Are you ready to hit the slopes this season?
Maybe you’re just getting into the sport of skiing, or maybe you’ve been doing it for years and you just can’t wait to get out on the mountain. Well, either way, we put together the following all-mountain ski guide just for you.
But no matter your skill level, no matter where you’re going, one of the most important parts of any ski trip is the skis that you plan on using.
This is exactly why we’ve put together the following guide on the best all-mountain skis of 2020.
As you already know, no two pairs of skis are built exactly the same.
And while this is great for giving ski enthusiasts plenty of options for when it comes to finding a pair of skis that suits their preferences, it can also make choosing the best pair a bit of a hassle, especially if you’re just starting to get into the sport.
So keep reading, and I’ll break down my top 10 picks for the best all-mountain skis of 2020, comparing them by best use, size, flex, profile, and core materials.
Let’s get to it!
As the best overall pick on our list, Rossignol’s new Hero Elite Plus Ti is one of the best models available for any enthusiasts that want a ski that can truly carve.
In fact, this industry-leading ski has LCT (Line Control Technology) built-in, which uses a Titanal Power Rail, running the full length of the ski. This gives you both added stability and horsepower by eliminating much of the ski’s natural flex.
Additionally, these skis have a poplar wood core, which, combined with the extra Titanal layers, gives you damp, powerful performance for anytime that you’re hitting those extra tight turns down your fall line.
The Hero Elite Plus Ti also has a little bit of rocker right at the tip of the ski, called an “on-trail” rocker, which allows for quick turns, as well as having a camber throughout the rest of the ski’s length to deliver excellent edge hold and a high rebound.
Finally, the Hero Elite Plus Ti is built with Prop Tech, allowing the skis’ torsional flex to easily adapt to terrain changes. This gives you a highly responsive ride in any type of mountain condition.
So, if you’re looking for a high-performance ski that’s ideal for racing, high speeds, and virtually any type of terrain, I’d definitely recommend checking out the Hero Elite Plus Ti by Rossignol.
As the best premium skis on our list, the Nordica Enforcer 104 is guaranteed to not disappoint!
Compared to the older Enforcer Free 104 model, this new version comes with even better technology and improved graphics. With that said, this ski is ideal for any advanced skier who wants an excellent all-mountain ski that works great in softer snow.
The Enforcer Free 104 has a new True Tip Technology, which has replaced the original version’s ABS tips by extending the interior wood core. This works to give the ski more responsiveness, as well as helping to reduce its overall weight.
Plus, this ski has an Energy 2 Titanium Construction for added stability and better edge hold. In other words, the Enforcer Free 104 has two seperate layers of Titanal, squeezed inside the wooden core.
Their construction makes this ski lightweight and solid, perfect for high speeds and hard carves.
And for even more weight-reduction, the Enforcer has a new Carbon Reinforced Chassis, which provides almost instant rebound, and a consistent transfer of energy for when you come out of those hard carves.
Finally, the Enforcer Free 104 has a Powder Rocker Tip, which quickly engages any edges, and gives you a bit of natural floatation while shredding through softer powder.
All in all, this pair of skis will take your all-mountain skiing up a level by providing you with everything we’ve come to expect from Nordica.
If you’re looking for an excellent ski that’s not going to drain your entire bank account, look no further than the best-value Salomon XDR 80 TI. Designed specifically for more advanced skiers, the XDR 80 is guaranteed to give you a thrilling, breathtaking ride on any mountain.
Complete with a full-sandwich sidewall construction, Salomon’s XDR 80 provides excellent precision and stability when riding the slopes, while also offering amazing edge hold and snow contact at the same time.
Furthermore, they have a full poplar wood core, which helps to increase their performance by absorbing vibrations as much as possible.
So whether you’re looking to carve up a freshly groomed slope, or you’re planning on adventuring out into the backcountry, the XDR 80 TI is yet another awesome all-mountain ski to take into consideration.
If you’re a lady looking to bomb the entire slope at full speed, then the Nordica Santa Ana 93 is going to make an excellent option for you.
They have a narrower width, which makes for excellent turning and maneuverability on groomed hills, but they also have a good camber/rocker combination, making them ideal for shredding through fresh powder as well.
Designed with a balsa wood core sandwiched between two laminated metal sheets, the Santa Ana 93 is designed to be lightweight, while still providing you with plenty of control and carving ability.
Additionally, these skis are meant to have an increased edge hold, as well as being able to absorb vibrations, which gives you an extremely smooth and stable ride from the top all the way to the bottom of the hill.
Lastly, the Santa Ana 93 has an early rise tip combined with a tail rocker profile, which provides you with plenty of floatation in fluffier, powdered snow conditions. And with its 93mm waist, this ski is the perfect choice for any woman who wants an exceptionally versatile all-mountain ski.
As the number one, best beginner ski on our list, the Rossignol Experience 76 is perfect for any novice or intermediate rider that’s looking to hone their skills out on the hills.
This ski has a RossiTop Cap Construction throughout the full length of the ski, which allows you to skid, slide, or turn with ease. However, it’s also designed to provide you with a little bit of edge hold for when you feel like you’re ready to start carving your way down the slopes.
Complete with Carbon Reinforcements and a poplar wood core, the Experience 76 is designed specifically to be lightweight, while also providing enough strength and stability for amateurs that want to venture into some of the more advanced terrain.
Another awesome feature on this ski is that it uses Rossignol’s Air Tip VAS, which is designed specifically to dampen vibrations and eliminate practically all tip wobbles. In other words, this ski is designed specifically for a smooth ride at all times.
Finally, the all-terrain rocker profile has an underfoot camber combined with a rockered tip and tail for increased maneuverability.
Made by using Blizzard’s Quattro Concept, this ski is designed specifically with an emphasis on stability, control, agility, and precision. In other words, it’s the perfect choice for any skiers looking to slice mid-radius carves frontside all the way down the mountain.
Plus, with 2mm of rocker at both the tail and tip, the Quattro 8.4 TI is a ski that delivers incredible maneuverability on the slopes.
It’s built using an IQ Sandwich Compound Sidewall and a carbon core that remains stable at higher speeds, while also providing you with a solid, much needed grip on hard packed snow conditions.
So if you’re looking for a ski that’s stable and maneuverable, the Quattro 8.4 might just be the right ski for you.
Designed specifically for intermediate to advanced riders, the Rossignol Seek 7 HD might just be the ski that you’ve always been looking for.
In order to provide you with plenty of control and floatability on virtually any type of terrain, the Seek 7 HD has a rockered tip and tail. So whether you’re riding through fresh powder, crud, or on a hard-packed, groomed trail, the Seek 7 HD is guaranteed to give you the maneuverability that you want and need.
Additionally, the Seek 7 HD has an underfoot camber, which adds a good bit of edge hold and rebound energy for when riding on those harder packed, groomed trails.
Furthermore, the Seek 7 HD is designed using a poplar wood core that feels light, but remains extremely stable at higher speeds.
As one of the top-selling skis from Nordica, the Enforcer 100 is an excellent choice for the more experienced skiers in our audience, who might be looking for a powerful all-mountain ski designed specifically for use in fresh powder.
The Enforcer 100 uses Nordica’s Refined Rocker Depth, which varies by size, giving each individual ski length its own performance personality depending on the rider’s size and skill.
Plus, the True Tip Technology is really a game-changer that has increased the Enforcer 100’s playfulness by cutting out any ABS construction in the tip, and replacing it by extending the solid wood core for a little bit of added weight reduction.
Built with an Energy 2 Titanium Construction, the Enforcer 100 has two layers of Titanal squeeze between the ski’s wood core. This type of construction gives this ski plenty of stability at higher speeds, as well as when you’re riding through rougher, crud conditions.
Finally, with its Carbon Reinforced Chassis, the Enforcer 100 is extremely lightweight, offering almost instant rebound, as well as a consistent energy transfer for when you’re coming out of those harder carves.
So, if you’re looking for an extremely versatile ski that can be used in practically any type of snow condition, but is specifically designed for shredding powder, then make sure to check out the Enforcer 100 series by Nordica.
Looking for an aggressive ripper that’s the perfect balance of powerful, playful, and easily maneuverable? Then, look no further than the Black Crows’ Daemon!
This ski has a full rocker profile, making it ideal for pivoting and smearing your turns, which is essential for skiing on tree-filled or rocky terrain.
The Daemon also has a 100cm Titanal reinforcement underfoot, which offers a unique flex pattern, where the ski remains extremely rigid directly underfoot, but gets progressively softer as you make your way towards either the tip or the tail.
Finally, the Daemon is built using a lightweight poplar wood core, which gives you plenty of rebound energy on the slopes. And to finish it all off, this ski has an exaggerated sidecut, which gets longer towards the tail and tip, providing you with precise steering in virtually any type of snow conditions.
Similar to the original Brahma model, the new Brahma 88 has a new, cleaner top sheet, and is perfect for any type of aggressive skier who likes spending their days on the frontside of the mountain, carving mid-sized radius turns, all while bombing their way over bumps and crud.
Both the overall shape and rocker profile gives the Brahma 88 an even sharper turning capability than the original model. Plus, it has a Carbon Flipcore Construction, which uses directional carbon fiber inserts, and helps to eliminate vibrations, all while allowing you to initiate your turns even quicker.
Furthermore, the Brahma 88 has a dual titanium layer, as well as a titanium binding interface, which provides you with extra power and stability. Not to mention, this makes the Brahma 88 ideal for larger, more aggressive skiers.
The medium width, 88mm waist provides a good deal of edge hold, perfect for carving, but it also delivers the much needed support and floatation for when you’re dipping into fresher powder.
The Brahma 88 is completed by its Sandwich Compound Sidewall Construction, which easily transfers a large amount of rebound energy to the snow, and provides you with an unmatched edge hold on harder, packed snow.
Finally, this ski has a combination poplar and beechwood core, which adds a solid, powerful feeling to your rides. In turn, you’ll be free to confidently push your limits, stepping out of your comfort zone, and hitting the slopes at higher speeds than ever before.
Although it's a great idea to browse through the year’s best brands and their top models, there’s actually quite a bit more to choosing a good pair of skis.
So keep reading, and we’ll go over the 4 most important factors to keep in mind when shopping for your next set of skis.
When shopping for skis, choosing the right size and length depends almost entirely on a person’s body weight, height, and the type of riding that they plan on doing.
However, a good starting point is to always choose a ski that fits somewhere between the top of your head and your chin. This just helps you find an adequate length before you consider other factors, such as your riding style or the terrain you plan on skiing.
With that said, different skiers are going to have different preferences when it comes to size and length.
Therefore, for beginners, a shorter ski is generally recommended because they make turning easier, and are more suited for slower riding. But on the other hand, longer skis are better suited for faster speeds and sharper turns, making them ideal for the more aggressive riders out there.
See the infographic below to better understand the specific ski length you should aim for.
When shopping for skis, it’s important to understand that the width of the ski will have a major impact on how the skis actually feel and perform on the slopes.
A ski’s width is typically measured from the center of the ski, most often at the narrowest point.
However, it’s not uncommon to see ski dimensions given in a three-number format to describe the width at the tip, waist, and tail.
Generally, a more narrow ski will usually offer quicker, sharper turns, while a wider ski will offer better floatation when riding in thick, fresh powder.
When it comes to browsing through the skis that we’ve reviewed today, I’m sure you’ve noticed that all of the skis we’ve mentioned have different types of profiles, having either a camber, rocker, or combination profile.
While you’re free to choose whatever type of profile you want, the most important thing to remember is that each different type of profile will be suited for a specific type of skiing.
Traditional skis most often have a cambered profile, which gives them an arch curving upward at the center of the ski. This works to help evenly distribute your body weight across the length of the ski.
Cambered profiles are generally preferred by advanced ski racers or park riders because they offer better edge hold, allowing for more precise turning, while still offering plenty of rebound energy on almost any type of snow.
Next up, a rocker profile, which is sometimes described as a reverse-camber, is simply the opposite of a camber profile, where both the tip and tail arch upwards.
This type of profile gives you a bit more of a looser feel, as well as more maneuverability on the slopes by freeing up the skis’ main contact points with the snow. This results in less edge-catching, which makes a rocker profile more ideal for beginner or intermediate skiers.
A rocker profile is also excellent for providing you with a bit more floatation while riding in deeper powder.
And lastly, you’ll often see different ski profiles that combine a camber or rocker shape. This allows manufacturers to fine-tune their designs, creating skis that are made specifically for different types of riding.
Although there’s truly no such thing as a beginner ski, there are many different types of skis, features, and variations, which will ultimately affect how you feel and perform on the slopes.
Therefore, as a beginner it’s better to look for shorter, wider skis that are specifically meant for more control and less speed.
While, on the other hand, if you’re a bit more experienced, you should be fine using longer, narrower skis, which will give you faster top speeds and quicker, sharper turns while carving.
Although the exact definition of an all-mountain ski is going to vary depending on who you ask, most manufacturers and retailers consider all-mountain skis to be somewhere between 85mm to 105mm in width.
This makes them ideal for carving on a hard packed hill, or for providing you with a bit of “float” when skiing in fresh powder.
So in other words, all-mountain skis are more versatile than other types of skis, and can take on a wider variety of slope conditions.
Typically, when shopping for a pair of skis, you’re going to want to find a pair that fits somewhere between your chin and the top of your head when you’re standing up straight.
But while this will give you a rough idea of a good length, it’s completely up to you to decide what length of ski you want to use.
Just keep in mind that shorter skis are easier to control and generally won’t go as fast, while longer skis are better suited for faster, more aggressive skiers.
The truth is that there isn’t really such a thing as a “beginner ski”.
However, there are some skis that work very well for beginner skiers, and some that simply don’t. But all of this has more to do with the shape, width, weight, and flex of the skis, than it does with the experience level of the rider.
What I’m trying to say here is that many of the same skis that work great for beginners are the same skis that work well for the professionals as well.
So, as a beginner, the only real way to know what works best for you is to try a number of skis, and see what you do and don’t like about them.
However, here are a few quick tips for buying skis as a beginner:
Although all-mountain skis are considered as the most versatile, there are also many other types of skis available that are each designed specifically for their own range of uses, such as:
Depending on the type of skiing you plan on doing, some of these other types might be a better choice for you.
But, if you’re less experienced or just getting into the sport, all-mountain skis are likely the best choice for you since they offer the most versatility.
Additionally, and dependent on your budget/preferences, you might also want to purchase a ski bag, a good pair of goggles, and maybe even a set of walkie-talkies, in case you want to keep in touch with your party while on the slopes.
Also, don’t forget to dress warmly for your current weather conditions. Nothing is worse than having to cut a ski day short just because you forgot to layer up before heading out.
While skiing “crud” or “crud skiing” is something that you might hear often enough around the slopes, the definition of crud isn’t exactly clear.
However, for the most part, crud is a term used to describe powder that has been heavily tracked on. In this sense, it’s the opposite of corduroy, which is the pattern left on the hill after the grooming machine has passed by.
While corduroy is generally fairly easy to ski, crud is considered much harder and more unpredictable to ski.
Therefore, skiers must always be extra cautious, ensuring to keep their balance, when they’re skiing crud.
When it comes down to the language of skiing, there are plenty of terms that you may not be totally familiar with.
So with that said, let’s take a look at a few terms that are commonly heard on the mountain, but that you might not know what they mean, especially if you’re just getting acquainted with the sport.
When it comes down to choosing your next pair of skis, making the decision tends to be a little bit easier said than done.
Fortunately, we’ve put together this handy guide on choosing the best all-mountain skis for hitting the slopes in 2020.
Whenever you’re shopping for a new pair of skis, you’re going to make sure that the skis you choose are the right size and style for the type of skiing that you’re planning on doing. And it’s also extremely important to choose a type of ski that’s suitable for your skill level.
Don’t go buying yourself a professional pair of skis when you’ve never even been on a hill.
But in the end, make sure to choose a pair that you like, that fits you properly, and that you’re going to be proud of when hitting the slopes this year.
And with that said, browsing our guide of the top 10 best all-mountain skis is a great place to start!