The traditional ski has greatly evolved over the last few years with innovative technology, wider shaped bases and softer, lighter materials. Throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s, the vast majority of skis were designed with a race driven mentality, causing the casual skier to ride on a stiff slalom ski.
Today however, every type of skier has a choice. If you prefer skiing the front end and back end of the mountain and often find yourself skiing a variety of terrain including bowls, moguls, groomed cruisers, power, ice or crud, the all-mountain ski is definitely for you. All-mountain skis are designed to turn quickly and easily, hold the perfect edge and are designed for men and women of all ages and ski types. Whether you are skiing on ice in the east or in deep powder in west, the all-mountain ski is fun, quick and dominates the marketplace.
Men’s All-Mountain skis are designed for the guy who wants to ride the entire mountain and can adapt to any conditions thrown his way. If you are primarily a west coast skier, you should look for a ski with a rider base that will float well on top of powder.From Atomic skis, to Volkl's, K2’s and more, the all-mountain skier has more choices than ever. Our top picks include the K2 Kung Fujas, the Volkl Kendos, the Blizzard Titan Atlas IQ-Max and more.
The new trend for west coast skis is the rocker, or reverse camber ski, that has tips and tails that curve up, while the shaft between them is flat. The rocker provides a smooth ride and allows you to maneuver through powder and crud.
Like all new K2’s this season and last, the 2012 Kung Fujas are built with an All-Terrain Rocker to enhance performance on all types of terrain. Their twin tips are big and wide enough to plow through any type of backcountry or powder. This ski is super responsive, has great grip and flotation and provides an overall fun and smooth ride. With the K2 Kung Fujas, you will have plenty of power to rip through any type of terrain.
The Volkl Kendo is made for the guy who skis 50% front side and 50% backside. A step up in speed and power from the Volkl Mantra, the Kendo is a fairly hard ski that has the ability to rip through the mountain in every type of condition including crud, bumps and carvers. With a new Tip Rocker feature that gives the ski more float in soft snow and tighter turns, the 2012-13 Kendos are built for a fast, thrilling ride.
The Rossignol S7 Freeride is the ultimate west coast powder ski. Recent models are equipped with Rossignol’s AmpTek ski design, which combines a traditional camber and reverse camber that allows the ski tip to remain above the deepest powder providing moreadaptability, bounce and expansion than your typical east coast ski. The Rossignol S7 has a wood core and a Weight Reduction System, which enhances the skis’ stability, whilemaintaining a lightweight feel. Rossignol has created the perfect ski for the those who crave backcountry powder, but also wants to hold their own through ice, crud or piste.
If you are an east coast skier and your reality is mostly groomed or icy conditions, I would suggest a parabolic shaped ski with some degree of side cut. Below are our favorites from Blizzard, Atomic and Rossignol.
With 94 mm wide shoulders, the Blizzard Titan Atlas IQ-Max has definitely made a name for itself this season. Blizzard’s new IQ-Max system in combination with the Compound Sidewell construction, allows you to maintain great stability at high speeds andin non-forgiving conditions. Although the Blizzard Titan may be better suited for the east coast skier, you will be pleasantly surprised by how well it floats through ankle-deep powder.
The Atomic Smoke TI is definitely the best bang for your buck. Priced well below the other top skis this season, the Smoke TI is a slightly easier ski than most all-mountain skis, perfect for the intermediate skier looking to improve and venture away from groomed terrain. Equipped with an Adaptive camber, the small rocker allows the ski to turn easily and maintain good grip, while not catching an edge in powder or crud. The Smoke TI powers through carvers, while also offering exceptional skiing at lower speeds.
The Rossignol Avenger 82 TI is an aggressive and versatile all-mountain and on-trail ski. It has a traditional camber profile that provides the skier with maximized power, energy and performance while carving strong turns. The ability to carve edge and ski with precision are what makes this one of the best skis this season, thanks to the classic sandwich laminate construction and vertical sidewalls. With an all-mountain tip and wider waist (82mm), the Avenger TI performs best on hardpack while still displaying the all-mountain versatility to blast through any snow condition. The Avenger 82 TI is the ultimate all-mountain carver with rock solid stability and edging power for hard charging technical skiers. If you are looking for a less expensive, more intermediate version of the Rossignol Avenger 82 TI, check out the Avenger 82 Basal.
Women’s skis are no longer just men’s skis stamped with a prettier graphic, they are now designed to fit the physique of a female skier. Women’s all-mountain skis are lighter and softer with a center binding moved about an 1” forward from your average male ski to account for the weight that women carry in the lower half of their body. Women’s all mountain skis give you the versatility to perform well in almost every type of terrain, allowing you to power down groomers and masterdeep powder. Here you’ll find reviews for some of the best 2012 women’s all-mountain skis.
Similar to the men’s models, the new trend for women’s west coast skis is the rocker, or reverse camber ski, that has tips and tails that curve up, while the shaft between them is flat. The rocker provides a smooth ride and allows the intermediate or advanced woman to maneuver through powder and crud.
The Volkl Aurora is a fast women’s ski geared towards advanced skiers. Its wide base allows for extra stability on crud and ice, but is also designed foreasy turning in fresh powder and deep snow. The Aurora truly takes charge in any condition with great response back and forth. This ski is designed for the aggressive female skier who likes to ski on an edge and does not want to sit back and cruise through a relaxing ride.
The K2 Gotback, part of the Backside Collection, is a one stop shop if you are looking for the perfect west coast ski. This 102mm waist ski is designed for the intermediate skier who is looking to master powder or the advanced skier who is looking for a ski that maneuvers easily and turns well in deep snow. The all-terrain shovel rocker on the K2 Gotback provides phenomenal float and stability in both a sprawling bowl and narrow glade. The unique Triaxial Braided BioFlex core keeps the female designed ski lightweight and agile providing good versatility on those non-powder days.
The Volkl Kenja is the sister ski to the highly popular men’s Kendo, best suited for the female skier who rides a combination of groomed and powder conditions. The Volkl Kenja has a thick 86mm waist allowing it to float amply through deep and fluffy powder, while its power construction holds well in hard packed and icy conditions. The Bio-Logic Technology reduces the strain on your muscles, making this a very easy ski to maneuver. The Kenja is a softer and more forgiving ski than the Kendo and is designed for the woman who skis in a variety of conditions and is looking to master every type of terrain.
If you are a female east coast skier and typically find yourself skiing icy or groomed conditions, I would suggest a parabolic shaped ski with some degree of side cut. Our favorites for 2012 include K2s, Blizzards and Atomics.
Like all the new K2’s over the last couple seasons, the Burnin’ Luv’s are built with an All-Terrain Rocker to enhance performance on all types of terrain. Although many skis are designed to “ski fast”, the Burnin’ Luv’s are extremely stable at high speeds for both the intermediate and advanced skier. They hold a great edge, carve nicely down steeps and allow you to fly down the mountain, while maintaining short and quick turns. The Burnin Luvs are a fairly stiff women’s ski designed for the female skier who prefers speed to powder, backcountry and moguls.
Blizzard is really making a name for itself in the women’s ski world, with fun, zippy skis designed for the intermediate and advanced woman skier. The Viva 7.6 has just about as much personality as a ski can have. It is designed for the athletic woman who wants to ski a little faster and a little harder with added pep, zing and edge. The Viva 7.6 holds well on hard packed groomers, moguls and soft crud, while providing a fun and easy ride for the woman who normally challenges herself on the mountain.
The Atomic Cloud 9 is a classic east coast ski designed for the intermediate or advanced intermediate woman who loves speed and really wants to improve their skills. With classic Atomic grip, the Cloud 9 carves well and can handle short radius and long radius turns. The combination of its Densolite core, Lightrak integration and cap construction give this fairly stiff ski a large degree of forgiveness.Rather than letting you cruise through a trail, the rebound energy of the Cloud 9 capitalizes on your strengths and helps you to improve your edge.