Ski tester Jon Sexauer demos all-mountain skis
Ski tester Jon Sexauer takes a pair of all-mountain skis off trail and into Sun Valley's glades to test their agility and crud performance. (Photo: Ray J Gadd)
2023 Winter Gear Guide

The Best All-Mountain Skis of 2023

Don’t bother checking the snow report—these skis always deliver, no matter the conditions

Ski tester Jon Sexauer demos all-mountain skis
Jon Sexauer

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This article was first published by SkiMag.com.

The all-mountain category is the sweet spot for those who want one ski made to handle every North American ski resort, every day. The skis we test in this category feature wider platforms underfoot—usually between 90mm and 100mm—but aren’t as fat as powder planks. This means they can float, but they still feature enough camber, sidecut, and beefy materials in the core to tackle the groomers and the conditions you’re likely to encounter off-trail.

Looking for the best women’s all mountain skis of 2023? Check them out here.

How We Test

The unisex all-mountain skis listed below are the cream of this year’s crop—out of 27 unisex all-mountain skis tested at the 2023 gear test in Sun Valley, these 17 sticks that impressed testers the most with their ability to tackle everything and anything thrown at them. They’re listed in ranked order, with the highest performing ski, the 2023 Nordica Enforcer 100, at the top. Each ski’s overall score is a product of how 15 testers—a mix of men and women who are all advanced and expert skiers from across the country—scored the ski across nine different skill departments: Versatility, Crud Performance, Stability at Speed, Responsiveness, Carving, Quickness, Forgiveness, Playfulness, and Flotation.

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We believe the skis listed below set the benchmark for what an all-mountain ski is designed to do. That said, remember that ski testing (and skiing) is somewhat subjective. While we’re big fans of the category-winning Nordica Enforcer 100, it may not be the best choice for every skier. So don’t just look at a ski’s score—read testers’ feedback to understand the nuances of each ski and who it’s best suited to. Otherwise, you might wind up with a great ski, just not the right ski for you.

Meet the Testers

Jon Sexauer

Age: 36 | Height: 5′7″ | Weight: 150 lbs

A self-proclaimed gear nerd when it comes to skis and mountain bikes, Sexauer grew up skiing in Northern California, spending the majority of his time getting loose and sendy in terrain parks. He now lives in Colorado and calls Copper Mountain his home hill. Though he still gravitates towards playful and wide all-mountain skis, he’s developed a more open mind when it comes to skis since joining SKI’s official gear test crew five seasons ago. These days, you’ll find him ripping around Copper on his trusty Nordica Enforcer 100s.

Chad Jacob

Age: 40 | Height: 5′10″ | Weight: 195 lbs

Jacob is a ski race coach from the East Coast and skis like one. At his home hill of Bristol Mountain, N.Y., you’ll likely find him carving up icy groomers on a set of skinny skis. Jacob is a veteran gear tester who has tested skis for both Outside Magazine and SKI.

Nick Loomans

Age: 36 | Height: 6′0″ | Weight: 180 lbs

Loomans grew up in Mukwonago, Wisc., and took up skiing at Alpine Valley Resort. He was an USCSA All-American skier for the University of Minnesota. Translation: He knows how to bend a ski. But after moving to Utah and making Alta/Snowbird his home mountains, he’s also become a powder and backcountry connoisseur.

Reviews: The Best All-Mountain Skis of 2023

No. 1: Nordica Enforcer 100 ($800)

2023 Nordica Enforcer 100
(Photo: Courtesy Nordica)

Overall score: 7.5/10
Lengths (cm): 165, 172, 179, 186, 191
Dimensions (mm): 132.5-100-120.5
Radius (m): 17.3
Pros:Versatility, Crud performance
Cons:
Quickness, Forgiveness

Buy Now

The Nordica Enforcer 100 is a perennial high performer in the all-mountain category, and this year is no exception. Once again it scored the highest overall marks after snagging top scores in the Versatility, Crud Performance, and Flotation departments. Testers were impressed with how much energy it displays for those willing to ski fast and aggressively, both on- or off-piste, although the group agreed that the latter is where the ski really shines. Just be forewarned: The Enforcer 100 isn’t the most forgiving and requires strong fundamentals and a willingness to ski hard to unlock its full power; smaller and lighter skiers may have a hard time managing this ski, since it has a tendency to take off on you if you find yourself in the backseat. Nevertheless, testers concurred that it’s the best option for advanced and expert skiers looking for one ski to tackle the whole mountain on all but the deepest of days. “This is that do-everything ski you tell your friends about—as long as you’ve got some weight behind you,” said Vermont-based tester Adam Jaber.

Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.


No. 2: Armada Declivity 92 Ti ($825)

2023 Armada Declivity 92 Ti
(Photo: Courtesy Armada)

Overall score: 7.38/10
Lengths (cm): 164, 172, 180, 188
Dimensions (mm): 132-92-118
Radius (m): 17.5
Pros: Quickness, Playfulness
Cons:
Flotation, Hard-snow integrity

Buy Now

The Declivity 92 Ti is easy enough for intermediates, but also has plenty of energy for aggressive skiers looking to push the limits. It’s nimble and energetic in small- to medium-radius turns, and happy to venture into softer snow, providing a predictable platform on which to explore the whole mountain. Armada’s EST All Mountain Rocker, which combines rocker and a tapered sidecut in the tip and tail, means the Declivity 92 Ti responds to skier input instantaneously. Testers awarded it top scores in the Responsiveness department as a result. There were mixed opinions on the ski’s ability to handle true hardpack conditions, but everyone agreed that it performs exceptionally in soft, variable snow and that it really excels off-piste. The Declivity 92 Ti could be the do-it-all ski for any skier anywhere, regardless of snow conditions. “Want a ski you can get way more out of than you put into it? Here you go. It’s a blast anywhere you take it,” says tester Otto Gibbons, a hardgoods buyer for a ski shop in Bellevue, Washington.

Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.


No. 3: Völkl M6 Mantra ($750)

2023 Völkl M6 Mantra
(Photo: Courtesy Völkl)

Overall score: 7.32/10
Lengths (cm): 163, 170, 177, 184, 191
Dimensions (mm): 135-96-119
Radius (m): 18
Pros: Hard-snow integrity, Crud performance
Cons:
Playfulness, Forgiveness

Buy Now

You know exactly what you’re getting with the M6 Mantra: a dependable, burly ski that’s an absolute joy to carve on. It demands attention and strong fundamentals, but can be trusted at speed on groomers as well as through crud, slop, or whatever other conditions you happen upon. The M6 has plenty of energy from turn to turn, but requires you to ramp things up before it really comes to life—which means some might find the ski overly demanding and not the most playful. For a ski with 96mm underfoot, the M6 feels slightly slow to respond, and only the most aggressive skiers will get it to turn on a dime. But if you’re an athletic or expert skier looking for a ski that can eat up groomers and charge steeps, one that also allows you to muscle through variable snow, the M6 Mantra delivers. “It’s a strong, confident charger that will reward you with smiles if you can push it,” said New York-based tester Chad Jacob.

Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.


No. 4: Blizzard Rustler 9 ($650)

2023 Blizzard Rustler 9
(Photo: Courtesy Blizzard)

Overall score: 7.31/10
Lengths (cm): 164, 172, 180, 188
Dimensions (mm): 127.5-94-117
Radius (m): 17
Pros: Carving, Responsiveness
Cons:
 Crud performance, Quickness

Buy Now

Testers raved about the Rustler 9’s energy and how it urges you to push the speed limit. Blizzard’s Carbon Flipcore D.R.T.  (Dynamic Release Technology) construction increases the ski’s strength and stability while keeping weight low, which inspires confidence when carving turns through variable terrain. This makes the Rustler 9 exhilarating for strong, assertive skiers, yet still accessible to intermediates starting to push their limits. Despite the slimmer 94mm waist, this ski wants room to roam, and, according to testers, it isn’t the best option for tighter trees or bumps, where the ski is a little too demanding, especially in variable snow. That said, it’s a great choice for the aggressive frontside skier who wants to dabble in more exciting terrain from time to time, but prioritizes edge hold and stability over playfulness. “Strong, energetic ski with an added bonus of being damp,” said Jacob. “This is a crowd pleaser for sure.”

Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.


No. 5: Scott Pure Mission ($850)

2023 Scott Pure Mission
(Photo: Courtesy Scott)

Overall score: 7.14/10
Lengths (cm): 170, 177, 184
Dimensions (mm): 133-98-119
Radius (m): 19
Pros: Crud performance, Hard-snow integrity
Cons:
Quickness, Playfulness

Buy Now

If you’re looking to arc longer turns on hardpack or blast through chunder off-piste, the Pure Mission is a perfect tool for the job. Featuring a dual paulownia/beech wood core along with a mix of Titanal and carbon-fiber construction, it maintains a light weight while boasting enough torsional stiffness to provide edge hold on firmer snow. Kick it into high gear when you’re cruising down the fall line on- or off-piste and it will oblige. Just make sure you have enough room to let the ski run, since it’s not the most responsive or quickest to transition from edge to edge. For intermediate to advanced skiers, the Pure Mission hits the sweet spot with high scores in Crud Performance, Hard-Snow Integrity, and Stability at Speed without being overly demanding. Testers recommend it as a frontside ski, with enough versatility to let you explore the whole mountain. “Solid all-around all-mountain ski for intermediate to advanced skiers,” said Utah-based tester and race coach Nick Loomans.

Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.


No. 6: Head Kore 93 ($875)

Head Kore 93
(Photo: Courtesy Head)

Overall score: 7.12/10
Lengths (cm): 156, 163, 170, 177, 184, 191
Dimensions (mm): 133-93-115
Radius (m): 16.4
Pros: Forgiveness, Quickness
Cons:
Carving, Stability at speed

Buy Now

The Kore 93 received high marks for Forgiveness, Playfulness, Responsiveness, and Quickness, which explains why testers rave about its approachability for a wide variety of skiers. The 93mm waist allows for quick pivots in bumps, but the ski still packs enough of a punch to feel stable in crud and variable snow on- and off-piste. What we noticed most was its balance: It’s energetic and easily controlled without offering too much feedback from turn to turn, making it a stable foundation that won’t punish less-aggressive skiers for mistakes. The lighter weight didn’t help performance on hardpack, however, where testers noticed it tended to chatter and deflect. But, at the end of the day, the Kore 93 is the definition of an all-mountain ski: It handles the entire mountain with ease and has enough chops to keep even the hardest-charging skiers smiling lap after lap. “Great ski for almost any skier in most conditions,” said tester and Aspen Snowmass ski instructor, Jeff Bruegger. “Could be a one-ski quiver.”

Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.


No. 7: Stöckli Stormrider 95 ($1,199)

Stöckli Stormrider 95
(Photo: Courtesy Stöckli)

Overall score: 7.09/10
Lengths: 166, 175, 184, 193
Dimensions: 132-95-123
Radius: 19.4
Pros: Hard-snow integrity, Carving
Cons:
Playfulness, Forgiveness

Buy Now

You know how the Stöckli Stormrider 95 is going to ski as soon as you see it. The signature brushed-Titanal topsheet screams that you are a confident and competent skier who appreciates the finer things in life: making beautiful turns across the fall line on-piste and playing off-piste when conditions allow. Even with a lightweight core and a freeride construction that reduces the weight in the tip, you’ll need to put some time in at the gym and be sure to have your technical skills dialed so your legs can keep up, especially off-trail. The Stormrider 95 is not a nimble and playful all-mountain ski, but the topsheet gives all that away upfront, so if you find yourself on a pair, that wasn’t the primary goal for your skiing and you know it. “These things rip and are a blast in all terrain and all conditions,” says Colorado-based tester Jon Sexauer.

Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.


No. 8: Fischer Ranger 96 ($850)

2023 Fischer Ranger 96
(Photo: Courtesy Fischer)

Overall score: 7.07/10
Lengths (cm): 159, 166, 173, 180, 187
Dimensions (mm): 129-97-120
Radius (m): 18
Pros: Quickness, Responsiveness
Cons:
Flotation, Hard-snow integrity

Buy Now

Fischer spent nearly three years overhauling the Ranger line, and the work paid off with the Ranger 96. The beech/poplar wood core and a layer of metal called Shaped Ti provide optimal power transfer and stability that create a strong base for an energetic, nimble ski that remains dependable and balanced in all conditions for a wide variety of skiers. If you want to take a few laps cruising groomers and then dip into bumps and crud once your legs are warmed up, the Ranger 96 is up for the challenge. The most-advanced skiers who prefer to drive the ski aggressively may find it a little lacking, and there was some concern about hard-snow performance. But overall, testers agreed that the Ranger 96 was a jack of all trades for intermediate to advanced skiers who split their time evenly on- and off-piste. “Could happily grab this ski, fly anywhere, and have a good time,” said Gibbons.

Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.


No. 9: J Skis The Fastforward ($769)

J Skis The Fastforward badlands
(Photo: Courtesy J Skis)

Overall score: 6.99/10
Lengths (cm): 160, 167, 174, 181, 187
Dimensions (mm): 124-92-111
Radius (m): 18.2
Pros: Playfulness, Quickness
Cons:
Flotation, Crud performance

Buy Now

Turns out that putting metal in a ski doesn’t have to be a turn-off for lighter-weight or less-aggressive skiers. The Fastforward’s Titanal laminate and maple wood core construction provide the pop that makes skiing fun without the heavy and damp feel that can make metal less desirable for some skiers. If your priority is maximizing your fun factor per run, the Fastforward’s snappy, agile nature allows you to rip turns on groomers and hot dog down bump lines. It isn’t burly enough to be a hard-charger on firm or variable snow, and skiers who have honed their technique on race courses will want more carving performance. That being said, most of us mere mortals love to ski because it’s fun, and this ski provides an approachable and reliable platform for intermediate through advanced skiers to get out and have fun all over the mountain. Loomans: “Energetic and peppy. Super solid underfoot if kept at moderate speeds, and an all-around fun ski you could spend the whole day on.”

Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.


No. 10: Dynastar M-Pro 90 ($800)

Dynastar M-Pro 90
(Photo: Courtesy Dynastar)

Overall score: 6.87/10
Lengths (cm): 162, 170, 178, 186
Dimensions (mm): 120-90-110
Radius (m): 18
Pros: Carving, Quickness
Cons:
Flotation, Playfulness

Buy Now

We aren’t all skiers with Olympic aspirations—or maybe we once had them, but now split our time on snow chasing the kids around the hill and sneaking in a few quick laps while they’re taking a cocoa break in the lodge. The Dynastar M-Pro 90 is the ski that understands that balance between prior ambitions and skiing realities. The poplar wood core provides a forgiving yet high-performance platform that won’t beat you up for mistakes and allows you to still get after it. The rocker profile gives the M Pro 90 some flotation and versatility off-piste, but made testers nervous to push the ski on firm snow. For skiers looking to spend the majority of their time lapping the frontside groomers and occasionally opening up to find their speed limit, this is an easy-to-ski option that can keep up. “Easygoing ski that can be turned up to 10 if you can give it to it,” said Jacob.

Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.


No. 11: 4FRNT MSP 99 ($739)

2023 4FRNT MSP CC
(Photo: Courtesy 4FRNT)

Overall score: 6.87/10
Lengths (cm): 171, 176, 181, 187
Dimensions (mm): 134-99-122
Radius (m): 18
Pros: Crud performance, Stability at speed
Cons:
Forgiveness, Playfulness

Buy Now

The MSP 99 begs you to climb aboard and shred the entire mountain as playfully or aggressively as you’d like. The ample sidecut and slight tip rocker allow the ski to pivot quickly and confidently from edge to edge, whether it’s on groomers or off-piste. The 99mm waist strikes a perfect balance between providing everyday ski-ability and offering enough flotation to handle everything outside of the deepest days. Lighter and shorter testers found the MSP 99 to be on the burly side of the spectrum, but taller and heavier testers felt the opposite and enjoyed the ski’s agile and peppy nature. For those who used to find themselves lapping the park, the MSP 99 is great for expanding your view of the mountain, yet it is also a solid option for strong intermediate to advanced skiers who want a versatile, hard-charging ski. “A go-to for all conditions,” said Brady Newton, a tester who calls Snowbird his home mountain. “Could be skied every day at Western resorts, besides on perhaps the deepest powder days.”


No. 12: Rossignol Sender 94 Ti ($700)

Rossignol Sender 94 Ti
(Photo: Courtesy Rossignol)

Overall score: 6.86/10
Lengths (cm): 156, 164, 172, 178, 186
Dimensions (mm): 128-94-118
Radius (m): 19
Pros: Stability at speed, Carving
Cons:
Flotation, Playfulness

Buy Now

The Sender 94 Ti simply rips. “It skis like a modified GS ski,” one tester commented, so yeah, it wants to go fast, and it likely won’t let you find its speed limit. At 94mm underfoot, it isn’t going to float in deep or variable snow, but testers still found the Sender to be versatile enough to explore off-trail in mixed terrain. It performs best in wide-open spaces and at moderate to high speeds, which did not garner it high scores in the Playfulness or Forgiveness categories, making this ski better suited for stronger, assertive skiers. If you spend most of your time on snow seeing how deep you can carve trenches while reaching terminal velocity on groomers, but you still like to explore the mountain a little, the Sender 94 Ti will take you there—and it will take you there quickly. “I was happy putting the ski deep on edge on the groomer and searching for the speed limit—and being unable to find it,” said Gibbons.


No. 13: Line Blade Optic 96 ($850)

Line Blade Optic 96
(Photo: Courtesy Line)

Overall score: 6.83/10
Lengths (cm): 163, 170, 177, 184
Dimensions (mm): 129-96-119
Radius (m): 16
Pros: Quickness, Versatility
Cons:
Hard-snow integrity, Flotation

Buy Now

Line may have had the reputation of being a new-school-minded brand, but the Blade Optic 96 pushes that notion even further into the past. This ski was able to manage in all terrain, whether tipped on edge carving on-piste, slashing turns, or mashing through crud. It could be chattery on hard-packed groomers, and it didn’t inspire the most confidence in firmer variable snow, but all testers found this a dreamy ride in softer conditions. The Blade Optic 96 remains approachable for less-aggressive skiers looking to explore beyond the groomers and provides a great base from which to grow. Once the skis get up to speed, they really begin to shine, so more-aggressive skiers won’t be disappointed. Regardless of ability, after a few runs on these skis, the thought of Line being new school will quickly fade from memory as you blast turns with confidence. Jacob: “Surprisingly quick and stable at moderate speeds. Super-playful ski if you’re willing to put in the effort.”


No. 14: Salomon QST 98 ($725)

Salomon QST 98
(Photo: Courtesy Salomon)

Overall score: 6.72/10
Lengths (cm): 169, 176, 183, 189
Dimensions (mm): 132-98-120
Radius (m): 16
Pros: Forgiveness, Versatility
Cons:
Carving, Playfulness

Buy Now

Testers found the QST 98 to be a damp and stable ski that remained approachable for most skiers. Salomon uses cork in the tip and tail to provide vibration absorption and damping while maintaining a light weight, which accounts for the QST 98’s versatility in a mix of terrain and conditions. It performed exceptionally well on Sun Valley’s steep groomed terrain, yet still allowed testers to confidently explore tree runs and play in moguls. The tail rocker did affect the QST 98’s ability to finish turns on hardpack, but also provided the snappy release that helped it score highly in terms of quickness. The consensus is that the QST 98 is suitable for just about any skier on the mountain, and it’s up to the individual to decide how far they want to push it in any terrain and in all conditions. “Simple enough for an intermediate, but enough guts to satisfy even the most advanced skiers, anywhere on the mountain,” said Sexauer.


No. 15: K2 Mindbender 89Ti ($850)

K2 Mindbender 89Ti
(Photo: Courtesy K2)

Overall score: 6.62/10
Lengths (cm): 164, 170, 176, 182, 188
Dimensions (mm): 130-89-114
Radius (m): 16.6
Pros: Versatility, Quickness
Cons:
Flotation, Hard-snow integrity

Buy Now

Skiing has plenty of surprises—weather, trail conditions, lift lines—but the K2 Mindbender 89Ti won’t be one of them, as it consistently delivers a good time for intermediate to advanced skiers. Testers found it intuitive and enjoyable while cruising on groomed terrain, and it allowed for some exploring of off-piste bumps and trees. The 89mm waist allows the skis to pivot quickly, while the Titanal Y-beam construction—a y-shaped layer of Titanal throughout the length of the ski—provides the foundation for some edge hold without being overly demanding of less-aggressive or less-technically sound skiers. In softer conditions, the Mindbender 89Ti was smooth and effortless from turn to turn, but didn’t have the liveliness best suited to more advanced skiers. For moderate speeds in moderate terrain, this model helps make skiing instinctive and enjoyable; there might be an upper limit for how hard you can push it, but it will be a good time until you find it. “For those wanting a ski that is groomer-centric, it’s a blast,” said Gibbons. “Not for the deepest days, or laying the deepest trenches, but excellent for some big smiles.”


No. 16: Kästle MX88

Kästle MX88 2023
(Photo: Courtesy Kästle)

Overall score: 6.56/10
Lengths (cm): 159, 166, 173, 180, 187
Dimensions (mm): 130-88-114
Radius (m): 17.14
Pros: Carving, Stability at speed
Cons:
Flotation, Forgiveness

Buy Now

If your idea of fun is carving turns, dialing in your technique, and destroying that poor cat driver’s groomed masterpiece, the Kästle MX88 is the all-mountain ski of your dreams. For ex-racers and aggressive skiers who place the emphasis on trenching turn after turn, this ski has enough hard-snow integrity and stability at speed to let you push as hard as you want on the groomers. Definitely not for the faint of heart, the MX88 demands your attention and will punish you for poor technique, especially off-piste, with tips that tend to hook up early and an unforgiving stiff flex. The ski is right at home as a frontside option out West or as an all-mountain ski back East, as long as you stay on top of it. “The reward for the effort was a huge smile-maker on the firm snow,” said Jacob. “This is a ski for the ex-racer or hard-ripper who likes to carve turns more than they like to be off-trail.”


No. 17: Elan Ripstick 96 ($900)

Elan Ripstick 96
(Photo: Courtesy Elan)

Overall score: 6.55/10
Lengths (cm): 164, 172, 180, 188
Dimensions (mm): 136-96-110
Radius (m): 18
Pros: Playfulness, Forgiveness
Cons:
Hard-snow integrity, Stability at speed

Buy Now

Elan has used its Amphibio profile, an asymmetrical construction where the inside edge of each ski is cambered while the outside edge is rockered, to create an approachable, intuitive, high-performing all-mountain ski in the Ripstick 96. It’s happy to hold an edge on groomers and easy to break free at the tails to change turn shape or send it off the side into bumps, crud, or trees. Testers did note that edge hold wasn’t sufficient to feel confident in firmer conditions, and there was a limit to how fast you could comfortably push it, but it would be a great choice for more moderately paced skiing in softer conditions. On the deepest powder days, the 96mm waist would be a little overmatched, but the playful and approachable nature of the Ripstick 96 is what made testers so excited, not its deep-day prowess. “Lively, poppy, and easy to have it hook up when needed,” said Jacob. “An extremely accessible ski that still has the chops to ski at a high level.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best all-mountain skis?

  1. Nordica Enforcer 100
  2. Armada Declivity 92 Ti
  3. Völkl M6 Mantra
  4. Blizzard Rustler 9
  5. Scott Pure Mission
  6. Head Kore 93
  7. Stöckli Stormrider 95
  8. Fischer Ranger 96
  9. J Skis The Fastforward
  10. Dynastar M-Pro 90
  11. 4FRNT MSP 99
  12. Rossignol Sender 94 Ti
  13. Line Blade Optic 96
  14. Salomon QST 98
  15. K2 Mindbender 89Ti
  16. Kästle MX88
  17. Elan Ripstick 96

What is an all-mountain ski ?

From groomed runs to moguls to the steep-and-deep freeride terrain, all-mountain skis are designed to take on the entire mountain. They usually feature a waist between 85-100mm and are sold without bindings. The majority of all-mountain skis that our testers prefer feature wood cores and two sheets of metal—but there are exceptions that include no metal at all in favor of keeping the ski light and more playful. It’s hard to beat the versatility of an all-mountain ski, though these skis can be too wide for those who spend the majority of their time on groomers, and too narrow for those who ski mountains blessed with regular and bountiful snowfall. Read more: Can wider skis hack it back East?

What’s the difference between the All-Mountain and Frontside ski category?

Truth is, the line can be blurry between these two ski categories since ski manufacturers started throwing everything they have at producing well-rounded and versatile skis in both. As a result, you can now find narrow all-mountain skis that also rail on groomers and frontside skis that can hold their own in crud. That said, there are still some key differences between frontside and all-mountain skis, the biggest being that frontside skis are primarily designed for on-trail performance, while all-mountain skis (even the narrower ones) are engineered to tackle conditions and terrain off the groomers. Learn more here.

How long do skis last?

With proper care and regularly performed tuning by a professional ski tech, skis can last for 200-300 days on snow depending on the size and aggressiveness of the skier. Larger skiers and people who are harder on their equipment will not get as many days on snow before the wood core, edges, or other aspects of the ski become compromised. Bindings should be tested by a professional ski tech every season, and replaced when they do not meet standardized norms.

Related: Our gear editor’s favorite tools for waxing her skis at home

What’s the difference between men’s and women’s skis?

In truth, most skis are unisex and not gender-specific. Many brands produce the ski with the exact same construction technologies for both genders, but often create two different top sheets to appeal to men vs. women. A handful of brands are making truly women’s-specific skis, where the ski takes a woman’s physique into account when building the ski. Men and women can ski on the same ski but may want to choose different lengths depending on their height and their skiing ability.

Lead Photo: Ray J Gadd

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