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Find the perfect all-rounder ski with our picks for the best all mountain skis of the 2021 season.

It seems that ski categories are blurring more and more every season, with even specific piste and freeride models adding some element of all mountain capability to get you back down the mountain or into the powder. 

To sit in the all mountain category though a ski has to be versatile and not purely focused on one type of snow condition. Having said that the spectrum is still stretched to its limits, with skinny waisted piste loving machines sitting alongside fat freeride friendly planks.

Which is why the all mountain category is so interesting, with tech development from both sides trickling down and being blended by the wizards at the ski manufacturers into the frankenskis we see here today.

We headed to our annual ski test to try over 80 pairs and have marked each on its various capabilities, coming up with our list of the very best all mountain skis for the 2020-21 season.

 

Salomon Stance 96

Men's best all mountain

 Salamon Stance 96 skis.jpg

A full poplar wood core incorporating carbon flax and a double Ti construction seems to tick all the boxes of a solid all-mountain ski, and goes some way to justifying a relatively high price point.

The performance on the mountain goes the rest of the way, and more than justifies the cost. The Stance 96 hits the absolute all-mountain sweet spot in terms of dimensions, stiffness and turn versatility. It can charge through chop but remains soft enough to be fun and lively. It’s wide enough for powder but narrow enough to be responsive thanks partly to the flex and the progressive sidecut.

It just rails all types of turns, making for a cracking good time.

  • Best for: A one-ski quiver for chargers and carvers alike.
  • Verdict: High performance both on and off piste making for a genuine all-mountain ski.
  • Overall rating: 10/10
  • RRP: £580 

READ FULL REVIEW

 

 

 

K2 Disruption 78c 

K2 Disruption 78c skis.jpg

Like many brands this season, K2 seem keen to blur the piste / all-mountain / freeride categories. This is probably no bad thing, but 78mm underfoot is a very narrow base for a modern versatile ski, and one suspects K2 simply don’t like the ‘piste’ label. There’s no getting away from the fact that this ski is highly piste-biased. That said, it couldn’t be considered a performance, race-inspired piste ski, because, simply put, it’s far too much fun. Soft, playful, poppy and happy at speed, it’s an awesome all round performer. It might be a stretch to call it ‘stable’ – but again this is all part of the fun; you might feel close to the edge, but that doesn’t make you want to slow down!

  • Best for: All-mountain skiers with a need for pure, straightline speed.
  • Verdict: If hammering down groomers at high speed is your thing, get these beneath your boots. 
  • Overall rating: 9/10
  • RRP: £525 

READ FULL REVIEW

 

 

Volkl Yumi 84 

Women's best all mountain budget

Volkl Yumi 84 2020-21 ski

The recently updated Völkl Yumi now features a 3D sidecut, along with an 84mm waist width, designed to help it float a little easier in powder, without sacrificing any of its carving potential. Despite Covid kyboshing the European Ski Test last winter, our team was blessed with powder at the replacement event in Scotland, where this was one of the top performers. “Super stable on anything,” was one verdict, with quick edge to edge performance. This is a perfect ski for an intermediate skier to progress and gain confidence skiing all-mountain - and the price makes it a clear winner. 

  • Best for: Advanced intermediates who don’t want to break the bank. 
  • Verdict: There’s a lot of tech for the price here. This is a ski that will help you step-up a level.
  • Overall rating: 8/10
  • RRP: £525

READ FULL REVIEW

 

 

 

Elan Wingman 86 CTi Fusion X

 Elan Wingman 86 CTi Fusion X skis.jpg 

Elan continue the trend of designing all-mountain skis for very specific crossover areas, rather than just using the term to imply versatility. For this season the Wingman collection takes cues from the hugely successful freeride family, the Ripstick, to make a freeride-inspired all-mountain ski. This was the first all-mountain ski on test to make us want to pop off every little hit off the sides of the piste. It’s also incredible fun in the slightest bit of slush. And that came at no detriment to the on-piste performance, which is as good (if not better) than most of the piste-biased all-mountain skis on offer this season. Super stable on an edge and at speed, and narrow enough to be incredibly nimble edge-to-edge while still displaying the character of a freeride ski.

  • Best for Everyone but the most dedicated powder hunters.
  • Verdict  Predictable, easy to control and super grippy, ideal for hard-charging skiers. 
  • Overall rating 9/10
  • RRP £700

READ FULL REVIEW

 

Scott Slight 83 

Women's best all mountain

Scott Slight 83 skis.jpg

With a design taken from a touring ski, the Scott Slight seems a strange all-mountain model at first sight. They’re lightweight, but still so much fun in all terrain, doing everything we asked of them, from easy piste cruising to full charge mode. We were surprised by how well the Slight skied in variable snow, these are stable skis in mixed terrain. Crud can upset the balance, but excellent responsiveness means it’s easy to get out of trouble. Edge hold on piste is fantastic, holding a strong carve is effortless but there’s still plenty of pop and playfulness to get airborne. Recommended for a progressing intermediate skier.

  • Best for: Intermediate skiers progressing to advanced.
  • Verdict: Ideal ski for intermediates wanting to mix hard charging with piste cruising.
  • Overall rating:10/10
  • RRP: £650

READ FULL REVIEW

 

 

 

Rossignol Black Ops Holy Shred

Rossignol Black Ops Holy Shred skis.jpg

Despite being heavily off-piste biased, and performing superbly in our freeride tests, we wanted to test the Holy Shred against other all-mountain skis, as Rossignol are touting it as an ‘all-terrain’ vehicle. At 98mm underfoot, the Holy Shred sits roughly where the excellent Sky 7 model was in previous years. A full wood core and twin tip construction add to the versatility. In practice the Holy Shred genuinely is a strong all-rounder and for that reason would be a superb choice for a seasonnaire. Responsive and dependable on piste, floaty off-piste and with a twin tip that lets you ski switch. 

  • Best for: People who view the whole mountain as a playground. 
  • Verdict: A superb ski for anyone that likes a creative approach to skiing the whole mountain.
  • Overall rating: 9/10
  • RRP: £535

READ FULL REVIEW

 

 

Blizzard Bonafide 97 

Blizzard Bonafide 97 skis.jpg

For 2021 Blizzard have re-classified the Bonafide as an all-mountain ski, and made changes to its core, which now involves a complex ‘mesh’ of stringers made of different densities of different woods. For the skier, that should result in a more smooth, progressive flex – stiffness should taper off towards the tips and tails. In practice the flex pattern should make the ski a little more accessible and versatile (hence the re-classification as an all mountain ski, rather than freeride). However, this still retains much of its freeride character; it’s a superb, go anywhere ski, with a forgiving flex. The on-piste performance is superb, but this still flies in soft snow. 

  • Best for: A freeride focussed skier looking for something versatile.
  • Verdict: A very versatile ski, which handles narrower than its waist width would suggest.
  • Overall rating: 9/10
  • RRP: £600

READ FULL REVIEW

 

 

Nordica Navigator 85

Men's best all mountain budget

Nordica Navigator 85 skis.jpg

The Navigator 85 is unchanged for the 2020-21 season, and judging by how well its slightly beefier brother – the Navigator 90 – was received last year, rightly so. A significant factor in why last year’s Navigators impressed us so much was the genuine all-mountain thinking.

The Navigator is a love-child of the piste-chewing Spitfire and the hard charging freeride Enforcer. The combination of snow-shredding up front and powerful grip behind makes for a ski that suits a wide variety of skiers and terrain. All-mountain is always a compromise, but if a slight piste bias is your kind of compromise, then this is your kind of ski.

  • Best for: Piste charging first, with pow slaying a close second. 
  • Verdict: The archetype of what all-mountain should mean, and it’s great value to boot.
  • Overall rating: 9/10
  • RRP: £470

READ FULL REVIEW

 

 

Volkl Kanjo 84

Volkl Kanjo 84 skis.jpg

Coming in at 84mm underfoot, the Kanjo is a high-tech, all-mountain ski that’s been updated as well as reclassified for the 2020/21 winter season. There’s a glass fibre frame around the nose and a carbon tip for torsional stiffness, and Völkl have also continued with the piece of German engineering that so enthused us last season – the triple radius sidecut. Despite being grouped with the freeride skis in Völkl’s range, the Kanjo is definitely piste biased – through dimensions if nothing else. They’re not the best performers in deep powder, but that triple radius design really works, and they’re super fun for mixing up turns on piste and on hard packed side-country. 

  • Best for: Those who get up early doors to ride perfect groomers.
  • Verdict: A forgiving and confidence inspiring ski, that grips like a vice on an edge. 
  • Overall rating: 8/10
  • RRP: £525

READ FULL REVIEW

 

 

 

Rossignol Experience 88Ti 

 Rossignol experience 88 ti skis

Rossignol use the Line Control Techonology of their piste skis for stability (it’s essentially a central rail down the length of the ski), and combine that with the very recognisable Air Tip construction from their freeride range to reduce weight and increase float at the front of the Experience. Last season this model scored highly, and this year it does too. A couple of other models give it a run for its money (specifically the Elan Wingman 86 Cti Fusion X and the Nordica Navigator 90) but it holds its own as a genuine all-rounder. It gives a superb and fun ride, and is just as poppy as any comparable model but without the obviously freeride-inspired graphics.

  • Best for Anyone who wants real versatility and a capable quiver-of-one.
  • Verdict  The Experience 88Ti is solid, powerful, nimble and floats like a wider ski. 
  • Overall rating 9/10
  • RRP £665

READ FULL REVIEW

 

 

 

K2 Mindbender 88 TI

  K2 Mindbender 88 ti.jpg

Just pipped to the post of best women’s all-mountain ski by the Scott Slight 83, the Mindbenders are absolute rippers, best suited to aggressive skiers wanting a snappy and purposeful ride both on and off the piste. The strategically placed titanal Y-beam and carbon core offers stability and excellent turn initiation as well as great edge hold through the turn, but that’s not at the expense of a playful feel. Both the carbon and titanal are shaped for classic performance traits but are routed to also ensure pop and energy from turn to turn. If you don’t ‘mind’ paying a bit extra for a more rigid ski, then K2’s Mindbender will give back what you put into it.

  • Best for A resort ripper and adventurous off-piste roamer.
  • Verdict  Ski like a ninja on these mindbending all-black skis this season.
  • Overall rating 9/10
  • RRP £535

READ FULL REVIEW

 

 

 

How to choose the right all mountain ski

What size all mountain ski do I need?

Your skill level will affect the length of ski to an extent, with shorter skis usually being easier to handle than their longer counterparts. Also consider that If you're particularly heavy or light for your height you should go up or down a few centimetres in ski length to compensate. As a general rule though an all mountain ski should come to between nose and forehead level.

What waist width ski should I get?

The wider the ski the more likely it is to be able to float in powder due to the bigger surface area, but the trade off is often responsiveness and turn initiation.

An all mountain ski by its very nature is a compromise but some of the best perform nearly as well as dedicated piste or freeride skis. As the category widens so do the range of waist widths available, but as a general rule all mountain skis sit within the 85mm to 105mm range. Go wider or narrower and you're really limiting the versatility of the ski. 

A narrower waist width indicates a piste focused all mountain ski that will just about handle a bit of light powder, whereas at the other end of the scale a much wider waist indicates an all mountain ski that's tuned towards off piste performance but will be less than optimal on piste. 

What is a turn radius and what should I look for?

Turn radius simply describes the curve as you look down the length of a ski. If this curve continued until it made a circle the circle would be bigger or smaller depending on how deep or shallow the sidecut was therefore the turn radius describes the radius of the circle that the sidecut makes.

If you transpose this circle onto the slope it's obvious to see why a ski with a short turn radius (a smaller circle) is likely to turn much quicker than a ski with a long turn radius (bigger circle). If you're looking to make quick, short turns then aim for a ski with a turn radius of about 16m or under. For bigger, sweeping GS turns a radius of 20m or above is ideal, with the sweet spot for all mountain skis being a radius of 16m to 20m.

Should I get rocker, camber or a hybrid of both?

Which is better, rocker or camber? That very much depends on your type of riding but these days most manufacturers, especially in the all mountain category, are mixing it up in an attempt to offer the best of both world's. 

Camber skis

  • Excellent stability
  • Precision skiing
  • Great edge hold

Rocker/reverse camber skis

  • Great flotation in powder
  • Less risk of catching an edge
  • More forgiving
  • More park friendly, especially on rails

The typical 'best of both world's' approach is to design a ski with camber underfoot and early rise or rocker in either the tip or the tip and tail.