All-mountain skis are the go-anywhere weapon of choice for those that love to ski the whole mountain. We pick the 10 best for the 2016-17 season.
The Best All-Mountain Skis of 2016-2017
Late in spring 2016, at the Austrian resort of Kühtai our team of expert ski testers spent a week riding and rating over 100 pairs of skis. Every major brand was represented, in every category, for all abilities. The 100 were painstakingly whittled down, and winners decided for the all mountain category.
HEAD STRONG INSTINCT | £400
BEST FOR Intermediate lighter all-terrain skiers wanting piste power.
Despite the non-traditional composite core, first impressions of Head’s Strong Instinct live up to its name. Stable and powerful, you can turn the volume up quickly and feel secure with these. For lighter weight men, the Instinct is an ideal on-piste, high-octane ski that is happy to take on deeper snow if and when it can. There’s a question mark over the response for larger chaps who might like a heavier ski though. Edge hold on hard-packed snow is solid, with a nice rebound making the Instincts playful and responsive in both short and long radius turns.
The Instincts are not afraid to go fast either, so providing you’re capable and conditions allow, then the only limit will be your ability.
A capable all-mountain ski which will happily take on any type of terrain and descent with confidence.
DYNASTAR POWERTRACK 79 CA XPRESS | £350
BEST FOR All-mountain do-it-all recreational and advanced skiers.
The Powertrack is designed to take skiers from piste to powder (and everything in between) with ease and finesse. it doesn’t disappoint, with a huge ‘sweet spot’ right under the feet, making turning on all kinds of terrain accessible for skiers of all levels.
The shape and dimensions allow easy turning but also excellent edge grip on harder packed snow – they are not classic ‘carvers’ and rather prefer a more pivot style of turn, but this extends their versatility across the mountain, from moguls, to chopped up snow and powder. You still need to do the work, but these skis will help you out more than most.
Recreational to advanced skiers after a great value, do it all, easy, all mountain ski need look no further.
VÖLKL FLAIR 78 | £475
BEST FOR Expert all-mountain ladies who want to blaze the pistes
For ladies who like to ‘launch’ themselves down the mountain, the flair will light their way, whatever speed they fancy ramping things up to.
There’s a powerful feel to the turns that the steel sidewall seems to enhance but despite the aggressive nature of the skis, they are easy to turn at low speeds too, making them suitable for skiers looking to start off with a ski and grow better and more confident with it. As you’d expect from a Völkl, the edge grip on groomed and hard-pack snow is fantastic, and in short turns, the response is super quick. You don’t need to hang around in the long radius turns either, these skis are made to go fast, just hold on tight and let them run.
A powerful, hard-turning, fast ski which can handle slow turns and won’t embarrass you in the powder.
SALOMON X-DRIVE 8.3 | £500
BEST FOR Advanced to expert men set to attack the whole mountain.
We have always liked the X-Drive range and it is still holding up in the all mountain category a couple of years after it first launched.
For an advanced skier who mostly sticks to the groomed runs, likes to carve smooth long radius turns at all speeds but then feels the need to jump into the powder when it’s available, it is ideal. But it is also forgiving enough to allow less experienced skiers who want to progress to higher technical levels the chance to improve.
The X-Drive is a decent all-rounder, fun to use in all conditions and holds an edge extremely well on hard pack snow, as well as being happy to chunk through any choppy stuff .
A versatile all-rounder with performance enough for experts yet forgiving enough for improvers.
K2 MARKSMAN | £450
BEST FOR Experts ripping up the whole hill and intermediate cruisers!
K2 has once again hit the target with the Marksman. It performed at the highest levels when really pushed hard and was forgiving in nature when things mellowed out. These skis are definitely more of a high-powered rifle than a child’s air gun though.
At 106mm under the boot, the all-mountain ready Marksman gives a great ride on piste, even if you never intend to take it anywhere else.
But this rebel really wants to play off -piste. It is super easy to turn, very playful, responsive and so much fun over lumps, bumps and jumps you’ll have a powder smile on your face even when there’s none to be found. Its twin tip shape means you can perfect your switch landings too!
Advanced and expert skiers looking for freestyle riding ‘style’ will love the Marksman; intermediate cruisers too!