For years together, skiers have chased the elusive “one-ski quiver,” a ski that can rip on hard snow and perform in the powder. This is where an all-mountain ski comes in, where the best skis are versatile and provide a platform that inspires confidence in all kinds of skiing conditions. While “all-mountain” varies amongst manufacturers, it usually means skis with an underfoot between 80 and 105 mm that can both provide float in fresh snow and carve on hardpack. Essentially, an all-mountain ski needs to be adept at just about anything you’ll encounter on the slopes. These include everything from wide-ended designs for handling power and back bowls to narrow-ended ones that feature on-tail, focused groomer skis. Plus, there’s a lot of in-category variation too, such as damp, stable skis and poppy, playful ones. Since neither is better than the other, the general idea is that they should suit you.
In fact, you’re going to need all-mountain skis whether you’re going skiing in the Midwest or even the Best Ski Resorts In Vermont. While it’s a rather crowded all-mountain field, we’ve picked out the best for you, along with a handy buying guide. To that end, here are the 13 best all mountain skis to buy.
How To Choose The Best All-Mountain Skis?
Kind of terrain
One of the most important factors for choosing an all-mountain ski is considering where you’ll be skiing the most. For instance, back bowl models have a wider build for better flotation, while hardpack-focused skis have a narrower waist width with a nimble feel. Yet again, there are skis that fall somewhere in between and have a balanced design. Additionally, consider the snow conditions of where you ski the most. For instance, the Midwest and East Coast, such as Colorado and Vermont, have less powder and longer stretches of ice and firm snow. So, you need to stick to hardpack ones here. The West, on the other hand, sees a lot more snow across winter, which is the case in the Best Utah Ski Resorts. Here, you need to have more well-rounded and wider ski designs.
The waist width is easily one of the most critical factors in how an all-mountain ski performs. Basically, this is the measurement between the narrowest point of the ski to the middle. For all-mountain skis, the number ranges from 75 mm to 110 mm. Skis at the narrower end are comfier on firm snow and hardpack and are easier to handle. Additionally, you need to know that all-mountain skis have a range of waist widths for different types of skiers and terrains:
- All-Mountain Powder Skis: 100-110mm
- All-Mountain Rocky Mountains/West Coaster: 90mm to 105mm
- Heart of the All-Mountain Range: 88mm to 100mm
- All-Mountain East Coaster: 80mm to 95mm
- All-Mountain Groomer Skis: 75mm to 90mm
Ski flex and ability level
The next most important thing is carving out your ability levels, which are closely correlated with the stiffness or the flex of your all-mountain setup. Usually, beginners go for softer flex skis that are easier to control and turn. Ambitious beginners or intermediate skiers should go for ones with moderate flex that provides greater stability at energy and speed for snapping between turns. Finally, expert and advanced riders will love a sturdy and high-end design that maximizes top-end performance and power at higher speeds.
You also need to think about the ideal length of your ski. Generally, the starting point for looking up your ski length is your own height, after which you adjust that length based on your ability level. As a thumb rule, beginners go for shorter skis that are easier to manage and maneuver, while experts go for longer ones for greater speeds. What’s more, shorter skis are after turning in tight spots and nimbler, while longer ones float better on deep days.
If you’re a beginner, you might also want to check out the Best Ski Boots for Beginners.
Finally, we consider the camber/rocker profile of the ski. If you look up traditional or groomed runs skis, they have the camber, which means their underfoot arcs upwards in a half-moon shape. Plus, they only come into contact with the ground close to the ends. Rocker is the exact opposite; the underfoot is quite flat, with each end raised like a banana. For all-mountain skis, go for one that combines the two into a mixed rocker/camber profile, which makes for a versatile ski. On hardpack days, it can maintain good control and turn easily, while also offering enhanced performance and flotation off-piste.
Which is the best all mountain ski?
While it’s a close race, a standout is the Blizzard Bonafide 97 is not only easy to maneuver and turn but has lots of power thanks to its flex. Apart from sturdy hybrid metal and beech wood underfoot, the ski also has strips of lighter poplar in the tip and tail. That’s what makes it less fatiguing to manage. If that wasn’t enough, the ski is also rigid, comes in 5 length variants including a women’s variant, and has a rocker that changes with the length.
Rossignol 2021 Black OPS Smasher
The Rossignol 2021 Black OPS Smasher is the best all mountain ski overall. The truly all-mountain-ready ski might be sitting at the bottom of the formidable Black Ops lineup, but boasts the narrowest width, the softest feel, and the cheapest price tag ($300). Even then, it’s similar to the pricier models and combines decent pop and energy for connecting turns with a lightweight tail and tip. At 92 mm in width, it’s one of the most off-trail-oriented skis for beginners in the market. Besides being forgiving enough, the ski boasts unmatched off-piste abilities, which is perfect for those who plan to head right off the bat to the soft stuff. The Smasher might not be for everyone, but its unique wide width and the affordable price tag is excellent for an all-mountain ski and is enough to earn a spot on our list.
- Soft setup.
- Excellent for beginners.
- Fast learners might outgrow this quickly.
Kastle FX96 HP
The Kastle FX96 HP boasts big-time power that’s rather beloved by performance-oriented skiers. The skis feature a rather unique hollow construction tip for reducing swing chatter and weight through variable snow. However, the brand takes things to the next level with a classic fiberglass and carbon build as well. This construction goes a long way in making your skiing adventure a nimble, off-piste joyride of sorts. What’s more, the ski also smoothens out bumps beautifully, whether you’re going through cut-up powder or on groomed runs. Featuring a revamped design of its predecessor, the FX96’s design is enjoyable and much more approachable. It might be pricey, but tip and tail taper, the low camber profile, and the bevy of features are completely worth it.
- Non-metal fiberglass and carbon build.
- Excellent performance.
- Low camber profile.
Salomon Stance 96
Yet another of the best all mountain ski is the Salomon Stance 96. This all-terrain ripper is all about sweeping turns and speed and is one pair of sticks that are built to last. To begin with, the skis boast a rather one-of-a-kind design and sports two sheets or layers of Titanal. Additionally, the brand incorporates their patented flax/carbon laminate in the design, while the blunt-nosed front end with a slight tip rocker allows you to plow confidently even in the choppiest conditions. Besides plenty of camber underfoot, the Stance has a fairly wide turn radius. So, you’ll get a great amount of speed on hardpack, while still making the skis very planted and powerful on the slopes. Finally, the skis feature many length options between 168 and 188 cm, making them a great choice for a range of skiers with different preferences.
- Premium build with a good material mix.
- Excellent at sweeping turns.
- Sturdy and robust feel.
- Not exactly a standout ski in powder.
DPS Pagoda Piste 100 C2
DPS takes pride in making what are the “world’s most advanced skis,” and the DPS Pagoda Piste 100 C2 is no exception. With these skis from the Pagoda Piste lineup, the brand has set its sights on the all-mountain market. The more serious and faster version of the skis, the 100 C2 is designed using two layers of carbon fiber tucked between two discrete horizontal layers of wood. Both of these unique design concepts meld stability and dampness effectively with excellent soft-snow performance. Besides sporting a quality that’s hard to match, the skis boast a turning radius of 19 metes, complete with a tip and tail rocker. Overall, the versatile skis are noticeably controllable and damp, impressively comfy in soft snow, and can be snapped quickly between turns in all conditions. If you don’t mind the steep $1,299 price, go for these absolutely top-notch skis.
- Smooth and polished performance.
- Good turning radius.
- Premium quality materials and build.
- Very, very expensive.
Volkl Kendo 88
As an activity, mogul skiing is in a league of its own. It requires a completely different approach to the sport, as well as gear such as the Best Ski Boots for Moguls. You’ll also need the Best Skis for Moguls, one of which is the Volkl Kendo 88, which is also one of the best all mountain ski options. These skis are perfect for sticking to the resort’s front side but also for occasional off-piste runs. With an 88-mm underfoot, the highly versatile ski is stiff and narrow enough to take on groomed turns at many speeds and carve well and wide enough at the same time. Thanks to the Titanal metal frame and build, the skis have rock-solid stability and quickness which, when combined with a refined shape, make it easier to flick around on/off-piste. All in all, this is a true all-rounder ski.
- 88 mm underfoot.
- The refined shape that’s stiff and flexible at the same time.
- Not very playful in powder.
Volkl Blaze 106
We have yet another Volkl product on this list, the Volkl Blaze 106. Costing $600, the playful and light Blaze comes in 106 and 94 mm widths, with the former being a better all-mountain ski considering its off-trail-friendly and nimble build. Volkl uses a hybrid poplar/beech core and metal around the ski’s binding, combining it with a fairly narrow-waisted sidecut. So, you end up getting a ski that is easy to control all over the mountain. At the same time, it pivots nicely in the bumps and feels quick underfoot. Aside from being energetic and poppy in the turns, the skis boast an approachable build that’s perfect for beginners as well as intermediates who spend more than half their time in the powder and trees. Finally, its lightweight build means that it’s perfect as a hybrid resort/backcountry choice as well.
- Great all-mountain experience.
- Excellent and premium build.
- Prone to chattering on hardpack.
K2 Mindbender 99 TI Ski
One of the other best all mountain ski options is the K2 Mindbender 99 TI Ski. Perfect for advanced to expert skiers, the all-mountain Mindbender has coast-to-coast appeal with widths ranging from 108 to 90 mm. The middle-of-the-road 99 TI is popular for its extreme levels of versatility. The planted design powers comfortably through choppy midday conditions. At the same time, the Y-shaped metal layered underfoot lends it excellent stability. If that wasn’t enough, the ski is wide enough to offer sufficient float on days of moderate powder. The ever-so-slightly forgiving ski has decent power and top-end stability too and matches the flickability and natural feel of similar skis. All in all, the Mindbender 99Ti deserves a serious look if you’re looking for a true-blue all-mountain ski.
- Impressive performance.
- Wide and stable enough.
- Slightly forgiving.
- Not for beginners or even intermediate skiers.
Head Kore 105
The Head Kore 105 is one of the lightest skis in the market. It might be advertised as a powder-specific ski, but a bevy of features is what makes this versatile ski perfect for all kinds of on-piste terrain. This is largely thanks to the ski’s sandwich-cap build, which blends the top sheet with not only a Koruba wood core, but also dampening layers, Titanal layers, and fiberglass fleece. However, the crown jewel is the Nobel Prize-winning graphene, the thinnest, lightest, and strongest material on Earth. It’s this combination that lends the ski extreme responsiveness and agility to dial in and better your performance. Moreover, the hourglass-shaped sidecut helps you find an edge, while the tip-to-tail rocker profile almost levitates the snow over deep powder! If you mostly go skiing in optimal conditions, then the Kore 105 is our best bet.
- Extremely lightweight.
- Agile and responsive.
- Excellent edge and rocker.
- It falls slightly short of the performance of top-rated skis.
Atomic Vantage 97 Ti Skis
The Atomic Vantage 97 Ti Skis is one of the best all mountain ski options on this list. The ski boasts not only serious amounts of horsepower but also an impressively lightweight build. The “Ti” in the name stands for the ski’s unique mesh-like layer of Titanium, which keeps the weight down while delivering strength and robustness. Continuing the trimmed-down concept is the wood core, which has many cutouts towards the tail and the tip, giving the Vantage a thin profile. At the same time, it doesn’t compromise on the design of the edge grip, smoothly making its way on high-speed turns during groomed runs. meanwhile, even if you’re doing a back bowl, the ski provides decent flotation. All in all, this ski is either for beginners or serious hard-chargers, who’ll like the well-rounded Vantage as compared to the others.
- Impressively lightweight.
- Powerful carver.
- Unique Titanium mesh layer.
- Not very forgiving.
Black Crows Justis Ski
The Black Crows Justis Ski is a great all-mountain ski for advanced and expert skiers. Within just a short time, Black Crows has gone from being a relatively unknown skiing brand to a big-ticket player. The ski has a repute for being poppy and yet seriously capable in pucker-worthy terrains. The 100-mm-wide Justis has a lot of tail and tip rocker, so it’s not only easy to turn but also floats well. To add to that, the skis feature camber underfoot which gives them a more predictable and traditional feel on hardpack. Equipped with a nice middle-ground playfulness and power, the ski’s wider dimensions mean that it’s perfect for areas with consistently good snowfall. Wrapping up the features is the fairly stiff build, making it a great ski for ideal rides on daily groomer runs. The best part? It comes in three lengths – 171 cm, 183 cm, and 189 cm.
- Easy to turn for its width.
- Playful and floats well.
- Better for softer snow conditions.
Liberty 2021 Origin 96 Skis
The Liberty 2021 Origin 96 Skis is the best all mountain ski that’s also light on the wallet. Costing just $450, the Goldilocks-like Liberty Origin boasts a versatile 96-mm waist with a fair amount of tip rocker. So, it’s perfect for areas that see a fair amount of snowfall, such as the Best Ski Resorts In Colorado, which is where the brand is from! There’s a lot to like about these skis, starting with the one-of-a-kind build that includes a bamboo core. Thus, this lends the Origin a poppy and light persona that comes to life whether you’re exploring off-piste or hitting natural features. Furthermore, the bimble and playful ski is fairly stable as well and offers decent amounts of security and dampness too. If you’re looking for an easy turner at a manageable width, then this is your ski.
- Value for money.
- Not planted at speed.
Blizzard Bonafide 97
Since its launch, the Blizzard Bonafide 97 has been an absolute favorite with both advanced and expert all-mountain skiers, and it’s easy to see why. The ski rips with its flex pattern, sturdy hybrid beech wood underfoot, and two sheets of metal. So, while it has lots of power, it’s easy to turn and maneuver, thanks to the strips of lighter poplar in the tail and the tip. In fact, the ski is much more approachable and less fatiguing than its equally popular predecessor, and that’s saying something. Costing $750, the 2021 Bonafide version costs $50 more than its predecessor, and it gets you an easier and softer to manage performance, more rigidity, and bettered customization. Additionally, the rocker shape changes with the size, and the Bonafide has 5 length variants in 6-centimeter length increments. The best part? It comes in a women’s variant too – the Black Pearl 97.
- Improved versatility in mixed conditions.
- Powerful and fast on hardpack.
- Has a women’s variant too.
- Requires a good amount of muscle to control.
Rossignol Experience 88 TI
Topping the list of options for the best all mountain ski is the Rossignol Experience 88 TI, a cross between the biggest powder ski and a traditional racing ski designed for carving at high speeds. The ski boasts an all-terrain rocker profile that dials the precision and control you need on hardpack and ice. At the same time, it has the playfulness you want on thick snow, thanks to the sidecut that allows you to drift and surf with ease. Despite being on the thinner side for powder skis, the 88 TI still floats like a dream. What’s more, the brand’s proprietary high-density core is more durable and lighter than poplar, thus reinforcing the ski’s dynamic and lively mobility. Rounding up the features is the Air Tip VAS tech at the tips, which dissolves chatter and absorbs initial impacts, and a newly-constructed harness that lends precise control.
- Newly-built harness and Air Tip VAS Tech for impact absorption and control.
- All-terrain rocker profile.
- Virtually none.