Best All Mountain Skis
This guide ensures you achieve the skier’s dream: a one-ski quiver. We supply you with everything needed to buy the best all mountain skis that are the most versatile, best-performing and highest-rated skis available today including all mountain ski reviews of the best 10 skis on the market. A purchase of any of the top ten best all mountain skis that we selected will become your go-to planks for weekend getaways or vacation tours to your favorite slopes.
Regardless of your skill level or skiing style, this comprehensive guide shows you what goes into the best, top-rated skis that perform as well off-piste as they do on groomers, pow trails, hardpack, around trees, over bumps, and through the crud. We have already done extensive research so that you can quickly choose from the 10 very best all-mountain skis and get on with preparing for your next trip to the mountain.
- Rossignol Experience 88
- Superior carving
- Nordica NRGy 100
- Good reaction
- High tip rocker
- Elan Amphibio 88
- Bindings included
- Fat ski stability
10 Best All Mountain Skis
Rossignol Experience 88
One ski for all terrains and snow conditions is what these E88s offer advanced skiers. The damp but stiff wood/basalt fiber core is responsive and lively on both groomed trails and untouched snow. These skis soothe the bumps and eliminate chatter at top speeds. Rossignol's honeycombed Air Tip technology lets you snap into curve, while the long edge taper provides solid full-length contact. In addition to reduced weight and increased reaction, these skis feel centered and solid underfoot even on steep descents. The generous tip shovel assists flotation on those deep snow days.
All mountain ski reviews from advanced skiers who like to ski hard on- and off-trail show plenty of joy with these Experience 88 all-mountain skis. They power through curves on steep hardpack while furnishing excellent flotation and control over powder, moguls and through the trees. If you ski a little of everything and want skis with top performance under any conditions, these planks are for you.
- 50/50 piste and freeride
- Superior carving and float
- Wood core for plenty of pop without vibration
- Not for beginner skiers
Nordica NRGy 100
Nordica's All Mountain camRock supplies camber/rocker that snaps into turns and tip rocker for floating over the soft stuff. Flaired tails add maneuverability as you charge through trees or winding trails. NRGy 100s let you take charge of any terrain or snow condition with three-dimensional responsiveness and a stable sidecut.
Medium to expert skiers find the Nordica NRGy 100s tackle all snow conditions, which makes them the best all mountain skis for any region. They delight through the curves on steep hardpack and float like feathers over less certain terrain and soft snow. If you like to try out different trails or different mountains, the NRGy 100s will not disappoint.
- High versatility for all conditions
- Fat ski stability with good reaction
- High tip rocker for pow trails
- Slightly heavy
Elan Amphibio 88 Xti
Elan Amphibio 88 Xti skis are high-performance all-mountain skis built for serious, aggressive skiers who want to challenge themselves and carve up the steepest slopes. Their unique camber/rocker design, lively core and powerful construction spell power, control and the highest maneuverability that will take you places on the slope you have never experienced before.
- Versatile for piste or freeride
- Fat ski stability with good reaction
- Included bindings
- Less skilled skiers may find these squirrely
Atomic Alibi Skis
Eastern skiers might prefer a ski with zero chatter on icy hardpack, but it is minimal with the Alibi. Otherwise, it can do it all, especially in typical Midwestern and Western snow conditions. If your specialty is off-piste and crud, this ski will amaze you, while still yielding good performance on the groomers.
The Alibi is a high-quality ski that performs fantastically under all conditions and over all terrain. It does not carve quite as well as the Atomic Theory, but it more than makes up for that off-piste. Beginner skiers might find it a bit squirrely, but more experienced skiers love the versatility, bite and speed. These planks could absolutely fill out your one-ski quiver.
- High degree of versatility
- Medium stiffness with plenty stability
- Plenty of pop out of the turns
- Bit of tip chatter on hardpack
Blizzard Brahma Skis
Brahma wraps a poplar/beech core with two layers of titanium for bucket loads of power and stability and adds titanium at the binding points as well. The core and a generous camber provide plenty of rebound and full edge clamp-on. Besides being a hard charger, this ski performs quite admirably off-piste as well. It has excellent flotation and dashes nimbly around trees. If you like fast, action-packed skiing, the top-selling Blizzard Brahma is just what you need.
The Brahma is Blizzard's narrow-waist version of the Bonafide, both of which are great skis. The Brahma is the better carver of the two and loves hard snow, although it performs quite well off-piste too. If you are looking to elevate your ski game or are an expert skier looking for more speed, the Blizzard Brahma's speed, pop and mobility are at your command. These are unbeatable as responsive carvers for all snow conditions.
- Very responsive in turns
- High stability on and off-piste
- Hard-charging carver
- Stiffness makes it a little unforgiving for less skilled skiers
Rossignol 2015 Experience 75
Rossignol's Air Tip technology with air-filled honeycombed tips cuts down on the chatter over icy hardpack. The lighter tips along with full rocker make for a shorter edge and high mobility that requires the least effort when initiating turns. The full rocker also means these skis float well over crud and powder. Experience 75 skis come with breakaway Rossi Xelium 100 bindings, so they are ready to go at a bargain price.
Their stability is superb, which is a big plus for those skiers still shaky on the trails. It has a responsive, all-wood core with adequate rebound and plenty of rocker to facilitate turn entry and float over powder. Despite these skis' relatively short turning radius of 15m, they handle well on larger turns too.
The under-$250 price of the Experience 75s does not include fancy titanium backbones and they use cap sidewalls, but once you have perfected your carving you are going to be moving on anyway, right?
These are just what the doctored order to cure sloughing the turns and starting to take a bite out of them instead. Despite their softness and stability, you will be amazed how quickly your carving skills progress with these skis. They are no slouches over the powder either. Experience 75s come with high-quality, breakaway bindings, which makes them a one-stop buy for your next pair of skis.
- Excellent ski for learning to carve
- Lightweight and soft flex
- Short turning radius
- Cap construction
Liberty Envy Women's
Liberty Envys not only look great, but have loads of energy for whatever type of skiing catches your fancy on a particular day. Their eco-friendly and female-friendly materials and design feature lightness, pop and maneuverability with stable, smooth handling. If you are looking for the best all mountain women's skis that reward finesse plus style thrown in, you have found them.
- Lightweight, responsive, soft flex
- Forward shifted binding for women's center of gravity
- Stealth Rocker improves edge contact through turns
- A bit challenged on icy hardpack
Blizzard Black Pearl Women's
The Black Pearl core features a tuned core of poplar, beech and ISO wood with a phenomenal strength-to-weight ratio for power on every turn, reduced vibration and firm control. Off-piste it performs admirably thanks to a rocker/camber/rocker profile that floats effortlessly on pow trails. Tapered Sandwich Compound Sidewalls add to these skis' impressive torsional stability and improve edge grip. The solid feel, power and maneuverability of this ski match or exceed anything else on the slopes. These are nothing short of the best intermediate all-mountain skis for women.
If you are a female fanatic planker who prefers the frontside of the mountain, then you probably already have a pair of Blizzard Black Pearls. If you do not yet own these snappy skis, they definitely have a place in your quiver. These skis are more nimble and latch onto the edge better than any other 88s you will find. Buy these to increase your speed, skill, repertoire and as a complement to your all-mountain powder skis. You will never regret it.
- Strong carver, especially at high speed
- Medium flex provides control and power
- Generous rocker makes this a good off-piste ski too
- Not much in the way of eye-catching graphics
A top layer of titanium adds the power, stability and torsional flex that high-charging skiers love. A full rocker profile shortens turns, provides full-on edge contact and adds to the Mantra's well-known soft snow capabilities. A super stiff flex makes this a favorite among the strongest, most able skiers on the steepest trails. Whether it is off-trail or hardpack groomers you want to conquer, the Völkl Mantra is the best weapon in the quiver.
These skis are brilliant off-piste, where they float through clouds of pow or damp snow with ease thanks to the full rocker design. That same full rocker with tip and tail taper makes sloughing through turns a breeze. Super hard, iced-over snow will present a challenge compared to narrower waist skis though.
The Völkls exhibit a bit of shudder and vibration on well-traveled, hardened piste but it is barely noticeable even on steep slopes. These are very stiff skis, by the way, which hard chargers love, but which may put off less confident skiers. Overall, these are an excellent choice for expert skiers who spend more time off-piste than on.
The Volkl Mantras are terrific all mountain wide skis made to tackle snow conditions good and bad. Although it really shines as an off-piste ski, it is versatile enough to behave as a carving ski with great turn latch-on. If you are a hard charging skier and favor high performance, stability and off-trail versatility, this ski is bound to please you.
- Best all mountain skis for off-piste
- Good entrance and grip in the turns
- 191cm lenth for tall skiers
- Wide turn radius
Atomic Vantage Theory
A 70 percent camber underfoot and step-down sidewall ensure full edge digs as you lean into the curves, while the wood core with carbon fiber backbone core damps out chatter at any speed plus adding excellent turn exit rebound. With a medium flex, intermediate skiers will be quite comfortable putting the Vantage Theory skis through their paces. Their easy maneuverability and unsurpassed versatility mean you can take them anywhere there is snow.
The medium stiffness, camber and active wood/carbon core make these comfortable on hardpack as well. It does not have the biggest pop out of the curve, but it is definitely tangible and the sidecut produces a nice, tight turn radius with a taut grip. Vibration is never an issue even on the steepest slopes and iciest hardpack. If you are looking for a ski in this class with a bit more playfulness, then the Atomic Panic Ski might suit you better.
If you are an intermediate to advanced skier and have been dying to get off-piste into the powder, then Atomic Vantage Theory skis are the perfect tool to accomplish that. They are ideally balanced to perform under all snow and terrain conditions. You will never have to fret whether slope conditions are going to keep you home on the weekend after you buy these skis.
- Shines off-piste, especially through crud
- Excellent dampness
- Good entrance and grip in the turns
- Wide turn radius
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
How These Skis Were Selected
We first scrutinized hundreds of carving, freestyle, twin tip, all-terrain men’s and women’s skis to select about 50 skis we thought worthy of presenting to you in this guide. We then pared that lot down by careful comparison of specs, actual accounts from buyers in all mountain ski reviews and talking to ski pros, skiing friends and getting our hands and feet on the best of the lot at ski shops and resorts to get try them out ourselves. We feel 100 percent confident that the 10 skis reviewed in this guide are the cream of the crop and ones that will provide you with the best value whatever is your ski budget or skill level.
Why Having the Best All-Mountain Skis Is So Important
Regardless of your skiing style or the conditions you prefer, investing in high-quality skis made from the best materials and designs makes a big difference in how much enjoyment you derive from the skiing season.
Unless you are a novice skier using rental skis, you will notice the difference in performance between run-of-the-mill planks versus the ones we have listed here. As you grow your skiing skills, the nuances of quality skis such as these will definitely impress you.
As skill level rises, you will look to a stiffer flex and a narrower sidecut to support higher speed. The right rocker/camber profile will achieve better edge grip in the turns. You will notice in our all mountain ski reviews, except for the Rossignol Experience 75s, that our selected skis are biased towards those ski characteristics.
Those types of high-performance characteristics are rarely found in cheaper skis, and in our opinion cheaper skis will not hold up over the long run, so you are throwing money away for a short-term benefit. For instance, here are just a few ways manufacturers shave costs:
- Use cheap foam cores that hold up for only one season.
- Add minimal amounts of materials to wood cores such as carbon fibers or metal that are short on performance but long on hype.
- Use top sheet/cap construction, which detracts from performance and durability, but looks cool.
- Skimp on sidewall material instead of using the best.
- Employ thinner bases that blow out the first time you glide over rock.
- Use cheaper binding material that leads to edge separation.
- Utilize poor reinforcement at binding points. Thus, your bindings are in danger of coming loose.
In contrast, buying quality skis that cost a bit more, enhances rather than hinders your skill progression, adds confidence to your skiing plus makes you safer. Top quality skis also have greater resale value, which is important should you decide to trade-in skis after a couple of seasons. Like most things in life, it boils down to the old adage that you get what you pay for.
Types of Skis
- Frontside Skis are fast and used to make skidded or carved turns on groomers.
- All Mountain Skis are designed to handle all terrain and snow conditions. This name usually applies to skis with a waist width from 85-95mm.
- All Mountain Wide Skis, or Fats, are all-terrain skis with waists in the 95-105mm range. They typically perform well on powder, plow through crud and sail over bumps.
- Freestyle Skis are for skiers that enjoy catching air in parks or on trails. Typically, they have twin tips to allow forward and backward skiing.
- Powder Skis have widths greater than 105mm with plenty of rocker to achieve maximum flotation and stability on deep days.
- Race Skis are simply designed for speed all day long.
- Alpine Touring Skis are very lightweight to accommodate hiking and skiing down fresh snow on non-groomed slopes.
- Skis with bindings are called system skis, whereas those without bindings are referred to as flat skis.
Ski Buying Checklist
- Make an honest appraisal of your skill level so you do not buy skis you cannot handle well. It is OK to buy one level higher to help you progress, however.
- Buy skis the right length for your height, body style and the type of skiing you most expect to try. In general, shorter skis are more stable and easier to turn, whereas longer ones are for higher speed.
- Match the ski width to the type of snow you expect the most: wider for powder, narrower for groomers.
- Likewise, match the rocker to the conditions you expect: full rocker for soft snow and tighter turns, less if you expect to be on groomers mostly.
- Choose the right kind of poles for your desired pair of skis
- Look at construction details such as whether the ski uses a cap or real sidewalls. Compare base thicknesses, how the binding area is reinforced, what type of core is used and ski weight.
- Check out as many buyer reviews as you can to see if the skis match expectations.
- After rating all these features, then compare prices so you can come up with the best quality-to-price ratio for skis that match your skills and the type of skiing you like to do.
- Don’t forget to invest in additional ski gear like ski helmets and goggles.
What Is an All-mountain Ski?
All-mountain skis handle downhill skiing on anything from plush powder to icy hardpack. On groomed trails or off-piste, they provide a combination of sidecut, weight, turn radius, camber, rocker and stiffness to match every condition and terrain. Narrow waist carvers and powder-loving fats provide a mix of agility and flotation to match any style and snow conditions.
All-Mountain Ski Construction
All-mountain skis come with one of three core types: wood, foam or composite. Each type has differences in cost, durability, liveliness and vibration damping.
Wood cores are highly prized for their ability to store and release energy between the trail and the skier. Furthermore, it imparts more “dampness” than other materials, which contributes to a stable feel.
Foam core quality and cost varies between manufacturers and between ski models. None of them provide the damping and “pop” that wood cores do.
Composite cores use a combination of fabric and epoxy and sometimes wood. Usually, the fabric is fiberglass, but carbon fibers and Kevlar are utilized too. Heat and pressure form the core and cure the epoxy.
In general, composite cores provide adequate stiffness. Fiberglass cores are the least expensive but also the heaviest. Look out for skis that tout carbon, Kevlar or aramid fibers, however, as sometimes the amount used is only enough to improve marketing hype.
Every ski maker uses ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene for their ski base. UHMW-PE comes in either extruded or sintered form. Sintered is preferred for improved wax hold.
The most important characteristic for would-be ski purchasers is the base thickness. Thicker, harder bases resist tears, are easier to re-finish but add weight.
The Top Sheet
The top sheet’s function is to keep out water and support the application of graphics. Some top sheets are clear to show off the core beneath. Top sheet materials can be decorated in several ways including being directly printed on by specialized equipment.
Sidewalls protect the core and support the edge. They contribute to stiffness, vibration and hold the edge firmly in the turns. Tapered sidewalls reduce weight. Some manufacturers use side caps instead of sidewalls by simply wrapping the top sheet.
This reduces cost but also performance and durability.
Sidewalls are made from thermoplastic polyurethane, ABS or UHMW-PE. TPU is the cheapest but also the heaviest material. UHMW-PE is the slipperiest on snow and lightweight.
ABS falls in between these two in terms of weight and cost but is the most durable.
Edges have specially designed teeth that dig into the snow on turns to increase control. They are made from special formulations of tough, ductile steel. These properties vary according to the expected use of the ski. Touring skis use thinner, lightweight edges, whereas park skis need tough, heavier edges.
All-Mountain Ski Features
Length and Weight
Skis range in lengths from 70 cm for kids up to 200 cm for tall adults. The general rule of thumb for length for adults is that the tip should touch the face between the eyebrows and nose. For kids under 6, the length should be no longer than their chin.
The preferred ski length depends on other factors such as the sidecut, the amount of camber or rocker, the snow conditions and your level of experience.
Generally, beginning skiers prefer a shorter length because they turn more easily.
Ski weight is a tradeoff between stability and how often you carry your skis and how much weight you want dangling on your legs on the lift.
Sidecut and Waist Size
Sidecut is designated by three numbers in millimeters. These designate the widest part of the tip, the narrowest part under your feet and the widest part of the tail in that order.
Thus, a fat all-mountain ski might have a sidecut of 140/95/126.
Of these, the underfoot width or waist size tells you the kind of snow conditions on which the skis work best. Skis smaller than 95mm are best for on-piste skiing and firm snow.
Wider waists up to 105 mm are called “fats” and work well off-piste in soft snow due to their greater flotation.
In general, a ski with a short turn radius is more agile but a higher turn radius indicates a faster ski. A smaller waist size contributes to a tighter turn radius, but the overall length and amount of rocker also affect this. A turn radius in the range of 16 to 20m is comfortable for most intermediate to expert skiers.
Stiffness refers to the ease with which you can flex a ski along its length.
This depends on the type of core material used and how composite materials are distributed throughout the ski’s length.
There is no hard and fast rule for measuring stiffness, so you have to rely on subjective measures or try skis yourself to ascertain their stiffness.
Camber and Rocker
Camber and rocker are blended in varying proportions in all-mountain skis. Both create arcs along the ski’s length in the vertical plane but in opposite directions. Camber is the upward arc along the center that supports the skier’s weight. Rocker, sometimes called negative camber, is the upward arc at the tip and tail.
Camber compensates for the weight of the skier in order to maintain even pressure along the length of the edge for improved turn bite. It also contributes to the pop of the ski as it exits a turn.
Rocker effectively shortens a ski, which decreases turn radius. Full rocker improves flotation on powder and improves performance over crud. In general, look for less rocker if you are mostly skiing on groomed trails and more rocker if you spend more time off-piste or in powder.
Q: I am an intermediate skier who needs a ski that will work coast to coast from Winter Park’s Mary Jane and out to Tahoe on all sorts of conditions. Which single ski of the bunch would you recommend?
You are still going to have to make a choice, but we will narrow it down to just two based with different stiffness. The Nordica NRGy 100 with medium to stiff flex or the Völkl Mantra with its very stiff flex and waists of 95mm and 100mm, respectively, are excellent high-performing, all-around skis that handle almost any conditions you can throw at them. These float well on fresh, deep days, blast through chop and crud and dodge trees with fast, tight turns on the groomers or ice.
Q: How do you measure ski stiffness?
Unfortunately, unlike other characteristics of skis, the ski industry has no standard measure for stiffness other than to say “soft, medium, stiff,” which means it is somewhat subjective. Other clues to stiffness include how much camber there is and the type of core construction. If you want more distinction than that, then the best you can do is try them yourself or rely on buyer reviews.
Making the Decision
Considering how many choices you have in ski types, ski features and ski construction and the effort to balance those with your personal experience level, the type of snow on which you will likely spend the most time and your budget, the entire process of ski selection may seem more than a little daunting.
That is why we created this guide to reduce your search to a set of high-performing, reliable top-rated all-mountain skis that we know are the best performers. We have already done the online and real-world legwork so that you can get you on the slopes and trails with the best skis in the least amount of time. If you prefer to do your own research, do not be surprised to find a large intersection of candidates that are already listed here.
When you are ready to make your purchase, buy from online retailers such as Amazon who have the best return policies in the business. Naturally, we think you will be pleased with buying any of the skis reviewed in this guide, but we want you to have the fullest confidence in your purchase.
So, take advantage of our research and hard work, treat yourself to purchasing the very best all mountain skis you can find and start planning your next trip to the slopes.