SnowUniverse guide for buying all-mountain skis

Buyers guide for buying all-mountain skis

You'd like to find a new pair of skis but you're not sure which type of ski to choose?

Are you looking for a versatile pair of alpine skis that will let you sample all types of ski terrain and ski slopes from easy green pistes to advanced blacks?

The guide below will give you a clearer picture the pair of all-mountain skis of your dreams. 

Why choose an all-mountain ski?

You'd like an all-mountain ski, but is it really what you need?

The versatile range of all-mountain skis has been widely extended in recent years. There are alpine skis with fairly similar profiles but still some notable differences.

First of all, there are important differences in skier ability. Some alpine skis are designed for intermediate skiers for on-piste skiing or skiing near the piste. Their essential qualities are to be manageable, safe and tolerant. There are also more technical skis for more experienced and advanced skiers. These all-mountain skis turn faster. Performance and responsiveness are their key qualities.

In addition, you should consider how you plan to use the skis. On one side, there are all-mountain skis that work effectively both on and off the piste (sometimes called all-mountain back skis). On the other side, there are skis more suitable of the piste but with  a wide range of use (small turns / large corners). These are sometimes called all-mountain front skis.

The characteristics of an all-mountain ski

What are the specific characteristics of an all-mountain ski?

- Firstly, a ski width is somewhere between downhill skis and off-piste skis. The ski width is typically between 75mm and 90mm. The narrower the ski, the faster it will pivot. The transition from edge to edge during a sequence of turns will also be faster. On the other hand, a wider ski will be easier to use in all snow conditions and more secure in difficult terrain.

- Secondly, different models of all-mountain skis have different characteristics. The camber of the ski dictates its shape and contact with snow. The camber of an all-mountain ski is usually traditional under the foot with some degree of rocker in the tip (the rocker is an upside-down camber). The classic camber offers power and grip. The rocker allows for easier pivoting. The rocker also offers better lift and off-piste skiing. However, on-piste, it causes vibrations, making skis flappy. Therefore, a large rocker will be useful when off-piste skiing but limits performance on hard-packed snow.

Is the rocker at the tip an asset for your style of skiing?

Yes if: No if:

You have difficulty changing the radius of a turn

You're a sporty and fast skier
You have difficulty floating in powder snow conditions You love skiing fast on the ski slopes
You have difficulty in linking turns

You have difficulty stabilising your skis during carving

- Lastly, ski stiffness varies. For each skier level, and depending on the ski shape, there are all-mountain skis with different stiffnesses. The stiffer the ski, the more stable and responsive it will be. On the other hand, it will also be more difficult to manoeuvre and more sporty.

Advantages of a soft ski Advantages of a rigid ski
Small shape/size Large shape/size
Capable of moderate speed Capable of high speed

Intermediate technical level

Expert and advanced technical level

Find all our advice in our buyers guide for buying skis  on ourSnowUniverse website.