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
  • Rossignol Experience 88
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Superior carving
  • Versatille
  • Price: See Here
Nordica NRGy 100
  • Nordica NRGy 100
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Good reaction
  • High tip rocker
  • Price: See Here
Elan Amphibio 88
  • Elan Amphibio 88
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Bindings included
  • Fat ski stability
  • Price: See Here

10 Best All Mountain Skis



Rossignol Experience 88

Rossignol Experience 88
The Rossignol Experience 88 brings superb versatility and high performance to an all-mountain ski that carves superbly on groomers and cruises effortlessly off-piste. A long-taper sidecut plus an ideal mix of camber, rocker and Air Tip technology enhance both control and float through variable snow and terrain while decreasing turn effort by up to 30 percent.
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Auto Turn Rocker gives these skis a powerful edge grip that clings through tight turns on groomed trails while keeping tips afloat when gliding over powder. The Experience 88 wood/basalt core ensures superior dampness and pop out of the turns. For expert skiers looking for that elusive one-ski quiver, the Experience 88 fits the bill.

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 NRGy 100
Built around a lively wood/metal laminate core, sintered base and full sidewalls, the NRGy 100s are ideal on- or off-piste skis with plenty of control and power through turns and on moguls or over the crud. These skis feature Nordica's i-Core Torsion Bridge Ti Construction with vertically laminated wood for stiff flex without excessive weight.

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.
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These skis get high marks for stability and versatility. They are decent carvers with good edge contact for a solid lean-in bite. They have a comfortable turn radius, high stiffness and solid underfoot camber for a feeling of control with minimal vibration at high speeds. These skis excel off-piste through soft snow, powder nuts and gliding over moguls. These will charge through all your moves on the groomed trails with plenty of float off-trail as well.


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
The Amphibio 88 XTi Fusion is built for carving turns with a unique Amphibio® profile with two-dimensional camber/rocker for superb, even, sharp edge grip. They turn fast and direct even on the steepest slopes. The 88mm waist adds to each ski's maneuverability. A wood/titanium core assures chatter-free performance at high speeds with a dynamic pop coming out of turns. The wood-titanium blend lowers weight while imparting stiffness and high torsional stability. The tapered sidewall construction adds strength with reduced weight. These skis come equipped with ELX 12.0 Fusion Bindings that provide flex and superior energy transfer. Any way you cut it, the ELan Amphibio 88 Xti puts you in control over the most aggressive slopes.
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Amphibio 88 XTis from Elan are some of the most aggressive skis you can buy. They are super-stiff, but Elan's Waveflex Technology spreads out the flex over the entire ski. Each ski has a cambered inside edge and rockered outside edge, which means you have a left and a right ski. This design makes for snappy turn entries, authoritative edge bite and lively exits. Turning radius is sharp enough, in part thanks to the 88mm waist so sharp and long turns are handled equally well. These are all-mountain skis, so they do fine off-piste as well, but their greatest strength is carving up fast, groomed slopes. They are definitely for advanced skiers.


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

Atomic Alibi Skis
Atomic's new Alibi skis are their top line skis from their Vantage collection. They feature a titanium backbone inserted into the wood core for a medium to stiff flex pattern and powerful exits out of the turns. These best all mountain twin tip skis are stable and bite firmly on sharp turns with plenty of width to float over the pow trails. Stability is provided by Atomic's All Mountain Rocker profile and the 98mm waist, which is not so wide to reduce their awesome carving abilities. There are all-terrain, all-snow, all-regions skis that you can take anywhere on the trails and beyond.
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The Atomic Alibi is remarkably nimble and stable underfoot, which you would expect from a 98mm waist, but that does not mean it cannot do its share as a carver. For a mid-fat alpine ski, it has an impressive 18m turn radius. Both tip and tail have a good deal of rocker, which provides plenty of float through the powder but super maneuverability through the trees.

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

Blizzard Brahma Skis
Strong, aggressive skiers love Blizzard's Brahma on the steep slopes, pounding the bumps and blasting through crud. It is a ski that loves to carve as it grabs an edge and holds on tight until the exit when it pops like a cork. The rockered tip dives into turns and damps out chatter on the iciest hardpack. The rockered tail adds smooth maneuverability.

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.
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If you take charge on groomers or powder, there is much to love in the speed, mobility, bite and turn pop the Brahma brings to any slope. It regularly receives top ratings from expert skiers for its superior stability and responsiveness. Although it has a phenomenally solid underfoot and high torsional stiffness, it is very quick on the snow, around the trees and through the turns. It is probably most at home on hardpack, but the early rise tip and tail rocker floats quite well on powder and trashes the crud. Less skilled skiers might be put off by the stiffness of the dual-jacketed wood core, but if your confidence is high, this is the ski you need to take you to the next level.


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 2015 Experience 75
For beginner to intermediate skiers, the Rossignol Experience 75 is all the ski you need to gain confidence and up your abilities on groomers or hardpack. It has a very soft flex, excels in the turns and its full rocker means it performs well off-piste too. It is an excellent ski for progressing from plowing to parallel turns up to carving. The extended sidecut lets more of the edge come into contact as you lean into your turns, especially as your speed increases.

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.
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If you are just getting into skiing or have been skiing a while but want to perfect your carving, the Rossignol Experience 75s are an excellent way to get going. These are comfortable, lightweight, soft flex skis made for groomers. The extended sidecut and narrow waist support carving without being overly aggressive.

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 Envy Women's
Liberty Skis receive tons of buzz for their unique XCore design that utilizes a laminate core of bamboo, paulownia and poplar wood for high energy, durability and weight reduction. Despite the 105mm waist, built for silky smooth gliding over powder, Liberty Envys provide excellent carving on groomers and hardpack. The Liberty Stealth Rocker features rockered tip, plenty of camber underfoot and a flat tail that improves floatation and turn entry. You get a firm edge grip with the softer tail and tip and plenty of liveliness from the camber and snap that bamboo provides. Whether you are flying over the moguls or gliding on pow trails, these lightweight, highly responsive skis will please any advanced female skier.
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Plenty of pop, an eco-friendly core, smooth gliding over powder and the ability to carve the groomers is what the Liberty Envy skis offer advanced women skiers. At well under 3kg, you hardly know you are wearing them. That 105mm waist does not mean these are only for powder. Liberty's specialized rocker and the snap of bamboo provide plenty of grip and pop through the turns. The bamboo-paulownia-poplar core plus rugged sidewalls and top sheet spell durability. These stand up to ice, chocolate chips, kids and marathon skiing days without complaint.


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

Blizzard Black Pearl Women's
The Black Pearl is by far most versatile ski in the Blizzard women's ski product line. These reward your skill as an intermediate to expert skier with lightweight, energetic construction, a medium flex, biting turn initiation and a popping exit. These skis live for carving on hardpack, groomers, through crud and even on powder. That is all thanks to the 88mm waist, an early rise tip and plenty of underfoot camber.

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.
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What is wrong with a two-ski quiver? Combine the Blizzard Black Pearls and a pair of Liberty Envys to equip the perfect quiver for performance on any type of snow in any region of the country. The Black Pearls excel at carving and are incredibly quick skis through the turns and trees. The all-wood core provides ample rebound and nearly eliminates chatter on icy flats. Buyers of these skis love how they work over all terrains, cut through crud and confidently power over bumps, moguls and rough trails.


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

Völkl Mantra

Völkl Mantra
The Völkl Mantra enters their second year on top of the all mountain ski reviews with a slightly wider sidecut and all the great features and technology that won awards last year. The same know-how that goes into Völkl racing skis is also in the Mantra whose conditions profile is 40/60 piste/off-piste. These skis feature poplar wood tips and tails plus denser ash underfoot to add stiffness where it counts and for secure binding hold.

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.
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From 2014 to 2015 Völkl widened the Mantra's waist a couple of millimeters to 100mm. They added full rocker and gave an earlier taper to the tip to improve its float on soft snow and improve its crud-blasting power. Despite improved off-piste performance, it is still a superb carver. The sidecut width does show up in the 25m turn radius, however.

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

Atomic Vantage Theory
Atomic's Vantage Theory are well-balanced, twin-tip all-mountain skis built to work equally well on- and off-piste. The 95mm waist makes a savvy compromise shines on pow trails and groomers with good float and excellent turn bite. They have a very comfy 18.9m turn radius. The generous tail and tip rocker impart extra stability off the trail.

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.
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The Atomic Theory is an excellent choice in a highly versatile, well-built and economical ski. It gets top scores on groomed trails from intermediate skiers who also want to tackle the deep snowfall days. The rocker on both tail and tip glides right over powder, while imparting a powerful, reactive response to the skier especially when negotiating the trees.

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

A wide variety of skis in a packRegardless 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
  • cross-country-skiing-624246_1280Frontside 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?

Skiing logoAll-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
The Core
a photograph of a pair of skis
Fischer Skis

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.

The Base
Base structure of a ski
By Devastator pc (Own work)

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.

The Sidewalls

Photo of skis leaning to a wallSidewalls 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.

The Edge

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

Person standing on their skisSkis 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

Photo of skis from the ground point of viewSidecut 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.

Turning Radius

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.

Ski Stiffness
Woman touring on her skis
Woman touring a mountain on her skis

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?

Close-up photo of a person on skisYou 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

Skiing on a mountainConsidering 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.