The Best All Mountain Frontside Skis of 2016
From groomers to glades, bumps to short-swing turns in the fall line, these frontside skis do everything you need
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This year's planks are more versatile—and fun—than ever. Whatever your style, these four skis can handle anything at your favorite resort, but they're best suited to moguls, glades, and fast hot laps down groomers.
Best For: Supreme versatility.
The Test: The old Kendo was a fall-line machine that excelled at linking arcs on groomers, with occasional off-piste forays. The new Kendo—with tip and tail rocker and some subtle tapering—is all that, just with more off-trail chops. Like its older sibling, it uses wood and metal, but the new shape makes turn initiation far easier, despite the added width. The camber underfoot improves edge hold.
The Verdict: If the Brahma is a damp, stable all-arounder, the Kendo is its lighter, more playful relative. 127/90/110
Price $825 Overall 5 Carving 4.5
Atomic Vantage 90 CTI
Best For: Western groomers.
The Test: This ski feels silky and practically begs to contour the fall line—no excess muscle required. We credit the superb ride to Atomic’s Carbon Tank Mesh construction, an open-weave fiber that replaces much of the ski’s metal. We loved the 90 on- and off-trail, but it especially shone on smooth groomers.
The Verdict: This Vantage can handle more off-trail skiing than you might expect. “You just want to make turns on groomers and bounce around in the trees all day,” one tester said. 133.5/90/117
Price $725 Overall 4.5 Carving 4.5
Dynastar Powertrack 84
Best For: Short-swing turns in the fall line.
The Test: We expected the Powertrack to be nimble on groomers. What surprised us was how easily it handled bumps, chalky snow in the trees, and tight chutes. The secret? The five-point sidecut, with a tapered tip for easy turn initiation and an hourglass silhouette to lock you into the belly of the carving arc. Because the tail is also tapered, you can change direction at will.
The Verdict: You’ll carve rounder turns than the ski-school automatons, then drop them easily off-trail. 123/84/106
Price $600 Overall 4.5 Carving 4.5
Best For: Corduroy, glades, and bumps.
The Test: The skis in this category need to be stable yet dynamic on edge but still nimble enough for off-trail adventures. The Brahma sets the new standard here. World Cup–quality innards (poplar, beech, and aluminium) and a 62-foot turn radius mean you can arc through GS gates. But the mix of rocker and camber makes it equally adept off-trail.
The Verdict: Western skiers will want a powder ski to back it up, but it sure is versatile. 125/88/110
Price $780 Overall 5 Carving 5