Best Overall All-Mountain Skis
Built for speed
Solid and reliable performance
Versatile and fun
Not best for beginners or intermediates
The Volkl Mantra
has been around for a number of years now, but in 2015 it was redesigned with a wider waist width and a fully rockered profile, and it has kept this design for the past two seasons. The Mantra has been a flagship all-mountain model for Volkl, but anecdotally we found there were skeptics of its new shape and width. That being said, anyone who skied this model during our test was surprised to find it to be far and away the best performing, most fun, and versatile product in our line-up. Testers were impressed with how easy it is to turn but were happy with its stability at speed. This is a stiff contender that despite its wide width could hold an edge with ease in steep terrain on firm snow. The fully rockered profile made it very playful in soft snow and agile in technical terrain. Although intermediate skiers who helped us out enjoyed the Mantra, we feel like this is an expert's ski
. It has no speed limit, likes big turns, and seems to perform best when driven hard.
Read full review: Volkl Mantra
Best Bang for the Buck
Dynastar Cham 2.0 97
Ideal for all-around skiers and conditions
Playful due to design
As the second highest scoring product in our test of eight different models, the Dynastar 2.0 Cham 97
stands out for its versatility and impressive performance all over the mountain. On top of that, a pair costs less than our Editors' Choice winner. Bang for the buck, the Cham 97 wins hands down. It will give you the versatile performance you want in an all-mountain model but is easy on the wallet. The Cham is traditionally cambered and has generous tip rocker with unnoticeable tail rocker. This rockered tip keeps it floating in deep and soft snow and also keeps it on top of refrozen crud and choppy snow. It has a beautiful turn shape, is easy to get on edge, and carves smoothly when on groomers. We found that the Cham is playful and fun, making it an easy choice to take out for a day of riding, no matter what the conditions are.
Read full review: Dynastar 2.0 Cham 97
Most Playful (AKA Pop and Drop)
Head Skis USA Venturi 95
High energy fun
Floats pow well
Not best in crud
Lackluster conditions lead to chatter
The Head Venturi 95
was by far and away the most playful model we tested. No other contender had the pop, the soft landing, and the general surfy nature that Head was able to put together in the Venturi. The rockered tip and tail let you float on top of fresh pow or cruise over variable snow. The consistent medium to soft flex throughout the Venturi allows the skier to make delicate landings, slarve turns with ease, and butter off anything and everything. The best part about how playful the Head Venturi 95 is, is that it is equally adept at slaying groomers. Sure, you could find a more playful pair that was only good in soft snow, had more pop, and was more surfy, but you would inevitably sacrifice the on-piste capabilities that the Venturi provides. This is a true all-mountain model, for the skier who sees the whole mountain as his terrain park.
Read full review: Head Venturi 95
Best Carving Ski (AKA The Butcher)
Nordica Enforcer 93
The Nordica Enforcer 93
was the only model to earn an 8 out of 10 in the carving testing category; it nudged out stiff competition (the Volkl Mantra
) and blew away others designed for on-piste superiority - the K2 iKonic 85 ti
. The early rise tip and tail make it super easy to initiate turns and release out of them. The titanium extends over the edges of a wood core, which creates the power, consistent flex, and rebound our testers found while riding them. You prefer on-piste and tend to run into firmer conditions? This may be the all-mountain choice for you, especially if you like to roll skis over on their edges and pull some Gs while arcing beautiful turns.
Read full review: Nordica Enforcer 93