What is the best all-mountain ski?
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What is the best all-mountain ski?

All-mountain skis let you ski almost everywhere on the mountain, both on-piste and a bit of off-piste. All-mountain skis have characteristics of both carving skis and powder skis, which is why they are generally the broadest range of skis available, and the most popular choice of skis for holiday makers.

You have been skiing for a few years now, and have more than a few weeks of skiing under your belt. You have decided it's now to time to invest in your own glorious pair of skis that suit your skiing style perfectly, but don’t even know where to start looking. Hopefully this article will give you some valuable information about what type of skis you are looking for, and what you need to look out for when you are choosing your brand new skis. The skis you learnt on as a beginner were more than likely very basic, ‘easy to learn on’ carving skis.

The next step to becoming a more advanced skier is not necessarily to move onto more advanced carving skis, as all-mountain skis may suit you better if you like to ski on different terrains around the mountain. All-mountain skis are more forgiving, easier to ski on, and better suited for intermediate skiers than carving skis. Part of the reason all-mountain skis are easier to ski on is the width of the skis. All-mountain skis tend to be much wider than carving skis, which makes them easier to balance on, and more stable at faster speeds.

Top all-mountain skis 2021

Head Kore 93

From all the skis I have tried, of which there are many – fat skis, carving ski, all-mountain skis... the Head Kore range of skis – that includes Head Kore 93, Head Kore 99, Head Kore 105 are the skis that have impressive me overall, across all the widths available. Often when a series of skis is brought out across a number of different widths, such as 93mm, 99mm, 105mm as in this case, there is often something not quite optimised about the ski for one of the sizes – more on this later. This is certainly not what I found with the Head Kore series. Each of the skis serves its purpose perfectly at the width it is made in. Head Kore 93 genuinely feels like a proper ALL-mountain ski that you can rely on for carving on piste, but also gives you a bit of float off-piste as long as the snow isn't too deep! Each of the skis in the Head Kore range progressively getting wider become gradually less suited to carving and ore suited to skiing off-piste. Having said this, it is remarkable how good a carve the Head Kore 105 offers even at that width. This is testimony to how well designed these skis are, that they are so versatile. These skis are flexible enough at this width to allow intermediate skiers to enjoy themselves on them as well, as they are forgiving and a little softer to ski on that some of the other skis reviewed in this article.

Read the article Head Kore 93 full review to find out more information about these skis, and if they are the skis that suit you.

Kastle FX96 HP

Kastle are well known for making high-quality skis, specifically in the carving and al-mountain bracket of skiing. Although Kastle have been around for almost 100 years, they are not as much of a household name as other brands who have been around for less. This is mostly because the skis are such expensive, high-performance skis and therefore are not sold by all shops or even rented out by many rental shops in ski resorts, because there isn't a huge market for them. If you are just starting out skiing, theres a good chance you wont have heard of this brand. Kastle is very much targeted at advanced to expert skiers, and their skis certainly reflect that. Looking for skis that carve effortlessly along groomed runs? Looking for skis that you can take through the deep snow at the side of the pistes, and maybe even venture through the trees on? Looking for skis that hold firm no matter how much pressure you build upon them through each turn you take? Kastle FX96 HP may well be the skis you are looking for.

The thin metal layer normally found in high performance carving skis is replaced in the Kastle FX96 HP by a triple-layer wood core that’s wrapped in fiberglass and carbon. This still creates a solid ski that can hold pressure in the carve, while making the ski lighter and a little more playful than if you had some titanium in your ski when will take away a lot of the flexibility of the ski. What this does for the Kastle FX96 HP is that it makes it into a more balanced ski that can perform well in the deep powders as well as on piste. The camber design of this ski lends itself more to an off-piste ski than a carving ski, as does the fact that the layer of metal is missing in the FX96 HP, so if you are looking for a Kastle ski more geared towards carving than off-piste skiing, I would recommend giving the one of the Kastle MX series of skis a try, such as the MX84 or the MX99, which offer a little more stiffness and dampness in my opinion.

Read the article Kastle FX96 HP full review to find out more information about these skis, and if they are the skis that suit you.

Rossignol Black Ops Holyshred

The new Rossignol Black Ops Holyshred is Rossignol’s most recent addition to their all-mountain collection of skis. This ski is very much pitched as a one-ski quiver, designed to be skied and enjoyed all over the mountain. Where the Black Ops 98 ended its run, the Black Ops Holyshred took the reins. Made with a wooden core through the ski, metal plate directly underfoot and soft tail and tip, these skis really do give you the option of skiing anywhere on the resort.

There is no denying these skis are a lot of fun to ski on. The twin tips give you the playfulness and ‘pop’ in deep snow, while the more solid and stiff centre of the ski gives you the ability to charge and carve down the mountain. The Black Ops Holyshred’s versatility gives you a sense of adventure due to their multifunctional ability. If you have the opportunity, taking these skis through the winding trees is another experience entirely!

With the huge advantages of these skis comes some disadvantages as well. The softness of the tip and tail of these skis means there is a little less camber in the ski to allow you to carve down the pistes, and is a bit more difficult to hold an edge. Considering it is an all-mountain ski though, this is to be expected, and sacrifices must be made.

Rossignol Experience 88Ti

The Rossignol Experience 88Ti is a fantastic ski if it is used correctly and in the correct conditions. The Rossignol Experience range of skis has been around for a very long time, and has always been one of the ‘go to’ skis in the 80mm width bracket and below for carving. What the Rossignol Experience 88Ti offers is that same stiffness and incredible carving ability of a ski due to the titanium metal, but having that extra width of 88mm compared with the normal 80mm or 76mm. This offers much better float and lift during your turns when skiing off-piste.

You may note that not many all-mountain or powder skis are designed with titanium throughout the ski, and you would be right. This is to give powder skis and some all-mountain skis more playfulness and ‘bounce’ in the deep snow. This isn't something you will necessarily get from the Rossignol Experience 88Ti because it is that bit stiffer, however that does not in any way mean this isnt a fun ski to take off-piste. If you plan to ski off-piste with the Rossignol Experience 88Ti, you will need to make sure you are experienced enough to be able to ski aggressively and at a decent speed down the mountain. This is what these skis are geared towards and will not be very forgiving or enjoyable if used by a less experienced skier.

Nordica Enforcer 100

The Nordica Enforcer 100 is a ski that has been around for a while now, and for good reason. Compared to other all-mountain skis with a 100mm waist, you will be surprised by how stiff this ski is. Most skis at this width tend to have some of their rigidity taken out of them to improve their playfulness and flexibility, effectively to help with off-piste skiing. Nordica have decided not to do this for the Nordica Enforcer 100, and this remains one of the stiffest skis I have skied at this width. Ultimately it comes down to preference and what you are looking for in skis, depending on what type of skier you are, but the Nordica Enforcer is a ski that will suit fast skiers whose preference is carving, or charging through deep snow off-piste. The disadvantage with the Nordica Enforcer 100 off-piste is that it is fairly unforgiving, so if you are not skiing with enough power and meaning off-piste, it is unlikely you are going to enjoy yourself as much, or get the full experience.

What I love about the most recent edition of the Nordica Enforcer range is the Nordica’s decision to tweak the skis in each length – 88mm, 100mm & 104mm waist. What this does is that it ensures each different length of ski is suitable for the size of the skier using it. The thickness of the materials used in each of the progressively longer sizes of the ski increases to account for (generally speaking) heavier and larger people skiing on them, and the rocker profile of the ski is also changed slightly.

Read the article Nordica Enforcer 100 full review to find out more information about these skis, and if they are the skis that suit you.

What is an all-mountain ski?

An all-mountain ski is exactly what it sounds like it is! An all-mountain ski is a ski designed to be able to take you anywhere on the mountain, whether through the deep snow in between trees or carving down a beautifully groomed piste. An all-mountain ski will generally have attributes of both carving skis and powders skis to make the ski as versatile as possible. They tend to be somewhere in the range of 85mm – 100mm underfoot and have a little bit more rocker in the tip and tail of the ski than carving skis. All-mountain skis will not perform as good as carving skis do on piste, and will not perform as well as powder skis in the powder, but they offer a bit of everything.

What is the best twin tip all mountain ski?

The best twin tip all-mountain ski is the Rossignol Black Ops Holyshred. This is a relatively new model of ski brought out by Rossignol and is designed to be able to be used all over the mountain. This is very much a one-ski quiver. There are a number of other high quality twin tip mountain skis as well as such as Faction Candide 2.0 or Line Skis Chronic. Twin tip skis are normally multi-functional though you may find yourself buying skis which are more suited to the park than actual skiing, so be careful what you buy!

What length all mountain ski should I buy?

An all-mountain ski should be roughly 10cm below the height of an intermediate-advanced skier, and a little shorter than that still if you are closer to being a beginner skier, as this will make the skis a little easier to control. The longer the ski is the more difficult it will be to control for any skier. If an all-mountain ski has a lot of rocker in the tip or the tail, you will get away with having a slightly longer ski than you might otherwise go for.