Best All Mountain
Top 10 All Mountain
All Mountain Skis
We largely owe the Nordica Enforcer 93 to the success of the Nordica Enforcer 100 – they were a big hit. You can expect to have the optimal all-mountain performance with these puppies, but only if you have the know-how to handle stiffer skis and consider yourself an expert skier.
The Nordica Enforcer 93 comes with a wooden core and two titanium layers, both of which help provide a smooth and easy ride. The titanium layers help provide stability when going down slopes at high speed, and while you would expect skis made this way to be more on the stiffer side, they are surprisingly bendy and have a good flex rating.
Want to take them out for a trick-fuelled ride? Go for it. Their flex and stability will let you push them to the limit while your adrenaline flows.
It’s all fun and games with the Nordica Enforcer 93, but sadly, they have their cons. The first thing we noticed was the chattering that showed up when making turns at higher speeds, something which usually happens if you have skis that are unsuitable for your weight or style, but that wasn’t the case. The second thing we didn’t like was how the skis handled when riding moguls. The flex rating is all fine for clean and groomed tracks, but not good for moguls, as staying stable while riding them was not easy at all. And the last thing we noticed, which came as no surprise because this is an issue with many modern all-mountain skis, was the relatively bad performance the skis have in powder snow.
Final verdict? All in all, this is a good pair of all-mountain skis for all mid-level experienced skiers looking to take their game to the next level.
The Volkl M5 Mantra are one of the best all-mountain skis out there, and if you don’t believe us, you can believe the numerous awards they’ve won. Whether you need a chill ride down a mountain or a Fast-and-Furious level speedrun, this skis can do it all.
With a slightly increased sidecut and less metal than its predecessors of the Mantra line, the Volkl M5 Mantra has a greater flex which makes it suitable for terrain parks and riding moguls. Okay, so it’s suitable for all terrains, big deal. Is there anything that makes it stand out?
Yes, the size of the sweet spot (the area on which you can apply pressure in order to push the skis to full potential). It’s so large, that maximum performance is easily achievable and maintainable, which is perfect for adrenaline junkies. And of course, the biggest improvement is definitely the performance of these skis in powder. Now, they aren’t as efficient as powder-specific skis, but they will do a great job for the occasional powder or backcountry run. Oh, and considering their level of performance, they come at a very reasonable price.
For an all-mountain ski that comes with so many perks, you’d think this is perfection, but sadly this isn’t the case. While being very stable, there’s some minor chatter when making some turns with these skis, which considering the large sweet spot and how easy it is to reach top speed, can be a nuisance if you lose your balance or make a shorter liftoff.
Nevertheless, the M5 Mantra are still one of the best ones around, and with quality features that can put it right up there with some high-end skis, these babies are the perfect skis for any adventurous skier with some skill in their legs.
These all-mountain skis will do well in most conditions and terrains, but you’d have the most fun hitting groomed tracks. The Rossignol Experience 88 Ti are not your brand new, cutting-edge techy skis, but rather an improvement on older models from the brand, bearing the same name.
The older Rossignol Experience 88 Ti were known for their stiffness and great carving performance, and these new ones are just as good, with an added twist – they also do great in powder.
Thanks to a few tweaks to the sidecut and the slightly upped rocker, the new Experience 88 Ti are more versatile and truer to their all-mountain category. Their best characteristic? The nonexistent chatter. Twisting and turning down the slopes is a piece of cake with these, as you will feel more stable seeing they won’t budge while making even the most daunting of turns.
They have a few downsides though. While made to have a softer flex, you’d need a lot of leg power in order to be in full control, making them suitable only for experts who know how to tame powerful skis.
A good choice if you spend most of your time on groomed tracks, with the occasional powder run.
Salomon is considered to be one of the most popular brands in the past 10 years, and with the amazing characteristics of the new, refreshed QST 106 they are just reaffirming their status as a winter sports equipment powerhouse.
The new QST 106 is a slightly changed version of their older models, but with a much better performance in powder. Their float is unmatched by other all-mountain skis, and thanks to the newer smoother sidecut and the carbon-reinforced core which adds stiffness but reduces weight, with these, the loss of momentum and power while turning in powder are significantly reduced.
Not as good for other types of terrain means that the QST 106 are not as fast or as complete as other options on this list, as their performance on groomed snow is slightly worse than those of their predecessors. This is all down to the increased stiffness, which makes them somewhat unsuitable for riding moguls and crud. And considering their lack of versatility and completeness, we consider the price to be a little bit too much.
Great for all experts who like to earn their powder-king badges, with the occasional groomed run. There are also wider options for powder and backcountry fanatics.
For all fans of the all-mountain genre who don’t get excited by the prospect of storming down slopes at high speeds, the Line Sick Day 88 is a great choice.
Although the dimensions point to a pair of skis more suited for groomed tracks, they also perform admirably in powder thanks to their soft flex and high-rising rocker.
Normally, softer skis are a bit heavier because they have less layers made with lightweight materials such as carbon, but Line Sick Day 88 is one of the lightest ones with soft flex on the market.
And the best part about them? They are much, much cheaper than other brands that offer the same level of performance. So if you spend more time on powder or showing off your skills in the terrain park, you should definitely consider these.
So far these skis sound too good to be true, but to be fair, the low price comes with its downsides. These all-mountain skis aren’t suitable for a high-powered run down the slopes, or the gritty twists and turns you might want to make, simply because they can’t handle it. They won’t be nice to you if you ride them too hard.
To summarize, these skis are great for beginners looking to make the step up from playing around to some more serious skiing, while not breaking the bank at the same time.
One of the best new releases this year, the K2 Mindbender 99Ti is an upgrade on the K2 Pinnacle Ti series which was very well received by both pros and amateurs.
The Mindbender Ti comes in widths ranging from 90 to 108 millimeters, and we chose the 99 as it provides the perfect balance between stability and performance – wide enough to float, but narrow enough to charge down a mountain so fast the police might clock you.
It has a Y-shaped layer underfoot which provides stability while riding through snow with different levels of consistency, or when riding through bumps and moguls. The Mindbender 99Ti is a bit wider than its predecessors, both at the tip and the tail. But in order to make it suitable for all types of terrain, it was made to be much stiffer to counterbalance the potential instability you might encounter when going backcountry.
For all the buzz these skis create with their amazing features, there are some buzz-killing downsides, too. The K2 Mindbender 99Ti is heavy, which means that in order for you to be able to control it or get the full potential performance out of it, you have to be an expert. These skis basically have a big “EXPERTS ONLY” written all over them.
Great features, a good price, a traditional look – what’s not to like? Stay away from these if you’re a beginner or lower-intermediate level. You’ll either struggle or injure yourself.
With the constant development of better materials, it’s fair to say that newer skis have an edge over older ones, but the Blizzard Brahma 88 is a classic which has been around for some time now – and for many good reasons. The last time changes were made was a few years back, when the sidecut radius was slightly decreased and the shovel was redesigned. It still contains Blizzard’s Flip Core tech which allows for the rocker to have the same level of flex as the rest of the body, which comes handy for all the sudden twists and turns you might be making with them. At 88 mm, the Blizzard Brahma comes with a much narrower waist than the average for all-mountain skis, but their high stiffness and minimal camber more than make up for the potential instability that comes with such narrow skis.
But the are some bad sides to this ski classic. First off, you can consider these as almost groomed terrain exclusive, as the high stiffness doesn’t make them suitable for powder and deep-powder trails. Of course, you will do just fine on light powder, but where’s the fun in that?
An oldtimer that still has the know-how to rub shoulders with the new skis on the block, and all that at a very good price.
The most daring all-mountain skiers are always on the lookout for the pair of skis that resemble a wild stallion that requires skill and patience to be mastered. And the Black Crows Daemon are a challenge few would refuse.
These all-mountain skis are meticulously designed and built with the best of materials, all with the purpose of providing the perfect skiing experience in various conditions. While not a champion in any terrain or style, the Daemon performs admirably on groomed terrain, thanks to their rockered profile that helps reduce active surface by 16%. This, in turn, helps increase stability when storming down the trails and gives you a better feel of the snow beneath.
The titanium metal plate helps daredevil skiers get their fix of carving and trickery, and their slight-rise rocker helps reduce the destabilizing effect crud has on your skis. Do you like having fun? The Daemon loves getting airborne and then popping into place when it lands, something which we didn’t expect from titanium-plated skis.
All these great features, but at what cost? A pretty high one if you look at the price of these bad boys, which came as a bit of a disappointment. Also, their versatility is another downside, as we noticed some chatter when racing full-speed downhill.
A pricey option, but one that you should really consider if you are all about upping your game all-round the mountain and want that extra excitement which beginner and most intermediate skis lack.
Volkl gets another shoutout and a deserved one at that.
While the M5 Mantra was all about bite-and-fight, the Kendo 88 is more of a lover than a fighter.
The Kendo 88 comes packed with a titanium frame that expands around the edges which at the same time keeps weight dispersed throughout the whole ski and also improves turning. It’s lighter than your average all-mountain ski, but just as effective. We liked that just like the M5 Mantra, the Kendo 88 has a large sweet spot which will allow for any experienced skier to get into a high-charging mode and stay there for longer periods.
High speeds require high control, and we simply loved the high responsiveness of the Kendo 88. With carbon tips and Volkl’s new 3D Sidecut Radius tech which helps improve short turns, it’s safe to say that these skis are probably the most stable ones on the market. Great on groomed terrain, great off-piste (due to the softer flex), these skis are the perfect example of what happens when you mix meticulous design and cutting-edge engineering.
But hey, some of the new tech has its own downsides. That 3D Sidecut Radius makes it harder for skiers to make wider range turns, as the skis will push towards getting into carving mode, which no one wants when trying to stop. Also, the high responsiveness of these skis can spell trouble for beginners and more timid intermediates, as it requires a lot of getting used to.
Great skis that come at an acceptable price, and ones that unlike the M5 Mantra, are a bit closer to the not-so-experienced masses.
The second Nordica entry on our list is the Navigator 85, which we found to be a great model of all-mountain skis when you take into account their low price.
While the Navigator line might seem like a totally new line, it’s not, it’s actually a revamped version of the NRGY line. The Navigator 85 has a weird mix of features, like the fact that it’s frontside focused. They have the lightweight body of the NRGY line and the strong tips of the Enforcer, which makes them efficient in almost all terrains. They are very responsive and easy to control due to their low weight, and their strong tips help reduce chatter and gives them some stiffness and hard-charge potential. But make no mistake, these skis are pretty forgiving even when used for speedruns. All these features are great, but the one thing that we really liked about these skis was their price. They are at least a $100 cheaper than other skis with similar characteristics and performance.
But that same lower price comes with a few compromises performance-wise. They lack the feel that high-end skis have, and expert skiers should not go for these if they want skis that perform superbly in all styles and terrains. Also, their 85 width rating makes them too narrow to be effective in deep snow and medium powder, so it’s fair to say they’re better groomers than off-pisters.
Still, the Nordica Navigator 85 made it on our list because they are a great pair of skis and a great choice for beginners looking to elevate their game and enter the intermediate world with a pair of skis that is strong but forgiving.
What To Look At When
Buying All Mountain Skis
Whether you’ve just entered the world of skiing or you’re a long-time enthusiast, you probably already know that the type of skis you use can have a big influence on your ski experience.
Well, the first thing you need to know is that not all skis are made equal. Of course, there are quality and price differences between brands, but more importantly, there are different types of skis for different ways of skiing and for different terrains.
If you don’t know where to start with all the different types available out there, we suggest you start with all-mountain skis, and we’ve done the work for you by coming up with a list of the best all-mountain skis available on the market. These are suitable for both beginners and seasoned skiers and are good for almost any type of ski terrain.
But before you whip out your wallet and buy the first pair you lay your eyes on, take some time to go through our comprehensive guide where we’ll explain what all-mountain skis are and what to look for when buying a pair. You should also consider the ski bindings you’ll need as well and how to adjust them based on which pair of skis you choose.
What Are All-Mountain Skis?
The name is pretty self-explanatory. These are skis that are the most versatile of all types of skis and are suitable for all ski terrain. Now, we already mentioned that there are different types of skis, and the first question that comes to mind is “well, what’s the point of having different ones if these are good for everything?” Well, things aren’t that simple. The main pro of these is their versatility. You should consider buying all-mountain skis if:
- You ski on different mountains and different terrains
- You are a beginner or are moderately experienced
- You travel a lot to ski
These factors help but there’s a catch – there are different types of all-mountain skis. But there simply aren’t specific measurements and sizes that determine which ones are and which ones aren’t all-mountain skis, as manufacturers have their own way of designing them. But generally speaking, the following parameters define all-mountain skis best:
- An 80 to 105mm underfoot waist
- Are suitable for both groomed and fresh snow
- Are good for all different types of mountain terrain, at all speeds
- Their type and shape (which we’ll discuss further down)
With this said, let’s get down to explaining the different types of all-mountain skis:
Types Of All-Mountain Skis
By now you’re itching to scroll through our picks of the best all-mountain skis again, but don’t do it just yet. There are a few more things you need to know and take into consideration when choosing your all-mountain skis. The first thing is the type.
When we talk about the type of skis, we usually talk about their construction and shape. And simply enough, there are three types:
The most popular type. This is the type of all-mountain ski that’s used and purchased most often. They are light, provide good speed, and are more affordable than other types.
Their lightness makes them easy to maneuver, meaning those curves and slopes won’t be much of a problem. Usually made from wood, plastic or fiberglass, cap all-mountain skis are perfect for beginners and skiers with modest experience.
This type is reserved for skiers who have some experience skiing. They are usually heavier, and skiing with them requires more effort when turning and cutting slopes, but they are more stable when going fast.
Their construction contains layers of different materials, like fiberglass, plastic or metal, making them not only more stable but also more durable.
Hybrids are a mixture of cap and sidewall. The nose (tip) and the tail are made like cap skis, but the waist has walls on both sides that will give you additional grip.
These are good for both newbies and experienced skiers, as they provide the best of both worlds. Lightness and speed, but also stability and grip.
The 7 Things To Think Over Before Purchasing
Okay, so now you’ve browsed our list of recommendations and singled out a potential purchase. You know what type you’re getting and you’re already imagining sliding down a mountain, but just wait. There are some other things you need to take into consideration when purchasing your pair of all-mountain skis.
Yes, yes, all-mountain skis are good for all snow terrains but knowing the type of terrain you’ll be skiing on can help determine the perfect skis for you.
The terrain will determine the appropriate width of the waist, and of course, if you decide to change terrains it would be better to go with the more versatile ones.
If you go for hardpacked snow, look for skis with an 80 to 95mm waist width. If you go for fresh snow, you’ll need wider ones, so go for ones that are around 95 to 110mm.
Knowing your terrain will help you pick the skis with the right flexibility. Flexibility is important, as harder and bumpy terrain will require skis with more flex, which will absorb more shock.
Smoother terrain means you can go for more rigid ones. It’s very simple to check how flexible skis are – just take one and press it down the middle. The more it bends, the more flexible it is.
The flex rating of the skis is a good measuring tool for all skiers. For example, skis with lower flex rating are bendier, and these are usually recommended for beginners, and skis with higher flex rating are more rigid and stiff. The stiffer the skis, the less maneuvering space you have with your ankles and feet, so these are usually reserved for more experienced skiers.
Sidecut is an important feature for all skiers who consider skiing in areas or tracks where there will be a lot of obstacles to avoid, like trees or stones, or which have strong curves.
The sidecut of the ski is defined by how curvy (or straight) they are. It’s defined in millimeters, and in order to define the sidecut, most retailers will provide them in the following format xxx/yyy/zzz, with xxx being the width of the tip, yyy the width of the waist, and zzz the width of the tail.
Getting these numbers right and making them proportional is essential. For example, the bigger the sidecut, the curvier your ski will be, and if they have the right proportion between x,y, and z, the easier it will be for you to turn.
If you plan on skiing on flat surfaces and in a straight line, go for skis with smaller sidecut.
If your skis have a curvature on the tip and the tail, it means that they have rockers. These are great for adding stability and making turns easier on powder snow, but they can decrease stability and turning ability if you ski on packed (groomed) snow.
So getting rockers is entirely your choice, but if you want to take your all-mountain skis out for a spin on both powdered and packed snow, we suggest you get ones with a rocker just on the tip.
Let’s lay off on the specifics and let’s get general here. Skiing can be a dangerous sport. If you’re careless, you aren’t just putting yourself at risk – you’re also putting other people at risk of injuries. So if you have little or no experience, there’s no need to go for high-performance skis.
If you happen to purchase your skis at a brick-and-mortar store, any ski shop assistant knows which skis to recommend for any experience level, so make sure to tell them (truthfully!) how good you are.
Also, skiing is not the cheapest of sports.
High-performance equipment is pricey, and if you are a newbie, there is simply no sense in breaking the bank for a pair of all-mountain skis which you can’t enjoy to the fullest.
Get yourself a cheaper set of skis and start skiing, and once you spend a winter or two on the slopes, you’ll know what to look for if you decide to go for an upgrade.
Ski Height & Body Mass
You’ve already read about the width of the skis, now let’s talk about the height – something which is equally important.
The height of the skis needs to fit your height and mass, as having the incorrect ski height will make it hard for you to maneuver them. If they’re too long, you’ll have a tough time making turns, if they’re too short, you might end up turning too much (making a very strong turn can put you off your center of gravity and you can fall down) and for more experienced skiers, short skis are simply too easy. There’s no fun with short skis!
In order to find the appropriate ski height, take on of the skis, put it in a vertical position, and the ones whose tip reaches somewhere between your eyebrows and your nose are the ones you should go for. If you are trying to work this out from home, you can simply use a measuring tape.
Of course, this method is considered standard, but keep in mind that people who are bulkier or heavier, can pick longer skis as their mass will aid them in making turns. The same analogy goes for leaner people, get yourself skis that are a bit shorter if you weigh less than the average for your height.
Once you get the hang of it all, you’ll spend a lot of time drooling over all the skis that you want to buy. But let’s be real – your choice will largely depend on your budget.
In this industry, the price is a good measuring tool for quality. Skis made with better materials and newer technology will cost more, while more classical ones will cost less, it’s as simple as that. So the three questions you should ask yourself if you don’t feel like spending a lot of money on a new or used pair of all-mountain skis are:
- Are they durable?
- Are they versatile enough?
- Can I also use them once I improve?
The answers to these questions coupled with your budget will narrow the choice down by a lot!