Top 12 Most Recommended All-Mountain Skis

Ski Expert Luke Hinz gets into the details on what makes all-mountain skis different than other skis and lists the top 12 most recommended all-mountain skis!

A skier turning down a steep, snowy mountain. There are snowy mountains in the background.

Photo by Noah Kuhns

There is little doubt that a mind-numbingly vast array of different skis exist on the market, from narrow and short carving skis to fat and long powder skis to narrow and stout twin tip skis. And such a variety can make picking out the right ski seem downright overwhelming. But as ski technology has advanced, one type of ski has stood out amongst the rest due to its versatility—the aptly named all-mountain ski.

Below, we highlight what makes an all-mountain ski such a well-rounded ski for any and all conditions, and then we lay out our favorite all-mountain skis for Winter 2022/2023.

What Is an All-Mountain Ski?

A skier turning down a snowy mountain. There are trees in the background.

Photo by Alex Lange

In general, any ski in the all-mountain category is one that can confidently tackle the entire mountain, from carving on groomed runs and hardpack to navigating through trees and moguls and tight spots to surfing through powder and slicing into the steeps. That kind of versatility can seem like a tall order for just one pair of skis to meet efficiently, but ski brands have played with various constructions and ski profiles over the years to get closer and closer to that elusive idea of the “one-ski-quiver.”

Unlike a dedicated carving ski or a dedicated powder ski, all-mountain skis tend to embrace the “jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none” mentality. But don’t let that sentiment discourage you—all-mountain skis are powerful tools for exploring everything that skiing has to offer, regardless of whether they sacrifice in some areas to benefit in others. But keep in mind that different brands embrace different ideas of what exactly makes a strong all-mountain ski, so it's important to pay attention to the various factors that make up an all-mountain ski.

Construction

In this day of swiftly evolving technology, ski manufacturers are introducing all-new manner of materials into the construction of skis. Skis are built with mainly these components: wood composites, full wood cores, metal, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. Ski manufacturers play with different ratios of these materials in their skis to create different types of skis: the lightweight but ultra-stiff ski, the playful ski, or the heavy, burly ski that can blast through any snow condition. In general, all-mountain skis tend to pair a full-wood core with a combination of metal and carbon, with stiffer, more advanced skiers embracing more metal and lighter, more nimble skiers embracing carbon to shave weight from the final product.

Ultimately, while most important is how the ski rides, the construction of the ski plays a large part in determining the character of a ski. For example, a ski with two sheets of metal in it, like the Nordica Enforcer, will ski differently than the Head Kore, which is built completely without metal. So it’s vital to know what is in your ski.

Width

Diagram showing where widths are measured on a ski.

Long gone are the days of ripping 210cm length skis narrower than toothpicks down an icy, firm run. Over the years, skis have gotten shorter but also wider. In terms of all-mountain skis, they generally range in waist width from 85-105mm. Most skis under 85mm tend to be either dedicated race or carving skis or narrow beginner skis built for their ease of turning. And once you get over 105mm, you are reaching into powder-specific territory, where the skis are built differently in order to float effortlessly over powder. Still, that same design often sacrifices on-piste performance.

All-mountain skis almost always aim for a sweet spot for their width, meaning a ski that is wide enough to ski some powder but not so wide as to inhibit the ski’s performance on groomed runs. Most of our Top Recommended All-Mountain Skis are generally between 90-100mm in the waist.

Camber and Rocker

Diagram of three different types of shape profile on a ski.

Diagram from Ski Expert Gunnar O's Guide to Ski Profiles and How they Affect your Skiing

Camber and rocker profile is in reference to the general profile of a ski and requires a bit of exposition. Firstly, a ski has three main profiles: camber, rocker, and a mix of both camber/rocker. If you look at a normal narrow ski from the side view, camber is the slight arc that exists in the ski—starting from the tip, the profile of the ski slightly rises until it peaks directly below where the boot would be and then descends again to the tail. A great way to see camber visually is to hold a pair of skis with their bases together—the skis naturally bow away from each other in the middle. Camber is what gives a ski an incredible edge hold on groomed runs and ice and is what helps the ski turn. As a skier puts weight on the ski, the middle part of the ski bends, allowing the entire edge to make contact with the snow and help the ski to carve naturally.

Rocker, at its simplest, is the reverse of camber. The tip and tail are raised on a ski with a rocker. Also, the profile slopes down to the middle of the ski. Essentially, the ski looks like a banana. This shape allows the tip and tail of the ski to easily plane over snow, resulting in the best ride on a deep powder day. As with the width of a ski, there are drawbacks to having a rockered ski as well. Rockered skis are relatively heinous on groomed runs and ice. The profile allows very minimal edge contact with the snow, so the ski can end up being very unstable and skittish. A rockered ski can pivot very easily, but it cannot make precise turns like a cambered ski.

These days, many brands are going with a rocker/camber mix in their all-mountain skis, which involves regular camber in the middle of the ski that transitions to rocker in the tip and tail. This allows for the best of both worlds—the camber keeps the ski edgy and stable on hardpack, but the rocker helps it float in soft snow and makes it easier to turn in trees and tight spots. Brands have different rocker-to-camber profiles based on what they want to achieve with the ski, so it's best to inquire about the dimensions of the ski beforehand. For a more in depth explanation of rocker/camber profiles in skis, check out this guide.

In essence, all-mountain skis attempt to combine the best qualities of all skis, with some brands achieving this better than others. So let’s find out who does it best! Below, we break down the Top 12 Recommended All-Mountain Skis of 2022/2023.

1. Nordica Enforcer 100

The Nordica Enforcer 100 Ski.

The Enforcer 100 grabs our top spot on this list due to its versatility and impressive prowess from one end of the mountain to the next. The Enforcer is in high demand from true all-mountain skiers, and after laying a few turns on it, we fell in love with it as well. Make no mistake: The Enforcer is a burly ski that likes to charge hard, its responsiveness and predictable nature make it our favorite out of all of these. Two sheets of metal paired with a wood core give the Enforcer an impressive edge hold on groomers and make for a very smooth and damp ride even at the highest speeds. Still, a generous amount of rocker in the tip and tail also allows the ski to be nimble and agile in trees, moguls, and tight spots.

The Enforcer seemingly contradicts itself, which is far from a bad thing. A ski that can charge hard but also turn easily and confidently? Yea, sign us up for that one. Ski brands have been touting for years that they’ve finally achieved the ever-elusive one-quiver-ski, but Nordica is dangerously close to that mythical beast with the Enforcer. Women riders can check out the similarly built Santa Ana 98.

2. Blizzard Black Pearl 97

The Blizzard Black Pearl 97 Ski.

The Blizzard Black Pearl 88 has dominated sales lists for the last several years as intermediate women skiers flock to their intuitive and easy nature, but for the more discerning, hard-charging women skiers, the Black Pearl 97 is an impressive and intense step-up in performance. While many ski brands have been accused of the infamous “shrink it and pink it” approach to building women’s skis, Blizzard went the opposite direction in this new iteration of the Pearl 97, including stiffening the ski underfoot with the addition of a Titanal metal plate. The resulting new Pearl is a stiff, damp, and stable ski that can arc big, confident turns both on and off-piste.

It’s not the best powder ski due to its more demanding and aggressive nature. It will prove to be too much ski for anyone but the most technical and expert skiers. Still, for women skiers who want a reliable and powerful ski that demands a competent pilot, the Black Pearl 97 will give any similar men’s ski a run for its money. Men skiers can look at the similar and well-known Blizzard Bonafides.

3. Volkl M6 Mantra

The Volkl M6 Mantra Ski.

While other ski brands continually reinvent themselves, Volkl has quietly and confidently trucked along, building the same dependable and shockingly consistent all-mountain skis that could only be the product of German engineering. The M6 replaces the ever-popular M5 and comprises all of the characteristics upon which Volkl has built its reputation: high predictability, impeccable edge hold, and precision and confidence that even the Pope would trust. Volkl upgraded the Mantra for 2023, incorporating a carbon spectral braid in the tip that makes it softer and easier to initiate turns. But most impressively, Volkl tailored the Mantra to different skiers—depending on the length, Volkl adjusted the metal in the skis with less metal in shorter skis and more metal in longer skis, resulting in different rides for different skiers.

The Mantra is far from the most playful and forgiving ski on the market, and skiers looking for such should steer clear. Instead, the Mantra is a ski you can confidently set on edge and ride along as it rails powerful turns over hardpack and groomed runs. The Mantra will be your best friend if you want a predictable and uncompromisingly powerful ride.

4. Armada Reliance 92Ti

The Armada Reliance 92Ti Ski.

For years, Armada has been known mostly for its lineup of freestyle skis, so when Armada first released the Reliance and Declivity Series, a line of stiffer, more directional skis for women and men, it got some dubious looks. What was a company that had built its brand on playful, lively, and poppy park and trick skis doing what amounted to a heavy all-mountain ski? It turned out that Armada knew what it was doing, even if the rest of us did not. The Reliance ski occupies the best of both worlds—Articulated Titanal Binding throughout the ski, coupled with a lightweight Caruba core, for a ski with tons of energy when carving on groomed runs and makes it akin to a race ski at higher speeds.

Still, Armada wanted the Reliance to be so much more than a directional ski, so they also made it much softer in the tip and tail while adding more rocker to the tip. As a result, the Reliance retains a surfy and playful nature when venturing off-piste into softer snow and powder. At the bottom line, the Reliance 92Ti can be whatever you want it to be—a hard-charging ski laying down big GS turns on trail or a more playful and inventive ski off-trail. Men skiers can reach for the Declivity 92Ti.

5. Head Kore 93

The Head Kore 93 Ski.

The Kore series from Head has received a lot of attention since its release, namely for its resounding performance despite the lack of any discernible metal in the ski. Head took a novel approach to the Kore, using Graphene and Carbon wrapped around a Karuba wood core to stiffen the ski without the added weight of metal. The result is a surprisingly light all-mountain ski that is very stiff indeed. This translates to a pretty powerful edge hold on groomed runs as well as lots of pop and energy in the ski during turns. In addition, its lightweight construction and low swing weight mean the Kore can turn on a dime, allowing you to flick the ski wherever your heart desires. In fact, the Kore is so light that Head markets it as both a resort ski and an option for backcountry skiing. Still, the Kore reminds you here and there that it lacks metal, as it is more prone to chatter at higher speeds than a metal ski.

But that same construction gives the Kore tons of leverage in the moguls game, where its easy turnability of tons of energy makes it a hoot as you bounce from one turn to the next. With a 93mm waist, it’s not a tool for the deepest days, but it can surf through soft snow admirably. The Kore is a lightweight, fun, and highly responsive option for skiers looking for an all-mountain tool without all the weight.

6. Icelantic Riveter 95

The Icelantic Riveter 95 Ski.

Icelantic started years ago as a fringe ski company, but it has quietly made inroads into the more mainstream ski market with the popularity of both the Nomad and Maiden, its freeride skis, coupled with the beautiful and arresting artwork by Travis Parr. The Riveter is Icelantic’s more directional, all-mountain ski. Though it's been living in the shadow of the slashy and big-mountain-oriented Maiden, the Riveter is a compelling and capable ski in its own right. It is quite different from the other women’s skis we’ve already seen in this list in that it bears no metal, relying instead on the strength of the Poplar wood core combined with a Triaxial Fiberglass wrap for strength and stability.

Icelantic seems to want skiing to be fun, and if so, the Riveter does not disappoint. It is a softer and more approachable ski than either the Black Pearl 97 or the Armada Reliance and has a poppy and playful flex that bounces from turn to turn. It has a bit more hardpack prowess than the Maiden but can still rip down bowls and through more shallow powder days. The Riveter is a phenomenal choice for skiers looking for a softer ski that can still grip on groomed runs and explore off-piste. Men skiers have the Pioneer 96.

7. Fischer Ranger 96

The Fischer Ranger 96 Ski.

Fischer completely redesigned its popular Ranger series for 2023, doing away with the FR and the Ti versions and simply producing one Ranger in multiple widths instead. In essence, they combined what made the old Fischer Ranger 94 FR so good—nimbleness, agility, and playfulness in trees and tight spots—with what made the Ranger 99Ti so great—stiffness, dampness, and the ability to plow through everything. A wood core combined with a Titanal rib running down the spine of the ski gives torsional stiffness without creating an overly demanding ski. The result is an extremely well-rounded ski that can navigate through trees with utter satisfaction but can also lay a trench on the hardpack.

It's best to think of the Ranger 96 as the little, more sensitive brother to the Volkl M6 Mantra. It's not the burliest, and sometimes it can get tossed around, but for those looking for a bit more empathy and understanding in their skis, the Ranger 96 is a fun and rollicking good time that won’t punish you for bad form or poor stance.

8. K2 Mindbender 99Ti

The K2 Mindbender 99Ti Ski.

The Mindbender is a highly versatile weapon for the demanding women skier looking to rip big GS turns on the groomers, tackle the steeps aggressively, and still have time to navigate through the fluff in the trees and off-piste. K2’s patented Titanal Y-Beam design lays metal over the front edges of the ski for torsional stiffness and unmatched edge hold on hardpack but hollows out the metal in the middle to shave off weight. The metal tapers in the tail allow for easy releases out of high-speed turns. The stiff metal combined with an all-terrain rocker gives the Mindbender the means to lay down strong turns at any speed on corduroy but leaves plenty of agility and playfulness in the ski when it hits soft snow. The Mindbender fills a niche between the burliness and demands of the Black Pearl 97 and the forgiveness and playfulness of the Riveter 95. The Mindbender is a strong and dependable ski, no matter the conditions.

9. Atomic Maverick 95Ti

The Atomic Maverick 95Ti Ski.

Atomic introduced the Maverick line to replace the long-running Vantage series, and there has been unanimous agreement that the Mavericks are a big step up in approachability and skiability from the Vantage line. Atomic went a more old-school route in designing the Maverick. They wanted the ski to be a daily driver for the typical skier, not just the pro athletes and the guys and gals skiing 100 days per year. So they enlisted some 60 everyday skiers from North America for feedback before ultimately landing on the Maverick 95, arguably the most versatile ski in the line.

The 95Ti sports two sheets of Titanal metal over a wood core, but Atomic used considerably thinner metal in order to keep the ski light and not overbearing. The Titanal is great at absorbing bumps and vibrations, but it doesn’t turn the ski into a tank like some other skis, allowing it to dodge trees and mix it up in moguls easily. Atomic’s patented HRZN tip also gives the ski some float off-piste. The Maverick 95Ti is definitely not the stiffest nor the most stable ski on this list, nor is it the lightest and quickest. But if you want a high-end, stable ski that can still move quickly in tight spaces and that doesn’t need to hit a top speed limit, the Maverick is a trustworthy steed.

10. Elan Ripstick 94 W

The Elan Ripstick 94 W Ski.

The Ripstick has quietly made a name for itself among more advanced skiers looking for a lighter and more responsive ski than some of the heavier tanks on the market, and the Ripstick 94 W fills the niche for women skiers who want a high-performance ski in a lightweight package. Elan uses a lightweight wood core, then incorporates carbon rods down the length of the ski in order to give its torsional stiffness and stability. What is most unique about the Ripstick, though, is the Amphibio Technology, which designates a right ski and a left ski by placing more camber and material on the inside edge of the ski and more rocker on the outside, thus ensuring a distinctly more powerful edge hold when carving.

At the end of the day, the Ripstick is a highly maneuverable and extremely nimble ski that can grip hard-to-ice and hardpack, but also mix it up in the moguls and trees. Due to its lightweight nature, it is more apt to get knocked around in crud and more variable conditions at the ski resort, so if you want a ski to use primarily off-piste, there are better options. But for the lady skier who wants a light, precise, and fun ski that doesn’t ask too much of you, the Ripstick can be your go-to.

11. Blizzard Rustler 9

The Blizzard Rustler 9 Ski.

When it comes to Blizzard men’s skis, the Brahma and the Bonafide tend to hog all the attention, but when it comes to a softer, more approachable all-mountain ski with wide appeal for more skiers, the Rustler 9 is easily our top choice. Whereas the Bonafide and the Black Pearl 97 are stout and stiff hard-chargers, Blizzard designed the Rustler to be much more on the playful side. For example, instead of two full sheets of metal, the Rustler has one metal layer directly underfoot, giving the ski a lot of confidence when turning on groomed slopes.

But then Blizzard did something curious; they tapered the metal as it extended out from underfoot, ultimately ending right before the tip and tail of the ski. Because of this, the tip and tail of the Rustler are much softer and more responsive than underfoot. To be sure, the Rustler can’t begin to compete with the Brahma and Bonafide when hitting top speeds, but that’s not what it was built for. Instead, the Rustler shines off-piste, where its more nimble character likes to dance through trees and pivot effortlessly between moguls. As a result, a wide array of skiers, from intermediates to experts, can jump on the Rustler and have a heck of a good time.

12. Volkl Secret 96

The Volkl Secret 96 Ski.

The Secret 96 is the women’s equivalent to the M6 Mantra, albeit with a lighter core. But it still utilizes all the things that make the Mantra such a damp and stable ride, including the strategic use of metal based on the length of the ski, as well as Volkl’s 3D Radii sidecut, which gives the ski three different radius turns. As a result, the Secret is just as at home laying down tight, controlled turns as it is with longer, GS-style turns. The Secret is certainly on the stiffer side, and we would not recommend it to a female skier looking for a lighter, more playful option. But in return, the Secret offers unparalleled performance on groomed runs and hardpack. This is the go-to ski for women skiers who want to put it all on the line on groomed trails.

In Conclusion

A skier turning down a groomed run.

Photo by Maarten Duinevald

All-mountain skis tend to be the most versatile across the entire mountain, and these are our favorite ones heading into the 2022/2023 winter season. But it's important to remember that there is a wide range of all mountain skis out there, meaning there is a pretty good chance there is a goldilock ski out there that fits just right for your ability and skiing style. As always, please reach out to me or one of my fellow Ski Experts here on Curated to help find the best all-mountain ski for you.

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If my parents could have foreseen how deep my obession for skiing would become, they might never have put me on skis. I've been fortunate enough to experience the entire spectrum of skiing; from growing up racing on icy Midwest slopes, to exploring every nook and cranny of the Wasatch Range backcoun...

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