RAVE’s pick for best all mountain ski is the Völkl M5 Mantra.
One of the ski industry’s most well-respected models, M5 Mantra skis, have Titanal frame construction and rocker in the tips and tails. The perfect combination for an all mountain freeride ski. But, of course, this model isn’t the only note-worthy all mountain ski. Check out the other top-ranked skis in our ranking below.
When we were kids, we loved snow days. This doesn’t have to change when we’re grown ups. Waking up to a blizzard simply means a chance to bail on work, pull out the all mountains skis, and go carve-up some powder.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about all mountain skis. Beginning with, what are all mountain skis as opposed to regular skis? What are groomer skis and what are all-rounders? And what’s the difference between camber and rocker? — and by rocker, we don’t mean Sammy Hagar, or that thing your grandma sits in.
All this and more is coming up in our ranking of the 10 best all mountain skis. So keep reading, because the slopes are calling. Will you be ready?
The All Mountain Skis We RAVE About
What Are All Mountain Skis?
All mountain skis are really nothing more than skis versatile and adept enough to handle whatever you encounter on the mountain. But you know what sounds cooler than that? Calling your all mountain skis “a one-ski quiver.”
There aren’t a lot of hard and fast rules about what makes skis all mountain skis. On the narrow end, think on-trail groomer skis, on the wide end, think skis that can handle back bowls and powder.
All mountain skis are usually 85mm to 105mm underfoot. They’re best on the front side of the mountain, and meant to help you ski in bounds — except, of course, when you don’t want to.
It’s also important to understand what all mountain skis aren’t.
- All mountain skis aren’t meant for deep powder or the backcountry.
- They’re usually too heavy for uphill travel, though these days they’re getting lighter as construction materials improve.
In summary, all mountain skis are your go-to skis for a wide variety of skiing conditions. But that doesn’t make them a one-size fits all solution. When choosing a pair of all mountain skis, keep in mind your ability level, your local snow conditions, and your personal skiing style.
But most of all, when choosing all mountain skis you need to understand ski waist width.
What is Ski Waist Width?
Ski waist width measures a ski’s width at its middle, “waist,” or narrowest point.
- A narrow waist width means your skis will be quicker edge to edge during turns.
- Wider waist widths means more surface area, providing better flotation in powder and choppy snow.
Live in an area like Colorado or Utah, where the dry and powdery stuff falls in large amounts?
If that’s you, you’ll want “powder sleds,” or skis with a waist width of 100mm or more. All mountain skis don’t really work in these conditions, and you’ll be best served with a few skis to choose from, whether you’re skiing in the backcountry, or sticking with lift-assist skiing.
These days, most skis are wide enough to stay stable and under control in soft snow or hardpack.
Next, let’s cover groomer skis and all-rounders. Which one’s right for you?
- Groomer skis are between 80mm and 90mm waist width range, and they’re meant to be used on well-groomed powder.
- All-rounders have a wider waist width, somewhere between 90mm and 100mm. All-rounders can handle well-groomed runs as well as off-track powder runs, with a more universal profile, and a light tip/tail rocker, limiting tail flap.
Another way of describing an all-rounder is an all mountain ski, and since all mountain skis are what you’re here for, stick with an all-rounder.
The next thing we’ll cover is your ski profile: camber, rocker, or mixed camber/rocker. What do those terms mean?
What is Rocker and Camber?
- Camber: Camber profile is the design of a traditional groomer — with a half-moon like shape peaking right under your boot, with contact at the tip and tail of the ski, creating superior edgehold on groomed slopes.
Camber is sort of like the O.G. design for an all mountain ski, but lately camber has fallen out of favor for rocker and mixed camber/rocker. If you’re an aggressive skier on well-groomed runs, camber is still your best choice.
- Rocker: With a banana-like look, a rocker profile, also known as reverse-camber ski, means the tips of the skis are raised at either end. While full rocker has risen in popularity in the all mountain market, it’s still best for off-trail skiing in deep powder.
- Mixed Camber/Rocker: Mixed camber/rocker design provides the best of both worlds: improved edge control, while still being able to handle the deep stuff. If you like to cover the whole mountain, it’s the best option for you.
Best Turning Radius For All Mountain Skis
Choosing the best turning radius, sometimes called side cut radius, depends a lot on how you like to ski, as well as the kind of powder that tends to fall where you like to ski.
Here’s what you need to know:
- If you like to slalom. look for a turn radius less than 16 meters.
- All-around skier? Stick to 16-20 meters.
- And if sweeping turns in powder is your style, you’ll want 20+ meters in turning radius.
Keep in mind, the longer the ski, the shorter the turn radius. Shorter skis will turn sharper, but you’ll lose something in top-end speed and flotation.
There’s a lot to know about skis. What we’ve covered so far is just a start, but for now, let’s move on the 10 best all mountain skis.
When researching this ranking of the 10 best all mountain skis, RAVE Reviews consulted avid skiers, ski industry professionals, as well as the opinions and research of similar, up-to-date rankings from all across the internet. We also carefully examined the manufacturer’s specifications to bring you an accurate picture of what to expect from each pair of skis.
When looking at each ski we kept at eye on the following:
- Construction style
We also kept in mind cost, manufacturer, the best snow conditions for the skis, edgegrip, and more.
With this criteria in mind, we’re proud to stand by our ranking. So keep reading, because there’s fresh powder just waiting for you.
The Best All Mountain Skis
Volkl M5 Mantra
First place in our ranking of the 10 best all mountain skis goes to Völkl M5 Mantra. The Mantra has long been the standard bearer for an all mountain freeride ski, and a good choice for advanced and expert level skiers.
What we liked most about the skis is how precise they are on-trail, as well as their capability off-piste. The shape of the ski is also very versatile, with a 96 millimeter waist width, making these kind of a fat ski, wide enough to be a carving ski, and narrow enough to be a powder ski. This kind of versatility is just what you want in your one-ski quiver.
In addition, the titans frame construction means the metal over the edges of the skis create a precise feel with strong edge grip. Underfoot, the camber can handle any sort of firm snow conditions, and the lack of two full sheets of metal means these skis are also adept in soft snow..
The last thing we want to be sure to mention about Völkl Mantra is the rocker in the tips and tails, helping the ski float up and over new snow, while the stout construction and wooden core mean the skis can plow through crud and chop with ease.
- Wood core
- Titans frame construction
- Rocker in the tips and tails
- Not good for beginners
The next pair of skis we want to tell you about are the Rossignol Experience 88 Ti, 2nd in our ranking of the 10 best all mountain skis. With race-developed LCT combined with Air Tip VAS, these skis have rock-solid power, stability and control in any condition, as well as high-performance carving, and a freeride-inspired playfulness.
With an all-terrain rocker, minicap sidewall construction, and a core made from HD Core Ti, these skis also offer a tool-free locking lever and tool-free adjustability, as well as effortless locking levers, and quick toe and heel positioning.
We also want to point out the metal laminate strip down the middle of the ski. This strip creates strength, but also more pop and quicker turns. In addition, the skis are stiff enough for advanced level skiers, and the rockered tip helps handle crud, as well as a light powder day.
- Race-developed LCT
- Air Tip VAS
- HD Core Ti
- 88-millimeter waist
- Less versatile in soft snow
Designed for a fun and playful skiing experience, the Blizzard Rustler 11 is up next in our ranking of the 10 best all mountain skis, with a sandwich compound, sidewall construction, and an ISO, paulownia, balsa, poplar, and beech wood core.
Overall, these skis use significantly less metal and a lighter core, with partial metal laminate running the full width of the ski underfoot, but tapering toward the tip and tail. With a relatively small turn radius, The Rustler 11 are responsive, with a tip and tail rocker profile and a light swing weight creating a super-maneuverable feel. Whether that’s on light terrain, or when you’re looking to open it up and ski fast through choppy terrain.
Blizzard Rustler 11 is definitely a freeride all mountain ski designed for soft and deep snow — best suited for skiers looking for some adventure. If that isn’t how you like to ski, or those aren’t the conditions you ski like to in, they might not be right for you.
- Less metal, light core
- Small turn radius
- Mean for soft/deep snow
- Best for adventurous skiers
Kastle FX 95
We now turn to the Kastle FX 95, our pick for the best skis for expert skiers. The skis have a silver fir and beech wood core, fiberglass and 2 Titanal Layers, an elliptical radius, and low camber. The silver fir and beech wood core make the skis exceptionally durable, crushing on a variety of terrain and in all sorts of snow conditions, including ice.
The dual sheets of Titanal provide exceptional edge grip and power, and the 95mm waist width is ideal for an all mountain ski, a width underfoot perfect for ripping the glades, fresh pow, and bumps — while never losing the ability to shred on trail. And the Hollowtech tip reduces tip weight, providing awesome control and precision turns.
These skis aren’t cheap, however, and they’ll be too much for a beginner. If you’re an expert, however, head straight for the Kastle FX 95.
- Hollowtech tip
- 95mm waist
- Silver fir and beech wood core
- Experts only
- Ok in soft snow, better in deep
Salomon QST 99
Next up are the Salomon QST 99 skis, also our pick for best all mountain ski for a beginner or intermediate skier. Recently redesigned, these skis are now lighter, stiffer, and more maneuverable than previous models.
At approximately 100 millimeters underfoot, QST 99s can be either powder skis, or all mountain skis, meaning their very well-rounded — not too wide for moguls, but wide enough to float through fresh snow, and maneuverable enough for plenty of swiveling, with a wider shovel and easier turn initiation.
In addition, the tip and tail rocker keep you afloat through crud and chop, and the longer taper shape easily carves through fresh powder. The 19.4-meter turn radius makes carving and smearing easy and fun, and the wood core is made from poplar. The skis also feature a cork damplifier and Ti power platform.
What we didn’t like is that while these skis are best in soft snow, and that they don’t handle variable conditions as well as other skis in this ranking.
- Narrow enough for moguls
- Tip and tail rocker
- Poplar wood core
- Not good in variable conditions
- Damp at low-medium speeds
- Lacks some playfulness
Atomic Vantage 97 ti
Up next in our ranking is the Atomic Vantage 91 Ti. What’s unique about these skis is the Prolite construction, revolutionary light construction with added reinforcements.
There are cut-outs in the center of the ski, next to the shovel and tail, part of the Prolite construction. This lowers the swingweight, while also increasing maneuverability
So these skis, with an all mountain rocker design, carry less weight, with even more precision. There’s also the Titanium Tank Mesh layer providing optimum strength and stiffness while the Energy Backbone is there for extra reinforcement.
Overall, Atomic Vantage 97 Ti is a strong ski, suited for downhill performance, scoring high in stability and edge hold, but it does have big turns, and the stiff ski is best suited for high-performance skiing.
- Titanium Tank Mesh
- Energy Backbone
- Prolite construction
- Big turns
- Best for high-performance
Elan Ripstick Black Edition
Fifth in our ranking is the Elan Ripstick Black Edition, blending, power, precision, and nimbleness. This power comes primarily from the wood core and the carbon tubelite technology.
Something unique to these skis is that there are vapor inserts in the tips and tails — stiffening while lightening and reducing chattiness on harder snow conditions.
We also love the Amphibio rocker profile. In this case, there’s camber on the inside edges, and rockers on the outside edge, making the skis precise downhill and playful on the uphill ski.
But more than anything, the carbon tubes running along the edges of the ski make the ski both more powerful and precise, with a quick transfer of energy coming from the stiffer material over the edges of the ski.
- Amphibio rocker profile
- Carbon tubelite technology
- Vapor inserts tip and tail
- Not cheap
- Expert and advanced skiers only
- Medium turn radius
Nordica Enforcer 100
8th place in our ranking, we present the Nordica Enforcer 100. What sets this pair of skis apart is their ability to float like a rocker, without losing any of the stability and power of traditional camber.
The wood core has Titanium laminate on the top and the bottom, improving grip and stability. This reinforcement also adds strength and smooths out any harshness from rough terrain or heavy landings.
In addition, the All Mountain CamRock profile puts a lifted early rise rocker in the nose and tail of the ski. The early rise helps the ski turn faster on hardpack by bringing the contact points closer to you for better control.
What concerned us about the ski were reports that it was a bit sketchy on ice, with some weakness in flotation.
- Titanium reinforced core
- CamRock profile
- Early rise rocker in nose/tail
- Sketchy on ice
- Weak in flotation
- Advanced to expert skiers only
Pinnacle 105 Skis
The next skis in our ranking are the K2 Pinnacle 105 skis, a great option for any skiers seeking versatility in powder. With a wood core, fiberglass braid, and Titanium layer, the skis are the perfect blend of stiffness and light weight.
But the Pinnacle 105 skis are also a great all mountain freeride ski, particularly suited for fresh and soft snow. With a long and low tip rocker these skis stay on top of the snow at any depth, and when they’re on their edge, the skis come right around, with a great turn radius that’s easy to manipulate, even on firmer snow conditions.
The profile is rocker/camber/rocker with tip and tail taper. Overall, great skis for any skier who likes to carve, smear, and pivot on all types of snow. They are however, a bit weak in hard snow integrity.
- Fiberglass braid
- Long and low tip rocker
- Great turn radius
- Not meant for beginners
- Weak in hard snow integrity
- Bindings sold separately
Head Kore 93
And last in our ranking is the Head Kore 93. These skis feature a unique, Graphene-KOROYD-Carbon Sandwich Cap Construction, with a KARUBA lightweight wood core. In addition, the skis feature topless tech, split sidewalls, and a structured UHM C base.
What’s notable about the skis is how the tip tail rocker profile puts early rise in the front and back of the ski improve agility and soft snow flotation. We also want to point out how the carbon sandwich cap construction puts different materials in different areas of the ski for fine-tuned performance, and the KARUBA lightweight wood core reduces weight without losing any response or durability.
The underfoot camber and Carbon Sandwich Cap Construction also helps you find grip on hardpack, while 93 millimeter waist and rockered tip and tail give you exceptional flotation. However, some skiers do find the Head Kore 93 not very stable at speed.
- Among lightest skis on market
- UHM C base
- KARUBA lightweight wood core
- Lacks stability at speed
- Not great for beginner or expert
- Bindings sold separate
Still trying to decide which all mountain skis are right for you? Maybe the answers to these frequently-asked-ski-buying questions will help.
How stiff should my skis be?
Ski stiffness is another important consideration when shopping for new skis. More than anything, ski stiffness sets beginning models of skis apart from advanced-level varieties.
Stiff skis stay stable at a high speed, while also maintaining high performance potential. A beginning skier may have difficulty keeping control of stiff skies, however, and stiff skies are also more difficult to turn. Advanced skiers, on the other hand, can become frustrated with the top-end performance of soft skis.
Whether a ski is stiff or not has everything to do with what it’s made out of. Stiff skis are often made from 2 layers of Titanal. While the metal adds weight, it also helps improve stability.
Softer skis have metal laminate along the outer edges. This shifts the focus away from speed, making them a more playful ski. This means softer skis are a better choice for skiing off-piste at a mild speeds.
Furthermore, flex pattern refers to the stiffness of the ski’s tip and tail. Race skis usually have a stiffer tail, meaning more power when exiting a turn, while many skiers prefer a very even flex pattern for versatility in bumps, powder and groomed-snow carving. “Even” flex patterns also bend smoothly into round turns.
Last, if you ski in a lot of tight terrain, with trees and bumps, consider softer skis. For higher confidence at speed, or in challenging snow, choose a stiff shovel or center body.
Last, if you ski in a lot of tight terrain, with trees and bumps, consider softer skis. For higher confidence at speed, or in challenge snow, choose a stiff shovel or center body.
What are the best all mountain skis for women?
Of course, women are capable of carving up powder just as well as men. There are some specific features women should look for in all mountain skis, however, because women do tend to be shorter and weigh less than men, with lower centers of gravity and smaller feet.
But this doesn’t mean all women need a light, short, soft ski. Here’s what women should look for in a new pair of all mountain skis:
Like any skier, women in the market for new skis need to first ask themselves the basic questions:
- What type of terrain do you like to ski?
- What type of terrain would you like to ski?
- What are your turns like? Short ones, long cruisers, smears, or carves?
Women might feel like they need a shorter ski, but that’s not always the case. In addition, light doesn’t always mean better for a female skier. Women shopping for a new pair of all mountain skis should be sure to familiarize themselves with terminology like camber and rocker (both covered earlier in this article), as well as sidecut, or the way a ski is shaped wider in the tip and tail and curved in at the waist, allowing for more edge contact when skiing through a turn. Skis with a long and flat sidecut will make bigger turns.
Most of all, don’t underestimate your skill when shopping for all mountain skis, something women still have a tendency to do.
What’s the best all mountain ski boot?
Here are some pointers when shopping for new ski boots:
- Boot flex
Boot flex is maybe the most important factor when shopping for new ski boots. Almost all downhill boots are given a flex index number ranging from approximately 60 to 140. The lower the number means the boots are softer with more give, and they are are more comfortable — usually the best choice for a beginner. As your skills advance, you’ll want a higher flex index number.
The size of a ski boot is measured in “Mondo.” It’s tough to get a good fit online, so we recommend buying ski boots at a reputable ski shop, or from a well-respected online dealer that allows returns.
How Mondo works is the size of your foot is measured in centimeters. A 30 centimeter foot has a Mondo size of 30. It’s a little more complicated than that, so again — we recommend leaving this part to a professional.
Last is the width of the boot’s footbed, measured in centimeters. Ski boots come in narrow, average and wide. Getting the last right is important because some side-to-side motion will inevitably happen when you’re headed downhill, and too much will negatively affect performance.
What are the best all mountain skis?
You’re here to buy a new pair of all mountain skis, so we’ll put all the information you need in one spot. After careful consideration and research, here are RAVE’s picks for the best all mountain skis in the following categories: best overall, best for expert skiers, and best all mountain skis for a beginner.
Völkl M5 Mantra is RAVE’s choice for the best overall all mountain ski. The M5 Mantra has long been the benchmark for an all mountain freeride ski. Wide enough to be a carving ski, and narrow enough to be a powder ski, these are one pair of skis that are capable of skiing it all.
RAVE says the best ski for an expert skier is the Kastle FX 95. The skis have a Silver Fir and Beech wood core, these skis can bulldoze through any terrain, with easy turn initiation and flotation on the deep fluff.
And the best all Mountain ski for a beginner goes to the Salomon QST 99, a strong performer in fresh snow, as well as crud and chop. They aren’t too wide for moguls, but wide enough to float through fresh snow with a good amount of maneuverability. Most of all, the QST 99 skis are easy and fun!
Now that you’ve picked out a new pair of all mountain skis you’re almost ready to hit the slopes. Complete your setup with this ski gear:
- Eddie Bauer Women’s All Mountain 2.0 Shell Jacket: Stay warm while you’re on the mountain with this shell jacket from Eddie Bauer.
- Hulislem S1 Sport Polarized Sunglasses: Protect your vision — and look cool – with Hulislem’s FDA-approved polarized sports sunglasses.
- Choad Cheese Snowboard and Ski All Temp Hot Wax: Keep your new skis slick as new with this all temp hot wax from Choad Cheese.
- Self Pro Balaclava Windproof Ski Mask: The cold won’t bother you in this UV protected and windproof ski mask.
- Sukoa Ski & Pole Carrier Straps: Carry your poles with comfort with this adjustable ski carrier holder strap with an ergonomic shoulder pad.