Best All-Mountain Skis 2014-2015

Best All-Mountain Skis 2014-2015

SkiingIf you're searching for that elusive “quiver of one” ski, this is the category in which you’ll likely find it. All-mountain skis have come a long way, even in the past five years. Manufacturers have been experimenting with rocker, camber, tip shape, and waist-width to find the sweet spot in versatility all over the mountain. Ultimately, there are some considerations to make on how you prioritize performance on firm snow and groomers to performance in powder, but the lines are getting ever more blurred with performance and material advances. There’s never been a better time to get into a new pair of all-mountain skis, and below are our top picks for the 2014-2015 season. All of the skis on this list are intermediate and advanced models; those new to the sport should see our article on the best beginner skis

Men's All-Mountain Skis

Moment Tahoe Skis 2014-2015Moment Tahoe ($699)
If you’re in the market for a super fun ski for resort cruising, give the Moment Tahoe a serious look. The Tahoe has been popular for years now and for good reason: it’s a great intermediate ski for those that like to tear it up inbounds, play in the trees, and even duck under the ropes on occasion.  The Mullet profile has rocker in the tip for good float in powder and a number of camber pockets along the length of the ski for turning and stability on hardpack. With an aspen and pine core, this ski excels in just about all-mountain terrain that you can through at it. For super aggressive skiers, the wider Moment Belafonte really can fly down the mountain but is much more than most resort goers need.
Dimensions: 123-96-112mm
Sizes: 168, 178, 186cm
What we like: Does everything well.
What we don’t: More of a resort ski than a backcountry ski.
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Revamping their wildly popular 7 Series of powder and all-mountain skis, last year Rossignol made a very visible construction change with their all-new “Air Tip” honeycombed material in the tips and tails of their skis. The Rossignol Soul 7 is the flagship all-mountain offering and, as you would expect, does pretty much everything very well. At 106mm underfoot, the only thing that is missing is a claimed 20 percent of overall weight saved in the new tip and tail insert, which makes the Soul 7 even more maneuverable and backcountry tour-able than its predecessors. It also got a redesigned rocker profile to decrease dreaded “tip flap” while charging crud and to improve overall performance in all conditions.  
Dimensions: 136-106-126mm 
Sizes: 164, 172, 180, 188cm
What we like: Low swing weight for touring and making jump turns in steep chutes.
What we don’t: Better on soft snow than hard snow. 
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This year Atomic is replacing what was already an excellent all-mountain ski, the Ritual, with the all-new Automatic 102. Fitting in their established Automatic lineage of skis—developed by freeskiers Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and Dana Flahr—the Automatic 102 takes some cues from the wider Automatic 117: most notably a powder rocker profile. On this ski, the rocker tip and slightly-rockered tail allow for nimble maneuvering in tight spaces, and the proper amount of float to really enjoy a powder day. It’s worth mentioning that the Automatic 102 gets a $200 price drop from its predecessor. With a full wood core, step down sidewall, and wraparound edges, however, we can only see this as helping to solidify it as a best buy in this category. 
Dimensions: 131-102-122mm (180cm)
Sizes: 160, 172, 180, 188cm
What we like: An intermediate to advanced ski at a bargain price. 
What we don’t: Might be too progressive for the ex-racer.
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The Supernatural series from Line replaces the much-loved Influence series, retaining solid abilities in the all-mountain arena. Most noticeable on the Supernatural 100 is a more pronounced tail rocker, which helps the ski pivot well in tight situations and make quick turns on groomers. Despite its agility, the Supernatural 100 holds a great edge in long turns at high speed on groomed runs, even as they get chewed up throughout the day. Like most Line skis, the flex on the Supernatural 100 is progressive: stiffer in the waist and progressively softer towards the tip and tail, which gives it a lively “pop” from turn to turn. Subtle rocker in the tips lends enough versatility to enjoy new and/or chopped up powder snow. 
Dimensions: 132-100-121mm
Sizes: 172, 179, 186cm
What we like: Very stable at high speeds. 
What we don’t: Be conscious of the tails washing out in deep turns. 
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Nordica developed their Soul Rider for the skier who grew up skiing on twin-tips in the park, but is ready to venture beyond to the rest of the mountain. The Soul Rider has a wood/carbon core with a middle-of-the-road flex that, combined with underfoot camber, makes it super playful in all situations. Vertical sidewalls keep it stable throughout turns when ramping up speed. The 97mm waist, coupled with slight tip rocker, will keep you relatively happy on days with fresh snow, but if you ski a lot out West you might want to look for something wider. Of course, the Soul Rider excels in the terrain park on those soft, sunny days when you’re ready to see if you still have it. 
Dimensions: 134-97-124mm
Sizes: 169, 177, 185cm
What we like: Fun freestyle heritage. 
What we don’t: Lacking in float on the really deep days. 
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The K2 Annex 108 brings true meaning to the term “all-mountain” as it’s equally at home in the resort and beyond the ropes in the side/backcountry. On the wider side of the all-mountain category, the Annex 108 uses K2’s all-terrain rocker in the tip for formidable powder performance. Still, it retains camber underfoot for utility in firmer snow conditions, and a metal laminate in the layup keeps its ultra damp when really being pushed at speed. A great “quiver of one” ski for those residing in places that get lots of snow, K2 has custom cut skins that fit into a slick grommet system available for the Annex 108 for those wanting to tour with it as well. 
Dimensions: 139-108-127mm
Sizes: 170, 177, 184, 191cm
What we like: Full backcountry capabilities in a resort-worthy ski. 
What we don’t: A lot of ski for lighter weight skiers.
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Women’s All-Mountain Skis

Line Soulmate 90 Skis 2015Line Soulmate 90 ($500)
The tried and true Soulmate 90 from Line offers solid resort performance for intermediate to advanced level skiers. A narrower offering than some here, this ski has the camber underfoot to really make it carve well on groomed runs. Forgiving at all speeds, it seems to be able to make turns in any kind of snow condition with ease. An early rise tip will keep things on top if there’s some fresh snow to be had, but the Soulmate 90 really does best in everyday conditions. For hard chargers looking for a wider all-mountain ski, try the Line Soulmate 98.
Dimensions: 125-90-113mm
Sizes: 151, 158, 165cm
What we like: Excellent ski for East Coast all-mountain exploring.
What we don’t: Taller skiers would appreciate a slightly longer length option.
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It’s hard to argue with an all-mountain ski from Rossignol for around $300. The Sassy 7 is a narrower all-mountain offering meant to help ease the transition for those who want to start venturing off groomed trails and get into softer snow. It has 50 percent rocker in the tip and tail, but retains 50 percent camber underfoot to still be able to carve, and improve skills, on groomed runs. With a 90mm waist, the Sassy 7 is quick edge-to-edge and easy for any skier to handle. This is a great choice for a beginner-intermediate to intermediate level skier looking to make a ski purchase. 
Dimensions: 118-90-108mm
Sizes: 140, 150, 160, 170cm
What we like: Smaller sizes for petite skiers. 
What we don’t: Cap construction, but expected for a bargain-price ski. 
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Salomon Q 96 Lumen SkisSalomon Q 96 Lumen ($500)
As an all-mountain ski, the really attractive thing the Q 96 Lumen has going for it is Salomon’s translucent honeycomb tips. On hill they translate to a ski with very low swing weight that is easy to maneuver around and fast from turn to turn. Aside from preventing fatigue during a full day on the slopes, it’s great for smaller skiers who don’t have as much weight to throw around. The Lumen is, however, built to charge with a full wood core. Slight rocker in the tip and tail helps when faced with new snow, and a tapered tip shape prevents them from hooking up in variable conditions. The Lumen is an excellent choice for a skier looking for a playful all-mountain performance. 
Dimensions: 128-95-114mm
Sizes: 154, 162, 170cm
What we like: Performance at a bargain price.  
What we don’t: Missing a longer length size for bigger, stronger skiers. 
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Fans of fresh snow will love the Atomic Century 102. It features powder rocker in the tip and a 102mm waist, which gives it nice float and turnability in new or soft snow. When conditions firm up, the step-down sidewall construction and full wood core lend excellent edge-hold and stability on groomers. This is a directional all-mountain ski, but slight rocker and a kick in the tail make let it release easily from a turn and give it a “surfy” feel on the snow. The Century 102 makes a great choice for an intermediate to expert level skier looking to take their skiing well off the groomers. 
Dimensions: 130-102-121mm (172cm)
Sizes: 156, 164, 172cm
What we like: Again, performance at a bargain price
What we don’t: Again, missing a longer length size for bigger, stronger skiers. 
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If you are an intermediate to advanced level skier looking for soft snow performance without compromising carve-ability on groomers, the Volkl Aura might just be the perfect ski for you. A longtime favorite in the Volkl lineup, the Aura is 2mm wider in the waist this season and has a subtle full-length rocker to give it float in fresh snow. A new tapered tip aids in turn initiation and keeps it quick in tight spots. With a full wood core and vertical sidewalls, the Aura still retains the race-bred piste performance Volkl has become famous for. We also like the sleek geometric design more than some of the other skis on this list. 
Dimensions: 132-100-118mm
Sizes: 156, 163, 170cm
What we like: Doesn’t waver at full speed. 
What we don’t: Doesn’t like to go slow. 
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Building a women’s-specific all-mountain ski is nothing new, but 4FRNT took things a step further on the Madonna with a wood core weighted for female body geometry. The benefit to the skier is an easier forward stance to keep out of the dreaded “backseat” when terrain gets technical. In addition, the Madonna has tip and tail rocker for float in soft conditions, and camber underfoot to retain carving performance on groomers. A semi-cap construction keeps things lightweight, making this a great choice for smaller skiers. 
Dimensions: 123-98-118mm (172cm)
Sizes: 158, 165, 172cm
What we like: True women’s-specific design. 
What we don’t: Can get bounced around in heavier snow. 
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