If you're searching for that elusive one-ski quiver, this is the category to find it. The definition of “all-mountain” varies by manufacturer and retailer, but typically includes skis from 80 to 105 millimeters underfoot that can both carve on hardpack and provide float in fresh snow. In general, those who ski primarily on the East Coast or in the Midwest should look in the 80- to 95-millimeter range, and those who ski out West will want a waist width from 90 to 105 millimeters. It’s a crowded all-mountain field, but below we’ve picked the best models for 2020-2021. For more information on choosing the right ski, see our comparison table and buying advice below the picks.
 

Best Overall All-Mountain Ski

1. Nordica Enforcer 94 ($700)

Nordica Enforcer 94 skisCategory: All-mountain
Ability level: Intermediate to expert
Dimensions: 127-94-115.5mm
Other widths: 88, 100mm
What we like: Solid update to one of the most well-rounded skis on the market. 
What we don’t: A little narrow for powder days.

Updating a top-selling model is risky business, but we think Nordica nailed the 2021 revamp of the Enforcer line. The new mid-width “94” replaces the outgoing 93-millimeter ski and retains its sturdy yet fun personality. Notable tweaks to the design, including greater use of carbon fiber and a lighter-weight front end that features less plastic and more wood, increase its versatility. The result is that the ski has lots of pop as you combine turns on- and off-trail, grips exceptionally well on hardpack, and still can put a lot of power down with two sheets of metal. In a very crowded field of all-mountain options, the Enforcer’s do-everything character puts it at the top of our 2020-2021 rankings.

In testing the ski this past spring, one standout trait we kept coming back to was its natural and predictable performance. From the very first run, we felt completely comfortable: the ski is surprisingly easy to turn, excels at a range of speeds, and hits a sweet spot in width for true coast-to-coast appeal. On all but the deepest days—during a late-season storm cycle we did find ourselves wishing for more floatation—the Enforcer is a great match. It’s worth noting that Nordica also updated their popular women’s Santa Ana collection this winter, which we found offers similarly well-rounded performance at a lighter weight... Read in-depth review
See the Nordica Enforcer 94  See the Women's Nordica Santa Ana 93

 

Best All-Mountain Ski for Groomers

2. Rossignol Experience 88 Ti ($650)

Rossignol Experience 88 Ti skisCategory: All-mountain front
Ability level: Intermediate to expert
Dimensions: 127-88-117mm
Other width: 92mm
What we like: An excellent mix of performance and fun on firm snow.
What we don’t: Not as comfortable in powder.

The Experience 88 has been a longtime favorite for its impressive groomer performance, and the current model is a real treat on hardpack. It hooks up easily and is very solid on edge, has the right amount of stiffness for most advanced-level skiers, and feels buttoned-down at speed. Where the latest model ups the Experience’s appeal is its fun factor: the metal laminate strip down the middle of the ski provides strength (hence the “Ti” in the name), but there’s noticeably more pop and a willingness to turn more quickly than with the older version.

The 88-millimeter waist and small amount of metal in the ski’s construction mean the Experience isn’t as versatile in soft snow as the Enforcer above or Mantra below, nor is it as appealing for ex-racers that demand a lot of power. But its rockered tip holds its own through crud and on light powder days, making it a fantastic all-mountain front option for places like the East Coast (or a groomer ski just about anywhere). If you prefer a more planted, wider design, the Experience Ti also is available in a 92-millimeter version... Read in-depth review
See the Rossignol Experience 88 Ti  See the Women's Rossignol Experience 88 Ti

 

Best Ski for Hard Chargers

3. Volkl M5 Mantra ($700)

Volkl M5 Mantra skisCategory: All-mountain
Ability level: Intermediate to expert
Dimensions: 134-96-117mm
Other widths: 102mm
What we like: Sturdy and fast with versatile dimensions for all-mountain hard chargers.
What we don’t: Requires a strong pilot; not a very playful ski overall.

The fourth-generation Mantra was a bit polarizing with its aggressive, fully rockered profile, but Volkl returned to form with the M5. The big news was the switch to camber underfoot, which greatly expanded its appeal as a groomer-friendly, everyday driver. Combined with a fairly stiff flex and low-rise tip and tail rocker, the ski can really put the power down at speed and through GS-style sweepers. As the nameplate that is widely recognized for kicking off the modern all-mountain design, it’s great to see the Mantra back as a top choice among hard chargers.

It’s a close call between the M5 and Nordica Enforcer above, and both are versatile, standout models. In parsing out the differences, the Mantra is noticeably wider at the tip (by 7mm) and its stiffer build gives it the advantage in terms of stability. But the Nordica is more comfortable in tight spaces with its nimble, easier-to-manage flex (this also makes it a better option for intermediate-level skiers). Both are excellent one-quiver options for riders that spend the majority of their time on groomers or in regions with moderate snowfall. We think the Nordica is a bit more well-rounded, but if you prioritize unflappable performance in nearly all conditions, the M5 Mantra is hard to beat... Read in-depth review
See the Volkl M5 Mantra  See the Women's Volkl Secret

 

Best All-Mountain Ski for Powder

4. Salomon QST 106 ($750)

Salomon QST 106 skis_0Category: All-mountain back
Ability level: Advanced to expert
Dimensions: 138-106-124mm
Other widths: 85, 92, 99, 118mm
What we like: Great flotation and capabilities in soft snow.
What we don’t: Unsurprisingly, its groomer performance comes up a bit short.

Transitioning to a ski that loves pow, Salomon’s QST 106 is a wide and fun freeride design. An industry favorite over the past few years, Salomon revamped the ski last season with an emphasis on improving stability while retaining its excellent floatation and playful nature. To pull it off, they smoothed out the side cut for more predictable turn-in, stiffened up the build with more carbon woven into the mesh laminate, and added cork in the tip for improved dampening (the old Koroyd tips were light but chattery). Overall, if your resort days are about hunting out secret stashes and free refills, the QST 106 is worth a serious look.

Despite the notable performance upgrades, the Salomon still can’t match the picks above at speed—the front end can feel overly light and doesn’t like being driven hard on icy groomers. As a result, the QST is less of an all-rounder when compared with the Mantra and Enforcer, but is a legitimate all-mountain option in places that see a lot of powder (think Colorado or Utah). And for the lucky few that experience even more of the fluffy stuff throughout the season, Salomon offers a super-wide QST 118 that floats well even on the deepest days.
See the Salomon QST 106  See the Women's Salomon QST Stella 106

 

Our Favorite Playful All-Mountain Ski

5. Blizzard Rustler 9 ($600)

Blizzard Rustler 9 skis_0Category: All-mountain
Ability level: Intermediate to advanced
Dimensions: 127.5-94-117mm
Other widths: 102, 112mm
What we like: It’s fun all over the hill.
What we don’t: A little soft and chattery at speed.

Blizzard’s Brahma and Bonafide have been mainstays in their lineup for their aggressive performance on hardpack, but we have to admit preferring the softer Rustler for true all-mountain use. Offered in three widths that go as wide as 112 millimeters (the Rustler 11), we like the narrowest “9” (94mm) because it highlights the ski’s do-everything design. It feels reasonably light underfoot to dance between turns yet has enough strength to lay on its edge for medium-width sweepers. But where the Rustler really comes alive is popping on and off trail where its playful, easy-to-manage nature shines.

For its construction, the Rustler has metal underfoot, but the Titanal tapers towards the tip and tail, which has an impact on high-speed stability. At full tilt, the Rustler can’t match the Brahma or Bonafide, but the tradeoff is worth it in the bumps and off-piste. The lightened and softened front end is snappy and easy to control, which encourages all sorts of shenanigans. It’s worth mentioning that the narrowest Rustler can get overwhelmed in deep snow, although its rockered tip and tail help it outperform expectations. In the end, if you put a premium on a truly fun build, the Rustler should be high on your list.
See the Blizzard Rustler 9  See the Women's Blizzard Sheeva 9

 

Best Budget All-Mountain Ski

6. Line Sick Day 88 ($400)

Line Sick Day 88 skisCategory: All-mountain
Ability level: Beginner to advanced
Dimensions: 127-88-113mm
Other widths: 94, 104mm
What we like: Solid value for a fun ski.
What we don’t: Not built for hard chargers.

It’s not groundbreaking news that quality all-mountain skis are expensive, but there still are good values to be had. Case in point is Line’s Sick Day 88, which is literally hundreds of dollars cheaper than the options above. The entire Sick Day lineup was updated a few years ago, but the all-mountain-friendly 88 is what caught our eye. Despite the on-piste focused dimensions, this is a solid all-round option with a lot of tip rocker and enough flex to be playful just about anywhere on the hill. In addition, the softer construction makes it a viable choice for progressing beginners that want to skip an overly cheap, entry-level design.

What are you giving up with the Sick Day 88 at its budget-friendly price? The ski isn’t built for getting too far on an edge and won’t be as comfortable on hard, unforgiving snow (experts should shop elsewhere). Plus, tip flap and chatter can be an issue at top speed. But its soft snow sensibilities, lightweight feel, and focus on fun puts it high up on our list. The $400 price is the cherry on top.
See the Line Sick Day 88

 

Best All-Mountain Ski for Beginners

7. Rossignol Experience 76 CI w/Xpress 11 Bindings ($500)

Rossignol Experience 76 CI skisCategory: All-mountain front
Ability level: Beginner to intermediate
Dimensions: 123-76-109mm
Other width: 80
What we like: Good value for a quality beginner-friendly ski.
What we don’t: Fast learners should avoid this entry-level category altogether.

With the exception of the Line Sick Day 88, all of the skis above are tuned for advancing intermediates to expert riders. But true beginners have a different set of requirements. For one, a narrower build that’s easy to manage on groomed and chopped-up hardpack is a must-have. Further, a soft and lightweight construction that’s willing to turn even with only moderate input greatly improves chances for progress on those early ski days. And a package deal that comes with a pair of reliable bindings attached also simplifies the process.

A good number of the major ski brands make an entry-level model—often it’s a toned-down version of their core all-mountain design—and we think Rossi’s Experience 76 checks all the right boxes. Sharing a similar shape as the Experience 88 above, the 76 swaps the 88’s strong underpinnings for less width and more flexibility. Overall, its build is extremely user-friendly and plenty good for season-long use on green and blue runs, plus the attached bindings are a quality, proven set. But what makes the Rossis most appealing for us is that you won’t outgrow them as quickly as a pair of full-on entry-level and noodly skis. That said, fast learners or those planning to get out a lot will still be better off with a higher-end design like the aforementioned Sick Day or Blizzard Rustler above.
See the Rossignol Experience 76 CI  See the Women's Rossignol Experience 76

 

Best of the Rest

8. Blizzard Bonafide 97 ($750)

Blizzard Bonafide 97 skisCategory: All-mountain
Ability level: Advanced to expert
Dimensions: 136.5-97-118.5mm (177cm length)
Other widths: None
What we like: Fast and powerful on hardpack but with improved versatility in mixed conditions.
What we don’t: It's still a frontside ski that requires some muscle to control.

Blizzard’s Bonafide has been a long-time favorite among advanced and expert all-mountain skiers, and they’ve given the design a significant rethink for this winter. Everything from the hybrid wood core to the flex pattern and dimensions have seen changes, but rest assured, the ski still rips. Featuring sturdy beech wood underfoot and two sheets of metal, the Bonafide has tons of power on tap, but strips of lighter poplar in the tip and tail soften the build up slightly to make it a little less grabby and easier to release from a turn. In truth, this ski is best paired with a capable pilot, but it’s less fatiguing and more approachable in general than its popular predecessor.

At $750, the 2021 Bonafide costs $50 more than the outgoing model as well as primary competitors like the Volkl M5 above and Salomon Stance below. That said, the extra money gets you increased customization, including a flex pattern that changes by width: sizing up gets you more rigidity, while going down gets you softer and easier-to-manage performance. In addition, the rocker shape changes based on size, and Blizzard offers the Bonafide in 6-centimeter length increments (many skis vary by 7 or 8 cm) to make it easy to get an ideal fit. And finally, there’s a women’s variant, the Black Pearl 97, which matches the Bonafide in width and shares the hybrid wood concept (but with a unique wood mix) in a slightly softer build for lighter skiers... Read in-depth review
See the Blizzard Bonafide 97  See the Women's Blizzard Black Pearl 97

 

9. Dynastar M-Pro 99 ($700)

Dynastar M-Pro 99 skisCategory: All-mountain back
Ability level: Intermediate to advanced
Dimensions: 127-99-117mm
Other widths: 84, 90mm
What we like: A big upgrade in all-mountain performance from the discontinued Legend X.
What we don’t: Has a lower performance threshold compared with class leaders.

Dynastar’s old Legend X was a somewhat polarizing design, but their new M-Pro 99 takes direct aim at the core all-mountain/freeride market. Whereas the Legend X was light enough for occasional alpine touring duty and quick to turn, the M-Pro retains some of that nimble feeling with a healthy dose of edge hold and strength. Key to this upgrade in performance is their unique hybrid core, which relies heavily on polyurethane (it covers a large section of the outer edges) for dampness and stability. The M-Pro still is easy to control in tight spots and at lower speeds, but it’s now more capable across a wide range of snow conditions.

Despite the improvements, the M-Pro 99 has some limitations for expert skiers. The trimmed-down design can’t plow through chop and rough snow like the Mantra or Bonafide above, and it’s a little less planted with more tip flap through wide and sweeping turns. For those who don’t like to back off the throttle, the ski may come up short. On the other hand, it’s a really nice option for intermediates who are progressing quickly or advanced riders who aren’t always charging. In other words, the M-Pro lines up nicely with a good portion of the all-mountain market.
See the Dynastar M-Pro 99  See the Women's Dynastar M-Pro 99

 

10. Volkl Kendo 88 ($650)

Volkl Kendo 88 skisCategory: All-mountain
Ability level: Intermediate to expert
Dimensions: 129-88-111mm
Other widths: None
What we like: One of the most versatile designs on the market.
What we don’t: It’s not a playful ski.

For skiers that mostly stick to the frontside on the resort but want the ability to hit the back bowls and get off-piste on occasion, the Volkl Kendo is a nice choice. At 88 millimeters underfoot, it’s a highly versatile ski that is narrow and stiff enough to carve well and take on groomed runs at a variety of speeds, but wide enough to not be out of sorts after a good storm. With ample metal in the construction to put the power down, the men’s Kendo and women’s Kenja trade the playfulness you get with the QST and Rustler above for quickness and rock-solid stability.

Past versions of the Kendo have been criticized for being too unforgiving for intermediate riders, but Volkl loosened things up a bit last season. The big news is that they trimmed away some weight by using their Titanal Frame construction—shared with the M5 Mantra above—which incorporates metal along only the perimeter of the skis. Combined with a refined shape, the ski is easier to flick around on- and off-piste. The end result is a true all-rounder that’s fantastic for hardpack and light powder days. 
See the Volkl Kendo 88  See the Women's Volkl Kenja 88

 

11. Liberty Origin 96 ($600)

Liberty Origin 96 skisCategory: All-mountain
Ability level: Intermediate to advanced
Dimensions: 130-96-118mm
Other widths: 106, 112mm
What we like: A good price for a well-made, versatile, and playful ski.
What we don’t: Like the Rustler 9 above, it’s not as planted at speed.

Similar to Black Crows below, Liberty is an independent ski manufacturer with a lot of recent momentum. Their collection covers an impressively wide range of prices and styles, but the true Goldilocks design is the Origin 96. Featuring a versatile 96-millimeter waist and a fair amount of tip rocker, the ski is well-suited for areas in the western United States that see a fair amount of snowfall (no surprise given they’re based out of Colorado). And with a unique construction that includes bamboo in the core, the Origin has a light and poppy personality that really comes to life hitting natural features and exploring off-piste.

The downsides of the Origin 96 pretty closely resemble Blizzard’s Rustler 9 above. The clear priority was making the ski playful and nimble, which comes at the sacrifice of stability. Those wanting more dampness and security for plowing through crud or whatever else is in their way will want to stick to a burlier ski like the M5 Mantra. But if you want an easy turner at a manageable width that is fully freeride-ready, the Origin 96 should be on your short list.
See the Liberty Origin 96  See the Women's Liberty Genesis 96

 

12. Black Crows Justis ($960)

Black Crows Justis skisCategory: All-mountain back
Ability level: Advanced to expert
Dimensions: 138-100-123mm
Other widths: None
What we like: Playful, fast, and easy to turn for its width.
What we don’t: Dimensions and rocker profile favor soft snow conditions.

In a short time, Black Crows has gone from a relative unknown to a big-time player in the U.S. market (the company is based in France). Their skis have earned a reputation for being poppy yet seriously capable in areas with pucker-worthy terrain like Jackson Hole. Our favorite among their all-mountain offerings is the 100-millimeter-wide Justis, which in many ways replaces their popular Daemon (a design that made our all-mountain list in previous years). Like the Daemon, the ski has a lot of tip and tail rocker, so it floats well and is easy to turn. But they’ve added some camber underfoot (the Daemon was pure rocker), which gives the Justis a more traditional and predictable feel on hardpack.

Who is the Black Crows Justis best for? It hits a pretty nice middle ground of power and playfulness, and the wider dimensions means it’ll line up nicely for those in regions with consistently good snowfall. On the other hand, the ski is a bit wide and rocker-heavy to be a daily driver on groomers if you go long stretches between storms. And in terms of ability level, the construction is fairly stiff, so it’s best in the hands of strong advanced or expert riders. For a softer and even more fun alternative that works nicely with intermediates, check out Black Crows’ 97-millimeter-wide Camox.
See the Black Crows Justis

 

13. Atomic Vantage 97 Ti ($700)

Atomic Vantage 97 Ti skisCategory: All-mountain
Ability level: Advanced to expert
Dimensions: 131.5-97-120.5mm
Other widths: 90, 107mm
What we like: Powerful carver that’s impressively lightweight.
What we don’t: Not a playful or forgiving ski.

Atomic’s Vantage Ti series combines an impressively lightweight construction with serious horsepower. The “Ti” in the name is for its unique mesh-like layer of Titanium, which delivers a lot of strength while keeping weight down (many competitors use two relatively hefty layers of Titanal). The trimmed-down concept continues in the wood core, which includes substantial cutouts towards the tip and tail, giving the ski a surprisingly thin profile. But what Atomic didn’t compromise in the design is edge grip, and the Vantage really excels blasting through high-speed turns on groomers.

Dropping ounces from an all-mountain ski inevitably leads to some compromises, and in the case of the Vantage, you miss out on both playfulness and a damp ride. If you turn down the speed, the ski lacks the bouncy and fun feel of the Enforcer above (although it still provides decent flotation for blasting down a back bowl). It’s not a design we recommend for intermediates, and even advanced riders may get tired of the unforgiving ride that is prone to knocking you around when you back off the throttle. Ex-racers and serious hard chargers likely won’t mind these complaints, but we consider the Vantage to be less well-rounded than many of the picks above.
See the Atomic Vantage 97 Ti

 

14. Head Kore 93 ($649)

Head Kore 93 skis_0Category: All-mountain
Ability level: Intermediate to expert
Dimensions: 133-93-115mm
Other widths: 87, 99, 105, 117mm
What we like: Light but very capable.
What we don’t: Lacks the personality of our top-rated skis.

When it was released, Head’s Kore made a big splash with its experimental-looking construction that eliminated the traditional plastic topsheet. The result is one of the lightest all-mountain skis on the market that doesn’t compromise stiffness and high-speed stability for expert riders. It’s not as planted when going all-out as a ski like the Bonafide above, but it’s not far off. Further, at 93-millimeters underfoot and with a generously wide shovel, the Kore hits a pretty ideal all-mountain shape.

The Kore 93 inevitably will be compared to the Enforcer 94 above, which is a near match in terms of width and intended use. Where the Kore excels is its lighter weight that makes bootpacks or sidecountry explorations that much easier. But the Kore is noticeably lacking in personality compared with the Enforcer: it’s not nearly as poppy and fun. We’ve also found the unique topsheet doesn’t age that well, showing scrapes and scars more easily than a plastic design. But we fully expect it to be another top seller, especially with the addition of the Kore 99 and 117.
See the Head Kore 93

 

15. J Skis The Allplay ($599)

J Skis The AllplayCategory: All-mountain
Ability level: Intermediate to advanced
Dimensions: 120-98-117mm
Other widths: None
What we like: A very fun all-mountain ski that’s also at home in the park.
What we don’t: More playful than buttoned down and fast.

J Skis does things differently. Launched in 2013 by the founder of Line Skis, their lineup of seven core models is handmade and ever-changing with batches of limited release graphics. For our all-mountain round-up, we like the aptly named Allplay best. This ski has tons of personality: it’s equally fun to flick around on groomers and in powder, but it really comes to life in the park or hitting natural features on the mountain. Importantly, the construction is top-notch with a high quality maple core and strategic use of carbon fiber. Finally, because J Skis only sells directly through their own website, the Allplay is a solid value at $599.

The playful nature of the Allplay does come with some downsides. For one, it’s not an ideal choice for hard chargers or those that spend more time bombing groomers than hitting jumps. It also doesn’t hold an edge as well as our top picks, although intermediate riders that prefer surfing through turns likely won’t notice. But for a ski that just puts a smile on your face—in both its unique look and child-like personality—the Allplay is an absolute winner. For a higher-stability model from J Skis, check out their Masterblaster.
See the J Ski Allplay

 

16. K2 Mindbender 99Ti ($700)

K2 Mindbender 99Ti skisCategory: All-mountain
Ability level: Advanced to expert
Dimensions: 138-99-123mm
Other widths: 90, 108mm
What we like: Impressive performance upgrade from the outgoing Pinnacle Ti.
What we don’t: Intermediate skiers should look elsewhere.

K2’s Mindbender Ti arguably was the biggest ski release last season. Taking the place of the very popular Pinnacle, these all-mountain sticks have coast-to-coast appeal with widths ranging from 90 to 108 millimeters. We prefer the middle-of-the-road 99Ti for its Pacific Northwest-ready versatility: the ski is wide enough to offer sufficient float on moderate powder days, the Y-shaped metal layer underfoot gives it excellent stability, and the planted design powers comfortably through choppy, midday conditions. For hard chargers looking for a one-ski quiver, the Mindbender 99Ti deserves a serious look.

In many ways, the Mindbender falls in between the M5 Mantra and Enforcer above in performance. Compared with the Mantra, it's a little more forgiving and lacks the Volkl's top-end stability and power. And on the other hand, it can't match the natural feel and flickability of the Enforcer (even progressing intermediates will likely find it too difficult to control). The K2 is undoubtedly a solid ski, but its "master of none" personality pushes it down our rankings. Of note: K2 also makes the Mindbender in a flexier “C” version that eschews metal in its construction.
See the K2 Mindbender 99Ti  See the Women's K2 Mindbender 98Ti Alliance

 

17. Volkl Blaze 106 ($600)

Volkl Blaze 106 skisCategory: All-mountain back
Ability level: Intermediate to advanced
Dimensions: 146-106-128mm
Other width: 94mm
What we like: Lightweight and playful; a fun all-mountain/powder ski or mixed touring option.
What we don’t: So-so edge hold and prone to chattering on hardpack.

In a significant departure from their smooth and powerful all-mountain skis like the Kendo and Mantra above, Volkl has released the light and playful Blaze for 2020-2021 (replacing the old 100 series). Available in 94- and 106-millimeter widths, the latter option strikes us as the better match considering its nimble and off-trail-friendly build. Volkl kept things fairly simple with the construction, which utilizes a hybrid beech/poplar core and metal only around the binding. Combined with a sidecut that’s fairly narrow at the waist, and you get a ski that feels quick underfoot, pivots nicely in the bumps, and is easy to control all over the mountain.

What’s not to like with the Blaze? Even at moderate speeds, the tip was prone to a fair amount of chatter on hardpack. In addition, while it’s energetic and poppy in the turns, the ski falls well short of the precision on edge that you get with Volkl’s more serious offerings. As a result, unless you spend more than half your time in the trees and powder, it shouldn’t be a top choice among advanced or expert riders. On the other hand, its approachable build is great for intermediates and the lightweight construction means it’s fully capable as a hybrid backcountry/resort choice... Read in-depth review
See the Volkl Blaze 106  See the Women's Volkl Blaze 106

 

18. DPS Pagoda Piste 100 C2 ($1,299)

DPS Pagoda Piste 100 C2 skisCategory: All-mountain
Ability level: Advanced to expert
Dimensions: 132-100-115mm
Other width: 94mm
What we like: Packed with high-end materials and technology.
What we don’t: Nearly double the price of its competition.

DPS isn’t shy about experimenting with ski construction and materials—the brand take pride in making the “world’s most advanced skis”—and for 2020-2021, they’ve set their sights on the all-mountain market with the Pagoda Piste collection. Taking the place of the Cassiar line, there are two distinct shapes available: their RP (“resort powder”), which has a more pronounced sidecut that prioritizes playfulness, and the faster and more serious C2 that we’ve included here. But the real techy stuff is hidden underneath, where DPS sandwiches two layers of carbon fiber between two separate horizontal layers of wood (both unique concepts) in attempting to marry dampness and stability with soft-snow performance.

Like most of DPS’s ski models, the net result of all their R&D is impressive capabilities with a level of refinement and quality that’s hard to match. At the same time, the $1,299 price of admission is extremely steep, and there are many formidable competitors that cost far less (Volkl’s $750 Mantra 102 is a good example). This lack of value pushes the Pagoda Piste down our list, but if your budget allows, the brand’s well-respected craftsmanship, premium material quality, and pure performance do not disappoint... Read in-depth review
See the DPS Pagoda Piste 100 C2

 

19. Salomon Stance 96 ($700)

Salomon Stance 96 skisCategory: All-mountain
Ability level: Advanced to expert
Dimensions: 132-96-114mm
Other widths: 90, 102mm
What we like: Powerful, fast, and likes sweeping turns on hardpack.
What we don’t: Unforgiving and lacks the fun personality of our top picks; dated-looking graphics.

Salomon’s QST above is their playful freeride offering, while the all-new Stance collection takes aim at sturdy directional models like the Volkl M5 Mantra, Blizzard Bonafide, and Nordica Enforcer. The ski certainly looks the part with two layers of Titanal, plenty of camber underfoot, and a fairly wide turn radius (20m in our 182cm length). In addition, Salomon incorporated their carbon/flax laminate and a blunt-nose front-end (with a bit of tip rocker) to help it plow confidently through chopped-up conditions. Other than the top sheet graphics, which struck us as bland and dated, everything else adds up nicely on paper.

However, we came away with lukewarm impressions of the Stance after skiing the 96-millimeter model as well as the women’s 94. It’s no doubt a powerful design that feels extremely planted at speed and through fast sweeping turns, but the Salomon is pretty unforgiving (intermediates should steer clear) and is more one-dimensional than the top players in this class. Turn initiation takes a fair amount of muscle, it doesn’t feel very flickable in the bumps or trees, and it’s not easy to slide around at low speeds. Among hard-charging options, we prefer the M5 Mantra, which delivers similar power but with a little more all-mountain versatility... Read in-depth review
See the Salomon Stance 96  See the Women's Salomon Stance 94

 

20. Fischer Ranger 107 Ti ($750)

Fischer Ranger 107 Ti 2020 all-mountain skis_0Category: All-mountain back
Ability level: Expert
Dimensions: 139-107-131mm
Other widths: 92, 99mm
What we like: Burly big mountain ski that handles hardpack better than most.
What we don’t: Non-experts will find it overly stiff and difficult to control. 

The Ranger 107 Ti is Fischer’s premium all-mountain weapon and one of the more serious skis to make our list. Updated last season, the design is strong and very stiff from tip to tail with metal underfoot and carbon in the shovel, which translates to excellent power and high-speed performance. The wide dimensions make it come to life in back bowls and off-piste, but it also exceeds expectations on groomers with good dampness and the ability to slice wide, arching turns. All told, the Ranger is a very intriguing option for hard chargers who really like to fly.

East Coast or Midwest rippers will be happy to know that a narrower 92-millimeter version of the Ranger Ti is available, and we’d put that model right up there as strong competition to the sturdy Blizzard Brahma. In addition, the tweener Ranger 99 Ti lines up nicely for a one-quiver Pacific Northwest set-up. What all three widths have in common, however, is an unforgiving personality. Skiers who like to occasionally sit back and let their foot off the gas will be better served with a softer, suppler ski like the Salomon QST or Volkl Blaze above.
See the Fischer Ranger 107 Ti

 

21. Kastle FX96 HP ($1,099)

Kastle FX 96 HP 2020 all-mountain skis_0Category: All-mountain
Ability level: Intermediate to expert
Dimensions: 133-96-119mm
Other width: 105mm
What we like: Latest version ditches metal without compromising performance.
What we don’t: Only pros can justify paying for it.

With big-time power, performance-oriented skiers love Kastle’s FX96 HP. All Kastle skis feature a unique hollow construction tip to reduce swing weight and chatter through variable snow, but they took things further with the latest HP by removing the classic metal construction. Instead, carbon and fiberglass sit in its place, which help make the ski a nimble, off-piste joy. But just like the prior version, the ski simply does an amazing job of smoothing out bumps while going Mach-looney on a groomer or through cut-up powder.

The discontinued FX95 HP, which the 96 replaced, was associated with being a difficult ride for non-experts, but the revamped design is more approachable and can be enjoyed even when you’re not muscling it around. Of course, price is the biggest barrier to entry here (only the DPS above has a higher MSRP), and the improvements from other models on this list are incremental at best. That said, for those who truly get the most out of their skis, the FX96 HP is worth the extra dough.
See the Kastle FX96 HP

 

22. Rossignol Black Ops Smasher ($400)

Rossignol Black Ops Smasher skisCategory: All-mountain
Ability level: Beginner to intermediate
Dimensions: 119-91-109mm
Other widths: None
What we like: Soft set-up is great for beginners.
What we don’t: May outgrow its abilities quickly.

Rossignol’s Experience 76 above is tailored for beginners who plan to stick to hardpack, while the Black Ops Smasher truly is all-mountain-ready. Sitting at the bottom of the formidable Black Ops line, the Smasher has the cheapest price ($400 including 10-DIN bindings), softest feel, and narrowest width. But the ski shares a similar personality with the pricier models, combining decent energy and pop for connecting turns with a lightweight tip and tail. And at 92 millimeters wide, it’s one of the most off-trail-oriented beginner skis on the market.

In truth, we’re not completely sold on the tweener nature of the Rossi Smasher. It’s forgiving enough, but the ski is overmatched at any decent speed on a groomer, which means fast learners may outgrow it (the Experience 76 is the better choice for this crowd). On the other hand, its off-piste abilities are great for those that plan to head to the soft stuff right off the bat, but that’s not a top priority for many first-timers. In the end, the Smasher certainly isn’t for everyone, but its approachable price and unique wide width earn it a spot on our list.
See the Rossignol Black Ops Smasher  See the Women's Rossignol Black Ops Dreamer

 

All-Mountain Ski Comparison Table

Ski Price Category Ability Level Dimensions Radius
Nordica Enforcer 94 $700 All-mountain Intermediate to expert 127-94-115.5mm 17.1m
Rossignol Experience 88 Ti $650 All-mountain front Intermediate to expert 127-88-117mm 15m
Volkl M5 Mantra $700 All-mountain Intermediate to expert 134-96-117mm 19.8m
Salomon QST 106 $750 All-mountain back Advanced to expert 138-106-124mm 18m
Blizzard Rustler 9 $600 All-mountain Intermediate to advanced 127.5-94-117mm 17m
Line Sick Day 88 $400 All-mountain Beginner to advanced 127-88-113mm 17.4m
Rossignol Experience 76 CI $500 All-mountain front Beginner to intermediate 123-76-109mm 14.5m
Blizzard Bonafide 97 $750 All-mountain Advanced to expert 136.5-97-118.5mm 17m
Dynastar M-Pro 99 $700 All-mountain back Intermediate to advanced 127-99-117mm 20m
Volkl Kendo 88 $650 All-mountain Intermediate to expert 129-88-111mm 17m
Liberty Origin 96 $600 All-mountain Intermediate to advanced 130-96-118mm 17.5m
Black Crows Justis $960 All-mountain back Advanced to expert 138-100-123mm 20m
Atomic Vantage 97 Ti $700 All-mountain Advanced to expert 131.5-97-120.5mm 19.1m
Head Kore 93 $649 All-mountain Intermediate to expert 133-93-115mm 16.4m
J Skis The Allplay $599 All-mountain Intermediate to advanced 119-98-117mm 20.1m
K2 Mindbender 99Ti $700 All-mountain Advanced to expert 138-99-123mm 18.5m
Volkl Blaze 106 $600 All-mountain back Intermediate to advanced 146-106-128mm 28/17/36m
DPS Pagoda Piste 100 C2 $1,299 All-mountain Advanced to expert 132-100-115mm 19m
Salomon Stance 96 $700 All-mountain Advanced to expert 132-96-114mm 20m
Fischer Ranger 107 Ti $750 All-mountain back Expert 139-107-131mm 18m
Kastle FX96 HP $1,099 All-mountain Intermediate to expert 133-96-119mm 18m
Rossi Black Ops Smasher $400 All-mountain Beginner to intermediate 119-91-109mm 27m

 

All-Mountain Ski Buying Advice

What Is an All-Mountain Ski?

By definition, an all-mountain ski should be adept at just about anything you’ll encounter during a day on the slopes (the commonly used term is “quiver of one”). This isn’t a hard-and-fast category and has trended wider over the years, but generally encompasses skis from 80mm to 105mm underfoot that are best for the front side of the mountain and skiing in bounds (at least most of the time). At the narrow end are focused, on-trail groomer skis and at the wide end are designs that can handle back bowls and powder just fine.

All-mountain skis (Rossignol Experience 88 skiing)
A quality all-mountain ski can handle a wide range of snow conditions

It’s equally important to understand the limitations of this ski type. All-mountain skis are not ideal for deep powder or the backcountry (for alpine touring options, see our article on the best backcountry skis). In addition, they're often heavy for uphill travel, although this is changing as materials continue to improve. What they do offer is that all-in-one functionality: for anything from crusty hardpark to bluebird soft snow days, there’s an all-mountain ski that fits the bill. Logically, it’s not as simple as just choosing any old all-mountain model and calling it good. The decision should involve local snow conditions, skiing style, and ability level. We cover these important considerations below.
 

Ski Waist Width Explained

Waist width is a measurement taken from the center of the ski at its narrowest point and is a key element in narrowing your search. Within the all-mountain market, you’ll find options ranging from approximately 75 millimeters up to about 110, and everything from your skiing style to local terrain and snowfall will dictate your ideal range. It’s also worth noting that many popular lines of skis are made in varying widths. Salomon’s QST collection, for example, is available in 85, 92, 99, 106, and 118mm sizes, which cover nearly the full gamut of all-mountain styles.

All-mountain skis (skis at lodge)
All-mountain skis often come in various widths to match different riding styles and conditions

For width recommendations, skis on the lower end of the spectrum like Rossignol’s Experience 76 are best suited for hardpack and firm snow conditions. They’re typically easy to control and grip well in the turns but are prone to getting bogged down in powder. Stepping into the 88- to 100-millimeter range is the core of the all-mountain market, and these skis hit a nice balance of flotation for moderate snowfall (depending on the design, up to around 6 in. of powder) with reliable on-piste performance. Once you clear 100 millimeters at the waist, you get a borderline powder ski, which makes compromises in on-trail grip for excellent surf-ability in the deep stuff. Below are some general recommendations based on terrain and region, and for a deeper look at topic, see our article on Choosing the Right Ski Waist Width.

All-Mountain Groomer Skis: 75mm to 90mm
All-Mountain East Coaster: 80mm to 95mm
Heart of the All-Mountain Range: 88mm to 100mm
All-Mountain Rocky Mountains/West Coaster: 90mm to 105mm
All-Mountain Powder Skis: 100-110mm

All-mountain skis (Volkl Blaze 106 in powder)
Wider skis, like the Volkl Blaze 106, are a great match for areas that see a lot of snowfall

All-Mountain Front vs. All-Mountain Back

The all-mountain category tries valiantly to cover a very wide range of skiing styles and terrain, but, as we cover in the waist width section above, there are significant differences between models. As such, we’ve found it helpful to refer to the skis with an on-piste focus as “all-mountain front” and off-trail-oriented as “all-mountain back.” Skis that perform reasonably well on both groomed runs and powder are categorized simply as "all-mountain."

In short, an all-mountain front ski is best for tackling groomed runs. It has a narrower width, semi-stiff to stiff construction, and ski profile (covered below) that's tuned for stability and good edge hold on hardpack. Some of our favorite all-mountain front skis are the Rossignol Experience 88 Ti and Experience 76 Ci. All-mountain back skis on the other hand are wider, softer, and built to float in deep snow. These are just shy of a powder ski, (but are more planted if you have to ski on-piste) with examples including the Salomon QST at 106mm in width. They aren’t as fun for carving and can be less stable at speed, but they remain a suitable option for skiers that spend about 50 percent or more of their time off trail. The rest of the pack balances traits from both categories, with enough stability for moving fast and a medium width (often between 90mm and 100mm) for soft snow use.

All-mountain skis (Salomon Stance 94)
For those who stick to groomers, an all-mountain front ski is a viable option

Ski Profile: Camber and Rocker

The profile of a ski can be broken into three main categories: camber, rocker, and mixed rocker/camber. There are others, including skis with a flat bottom shape, but the three listed below are the most popular—and for good reason. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses for skier and snow type.

Camber
Camber is the traditional groomer ski design. The profile has a half moon-like shape that peaks right underneath your boot and contacts the ground towards the tip and tail of the ski. While skiing, your weight presses the ski into the snow, and when you lift coming out of the turn, you get a satisfying pop that propels you into the next turn. The design has been popular for many years because it provides even contact with the snow and superior edge control when carving down a groomed slope.

Camber used to dominate the all-mountain category, but now it’s become a bit of a rarity. So why has traditional camber fallen out of favor? In short, because the industry fell in love with the new kid on the block: rocker (and then mixed camber/rocker). But traditional camber remains a great choice for those that like to ski aggressively on groomed runs. Don’t buy the marketing hype that pure camber is dead.

All-mountain skis (camber)
Camber in common on groomer-oriented skis

Rocker
Rocker, also known as reverse camber, is when the tips of the skis are raised on either end, creating a sort of banana shape to the ski profile. This design came about originally for its benefits in deep powder. And even just a few years ago, rocker was mostly resigned to powder skis, but the design has come on strong in all-mountain setups of late. Our take is that a full rocker setup, rising at both the tip and the tail, is still best for those that like to spend more of their time off trail (it's notable that Volkl's popular Mantra switched from full rocker to mixed camber/rocker last season). The downside of a pure rocker ski is the flat surface underfoot has a tendency to be more skittish when carving on hardpack. Although it turns easily, it just doesn’t hold an edge like traditional camber. From this issue was born a third category: mixed rocker/camber.

Mixed Camber/Rocker
With both rocker and camber providing real world benefits enjoyed by skiers of just about any ability level, manufacturers have turned their attention recently to mixed camber. In theory, it should provide the best of both worlds: the edge control of a traditional camber ski and the crud busting and easy cruising in deep powder that you get with rocker. And reality isn’t that far off. There are variations in how manufacturers pull off this mix: some go with a tip-only rocker while others go for tip and tail (the latter is great for those that spend some time riding switch). If you’re a skier that tries to cover all of the mountain, a mixed camber/rocker setup is a great pairing.

For visual learners, snow sports retailer Evo has put together a helpful video explaining the various profile types.
 

Turn Radius (Sidecut)

The rocker/camber section above covers the side profile of the ski, while the turn radius (or sidecut) refers to its shape. The measurement is based off the tip, waist, and tail dimensions and is listed in meters. Skis that have a very pronounced hourglass shape that’s much wider at the tip/tail than the waist will have a short turn radius. On the slopes, this translates to a quick and nimble feel—a plus in tight spaces or moguls—and a ski that wants to turn sharply on edge. As the radius increases, the designs will feel more stable bombing a run at high speed or through wider, sweeping turns.

All-mountain skis (Blizzard Bonafire 97 turn radius)
Turn radius is a good indicator of a ski's nimbleness

It’s important to note that the sidecut won’t always perfectly reflect a ski’s personality. Other factors like rocker/camber and stiffness play a role, but the turn radius number is a valuable piece of the puzzle. Below we list how the various radii typically perform.

Carving: Less than 16 meters
All-around: 16-20 meters
Wide and sweeping turns: 20+ meters
 

Ability Level and Flex

The stiffness of a ski is one of its defining features and a clear differentiator between beginner and advanced-level models. A rigid design is stable at speed and has the highest performance potential, but a beginner or less confident pilot will lack control and may find it difficult to turn. On the flipside, getting a ski that is too soft can lower the ceiling of your top-end performance and leave an advanced (or advancing) skier wanting more. Many of our favorite models land somewhere in the middle, balancing power for driving the skis with enough flex to be forgiving and maneuverable when moving at a slower clip.

All-mountain skis (Rossignol Experience 88 construction)
The Experience 88 Ti has a strip of metal that runs vertically down the ski

A ski’s stiffness is the result of its material mix, and key indicators include how much metal (if any) the manufacturer is using. Commonly, a stiff ski will have two layers of Titanal (a strong alloy) that runs the full length and width of the ski. While it adds weight, the metal increases stability, and expert-level models like the Blizzard Bonafide and Fischer Ranger Ti utilize this type of construction. On the other end of the spectrum is a softer ski like the J Skis The Allplay, which goes without metal completely. The focus is less on speed and more on a playful nature, which makes it a better match for off-piste exploring, milder speeds, and intermediate riders. And finally, skis that find the sweet spot of performance and flex are some of the most popular on the market, including the Nordica Enforcer 94 and Dynastar’s new M-Pro 99.
 

Ski Construction: Cores and Laminates

Modern all-mountain skis are packed with high-end materials and proprietary technologies (often with fun-sounding but confusing names), which makes it nearly impossible to accurately analyze their constructions without putting them to the test. The good news is that the market in 2020-2021 is flush with quality options and each year we see incremental improvements. Growing use of carbon fiber has kept weight down while improving stiffness and responsiveness. And on high-performance models, layers of Titanal add power that expert-level riders demand. If you’re looking for a top-end ski, these types of materials—along with a quality wood core—are well worth having on your radar. But don’t limit yourself to set parameters in terms of construction: the impressive Kastle FX96 HP above, for example, ditched the metal with its latest update yet remains a standout performer. The takeaway is it’s hard to pinpoint performance simply based on a ski’s construction and there are a wide variety of ways to make a capable design.

All-mountain skis (Nordica Enforcer 94 turning)
Many modern all-mountain designs utilize carbon to keep weight low

Women’s-Specific Skis

For many years, a women’s-specific ski essentially was the men’s version in a shorter length, softer flex, and different colorway. The technology is evolving, however, and a number of ski manufacturers now are taking into account more advanced design elements. For 2020-2021, many women’s-specific models have moved the recommended mounting points slightly forward (this better accommodates how an average woman balances on skis compared to an average man), along with a lighter overall weight. Softer flexes still are common, but many brands are now making skis to accommodate hard-charging women (Blizzard's Black Pearl is an excellent example).

Which ski type should you buy? Keep in mind that the primary version of a ski isn’t a “men’s” version but instead unisex in nature. When a women’s-specific version is available, we’ve included a link to that option as well. The choice comes down to personal preference, and most importantly, the quality and characteristics of each model. Some women use unisex skis, some favor women’s-specific models, and many serious skiers have a quiver that includes both. We recommend getting whichever ski fits and feels best.

All-mountain skis (carrying women's Volkl Blaze 106)
Testing the women's Volkl Blaze 106

Choosing the Right Ski Length

Picking skis used to a pretty simple process, and could be done simply by knowing your height (the center of the forehead was a common match for a ski). Those days are long gone, replaced by more of a scientific process. Now, ski manufacturers are basing their recommendations on height and weight. This allows you to maximize the ski’s potential with proper amounts of flex and power transfer. Other considerations are skiing style: shorter skis are easier to handle for beginners and turning faster, while longer skis float better and are more stable at high speed. In the end, the right skis might only come to your chin or they may reach the top of your head, so all length should do is give you a good ballpark. We’ve found the sizing chart on Evo to be helpful as baseline information.

All-mountain skis (Volkl M5 Mantra)
Choosing the right ski length is crucial for maximizing performance

All-Mountain Mogul Skis

For skiers that plan to spend some of their time in the bumps, there are a few key design characteristics to look for. The first is a fairly soft and light shovel, which will help absorb some of the impacts and limit the harshness of an overly stiff design. In addition, a medium to slim waist width and shorter turn radius will make it easier to pop between turns, and a firmer tail provides both power and stability. For sizing, it’s best to avoid going too long, and those just starting out will want to err on the shorter side to maximize control. Some of our favorite mogul-friendly ski collections include Blizzard’s Rustler and Salomon’s QST.


Finding the Right Ski Boots and Bindings

Of utmost importance in choosing a ski setup is to realize how interconnected each piece is. Boot, binding, and skis need to be all working in concert to maximize the performance potential of your gear as well as to maximize your enjoyment. Skimping on one will impact the performance of everything else. As an example, if you have a stiff, performance-oriented boot, you’re going to waste its abilities with a slow and cumbersome entry-level ski and binding. Alternatively, if you have a beginner, flexible boot with an advanced ski and binding set, you won’t be able to transfer enough power to really carve your way down the slopes. To help guarantee you end up with a proper match, our ski binding and downhill boot recommendations breakdown the categories in a similar fashion as all-mountain skis: tailoring picks to ski conditions and ability level.

All-mountain skis (boots and bindings)
It's important to have skis, boots, and bindings that complement each other

Ordering Skis Online

It goes without saying that purchasing a pair of skis is a significant investment and one that requires a good deal of research. Ideally you’ll have a chance to get your hands on the skis before taking the plunge, but that isn’t a reality for everyone and ordering them online is a pretty seamless process these days. Most major retailers offer free and surprisingly fast shipping, which makes it a very attractive option.

Once you get your skis, you’ll need to get your bindings mounted. Just about any ski shop will do the work for you, with the average cost ranging from about $40 to $70. Many of REI’s 165 stores have a ski shop and they offer a good discount on the mounting service. Prices vary by store, but we checked with the flagship in Seattle and the cost is $25 for an alpine mounting. The price goes go up to $50 if you didn’t purchase the skis, boots, or bindings from them (all you need to do is buy one of the three to get the discount). Evo and Backcountry offer mounting services at their stores, but that’s limited to Salt Lake City (Backcountry), and Seattle, Denver, Portland, and Whistler (Evo). 
Back to Our Top All-Mountain Ski Picks  Back to Our All-Mountain Ski Comparison Table

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