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The Best All Mountain Skis – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide for Beginners

Skier siting on ski-lift - lift at sunny day and mountain

Are you getting ready to hit the slopes? Do you have your pair of the best all mountain skis ready? If not, then you have come to the right place. We are going to take a look at what it means to have the best all mountain skis for your next adventure. In today’s article, we are going to explore the different ski options available and help you narrow down the right fit for your skating needs and goals.

Stick around as we break down the bare bones of what makes the best all mountain skies. We will take a look at some important features and factors you should look at as well as help you navigate what makes one option of skis better than others.

Let’s Look at the Best Skis

From Great Britain to Ghana, Aspen to the Alps, Chamonix to Coronet Peak and throughout the rest of the world, there is a diverse group of people who all unify around one common love; the mountain.  Unlike the masses, snow lovers rush toward the eye of the blizzard, in search of thrill down the hill that is as magical as it is beautiful. A collection of slopes that boast fresh tracks, great friends, and adrenalin waiting to be unleashed are only a few of the most wonderful things that the mountain has to offer. Indeed, skiing is what allows millions across the globe to unleash their worries into the wind as they find peace and comfort on the top of the mountain.

Even with all this magic, there is a burden that about between 80-90%  Of skiers don’t realize exists. This burden stays lurking in the shadows and finds the right time to reveal itself. Sometimes it’s a lost glove, other times a broken ski pole. But it presentation of choice is in the form of an accident. Every year, thousands of skiers fall victim to this avoidable burden; not having the right gear.

Not having the right gear starts well before you even set foot in the mountain. In fact, it often takes hold when you set foot into a ski store. For many, this burden is rooted in the fact that many new skiers are somewhat limit their experience. This lack of experience inevitably leads them to neglect to pick the best of gear for their adventure. a single issue with a piece of equipment can lead to disastrous effects that can devastate a skiers future on the slopes. Although the best apparatus won’t transfigure a skiing style from snowplow to Ligety carves, it will maximize your enjoyment and safety. That’s where we come in.

What we, at Winter Badass, are trying to do, is match you to your the best all mountain skis. We all feel a duty to share our expert’s knowledge in order to better your personal skiing experience. In order to do this, we have collated the knowledge of our best and brightest, from those with more than two decades on snow, to elite-level athletes who once skied under their nation’s flag. With this accumulation of knowledge, it is our mission to match you with the best all mountain skis for you to take on the slopes. Even if you have no clue how to approach finding the best all mountain skis, we have got that covered for you as well. As you read on, you will find our top picks of the best all mountain skis. We will dive into the specifics of what makes them the best all mountain skis so that you can see exactly how they could fit in with your ski gear.

We are here to help you fall in love with skiing. With that being said, let’s dive into our ultimate buyer’s guide to best all mountain skis.

jumping skier at mountain winter snow fresh suny day

Why buy All Mountain Skis?

Investing in a pair of skis is one of the best decisions that you will ever make. By buying your own skis there are certain perks that you are sure to enjoy. Here are some of the top reasons you should invest in a pair of the best all mountain skis.

You get freedom

There is a certain level of Freedom you will get to enjoy when you own your own pair of skis. Owning your own pair of the best all mountain skis lets you load up your gear and go out anytime you want. You do not have to fumble around with finding a rental company that will rent you a pair of skis for the day. In fact, there are plenty of ski resorts who do not offer ski rental services. Or if they do, there are some resorts and companies who will only offer a limited selection. The liberty of going out and asking when you want wherever you want is a luxury that only owners of the best all-mountain skis get to experience.

You will save money in the long run

If you are an avid skier, then you will save tons of money on the long road because you will never have to waste money on renting skis. Renting skis can be a way to remedy the need for skis, but it can also be a super huge headache. Often times, when you are renting out skis, you are paying for more than just the ski rental. You are paying additional fees that ensured your skis against damage and protect the company against any injury that may come to you. If you ski often and are regularly renting out skis, then these small payments will add up over time. At the end of the season, you may end up spending more money on ski rentals then if you had just bought a pair of the best all-mountain skis yourself.

Safety

When it comes to safety, you cannot beat owning your own pair of skis vs renting. When you own your own skates you know exactly when and how your skis have been used. As we established earlier, when you rent skis, you run the risk of renting a pair of skis that do not meet your heads.  When you go out onto the mountain with gear that is not suited to your knees, then you run the risk of possible injury. Not only that, but rental skies get used hundreds of times. Each time they are used, the integrity of the skies gets compromised. Overall, owning your own best all mountain skis is just easier over the long run. Buying a pair of the best all mountain skis can be a costly purchase, but if you find the right pair, then it’s a purchase that is well worth making.

They are tailored to your needs

One of the best things about shopping for the best all-mountain skis is the fact that you get to shop for a pair that is specific to your needs. Just like with any type of gear you wear to the mountain, you want to be using skis that were designed specifically for you. While they do not have to be customized, they do have to be an appropriate fit for you as a skier. Things you want to consider include your skill level, weight, height, and overall comfort. While it is not impossible to find skis that are your perfect fit with rental companies, it is a whole lot easier to find the best all mountain skis that were designed for you if you shop for them yourself.

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Gender – Skis for Men and Women

Despite the egalitarian approach we, as a society, take towards gender. In skiing, biology cannot be denied. Ski companies increasingly design models that are specifically targeted to one gender. The justification behind this division is due to the fact that the sexes differ physiologically. Even when it comes to competitive skiers, males and females just need different types of gear. Now obviously, these differences go beyond just the color of the ski, but they deal with the actual features and support the skis provide. Generally, the male body will be stronger and heavier, thus requiring a sturdier ski to withstand the weight and power. For the most part, females do not need this additional support.

This is not always the case, however. There are many female skiers who could compete in male events – and win. Skiers such as Linsey Vonn and Dara Howell, as well as others, can outperform the gents in their respective events.

However, we aren’t all Olympic gold medallist and this is why ski companies have branched into female-specific skis. There are some fundamental differences between the skis that are designed specifically for a gender. As examples, we will use two of Winter Badass’ favorites, Rossignol’s Soul 7 and Nordica’s Santa Ana, to illustrate the differences. Take a look at the review of these two best all mountain skis to see how they differ from one another.

Rossignol Soul 7 HD Skies

 


 

The Rossignol Soul 7 HD Skies are easily one of the best all mountain skis for men. The construction of these skates is specifically designed for male riders. Free riders who enjoy a range of trails will especially enjoy the Rossignol Soul 7 HD Skies. They offer riders the ultimate experience as they were designed to be super lightweight and perfect for any type of terrain.

When it comes to this specific, you will find that these skis come with a sidecut of 136/106/126. The construction of these skis is a durable carbon alloy matrix. This construction allows riders to have a significant reduction in vibration that is caused when you are riding at a high speed. Also, the radius comes in at 18m at 180cm. What allows these skis to be super lightweight is the Air Tip 2.0 technology construction. This technology reduces the weight of the skis and allows skiers to have an easier time initiating a turn. Lastly, you will notice the blatant disparity between these skis and traditional female skis is the length of the skis. The men’s Rossignol Soul 7 can be bought in sizes up to 188cm. Female counterpart skis will really only go up to 178 cms. Overall, if you are looking for a pair of the best all mountain skis for men, then a pair that you should take a close look at is the Rossignol Soul 7 HD Skies. You will not be disappointed.

Nordica’s Santa Ana Female Skis

 


If you are looking for one of the best all mountain skis for females, then one of the best all mountain skis that you may want to start with is the Nordica’s Santa Ana female skis. These skis are a favorite for so many riders. With all that they have to offer it is no surprise why.

These skis have been one of the most popular best all mountain skis for females in the 2018 ski season. If this model seems familiar to you avid skiers it is because it is the younger sister of the full 100 mm Santa Ana skis. The difference is that these skis offer a narrower construction. This narrow design allows you to have ample control when you are on the slope.

Some neat features of this ski include the svelte waist that allows you to have optimal precision when you are transitioning from edge to edge. There is also a gradual tip rocker and a durable camber that allows your skis to seemingly float over the snow. This translates into an experience that requires little effort when you are gliding along on the mountain.

Why Are There Gender Specific Skis?

Aside from the fact that males and females are built differently, manufacturers have a general overall say about how they construct and market their skis. Ski manufacturers believe that females will be lighter and smaller in stature. As we will go on to discuss in the ski length section, the height and weight of a skier are paramount in deciding the correct length of new skis.

Furthermore, female-specific skis are constructed for skiers who require less strength in a ski. The stiffness (the physical force required to turn a ski), also differs. Using our two previous examples, the Nordica Sana Anas require considerably less physical effort to turn than the Soul 7s. By doing this, those who require a ski that is less physically demanding, are able to ride around the mountain without getting that quickly.

If you were to ignore the stiffness (flex) and length of a ski, then you will find that gender-specific models are fairly similar in all other aspects. Of course, the only other difference that you are likely to see is the overall look of the skis. Unsurprisingly female skies are designed to target the attention of girls by bright colors and “pretty” designs. Male skis will typically have that “rough” dark look. Female-specific skis are orthodoxly colored with light colors, such as pink or baby blue. Whereas male skis are darker and usually striking in their aesthetic design.

At the end of the day, there is no formal restrictions when it comes to the overall design of female and male skis. In fact, while there are gender specific skies, it does not mean that riders will stick to those standards. There are many female skiers who actually prefer to ski on male skis. The opposite is not always the case though. You will not find many males who will ski on a female ski. The overall objective that skiers should take away is that if a buyer only examines the gender-specific models specified to their gender, they are closing-out hundreds of alternative models from their deliberations. When this happens, you may be closing yourself off to finding the best all mountain skis.

After all, humanity is still intellectually struggling to define gender, with many suggesting that the male/female model is unworkable. To put it as plainly as possible, if the world’s scientific community can’t figure out the gender, what chance have Rossignol got? That’s one of the main reasons why you should consider gender only so much when you are shopping around for the best all mountain skis.

With that being said, it is still important to keep gender-specific rules in mind when searching for your new skis. Knowing the gender designation of skis will hint at the power required to ski the selected model, however, please do not take this measure to be absolute.

TOP 5 Best All mountain Skis For Men

If you want to take a look at our pick of the best all mountain skis that were designed for men, then spend some time browsing this handy chart. Below you will find our top five selections of the best all mountain skis for men.

TOP 5 Best All mountain Skis For Women

Ladies, we haven’t forgotten about you. Take a look out our selection of the best all mountain skis for ladies. These are the hottest picks of this ski season.

Skiing ability and Skiing Experience

Whether you’re still toughing it out on the learners-slope or are an international athlete, we have your perfect ski. The importance of a skier’s ability, with respect to choosing the correct ski, cannot be understated. After all, the only way to get better on the slopes is to start by getting the right gear and making sure it matches your ability level. The key component in this is understanding that what works for one person will not work for. Your progression on the slopes all depends on where you start experience wisely and then being able to build up that experience. For example, if Marcel Hircher, World champion, were to swap his unique race skis for a pair suited to a beginner – unless he were to drastically adapt his skiing style – he would end up eating snow and possibly even risking a high level injury.

This is because as a skier progresses, their ability to bend a ski when turning changes. Simply put, you lose the ability if you do not adapt your skis to fit your needs. In order to achieve stability, speed and a multitude of other skiing targets is increased. This is why the skis of a World Cup racer is far harder to turn, or stiffer, than that of a beginner.

For beginners and those who cannot safely negotiate their way down a red-graded (black diamond) run, there is only one type of ski that will be suited to their skiing style. This type is one that is very light and easy to turn. The ski should also be durable enough that it withstands the impacts you give it when you fall the first several times. You will also want to get your hands on a pair of skis that are cheap and will allow advancement to the next level of expertise. If you are a beginner, you do not want to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of skis that you will grow out of as your skills develop.

As a skier’s skill-set increases, so do their choice of skis. To use another real-life example, an intermediate skier may like skiing on groomed pistes, but rather enjoys playing off-trail every now and then. The ski that our expert team would recommend for this person would have to be an all mountain ski, with a rocker profile (which we will find out about later) with a wide sidecut (the width of a ski) underfoot. If this is the case, then one of the best all mountains skis that we recommend is the K2 Annex 98.

K2 Annex 98 Skis for Men


The K2 Annex 98 Skis for Men is one of the best all mountain skis for skiers looking to do a little more adventure. Intermediate skiers will appreciate that these skis will allow you to explore the uncharted slopes. This is thanks to the durable construction of metal laminate. The core of the ski is aspen, paulownia, and maple that only enhances the durability. The radius of this ski is 21 at 177 while the ski itself measures out to 131/98/119.

While the construction of these skis is respectable, there are certain aspects that make it only applicable to intermediate skiers. For example, due to the width (sidecut) and stiffness (how hard the ski is to turn) of the K2s, if a beginner where to ski them, there could be some serious injuries. This is why it is crucial that you ensure that the ski you are buying is suitable for your range of skills.

Even with this common sense advice, there will always be those skeptics who ask; “Why not just buy the expert ski when you are a beginner and save money on the upgrades?”

The answer is simple. Skis that are designed for advanced skiers are built to be worked. If a beginner were to try and turn a pair of Fischer RC4s, then their lack of ability, power, and control will likely cause them an injury. And with any injury on the mountain, the result is an equally high pile of medical bills. While you may think you are saving money by buying the best, you will actually be spending more.

Speaking of not skiing with expert skis, let’s examine the opposite end and take a look at what the best all mountain skis for beginners are. Here’s a quick review of our pick, the K2 Sideshow RS1 Men’s Beginner Ski.

Rossignol Experience 88 HD Men’s Skis

 


The Rossignol Experience 88 Men’s Skis are one of the best all mountain skis for riders who are just getting started. These bad boys pack a great punch of durability, control, and style. This is thanks in part due to the fact that these skis come from a reputable company that has made a dent in the ski world.

These ski feature lengths that range from 164 to 188. This means that there is a fit for really any type of rider. The ski features a directional shape that allows it to be one of the best all mountain skis. In fact, even though beginners are asked to stay on course, you can easily get in the trees and still have control over your skis.

If you are budget conscious about the price of these skis, there is some news you can smile about. The Rossignol Experience 88 Men’s Skis do a really good job of transitioning from a beginners ski set to an experienced ski set. There is one drawback, however. There is quite a bit of stiffness that might throw some beginners off. All this really means is that if you are a beginning skier, you will have to put in a bit more effort in trying to get a grip of your turns. While this is not totally impossible, it does take some getting used to.

How much do all mountain skis cost?

Finding the best all mountain skis are a fun and exciting task, but once the reality sets in, the cost is inevitably a factor that needs to be considered.  We aren’t all millionaires and skiing isn’t exactly the cheapest sport out there, However, there is some good news. There is a vast range of products offered in the world of ski. With this plethora of choice comes the fact that you will be able to find some skis that will fit your budget nicely.

The price-tag of some will greatly exceed $1,000, while others won’t even break the $250-mark. However, it would be negligent not to mention an old rule in skiing; you get what you pay for – the more money spent, the better the skis received.

Although there are some ski models that are overpriced, Winter Badass takes the matter of helping our readers achieve the ultimate value for money, extremely seriously. We only present our readers with products that we believe to be some of the best in their class, inclusive of the price.

You Get What You Pay For

The harsh reality is the more you spend, the better your skis will perform and the longer they will last. In the long-term, it is monetarily advantageous to spend a little more when buying skis When you invest a lot of money up front, then you are guaranteeing you are getting the best quality possible. Not only that, but you prevent the need to replace your skis in the near future. This ultimately means that you will be spending less money  over time.

When you start shopping for the best all mountain skis, you will need to consider who you are shopping for. Knowing who you are skiing for dictates how much money you will be spending. A good starting budget would be between $600 and $900 for adults, $200 to $300 for children aged up to 10 years old and $500 to $600 for teenagers. If you are shopping for children and teens, you will want to keep in mind that a quality brand does not necessarily mean the best fit. Especially if they are skiers who are just starting out.

Age of the Skier

Firstly, let’s dispel the oldest myth of all, ‘I’m too old to buy skis and do something new’. Skiing is a great physical activity that will be mutually beneficial in a psychological and physiological regard no matter what age you decide to take it on. You do not need to be a high performing athlete to enjoy the sport either. There is a wide range of slopes that were designed to be low impact and enjoyable. Something that is perfect for older skiers.

The same is true for children. Although it is wise to be cautious when buying children skis, as they will outgrow them in time. A pair of skis will ease the stress on parents who would otherwise have to organize a  ski hire

Also, when you purchase a set of skis for a child, you will give that child a sense of responsibility, as well as giving parents some well-earned relief. So besides having an inordinate amount of great fun on their skis, children are able to learn things that they can take throughout the rest of their lives.

Manufacturers have realized the potential of this market and, as such, produce skis that are designed with children in mind. Every major manufacturer produces skis that are tailored for children in both features and price. The ideal pair of skis for a child who is about to take their first escapade on snow would look like the Salomon QST Max Jr Ski  They have the perfect combination of easy skiing features, durability and cost-effectiveness that will fulfill the needs of any kid-skier and their parent/guardian’s wallet.

Salomon QST Max Jr Ski

 

Salomon QST Max Jr Skis w/ Easytrak L7 Bindings Kid's Sz 130cm
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The Salomon QST Max Jr Skis are a great pair of skis because they come from one of the best ski companies in the world. Salomon is known for its durability, dependability, and overall construction. When it comes to the Salomon QST Max Jr Skis, parents have a lot to smile about.

For starters, this pair of skis is perfect for young children who are just starting out. The driving force behind the construction of these skis is to help your child learn how to ski. They were built to give your child optimal control when they are on the slopes.

Some key features you can find include an all terrain rocker. This allows your child to have an easier time turning and carving when they are on the mountain. The ease of control is  also due to the fact that monocoque core makes these skis very lightweight which enhances its maneuverability. Your child will also experience less rigidity due to the easy feel technology.

Although these skis are just a tad bit higher in price, there is something you should consider. The Salomon QST Max Jr Skis come with pre-attached EZY 7 bindings that are perfect for anyone who is just getting started. Lastly, no matter your child’s sizes, these skis come in different lengths so that your child can find the right fit.

Young Skiers Who Race

However, ski companies don’t stop there. Around the world, there are many young skiers who quickly develop and branch into particular disciplines of the sport. One of the most popular disciplines is alpine racing.

The young racer would never be able to handle an adult race ski because they simply do not have the physical strength. This is why companies like Volkl produce junior models based on their adult range. A prime example is their Volkl Mantra Junior Skis.

Volkl Mantra Junior Skis

 

Volkl Jr Mantra Flat Skis (Skis Only) 2018 148
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The Volkl Mantra Junior Skis are one of the best skis for young children who are looking to advance their skills on the mountain. In fact, these skis are the junior version of the Volkl Mantra Skis for men that happen to be one of the best all mountain skies to invest in.

The junior version offers young skiers everything they need to speed down the slopes safely. There is a full rocker profile on the that will allow your child to maneuver through a range of trails, even the uncharted ones. When they do hit the rockier trails, you young one will experience less vibration and even more stability in high speeds thanks to the great construction. The full sensor wood core of the Volkl Mantra Junior Skis also enhances the transfer of energy. This allows your young one to do quick carves and cuts that will allow them to maintain control.

Overall, these are one of the best all mountain skis for your young one who is looking to enhance their skills and ski with the best of them. The cherry on top is that these skis are great for all terrains. They can be used and enjoyed in a variety of snow conditions.  

Skis like the Volkl Mantra Junior Skis are specifically designed for children who are a little older, however, are still not ready to race adult-orientated models. Junior skis are made to require less physical effort on the piste. This allows young racers to work their skis to the best of their ability without feeling overwhelmed.Skier jumping though the air from the cliff in high mountains

Freestyle Skiing

Another popular discipline on the slopes is Freestyle skiing. Freestyle skiing allows you to have full control of your experience down the trail. Also, many consider it to be one of the best forms of skiing. If you are someone who wants to try their hand on freestyle skiing, then you will want to make sure you have the right skis.

The same principle applies to this type of skis. Companies adjust their current ski styles so they have options that lend themselves to freestyle skiers. Such is the case with the Volkl Freestyle Kids Revolt Vmotion Skis. The skis can fulfill the needs of every young talented skier and we will help wherever possible.

Volkl Freestyle Kids Revolt Vmotion Skis

 

Volkl Freestyle Ski Kids Revolt Vmotion 138 2018 Boys
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The Volkl Freestyle Kids Revolt Vmotion Skis are a pair of the best all mountain skis if you are looking for versatility.  Although they are a great beginning pair of skis for young children, they can enable you to try out different styles and trials of skiing.

The shape of these skis and the full rocker design allow this skis to be super versatile on the mountain. They feature a full sensor woodcore that offer optimal stability. They also offer a full rocker profile that lets you have full control when you are turning.

It is never too early to buy your child their very own set of skis. As a birthday, Christmas or one-off gift. Not only are you giving them a present that will entertain for years to come, but it will also provide them with life-lessons that they will need for years, long after they have outgrown their skis. So why wait? After all, you never know where the next Bode Miller will come from, will it be your child?

Types of Skis

Not all skis are made equal. Actually, every ski’s purpose will somewhat differ from their counterparts. Despite the inordinate amount of disciplines and specialties that the skiing community has developed over the centuries, skis can be defined in four basic categories:

  • All mountain skis
  • freestyle skis
  • powder
  • racing

One of the most important things when starting your search for the best all mountain skis is knowing what you are shopping for. For example, many all mountain skis would be perfectly suited to powdery snow conditions. skis such as the Rossignol Soul 7s are prime examples of this. That’s not to say that there aren’t a few defining features behind each of the broad ski types.

All mountain skis are becoming the most widely seen on the mountain and are by far the most diverse sub-category. This is because an all mountain ski can be race, piste or powder orientated, while still performing great in all other areas. However, there are a few traits that the vast majority of skis in this category share.

Primarily, they will generally not be as stiff (hard to turn) as skis that are designed for the racing discipline. Additionally, all mountain skis are generally of medium width, perhaps between 90-100mm underfoot. This is to ensure that it can complete its designated task because ultimately an all mountain ski must be able to carve on the groomers, the basis of this ski type, as well as any other specialties.

Some of the market leaders in the category are Atomic Alibis, K2 Annex 98s and finally, as previously mentioned, Rossignol’s Soul 7 for the gents. While for female skiers Salomon Lumens and Atomic Elysians are generally considered to be of extraordinary quality.

Freestyle skis are the fastest growing section of the ski market in the US and UK. They are designed with one thing in mind; the park. These skis live for rails and rollers. They will almost always be twin-tipped. Simply, this is when the tail (the back of a ski) is raised in a similar manner as the tips (front of a ski) are traditionally raised. This will maximize a ski’s performance when skiing backward, which is referred to as skiing switch.

Freestyle, or park, skis vary from stiff to soft and truly depend on the needs of the skier. Some of the best in this category include Salomon QSTs, Atomic Vantage and Rossignol Scratch Pros.

The differences between park and powder skis are marginal. Powder skis are usually solely substantially wider. This width allows the skis to float better over newly fallen soft snow, called powder. In every other respect, powder skis are often identical to their park counterparts. A few of Winter Badass’ favorite skis to play in powder are Elan Explore, Volkl’s One and Rossignol Soul 7s.

Finally, there is the dying, but elite, category of skis; race skis. Race skis are thin, stiff, and fast if you can work them right. However, be warned, they are notoriously hard to work. Riders will have to put in a lot of effort to control their skis. Racing skis are only ever recommended for those who are in race training or skiers who have expert control on the slopes. They are designed for speed, to achieve this speed the skier on-board needs power. A lot of it!

For the right skier, race skis will totally transform the way they ski, but buyers should proceed with caution. Because race skiing does increase your chance of injury, you want to make sure you are only buying from the best. The market leaders in the world of racing are Fischer Hybrid, Dynastar Omeglass WCs, and Head WC Rebels.

Men with backpack

Length of Your Skis – What Size is Best?

Even armed with the aforementioned basics, there is still the matter of selecting a ski with the correct dimensions for your body. Length is a simple and somewhat overlooked factor but will give us a strong base on which we will build upon.

In the skiing world, there is a rule of thumb when selecting a ski length. It suggests that the tip of a ski when stood vertically, should touch the tip of the skier’s nose – or at least be within 5cm (around 2 inches) of it.

This rule will be satisfactory for the vast majority of buyers, however, things aren’t always that simple. Because people come in infinite shapes and sizes, this one rule cannot possibly satisfy everyone. Luckily, there are other ski length rules you can keep in mind. Here are a few tips for us who are considered to be out-with the physical average.

The first step in determining ski length is considering the weight of the skier. If ignored, the weight of a skier can put them and their equipment at risk. If one is considered to be overweight, more weight and pressure will be going through the skis. With this does not mean your skis will snap or break, it does mean that there will be a level of comfort that you will experience. Also, you will not be able to use the skis in a way that is effective. You will even lose out on some of the key features that the skies provide. The remedy is simple, be sure to search for the best all mountain skis that are a perfect fit for your weight.

When you buy a pair for a skier that is heavier than average, the model purchased should be a little longer. This will better distribute their weight. A better distribution of weight means that the skis will be able to deal with different stresses all while maintaining optimal performance. Not only will this negate the risk of jeopardizing the structural integrity of a ski, but could add to the ski’s longevity.

The same rule applies but in reverse. The lighter someone is, the shorter the ski required.

Skiing style also affects the ideal length of your skis. This is because differing skiing styles place a range of demands on your equipment. For example, if you live for the groomers, carving, and abhor skiing off-trail, a shorter ski will maximize the experience. This is because the weight on the skis is more concentrated and so will the skier’s ability to bend the ski in order to carve.

However, if one dreams of off-piste powder and plans to spend over half of their snow-time on the wrong side of the piste-markers, then a longer ski will maximize flotation over softer snow – that is more common when skiing off-trail. By giving the weight placed on the skis a larger surface area on which to distribute the opportunity for the ski to sink or get caught in the soft-stuff is severely reduced. All this is to say that you can ski fast while being safe.

Another aspect to keep in mind is your ability. Some beginners find learning on slightly shorter skis easier to master. This rule, as with all of our other rules, works in both directions. The result is generally that expert skiers may prefer a slightly longer ski. This doesn’t mean that we are going to return to the days of slalom skis that tower 50cm above the skier’s head. Although a subtle 5-10cms above the average can make a substantial difference, this is usually irrelevant to the ordinary skier, however.

Overall, the importance of selecting the correct length is imperative when buying your perfect all mountain ski. If they are too short, it will result in instability, a lack of control, progression and safety. The same is true in reverse. If a ski is too long it can lead to problems turning, which is dangerous for obvious reasons.

These mistakes are rare and by reading this article, you have avoided a potential near accident.

All Mountain Ski Turning Radius

The turning radius of a ski is an ideal method to identify what style of skiing a model is best suited. The turning radius is determined by the width of the waist, tail, and tip. When these measurements are put together, they create the ideal turning circle.

Although skis vary, the majority have a turning radius between 12 and 22 meters. Varieties that have a shorter radius are best suited to quick, small and tight turns. Whereas those that have, what is considered to be, a large turning radius will be best for sweeping carves.

The radius of the ski is printed on the ski’s tail and will usually read something like ‘R=14m’. However, without perspective these numbers are meaningless. So you need to make sure you understand reading the radius when you are looking for the best all mountain skis.

So What Do They Mean, In The Real World?

Applying the same guidelines listed above, Winter Badass has compiled some more specific guidance.

If as ski’s sidecut is between 11m and 16m, it will be best suited to short carves and slalom turns. Whereas a model with a radius between 16m and 22m is generally best for all mountain performance. Conversely, everything above this level (22m+) would only be orthodoxly found on skis that are solely orientated for powder skiing.

An ideal radius for the best all mountain ski can vary between 11m and 18m, the radius may be even larger on some models.

If you want to find the best pair of all mountain skis, understanding how turning radius effects performance will ensure that the ski you buy, is the ski you want for your skiing style and terrain preference. By interpreting turning radii correctly, it ensures that you will be better able to determine whether a ski’s design will meet your expectations.

The Sidecut of the Skis

The sidecut of a ski, in layman’s terms, is the width of the board. This statistic is usually displayed on the tails of the ski and will be formatted on most models as ‘NUMBER/NUMBER/NUMBER’, for example, ‘110/90/100’. This refers to the width of the ski at the tip, mid-point (waist) and tail, in the respective order in millimeters.

Although these numbers might seem unimportant, they actually can have a big impact on your experience with the skis. The sidecut will tell you how well the ski will perform in varying snow conditions – this is not the only factor, but the most profound in regards to the majority of models.

If a ski is wide, it will mean that there is better weight distribution. Therefore, the weight of a skier is more thinly spread due to the larger dimensional surface area of the bases. Thus, skis that have a larger sidecut perform particularly well in soft snow and powder.

Thinner skis, with a lesser sidecut, have less surface area to distribute the skier’s weight and therefore are more liable to sink when in softer snow conditions. However, thinner skis do have their perks. Almost all of the world’s skis that are designed for speed are orientated around this thin design. As there is less ski, it can be worked more effectively than a model with a greater sidecut. So, if your perfect pair has to be speed-demons that live for bullet-proof ice, the only options are skis with less sidecut.

The three pieces of information that ski companies give the consumer regarding their ski’s sidecut – the three numbers on the tail – are not always useful. Actually, there is only one figure that is universally profound. The sidecut under-foot, or at the waist, is the best method to judge a ski’s habitual conditional preferences. This will always be the figure that is in the middle of the listings.

Sidecut drastically alters a ski’s performance and it is crucial that all buyers searching for their perfect skis are aware of its influence on a model’s performance. Sidecut is what makes skis like Fischer RC4s and Rossignol Soul 7s so drastically different. If the ski widths were to be swapped, perhaps the top powder ski would be the Fischer RC4. However, in the present, they remain lovers of boiler-plate ice, and that’s not set to change anytime soon.

Ski Flex (Stiffness)

Throughout this piece, the term ‘stiffness’ or flex of a ski, has been something that was referenced time and time again. This is because our experts believe that this is where the vast majority of buyers make mistakes. To recap, the flex of a ski impacts how much physical effort is required to make a ski turn. On the hill, this equates to a stiffer ski being far harder to turn than models with lower flexes. Whether you are intermediate or advanced the flex is something that you will need to pay attention to.

There are two types of flex, torsional and longitudinal. The most profound is the longitudinal flex. This is flex between the tip and tail, essentially what drives the ski to need substantial or marginal effort to turn. Torsional stiffness is measured at the tip and will halt the ski twisting from this area, however, is largely unimportant to 99% of skiers.

Your perfect ski will seldom be a model that will be in the upper quartile in regard to ski stiffness. However, despite being the worst enemy for beginners, a stiff ski actually enhances performance for advanced skiers. This is because as the skis require more physical effort to turn, there is more power being put into the turn, therefore the skier travels faster. At an elite-level of the sport, athletes actually accelerate through turns by bending the ski. The likes of which would be impossible on skis without such stiffness. This is one of the reasons why it is so important that riders invest in skis that are right at their level. If they purchase a set of the best advanced skis, then they run the risk of injury because they will be unable to turn.

There is only one subjective and a rather primitive method to measure longitudinal flex. To measure, stand a ski upright, place a hand or knee in the middle of the binding. Take a hand and pull the tip towards your chest. The greater the resistance, the stiffer the ski and harder it will be to turn. For those who are just beginning in the ski world or are less than experts, you will lack the deep experience required to compare different models. Do not despair though, this is why organizations, like our own, exist. We have the knowledge and expertise available, right here, for free! So if you are unsure about the model you are buying, we can help.

Buying a model with the correct flex is influenced by two things; weight and ability. It all boils down to how much weight you are going to be running through your skis. The heavier a skier, the stiffer the ski required. The same is true for the ability. As one’s ski skill-set becomes greater, the ski required to maintain the progression of skills, enjoyment, and stability, will be stiffer.

Get it wrong, you risk your safety, enjoyment, and money. However, with our help through our comprehensive reviews, your the best all mountain skis are just around the corner!

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Ski Profile

Fifteen to twenty years ago this section would have no relevance for buyers, but we live in a brave new world where the profile of skis varies vastly. But what is a ski’s profile?

A ski’s profile, when jargon is removed, is simply the shape of the ski when it is laid, base-down, on a surface – it’s the shape of the wood that the ski is constructed in. There are two terms that will be thrown at buyers, rocker, and camber.

A cambered ski is one of the familiarities for all of us skiers who were on the mountain before 2007. Its design is widely considered to be the traditional ski profile. The way to tell if a ski is a camber is if both the tip and tail are lower than the waist of the ski. A cambered ski will make contact with the snow at all points throughout a turn and will ensure that there is equal pressure on all parts of the ski. Fully-cambered skis are most commonly race or piste skis, as the equal weight distribution means that in soft snow conditions, cambered skis tend to sink.

However, don’t think that is the end of the story. Cambered skis are ideal for those who live to carve on groomers and ski fast. They are better able to handle powerful and strong skiers than alternative designs. Cambered skis are ideal for beginners and advanced skiers. They facilitate the learning process and beginners will rarely be taught off-trail, for advanced skiers, they allow aggressive carving in order to obtain acceleration through the turn. Over 90% of ski models that are designated for the alpine racing market are fully cambered, such as all of our previously mentioned racing examples like Dynastar Omeglass, Fischer RC4s and Atomic Redsters which simply could not fulfill their intended purpose if they were designed with a rocker.

Atomic Redster J4 JR

A classic style ski to opt for is the Atomic Redster J4 JR Skis. These skis feature an active camber profile that makes them look so traditional on the slopes. Coupled with the signature Atomic logo and red and black color scheme, you have a set of skis on your hands that are just too hard to ignore.

Young riders will appreciate the 12.5  radius that gives them optimal control of each turn. Also, intermediate lovers will love the durability and stability that these skis offer thanks to their solid wood core construction. Overall, for a classic camber look on a great pair of intermediate skis, the Atomic Redster J4 Jr set is a great option to go with.

 

Atomic 2018 Redster J4 JR 160cm Skis w/ L7 Bindings
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So what is the rocker?

If you’ve been on a slope in the last 10 years it is almost guaranteed that at least one of the skis you have witnessed feature the rocker construction.

Rocker skis can be differentiated from cambers by their U-like shape. The entire ski, when placed, based-down on a surface will bend upwards in the shape of a ‘U’ with the tip and/or tail being the section of the ski furthest from the ground.

However, with the exception of some powder skis, a pure rocker profile is rare. This is due to the difficulty in carving with these models. As the section of a ski that is in contact with the snow during a turn is decreased, the stability of a model, while on edge, is severely jeopardized. This is why the ski industry produces skis that are composites of the two profiles.

Most skis on the market, including powder skis, are constructed underfoot, in the middle of the ski, with a camber profile. This is to allow for better carving and stability when turning.

The rocker in ski models varies but will either be a tip and/or tail rocker. There are a couple of perks of manufacturing skis with a rocker profile. For starters, rockers do better distributes weight, especially tip-rocker. This is super helpful for softer snow conditions. By raising the tip, it means that there will be a more gradual progression of weight throughout the ski when turning.

Due to this, rocker aids flotation and substantially reduces the chance of the tip becoming bogged down in powder or soft snow. Furthermore, due to the progressive nature of power distribution, turn-initiation is made easier and smoother on rocker skis.

Rocker aids the flotation, turn-initiation and overall ability to play on a model. This is why models such as the Rossignol Soul 7 are what we consider to be the perfect profile. With a 50/50 camber/rocker split – meaning the ski is constructed in equal parts, camber, and rocker. With a tip rocker that is, ever so slightly, more pronounced than the tail rocker. Overall, this means that these skis will float over powder, but carve well on groomers.

The profile of a ski can drastically alter its entire purpose. This is why it is crucial that you isolate what you want from a ski and then make the decision regarding which model is your dream ski. Overall, when you are searching for the best all mountain skis, you want to be sure to keep the profile of that ski in mind.

Aesthetic aspects – What Should Your Skis Look Like?

The ultimate skiing mistake is to buy a pair of skis based purely on the fact that they look pretty. With anything in life, buying it just because it looks aesthetically pleasing is a sure fire way to wasting money on something that will not suit your needs. When it comes to finding the best all mountain skis for your needs, the last factor you should consider is the overall design of the product.

If you have decided which model you want to buy, based on the aforementioned advice and it just so happens that those skis are to your taste; fantastic! However, neglecting technical aspects leads to making the wrong purchase and wasting hundreds of dollars. Don’t judge a ski by its cover, or forever be at risk. Ensure the skis you buy, truly are your perfect skis.

All The Gear, No Idea

It goes without saying, if you have a ski that is difficult to operate, then the only thing you are doing is running the risk of a possible injury. This brings us to our next piece of advice. Don’t be the guy on the mountain that is all gear but no idea. Chances are, if you have been to the slopes, you have seen this skier once or twice. They are the ones who have all the gear; helmets, goggles, jackets, and gloves, but have no clue how to use them. When you begin your search for the best all mountain skis, you will want to do an equal amount of research in finding the right ski gear for yourself. To start your research, a vital piece of information is finding the right ski backpack to carry all your gear in. Click here to learn more about the best ski backpacks of this ski season.

By prematurely purchasing equipment that does not match your skill-set you inhibit your progression on the slopes. Buying professional-level equipment at a lower level is ridiculous as well. There is no sense in buying something that you can not utilize properly. All of us that have to purchase such equipment hate paying large amounts of money for equipment that is uncomfortable and looks stupid. Why spend thousands of dollars on items that will be of little benefit to you or anyone you care about?

Final thoughts on the Best All Mountain Skis

Armed with our comprehensive guide for the best all mountain skis, we can assure you that you are likely to make the right decision when you start your search. If there is only one thing that you take away, let it be this; finding the right set of skis for yourself or a loved one starts with knowing the need. When you realize the need, you will be able to make a better decision.  

Spending hours searching now is crucial to maximizing your enjoyment on the piste. When you do an ample amount of research you will be able to compare all that is out there to help narrow down your selection. Also, buying your skis online means that you have access to limitless information, we make the buying process easy. So why not check out our reviews? After all, your perfect skis are just an article away! Here’s to safe skiing with a pair of the best all mountain skis that were designed specifically for your needs.