big mountains including bumps, tight trees, and variable snow conditions. “This is a do-all ski for chutes, trees, mild pow, and frontside groomers,” says one tester. The 96-mm-waisted ski received its highest tester scores for Stability and Float, “This ski lacks the complete smoothness that the old Legends had,” says one tester. “It can chatter on edge at speed.”
Best at Carving and Pivoting
Atomic Vantage 97 CWAll Mountain Skis, Ski & Snow, Skis & Women's All Mountain Skis
The carbon-reinforced Atomic Vantage 97 C W is a light and maneuverable ski that can both pivot and carve, favoring short to medium radius turns. Testers appreciated its smooth turn transition and agility in bumps or on hardpack. The lightweight Prolite construction favors moderately aggressive all mountain skiers, according to testers, who also noted that the light tip can feel too light at speed in long turns, where the edge grip diminished. Though light and maneuverable, the ski lacks pep and liveliness, which it trades for smoothness and ease of short turns or pivoting around tight spots or bumps.
The Blizzard Sheeva 9 is a sturdy, predictable 92-mm-waisted ski ideal for all-mountain skiers who want more carve and less float. Testers applauded the Sheeva 9’s blend of skills, including excelling at quick turns, soft bumps, and trees. “It’s got a big sweet spot and feels easy to stay centered on,” says one tester. Receiving its highest marks for Stability and Carving, the Sheeva 9 received its lowest scores for Responsiveness, Float, and Versatility. Testers felt that the 92 mm waist was narrower than other skis in the category, thus lowering versatility off-piste and in snow or cut-up conditions. “This ski is on the narrow side for a freeride ski,” says one tester. “It’s more an all-mountain frontside ski.”