Skis have been rapidly evolving over the last few decades. Gone are the days of long, skinny, flat skis and riders with their legs together, sliding downhill sideways. Bigger sidecuts introduced in the early ’90s meant a ski could be set on edge to grip the mountain and take sharp turns at higher speeds. Then fat rocker skis came along to keep tips higher for gliding over deep powder. Advances in stronger, lighter cores allowed for camber skis to spring with more power through steep turns and atop hardpack. Nowadays, a single “all-mountain” ski can have a traditional camber in the center for packed snow speed and rocker in the tips and tails for incredible powder performance. We’ve gathered our picks for the best all-mountain skis below.
Après-Ski: A vitally important part of the resort day: drinking to catch up on stories and numb injured muscles post-skiing
Camber: The shape of the middle of the ski as seen from the side; it affects weight distribution along the edge for carving and adds a springiness for additional power and responsiveness
Carving: Clean, relatively frictionless turns from putting the ski up on edge and riding out an “S” shape
Effective Edge: The total length of the skis edge that makes contact with the snow; larger effective edge means more stability
Groomers: The courdoroy trails left behind by Snowcats dragging a rake to smooth out bumps and break up ice
Hardpack: Densely packed snow
Off-Piste: Piste means trail, so anywhere in the backcountry and not on official ski runs
Powder: Fresh snow, baby; best skied with a rocker tip in order to glide easily
Rocker (reverse camber): The shape of the ends of the ski as seen from the side; modern rocker keeps tip and tail relatively high for gliding over powder
Sidecut: The shape of a ski as viewed from the top; three numbers indicate the widest point at the tip and tail along with the narrowest point at the waist; the larger the difference between the widest and narrowest points, the sharper the turning.
Twin Tip: As opposed to directional skis, twin tip skis can be ridden backwards and forward for freestyle skiing
More Slopes: Best Snowboards | Making Custom Skis | Best Spots for Nordic Skiing
Rossignol Experience 100
Best Fatass Tail: For the money, these are some of the best skis around. 70 percent camber underboot with 30 percent rockers gives power on-piste and stability off-piste, which is complemented by a fat tail for unrivaled finishes out of turns and air tips for floating over powder.
Weight: 4.2 kg/pair
Turn Radius: 18m
Size: 166cm, 174cm, 182cm and 190cm
Best Customs: We recently saw how these skis are made, and it sold us on their quality. The Completo is Folsom’s best-selling shape, due to its versatility. The rocker, taper and camber are all designed for every ski condition, and best of all, they’re made specifically for you — even the artwork can be customized.
Sidecut: 128-100-118, 130-105-118, 136-108-124
Turn Radius: 17m-23m
Size: 171cm, 176cm, 181cm, 186cm and 192cm
Nordica NRGY 100
Best for Power in the Steeps: The NRGY 100s are made for advanced skiers who want a stiff ski to create power through turns and responsiveness at high speeds. Nordica’s i-Core Torsion Bridge Ti Construction adds titanium strength to the ski without adding too much extra weight to avoid fatigue. Good in any condition, but great for speed in the groomers.
Weight: 3.8 kg
Turn Radius: 15.5-21.5m
Size: 161cm, 169cm, 177cm and 185cm
Kastle FX 94
Best Technology: The early-rise rocker and standard camber make these directional skis good for all conditions, with enhanced maneuverability on-piste thanks to a slightly skinnier waist. The selling point is the smooth ride due to HOLLOWTECH at the tips, a cutout section of the tip which lowers the weight for better floating over powder and dampens vibrations for a smoother ride at high speeds.
Weight: 3.9 kg/pair-4.4k g/pair
Turn Radius: 17.5-22.5m
Size: 166cm, 176cm and 186cm
Best Skinny Waist: An 88mm waist is the skinniest on the list and makes these skis ideal for short turns on steep slopes and maneuverability on moguls and in the park. For off-piste skiing, Blizzard’s “Flipcore 3D” technology allows the slight rocker to float over powder.
Weight: 3.9 kg/pair for 180cm
Turn Radius: 19m for 180cm
Size: 166cm, 173cm, 180cm and 187cm
Best Full Rocker: These are some of the best-selling skis available for powder-lovers. While they hold an edge for carving in any condition, the full rocker means these are most suited for backcountry powder or free-skiing in a terrain park rather than tight turns on steep hardpack.
Turn Radius: 21.5m-27.9m
Size: 170cm, 177cm, 184cm and 191cm
Skilogik Ullr’s Chariot RL
Thickest All Mountain: These are the biggest skis on this list, making them ideal for gliding over uneven trail snow and deep powder with unrivaled stability; still, their Vektor 8 carbon fiber/fiberglass construction grabs the edge on groomers, and the huge variation in sidecut from tip to tail means these have a great turning radius for carving. And, like the Folsom skis, you can add custom artwork.
Sidecut: 139-101-129, 145-101-133, 150-101-136
Weight: 4.1 kg/pair for 174cm
Turn Radius: 15m
Size: 174cm, 182cm and 190cm