With all the different skis out there, from Big Mountain to Powder to Freestyle to All Mountain, it is hard to decide what ski you should buy. The first ski you buy should be a ski you will get the most use out of, and that is where the All Mountain ski comes in.
Beginners and experts alike should have at least one in their ski quiver as these skis are made for skiing the entire mountain. They do well on most terrain without needing to buy a different ski for different snow conditions and are great for someone who wants to do it all. With hundreds of different skis out there, here are the top All Mountain Skis of 2019 to help you choose.
If you are in a hurry to ski and just don’t have time to read, here are my top picks of 2019 for All Mountain Skis. (For all you lady crushers out there, I have also included the female versions of these skis.)
Best All Mountain Ski For Experts – Nordica Enforcer 93
This is a ski for those who like to charge the mountains with hard packed snow, and have experience doing so. For the women’s version, check out the Nordica Santa Ana 93
Best All Mountain Ski for Intermediates – Salomon QST N 99
This is a ski for those who get to see the occasional powder day on their mountain while still getting comfortable having long, wooden sticks strapped to their feet. For the women’s version, check out the Salomon QST Lumen 99.
Best All Mountain Ski for Powder – Blizzard Rustler 10
The Rustlers are a ski for a skier whose stomping ground is somewhere where the powder never stops. Think Japan. Or the Western United States. For the lady powder hounds out there, check out the Blizzard Sheeva 10
Best All Mountain Ski for Everything- Black Crows Daemon 99
The Daemons are what skiers are looking for when they want something to do it all. And I mean all. Crud, powder, bumps, groomers, chutes, you name it and the Daemons will do it. This ski is for a variety of level skiers out there too. Check out the women’s version, the Black Crows Daemon Birdies 99.
What is an All Mountain Ski and why should you buy it
An All Mountain Ski is just that, a ski meant for any type of terrain. It is the best ski to have when traveling to places with unknown snow conditions and you can only bring one pair. Like the Rocky Mountains where you can have two feet or powder one day and icy crud the next. It is also good for someone who wants to just have one pair of skis, for a multitude of reasons: price, space, usage. If you have a large collection of skis, you may not need an All Mountain Ski, since you probably already have a ski for every type of snow. If you are looking to purchase your first pair of skis, are on a budget, or are replacing a pair of skis, an All Mountain ski is the best place to start.
Best All Mountain Ski: What to Consider
How to choose your All Mountain ski
When buying your All Mountain ski, you first need to decide on the length. The length depends on your skill level as a skier, the rocker/camber profile of the ski, and personal preference. A general rule of thumb is the more rocker in a ski, the shorter it will feel on the snow, while the more camber in a ski, the longer it will feel. Most skiers try to keep the length of the ski somewhere between their chin and their forehead, with beginners on the shorter end, experts on the longer.
While many skis will list their weight, it is not something you need to be too concerned about until venturing into the backcountry. Usually, the heavier the ski, the more you’ll be able to charge, the lighter the ski, the easier it will be to perform tricks on. You may also need to decide if Twin Tipped is something you will need, as many All Mountain Skis do not have it. This type of ski is most popular with freestyle and freeride skiers as its ability to ski backward is paramount as the back looks nearly identical in terms of camber and rocker to the front.
Not every All Mountain Ski is made equally and there are better skis for better types of snow, depending on where you live. The snow you will be skiing mostly will help you decide what skis are better to buy.
Underfoot (Waist Size)
The main factor in your decision, besides height, will be a ski’s underfoot, or waist size, of the ski. The waist is the middle of the ski, usually its narrowest point, and has a lot to determine with how well your ski will perform in different types of snow. Remember, the narrower the ski, the better it will perform on hard packed snow while the wider the ski, the better it will perform in powder.
80 to 90 mm underfoot
The 80 to 90mm underfoot ski is perfect for anyone who skis mountains that don’t see a lot of snow. This width is great for anyone who will be skiing snow that is usually hard-packed or icy. Skis with this underfoot are great for skiing bumps and racing down groomers.
90 to 100 mm underfoot
Skis with an underfoot of 90 to 100 mm are great for anyone who will be skiing a variety of conditions and most all mountain skis will fall into this category. Skis in this waist size will perform well on hard-packed snow but will also maintain some float in those secret powder stashes.
100 to 110 mm underfoot
These skis do best in powder, the deeper the better, and are known for their ability to float in it. An all mountain ski with this underfoot still performs on hard packed snow and chop, but it will do best with frequently soft snow and deeper powder days.
This is the upward curve in the middle of skis. Skis with this perform well on hard pack and are great for racing since it helps to maintain stability at high speeds. Skis with more camber require a higher level skier to initiate turns.
Also called reverse-camber, skis with more rocker see more downward turn towards the ground in the middle. Rocker helps to skis maintain their float in soft snow and are easier to turn, yet they do not engage edges easily, making carving more difficult. Rockered skis are great for skiers who like their skis to be playful.
Not as common in skis as it is in boards, flat basically means the ski runs flat. Flat skis make initiating turns easier while maintaining an edge grip. Flat skis are easier to learn on, but do not have the speed of camber nor the playfulness of rocker.
If you are still confused at to what Camber and Rocker is and why it matters, check out this blog post that has pictures and corresponding videos from Evo. Many skis utilize a combination of these and if you are starting out a flat ski or a combination of camber and rocker is the easiest to learn on.
The Best All Mountain Skis of 2019
The Best All Mountain Ski for Experts: Nordica Enforcer 93 and Nordica Santa Ana 93
The first on our list is the Nordica Enforcer 93, an Expert ski with an exceptional ability to charge down icy terrain. And it really likes to charge. With the smallest underfoot on this list, the Enforcer 93 is great at holding its own on hard packed snow and it plows through crud with ease, even at higher speeds.
Being a stiffer ski, the Enforcer does take an experienced, or heavier, skier to tame it. We recommend being an advanced to expert rider to take this ski out. If you are a higher level skier, and you like to carve, this ski is for you. It easily transitions between edges to really get that smooth carve, even on icy groomers. If you are frequently found cruising groomers or ripping up the back bowls, this is a ski for you.
If you are someone looking to ski powder a decent amount of the time, I would look elsewhere for a ski. The Nordica Enforcers tends to sink in powder that is deeper than a few inches. What you get in stiffness, you lose in playfulness. The Enforcer 93s are not as forgiving of a ski as others and they like to stay pretty firmly planted on the ground. If you are a moguel and bumps skier, you also might not like this ski, unless you like to run straight through bumps, rather than turning around them.
For the female rippers out there looking for a women specific ski, check out the Nordica Santa Ana 93. It has the same underfoot, and is the female version of the Enforcers.
Salomon is known for their fantastic All Mountain Ski line up, but ones that particularly stand out are the QSTs. The skis are wide enough to handle powder, and do well in it, but they still hold up when skiing icy groomers. The QSTs are a low intermediate to advanced ski, and while I wouldn’t recommend learning to ski on them, they are great ski for someone who has a few runs under their belt and is looking to buy their first pair of skis. The QSTs initiate turns easily, perfect for someone learning to ski parallel, and they hold their edges, which is especially nice while carving on icy terrain. If you are a bumps skier, these will be your new best friend.
The bad? Salomon is known for top sheet delamination so you may have to be prepared with some epoxy to fix it. The QSTs are not known for their performance at high speeds and they start to chatter at higher speeds.
For women out there who like the sounds of this ski, The women specific version in the QST Lumen 99, and skis just as well. While the graphics in both the men’s and women’s skis are not flashy, they are sleek, in darker colors.
Next up we see skis from Blizzard, a company who consistently has skis from their yearly line up featured.
The Rustler is a ski that if you are looking for something to hit groomers but still have a ski for that powder, the Rustler is a good choice. It is more an intermediate to expert ski, but for someone who knows they will quickly outgrow a softer ski, the Rustler is a good option. The ski is easier to turn and still is a little playful. The Rustler does better in softer snow and is a great option for someone who spends more time getting powder days. The rocker profile in the front makes it do well in the freshies, but it also makes the ski feel shorter than what you may be used to.
It doesn’t perform as well in harder snow conditions than some of the others on this list, but it is definitely one of the better powder day All Mountain skis out there and can still handle itself in choppy snow. Like many on this list, the Rustler does start to chatter when you reach higher speeds.
If you are a powder loving female and like the sounds of this ski, check out the Sheeva 10. Like the Rustler, the Sheeva’s underfoot changes with the length of the ski, but it also starts at a 102 underfoot. It is the female specific version of the Rustler.
Coming in at the top of this list, and many others, are the Daemon 99s from Black Crows. While the company is not popular everywhere yet, the Daemons have made the top of numerous lists, and many rave about the skis.
These skis are great for every condition for many different types of skiers from different abilities. This ski is meant for intermediate to expert skiers and it likes to hit everything. It is a hard charging ski, that while it chatters at high speeds, still maintains its stability. The easy transition between edges makes it an excellent carving ski on groomers. It holds itself well on hardpack, but it is wide enough to go after powder, and it does fantastic in it. It is a playful ski, liking to pop in powder and on ice and remaining stable on jumps. For being a fully rockered ski, it is surprisingly stable when on edge.
There are very few complaints about the Daemons, except for the price. But keep an eye out on end of year sales, and you might get a great deal on these skis. If you are looking for a ski that will truly ski everything in every condition, the Daemons are one of the best skis on the market.
For all you ladies out there wanting a ski that is good for everything, Black Crows makes a women specific version of this ski, called the Daemon Birdie, which also has a 99 underfoot.
Additional tips and guides
Should you buy a female specific ski?
If you are relatively new to skiing, or do not like to charge as fast, sticking to a female specific ski can be beneficial. Women tend to weigh less than men and tend to be shorter than men. A female specific ski accommodates both of those.
How to choose bindings with your all mountain ski
Bindings are pretty compatible with almost every ski, so long as you aren’t mounting certain AT (alpine touring) bindings on metal skis. You’ll also want to make sure the brakes exceed the underfoot of the ski. You will also want to choose a binding that will be compatible with your DIN settings. For more tips on how to choose bindings for your skis, check out our blog post here.
Caring for your skis
Waxing your skis to the ski conditions can help if you skis are sticking. If you find your edges aren’t digging in, it may be time to take it into a shop and have them tuned. Don’t forget to let your skis dry out before storing them in a bag to avoid the edges rusting.
If you ever get a core shot in your skis, you will want to take care of it immediately. A core shot is a hole in your ski that goes to the wood core, which is especially bad when left unfixed as water can get in and damage the core. You will want to take it into the shop to have it fixed. The same goes if your top sheet de-laminates.
If you want to fix your skis yourself, it can be done. A good ski caring kit includes a ski specific iron, a few different waxes for different temperatures, a scraper, a P-Tex candle, epoxy, and a lighter. Not sure where to start? This kit from Demon has the basics for waxing and tuning your skis. This video from PSIA is really good at explaining how to wax and tune your skis yourself. It is longer but has a lot of good information in it to make sure you aren’t damaging the ski. To learn how to fix core shots and patch over scratches, this is an excellent video.
Demo as many skis as possible before buying to find the right one for you. While every ski can sound fantastic, it may not fit your style once you are on it. Many resorts do demo days, where multiple brands come out with their top selling skis from their fleet for you to try. Ski shops at the base of resorts usually have a demo fleet and some allow you to exchange skis throughout the day.
So there you have it, the top All Mountain skis of 2019. There are many excellent skis out there that made it hard to choose. Do you agree with our choices? Are your favorite All Mountain Skis missing? Let us know in the comments.