Top 5 Men’s All-Mountain Skis of the Year

This season is going to be a really good year for the all-mountain category.  Almost every one of our favorite skis from the past few seasons, including multiple award-winners, have been revamped for the upcoming season.  Combine that with a few exciting newcomers, and the ski-wall is looking really good.  Now that we’ve had the chance to see and inspect them in person, and some of us have been lucky enough to test them, let’s take a quick look at some of our favorite skis in the “around 100mm waist-width category”.

5.  Line Sick Day 94: Despite being one of the narrower skis in this category, the Sick Day 94 almost always takes the cake for “best bang for the buck”.  This year, Line updated the shape and the core of the ski while attempting to preserve the classic feel of the previous year’s Sick Day 95.  They also wanted to shed a few grams off the weight while improving the ski’s stability.  To achieve this, Line added new carbon ‘Magic Fingers’ to the core and changed the Aspen Maple Macro-block wood layup to an all-Aspen Macro-block.  As for the shape, other than the obvious decrease in waist width by one millimeter, Line also moved the recommended mount back and increased the taper-angle.  Critics may argue that a less twin-like shape is less fun, but increased surface area on the nose and more taper can be really fun too, not to mention more useful when the terrain gets steep and deep.

4.  Rossignol Soul 7 HD: Now on it’s second version in two years, the Soul 7 is making quick advancements after adding the HD carbon layup to its prize-winning 106mm waist-width freeski.  The primary update this year is the Air Tip 2.0, which is a huge improvement in construction and durability.  Rossignol added ABS sidewall material into the Air Tip and reinforced the connection-point to the rest of the ski, fixing the minor flaws of the previous versions.  As for the shape, Rossignol lengthened the sidecut and lowered the rocker-line just slightly to improve high-speed stability.  The sidecut only increased by 1 meter, so the change with be subtle, but it will definitely benefit the more aggressive skier.  Add those improvements to the already beefed-up core thanks to Rossignol’s Carbon Alloy Matrix (carbon + basalt), and the new Soul 7 HD is ready to rip harder than ever.

3.  Salomon QST 99:  After taking the industry by storm last year, Salomon’s QST series continues to impress in all categories, but especially in its 99mm version.  Salomon developed a completely new core and shape for this ski, and it’s been extremely impressive.  The core has a crazy about of tech in it, including C/FX Carbon superfibers (carbon+basalt+flax), a titanium alloy plate under the bindings, and Koroyd honeycomb in the tip.  This allows the ski to be super energetic, but damp and stable at the same time, and at only 3400 grams a set, the QST is incredibly light (the Sick Day 94 weight appx. 3250 grams/set). As for the shape, Salomon learned from other manufacturer’s mistakes over the past couple years.  They kept rocker profile progressive but subtle, tapered the nose just enough for great float and easy turn initiation, and stuck with a medium-radius sidecut.  In all, Salomon nailed it with this shape, and the QST’s core is one of the best they’ve ever developed.

2.  Lib Tech Wunderstick:  Arguably the most exciting ski to hit the wall this year (and definitely the best looking), Lib Tech has added a new shape to it’s already infamous lineup of freeskis.  At 106mm under foot, the Wunderstick is an all-mountain, freestyle inspired, directional twin that’s designed to ride the resort and the backcountry equally.  The rocker-line is mellow but progressive in the nose and the tail, making the ski surfy and playful on soft snow, but when combined with a solid wood core and Lib’s proprietary Magne-Traction, these skis absolutely rip on hard-pack.  The sidecut is measured at 16.5, so turns will feel similar to the other skis in this category but with added smearing ability due to the tail rocker.  Most importantly, all Lib Tech skis (and snowboards) are handmade in the USA with 100% eco-friendly materials.

1.  Blizzard Bonafide:  One of our favorite skis of all time is back!  This year, Blizzard made slight changes to the shape but kept the same Carbon Flipcore construction we know and love.  To start, Blizzard reduced the turning radius from about 21m to 18m (180cm size), making the turn a little more manageable for the intermediate.  However, for the advanced to expert skier, the rocker-line has been lowered slightly, lengthening the effective edge and allowing the the skier to use more of the sidecut and drive the front of the ski a little harder through the turn.  Early reviews have been really positive and testers are raving about the new sidecut.  And for those of us that loved the previous version of this ski, have no fear, the changes are subtle, and there is definitely nothing to dislike about the new version!