The all-mountain women’s ski category equals adventure—no matter what part of the mountain you like to ski. Skis in this category are designed to be versatile, that is, to perform well in a variety of snow conditions and terrain.
Top All Mountain Women’s Skis: Guide
All-Mountain skis often have a high-performance construction, but with expanded waists and rocker added for maneuverability and flotation.
Typically, cores are made from wood, sometimes with a layer of titanium or carbon, or a blend of hard and soft material that makes the ski strong underfoot and softer in the tip and tail.
Choosing the Right Ski Length
Women’s skis in this category may have a hard-charging, down-the-fall-line feel, or a surfy, playful personality. The ski you chose will depend on the type of terrain you love to ski and how you like to ski it.
When you walk into a ski shop, an experienced shop employee will ask you where you like to ski. If your answer has a variety of terrain choices, like groomers, bumps, and off-piste, then you’ll be directed to the all-mountain category. Next, you’ll pinpoint the waist width range and the personality of the ski that will best suit your skiing preferences and style.
Ski Waist Width and Turn Radius Explained
Skis in this category have waists that range between 86 mm and 100 mm underfoot. The narrower the waist in this category, the tighter the turn radius the ski will have, but it will still be able to handle some variable terrain and light powder that you might find on the backside of the mountain. The wider the waist width, the more flotation in soft snow and stability in cut-up powder the ski will have, though the ski will have a larger turn radius on the groomers. Overall, this category is the place to go to find a one-ski quiver that can handle everything from groomers to bumps to new snow.
Different All-Mountain Skis for Different Skiers
“The term ‘all mountain skis’ can mean different things for different skiers,” says Matt McDonald, creative marketing manager for Powder7 Ski Shop, located in Golden, Colorado. “The ex-racer rad mom thinks it’s one thing and her kid thinks it’s another, but that’s why this category is loaded with options. Generally, brands are chasing the ski that’s accessible, but also versatile and strong enough for advanced and expert skiers. Specifically, the 88mm ski is hot. If you like that waist width, you’ve got lots of choices. If you’re looking for a wider all-mountain ski than most brands make at least one do-everything ski in the upper 90s. Brands are doubling down on families of skis, zeroing in on a particular design, often with a single name, and then offering that ski in two or three waist widths across this category for a tailored approach that gives skiers a huge array of options.”
Skiing the Mountain — Frontside and Backside
Before you go into the store, however, educate yourself by reading the following ski roundup. You can learn a lot about the technologies featured in these new models for the 21/22 season. Remember that skiers shopping in this category ski the entire mountain—frontside and backside—and need a ski to handle a variety of snow conditions. Some of the skis lean toward the narrower side in waist width and will favor carving with occasional trips off-piste or out-of-bounds, while others have waists that can float through powder and perform well in different terrain features. Whichever terrain you lean toward, all-mountain skis will provide you the access to a great adventure.
Women’s All-Mountain Ski for Versatility
ATOMIC MAVEN 93C
The Maven 93C is designed for all-mountain versatility, thanks to Atomic’s new OMatic Construction, which uses lightweight triaxial fiberglass and carbon layers paired with precision milled poplar wood placed throughout the length of the ski. HRZN tech adds a wide surface area on the ski’s tip for maneuverability in variable conditions, helped out by a 93 mm waist and tip rocker.
“Atomic’s Flow Profile delivers the ideal combination of camber, shovel taper, and tip rocker, while HRZN tech in the tip creates 10 percent more surface area, allowing the ski to float through soft snow and hook up on hardpack,” Jake Strassburger, commercial manager for Atomic.
Best for Playfulness
BLACK CROWS CAMOX BIRDIE
The Camox Birdie’s DNA comes from the Black Crows freestyle lineage and is designed for playfulness and stability and versatility. The semi-cap step-down construction includes a poplar and fiberglass core, plus a progressive flex and strong effective edge, while the double rocker adds the ability to pivot without hooking up. Black Crows calls the 97-mm waisted model a mid-fat, all-terrain ski.
“With a tolerant flex, the Camox Birdie is very approachable, but its energetic attitude keeps things lively whether ripping groomers or cruising powder fields,” says Tristan Droppert, Black Crows North American marketing manager.
Best for Carving
BLIZZARD BLACK PEARL 88
Designed for intermediate to advanced all-mountain skiers, the Black Pearl 88 has a voluminous sidecut (126-88-108) and reduced rocker profile for hardpack performance and maneuverability through variable snow. TrueBlend Woodcore means a softer tip and tail with denser wood underfoot for stability and easy handling.
“The Black Pearl 88’s versatile 88 mm waist width makes it a great all-mountain ski for carving up the front side, but will also cut through crud and take you anywhere on the mountain you want to go,” says Leslie Baker-Brown, Blizzard’s Women to Women Project lead.
A “Hybrid” Core for Better Edge Grip and Stability
DYNASTAR M-PRO 90 W
Dynastar customizes the size offering of the M-Pro 90 W, focusing on the force and leverage applied to the shorter lengths that women ski on with a unique construction called Hybrid core. As a “hybrid,” the core combines poplar wood and polyurethane in a combination designed to enhance rebound and power in the turn. Rocket Frame technology adds a titanal insert for increased edge grip and stability at speed. The M-Pro has a 90 mm waist and an all-mountain rocker profile, with rockered tips and tails.
“The Hybrid Core construction inspires confidence in all terrain and snow conditions with the perfect blend of agility, lightness, and power,” says Matt Farness, Dynastar alpine category manager.
Great Value for Resort and Backcountry Ski
ELAN RIPSTICK 94 W
At 94 mm underfoot, the freeride-oriented Ripstick 94 has Elan’s Amphibio technology, which adds camber to the ski’s inside edge, and rocker to the outside edge for edge grip and maneuverability. The new addition of Carbon Line Technology places a diagonal weave of carbon fiber along the inside of the ski for more edge grip and power, while Tubelite Wood Core Technology places two carbon rods alongside the edges for stability on hard snow and playfulness in powder.
“The Ripstick 94 W packs a ton of punch in a lightweight package, making it equally comfortable as a resort or backcountry ski,” says Mary Jane Carroll, Elan ambassador.
All-Mountain Ski for Smooth Pivoting and Flotation
FACTION DICTATOR 2.0X
The Dictator 2.0 X has a freeride personality thanks to Faction’s Surf Zones, or a combo of rocker and a tip taper design that moves the widest part of the ski closer to the center in order to promote smooth pivoting and flotation. Though surfy, the 96-mm waisted ski has a carving side, thanks to a high-performance-oriented core that is made with lightweight poplar wood, two full-length sheets of metal and Faction’s Full Strength Sidewall for responsiveness and edge hold.
“Surf Zones help to avoid nasty edge hooks and provide optimal smearing and intuitive pivoting,” says Henrik Lampert, Faction North American marketing manager.
Best for Groomed and Variable Snow
FISCHER RANGER 94 FR
Designed to shine in both groomed and variable snow, the Fischer Ranger 94 has an Aeroshape, from airplanes, that creates a wing-like beveled top sheet for torsional rigidity. Freeski rocker means long, tip rocker and moderate tail rocker for maneuverability. Skis in the Ranger line have graduated waists, where the sidecut does not vary much in between sizes so that the ski performs as well on hardpack as it does in soft or cut-up snow.
“Carbon is added to the shovel for reduced swing weight and improved vibration damping, while the sandwich sidewall construction with beech/poplar wood core adds liveliness and longevity, which equals a huge sweet spot for strong intermediate to expert skiers,” says Mike Hattrup, Fischer alpine product manager.
New Versatile KORE 91 W
HEAD KORE 91 W
The new versatile KORE 91 W feels lightweight, thanks to the fusion of Graphene—with its high strength-to-weight ratio—into the tips and tails for better flotation, swing weight reduction and easy turn initiation. The 91-mm-waisted ski also has two layers of carbon in the wood core, as another weight-saving measure, while also increasing stability and responsiveness.
“The KORE 91 W feels light under foot while providing the precision and performance that would normally come from a ski construction that contains two layers of metal,” says Andrew Couperthwait, Head alpine product manager. “The result is a more efficient skier that can ski longer and have more fun.”
A Binding Mount Point and Flex Profile
KÄSTLE FX 96 W
The FX 96 W has a semi-cap sandwich sidewall construction, which includes a topsheet that adds durability by protecting the upper edge of the ski with a sandwich sidewall construction and poplar/beech core. Hollowtech 2.0 in the tips removes weight, while a progressive rise in the tip adds flotation and maneuverability.
“Kästle incorporates three types of wood within one ski: Higher density woods are used for the core, with lighter woods at the sides,” says Griffin Post, Kästle marketing manager. “The FX 96 W has a binding mount point and flex profile specifically designed for women.”
Ti Y-Beam Technology
K2 MINDBENDER 98TI ALLIANCE
A versatile freeride ski, the Mindbender 98TI has K2’s Ti Y-Beam technology, which adds a strategically-shaped layer of titanal over the edge in the forebody of the ski, the full width of the ski underfoot and tapered in the tail, with the overall goal of adding power and control on hardpack without hooking up off-piste in variable snow conditions.
“The Mindbender 98Ti Alliance has a core made from custom profiling, combined with a composite insert recessed within the top of the core in the midbody of the ski for consistent flex characteristics across all lengths,” says Matt Miller, K2 global marketing manager.
More Power with Less Effort
NORDICA WILD BELLE DC 84
The “DC” in the Nordica Wild Belle DC 84 stands for Double Core, meaning two poplar/beech wood cores sandwiching a thin layer of rubber in the center of the ski—designed to enhance playfulness and stability at speed. The 84-mm waisted ski has Nordica’s Natural Stance, where the center of the ski (where bindings attach) is lower by 2 mm, with the heels slightly lower than the toes, and the two parts of the binding plate shortened and moved closer together.
“Natural Stance allows the skier to assume a more natural, centered position,” says Sam Beck, Nordica director of marketing and communications. “The immediate feeling can be compared to wearing flats versus heels, allowing skiers to deliver more power with less effort.”
Great Value for Advanced to Intermediate Skiers
ROSSIGNOL EXPERIENCE 82 TI W
Smooth in the initiation of each turn, the Experience 82 Ti W is built to rip on the groomers with occasional trips to the backside. The Experience 82 Ti (with an all-mountain frontside-oriented 82 mm waist) has a smooth feel, owing to Rossignol’s Drive Tip Solution, which dampens vibration through the forebody with a blend of directional fibers that absorb bumps into a soft visco material. The construction includes titanal and sustainably harvested poplar wood.
“The new, women-specific Experience 82 Ti responds with energy to every turn for a high-energy and fun on-snow feel,” says Jake Stevens, Rossignol’s alpine category manager. “The flex is tuned for advanced to intermediate skiers seeking aggressive performance.”
All-Mountain Ski for Stability
SALOMON STANCE W 94
The Salomon Stance W 94 is built to be an aggressive, full sandwich sidewall carver with a 94-mm waist that can handle variable snow. Tip and tail rocker add versatility, while laser milled titanal in the forebody and tail add power where needed.
“The Stance W 94 is a hard-charging ski built to ensure a smooth and stable ride thanks to a poplar-Karuba wood core,” says Chris McKearin, Salomon alpine commercial manager. “Karuba wood is incorporated on the sides to gain weight and inertia, while poplar wood under the bindings screws ensures the tearing resistance.”
All-Mountain Ski for Better Maneuverability
VÖLKL SECRET 96
The Secret 96 (with a 96 mm waist) has Völkl’s Tailored Titanal Frame Technology, which customizes the amount of titanal to each ski length: longer skis have more titanal for stiffness, while shorter skis have less titanal for agility. A second, thinner titanal layer is placed under the binding for agility and control at speed. Tailored Carbon Tips reduce swing weight and increases maneuverability.
“If you take a dash of the powder-loving girth of the Secret 102 and a pinch of the on-piste prowess of the Kenja 88, you’ve got the deliciously versatile combo that is the Secret 96,” says Kaylin Richardson, Völkl athlete.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What size skis should I buy?
What are the best women’s all-mountain skis for 2021/22?
Check out our top picks above to find what will best suit your skiing preferences and style.
What is the difference between a groomer ski and a narrow all-mountain ski?
A groomer ski is a ski for skiers that prefer big turns on fast groomed ski runs. Although there is no consensus regarding the standard width for a narrow, medium, or wide ski, a groomer ski is often classified as anything 85 mm underfoot or narrower. An all-mountain ski is a ski that is more responsive to rails and jumps. For this, look for an all-mountain ski ranging from 85-105 mm. While the 96-110 mm is considered the “ideal all-mountain width”, a narrow all-mountain ski (about 85-95 mm) can be used for on-trail skiing as well as on groomers in the right snow conditions. (Source)