The best all-mountain skis of the year will have you barreling around the resort so fast those “Yellow Jackets” won’t be able to catch you. These freeride-focused planks are built with directional chassis, plenty of camber underfoot and prefer to stay on edge as they lacerate groomers. If hot laps are your favorite thing, pick a pair from the list below.
Armada Declivity 92 Ti
The Declivity 92 Ti features Armada’s new Articulated Titanal Banding construction which combines Titanal and an elastic compound, allowing you to easily drive into a turn, build power and blast out of said turn faster than the speed of light. The result is a ski that feels like more than the sum of its parts and one that will have you absolutely destroying hardpack. But the ski won’t stop there. Thanks to a tapered and rockered tip and tail, the 92 Ti is not afraid to take on some soft and variable snow. Step in and hang on—if you can.
Resort-focused, rippers looking for the best all-mountain skis are in for a treat here. Rossignol’s all-new HolyShred is a camber-heavy ski that offers maximum rebound with a touch of forgiveness and a hefty dose of pop. A Titanal insert underfoot and full camber shaping allow you to lay into carves while a layer of race-inspired Diago Fiber—a cross-hatched thread—adds responsiveness without adding bulk. Don’t hesitate when you want to dive into trees and bumps or ollie that roller underneath the chairlift; the extended poplar wood core, wide shovel, a touch of tip/tail rocker and 98-millimeter waist width round-out this agile, do-it-all package.
J skis The Masterblaster
This mid-waisted ripper is designed to seamlessly blend race-inspired construction with the namesake playfulness that you’d expect from a Jason Levinthal ski. Narrow Titanal strips running above and below the full maple wood core enhance performance, dampening the ride and increasing power edge-to-edge. There’s also a subtle tip rocker (for better skiing in a few inches of fresh) but the ski is designed specifically to maintain complete edge engagement on firmer snow. Handling reminiscent of a Corvette, paired with the all-terrain capabilities of a Land Cruiser, The Masterblaster as a true all-mountain workhorse.
Fischer Ranger 99 Ti
The middle of the range for models that bear the “Ti” moniker in Fischer’s Ranger lineup, the Ranger 99 Ti, one of the best all-mountain skis this year, is a ski that transcends the needs of East and West Coast skiers. Two sheets of metal offer undeniable power underfoot while a carbon nose and modest tip rocker keep things light and maneuverable up front. The sub-100-millimeter waist width makes it a great resort ski that can rip turns down early morning corduroy and then blast through crud all afternoon. Imagine driving a Mini Cooper with a four-inch lift and all-terrain tires… now you get it.
Head Kore 93
A tight turning radius and modest waist width mark this offering as a bonafide frontside champion; it’s the Lionel Messi of Head’s Kore Series, nimble, intuitive, confident yet willing to get creative. Our testers raved about its piste-focused performance, which is generated by a combination of lightweight karuba wood, rigid Graphene tip/tail inlays and dynamic Koroyd layered through the ski’s core. While many of the Kore Series skis maintain a freestyle feel, this ski rides best on hardpack but its gentle tip and tail rocker provides an extra bit of forgiveness when the snow becomes variable. East coast skiers and piste-hounds sick of skiing an unforgiving, directional ski need to give this twig a closer look.
4FRNT MSP 99
4FRNT’s MSP 99 offers a modern take on a classic, cambered ski design. First things first, the 99-millimeter waist and camber underfoot let you dive into carves like you would a bucket of fried chicken. The slight tip and tail rocker add to the flavor, providing a floaty feeling in crud while also making it easy to release the turn on a whim. What we really love about the MSP 99 is how damp it stays as you arc turns and sail over rollers, and that’s thanks to a balance of poplar wood and Titanal laminate in the core. Need to mix it up? Not a problem. Bang a right and jump into that mogul field or take a left and burn through those trees with ease.
Salomon Stance 96
All-new for this year, Salomon’s Stance 96 is a mid-waisted offering geared toward high-performance resort skiing and it’s one of the best all-mountain skis of the year. Equally at home on long, winding groomers of Big Sky and steep, crunchy shots at Killington, the Stance brings a race-inspired sidecut with a smooth turning prowess. Inside, Salomon strengthens the package with Metal Twin Frame technology—two layers of laminates, one milled for weight savings, with a carbon/flax weave integrated into the cut-out portion of the first laminate, promoting the ski’s reactivity. More than one tester wanted to take this plank home right away.
The Kästle MX98 is all about one thing: absolutely ripping turns. Smooth and consistent initiation comes standard thanks to Kästle’s patented Hollowtech 2.0 insert and early-rise tip. When exiting the turn you can expect explosive rebound from the Titanal, carbon and fiberglass layers surrounding the poplar and beech wood core. At 98 millimeters underfoot, you won’t be able to stop linking carve after carve—and we don’t blame you—but in the event that you do leave the groomer, the solid chassis will bust through variable conditions with ease making this one of the best all-mountain skis available right now.
Head Kore 99
Boasting a stiffer feel than its wider brethren, the Kore 99 is right at home ripping through East Coast glades or wide open powder fields in the Rocky Mountains. Offering the same, tried-and-true build found across the entire Kore Series—Graphene in the tips and tails for reactive steering through bumps and variable snow, honeycomb-shaped Koroyd underfoot for energy transferral and a noticeably stiff, lightweight karuba wood core—this ski is meticulously designed for edge-to-edge performance. Intermediate and advanced skiers will be enchanted pushing this ski to its limits.
Salomon QST 99
The updated, directional shape and an injection of energetic stiffness to the new QST 99 make it one of the best all-mountain skis this season. While the QST model has been around for four years now, the 2021 version brings a new feel underfoot: versatility paired with true-to-form directional performance. Here, full sandwich sidewalls add durability, cork inserts in the tip reduce chatter at speed and a carbon/flax weave increases rigidity. Riding this ski offers the ability to crank through moguls, weave through glades and cut trenches on-piste. Resort riders, this is your cordial invitation to join the Salomon family.
Decathlon Rookie 90
Fresh from the steeps of Chamonix comes the new Decathlon line of freeride skis. With a name like “the Rookie,” our testers expected it to ride similar to what the French call a “nouilles molles,” or a limp noodle, but most testers found themselves pleasantly surprised. With three years of development, Decathlon was able to craft a stable and responsive ride that’s suited toward a skier who rides mostly on-piste but likes to venture off every now and then. The Rookie utilizes the popular rocker-camber-rocker profile and comes complete with bindings.
Dynastar M-Pro 99
Brand spankin’ new for 2020-21, Dynastar is offering a mid-waisted, all-mountain freestyle powerhouse: the M-Pro 99, one of the best all-mountain skis this winter. Built of a hybrid core that combines poplar wood with a Rocket Frame insert of thoughtfully shaped Titanal, this ski makes for an exceptionally smooth ride and gives off racing-level rebound. While its downhill-focused appearance as a directional, flat-tail ski may turn off freeriders, don’t be fooled—the tip and tail rocker provide all the snow-crushing stability you’d ever want in a sturdy workhorse, and an adaptive sidecut gives you complete control of turn shape and size.
Elan Ripstick 96
Year after year, the Ripstick 96 is a favorite of FREESKIER testers because it outright rips. The ski’s Amphibio Technology, a cambered inside edge for superior grip and rockered outside edge for easy turn transitioning, returns unchanged this winter and was again a crowd-pleaser. Off-piste and across the hill, the lightweight construction and notably energetic core reward an active, “light on your feet” style of skiing. Frontside skiers who want to feel G-forces at the apex of every turn will rave about the Ripstick 96.
Völkl Blaze 94
Völkl is adding a new “lightweight freeride” lineup of skis—the Blaze series—which aims to satisfy the needs of skiers bouncing between the resort and backcountry, and who want to do so with a single set of planks. Here, a multi-layer wood core, fiberglass laminate and a metal mounting plate make up the ski’s noticeably lightweight interior. This ski, one of the best all-mountain skis around, provides a tight turning radius that maxes out the carving factor but is built with enough rocker in the tip and tail to carry you through new snow and crud without a problem. Slap some do-it-all bindings to these brand new skis and effectively cut the fat off your quiver—it might be the only ski you need.
Atomic Vantage 97 Ti
Formula One racing puts a combination of top-tier engineering and drivers on the edge of performance; now, with the Vantage 97 Ti, skiers can imagine themselves in the fast lane. This ski boasts an ash and poplar wood core, offering a highly responsive feel underfoot. Prolite construction—a lightweight build that starts with the slimmest possible profile, adding reinforcement in key areas where strength is needed—and a perforated Titanium layer (that you can see through the topsheet) provide skiers a lightweight solution to stability. Combined with a directional sidecut and a World Cup base finish for ultimate speed, advanced and expert piste-focused skiers looking for a reactive ride will find exactly that with the Vantage 97 Ti.
Faction Dictator 2.0
A dictator is not something we typically look fondly upon but in Faction’s case, we’re big fans of the head honcho. The Dictator series is a metal-infused directional freeride series and the 96-millimeter-waisted 2.0 is ideal for daily East Coast driving or firmer days in the Rockies. Two sheets of metal stiffen up the poplar wood core and are complemented by a flat tail for a ski that truly wants to haul ass. And while stability is the name of the game here, the Dictator doesn’t skimp on control as a dual radius sidecut allows you to shape every turn exactly as you need to.
All-new to the lineup this year is the Blade from Line Skis, the brand’s first foray designing a piste-focused carving ski. The outrageously wide shovel proves its ability to track through a few inches of fresh, but these planks are truly designed to do one thing: carve better than your grandfather slices the turkey on Thanksgiving. Former racers, groomer hounds and longtime fans of Line Skis will be drooling over these new offerings made with a full aspen wood core, stiff, directional flex and multi-radius sidecut. Line notes that the turn radius is “tight”—we agree and it couldn’t make us any happier.
Lib Tech Kook Stick 97
Hot off the (ski) press is the all-new experiMENTAL Kook Stick 97. Lib tech has long been known for implementing some off-the-wall ideas in ski and snowboard building and the Kook Stick is a prime example. Most notably, its RAD (Rocker Activated Drive) technology which combines rocker underfoot with cambered sections on either side of that and an early rise tip and tail—sort of like a mustache. The result is an easy-flexing ski that can dive into turns without you even thinking about it. Combine that with Lib Tech’s serrated-edge Magne-traction and you’ve got a frontside carving machine that shreds bumps like nobody’s business.
The mountain is your playground when you’re sporting these playful planks, FREESKIER’s definitive list of the best all-mountain skis on the market. Like we said, skis in this category are meant for all-mountain romping and are constructed with a combination of camber and rocker, more forgiving flex patterns and mirror-like shaping at the tips and tails. Let your imagination run wild as you pop, press and spin to your heart’s content.
Blizzard Rustler 9
The Rustler series has been a tester favorite since it first debuted in the 2017-18 season and now it’s one of the best all-mountain skis on the market. Three years later, it’s clear that the lineup hasn’t lost its luster: The Rustler 9 received top honors in this category thanks to its blistering performance at Ski Test. Inside, Carbon Flipcore D.R.T. combines poplar, beech, balsa and pauwlonia wood with a carbon fiberglass compound and a layer of Titanal that’s tapered toward the rockered tip and tail, adding a touch of forgiveness in this otherwise stiff ski. When it comes time to lay a carve, you just can’t mess with the Rustler.
Fischer Ranger 94 FR
The 94 FR is a great all-mountain jib stick that retains a durable, high-quality build thanks to sandwich sidewall construction. East Coasters and piste-carvers will appreciate the new, skinnier waist width and, as with all Ranger models, it has a beech and poplar wood core for a solid yet energetic feel underfoot. This thing really gives it back when you lean into a deep turn or load up onto the tails for an ollie. With a touch of tip rocker and some nicely sintered bases, feel comfortable attacking moguls and glades—heck, throw ‘em off a cliff if you want. Your favorite ski hill has met its match.
Dynastar Menace 98
Buckle up: the all-new Dynastar Menace 98 is a well-built, all-mountain machine that grinds up crud, slashes groomers and bounces through mogul fields with a freestyle flare. Beneath the sleek, matte black top sheet hides an all-poplar wood core, milled to different thicknesses throughout the ski and layered precisely to provide a consistent, playful flex pattern and intuitive rebound. Reinforced by a layer of fiberglass—braided to different weights to maximize elasticity—the Menace 98 has a simple yet effective core construction that’s beefed up with full sidewalls and a sintered base. Our testers raved and noted this as one of the best all-mountain skis, specifically for its versatility, which easily transitioned across Aspen Mountain’s variable terrain.
J skis The Allplay
Year-in and year-out, The Allplay maintains its status as one of the most versatile and (generally) most enjoyable skis to ride. Constructed with the same, long-lasting maple wood core as most J skis, this 98-millimeter underfoot model should appeal to freestyle-focused skiers who want to pop, butter and carve all the way back to the base lodge. Boasting an outrageously forgiving, consistent flex pattern that carries from tip to tail and reinforced with lightweight carbon stringers, your senses will surely be aroused. Riding The Allplay is like participating in the sensual practice of Kama Sutra: It’s willing to bend and flex all for your pleasure, but can stand up to the rough stuff when the time comes.
DPS Pagoda Piste 90 RP
DPS’ RP line of skis is aimed at the brand’s more progressive, freestyle fans—now, available in a piste-friendly waist width. A tapered design with 45-percent rocker divided between the tip and tail enables you to navigate your way through bumps and crud with ease while the lightweight, carbon and wood core provides a lively feel that anybody can enjoy. It also comes with a reinforced binding zone as well as a race-finished base to keep you moving at hyperspeed. Bottom line: it’s easy to ski and will undoubtedly make your day better.
Icelantic Nomad 95
The Nomad 95 has been a perennial favorite among FREESKIER testers for one primary reason: it’s so damn intuitive. The classic hourglass shape and rocker-camber-rocker profile result in a ski that can pretty much drive itself, whether that’s through moguls or clanking down a kinked rail in the park. Thankfully, the poplar and paulownia wood core is not averse to being told what to do—particularly when that involves carving up a storm and popping off everything in sight. New this year, an additional 176 centimeter length fills an important gap in the roster, ensuring there’s a size for everyone.