You know that “best skis for 2017-2018” is a lot like saying “best film of the year”. So much is based on personal preference and intended use that definitive statements are more likely to start an argument than get people nodding in agreement. If you are looking for the elusive best all-mountain ski however, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite 10 pairs of skis that we intend to use throughout the 2017-2018 season. We’ve had the opportunity to include something for everyone, so hopefully you won’t have too many harsh words for us in the comments!
Scott Sage (£371.18)
Strengths: Ease of use, versatile.
Weaknesses: Not best in category in terms of stability or float.
This is a top all-mountain ski with 100mm under foot. You may be familiar with its previous incarnation, the Sagebrush. When Scott brought it back on the market they incorporated technology from their Sun Valley Collection. It’s rated as for an advanced skill level, but testers commented on its ease of use. Designers gave it lower sidewalls that keep it performing well in soft snow without compromising the ability to hook up and rail in hard snow. Its no wonder that Ski Magazine gave it a “Best in Test” award for Mixed Snow West.
Armada ARV 106 (£499.95 – £512.59)
Strengths: light without feeling flimsy, great control
Weaknesses: not really suitable for park skiing due to the thin edges.
This is also considered an all-mountain ski, but it comes to that category from a park ski perspective. It is wide enough given the light materials provided by modern technology to perform well in powder, but this ski really comes into its own doing nosebutters, tailbutters and presses. It offers perfect, “not too stiff, not too soft” flexibility, showing that Armada successfully incorporated the best characteristics of its freestyle lineup into this offering. It shows it has earned its place in the all-mountain category by performing well under speed with no chatter.
Rossignol Soul 7 HD (£499.95)
Strengths: quick and easy to turn, especially in soft snow
Weaknesses: not much!
For a ski that is rated all the way up to expert use, this one is known for its easy-to-ski characteristics. Chances are you have seen the previous version which was one of the most popular all-mountain skis on the market. So, what was broken that needed to be fixed? Some skiers felt it lacked performance at speed under variable conditions. Rossingol’s brilliant solution was to maintain the precise shape of the ski which made it so much darn fun and add new carbon fiber technology to give it additional strength. The result is all the slow speed maneuverability and tight terrain capability is retained and hard, fast charging on piste is added.
Dynastar Charm 2.0 97 (£333.37)
Strengths: very fun and easy to handle
Weaknesses: not suitable for deep powder.
At 97mm underfoot you probably will not be heading for deep powder, but aggressive intermediate skiers can comfortably head out at speed with this model. It comes to the all-mountain category from Chamonix, the birth place of big mountain skiing, so it is no surprise it offers playful turning ability under any snow conditions. Added to that is lightweight touring versatility for backcountry adventures.
Nordica Enforcer (£579.00 – £589.00)
Strengths: reliable even in dodgy, variable conditions
Weaknesses: big turns at high speed feel looser than we’d like
You knew we were going to get to this paradigm of all-mountain skis sooner or later, so why wait? If you love to ski you will love this ski. It offers remarkable turning on piste for having 100mm under foot, has the power and stability it takes to make you comfortable at speed and busts through crud better than most. What does it lack? Not much, but if you do most of your skiing off piste you may find a little too much bounce in this ski to suit your taste.
K2 Marksman (£484.95)
Strengths: intuitive, easy skiing.
Weaknesses: asymmetrical sidecut might throw some people off
Like the Armada ARV 106, this 106mm under foot beauty demonstrates some park ability while falling firmly in the all-mountain category. It is basically a narrower, more accessible powder ski. Be aware the the asymmetrical design will not allow you to switch feet in order to reduce wear and tear on the edge, but the upside is that the longer edge gives you great stability and float. The combination of two different sidecuts gives a natural feeling through turns. They offer stability at speed so you can push them or relax and ski playfully. These are the most rippable all-mountain skis you will ever own.
Armada Invictus 108 Ti (£559.95)
Strengths: perfect for aggressive skiiers
Weaknesses: can feel harsh at high speed
Do you feel the need for speed? This one is for you! The strength comes from aircraft-grade Titanal layers combined with carbon and Kevlar. Do you feel like you’re listening to Dennis Leary narrate a Ford F-150 commercial yet? Then put these on and start spaying some powder! The strength of the construction is augmented by the AR Nose Rocker, which allows you to take these beauties off the piste and find out how playful they can be. The combination of materials and good design works well in any conditions, but comes into its own in crud or corn.
Blizzard Bonafide (£606.00)
Strengths: playful and approachable
Weaknesses: no deal breakers!
At 98mm underfoot these are considered by many to be the definitive all-mountain ski. Designed for the expert skier, these are at home anywhere on the mountain under any conditions. Superior strength comes from the layers of Titanium over a wood core with the added bonus of carbon fiber in the tip and tail. You can push these at speed or take them into the trees is you want to be playful. This has been a best seller since it came out for a reason.
Rossignol Super 7 HD (£599.95)
Strengths: balanced, quick and light
Weaknesses: lacks the “All Mountain” line of previous editions
If its powder you want, the 116mm underfoot on this model will give it to you. Do you remember reading how Rossingol made a really great ski even better? They did the same thing with this model which was already known for its playfulness. The carbon fiber technology adds enough strength to let you handle curd if its there, but that is not what this powder ski likes to play.
Salomon QST 106 (£437.47 – £530.58)
Strengths: robust yet light, fun on powder
Weaknesses: not the most stable on choppy terrain
Is it an all-mountain ski or is it a powder ski? At 106mm underfoot it’s hard to tell. This remarkable ski only adds to the confusion with its absolutely unique construction that includes a flax weave that provides an incredible weight to strength ratio. The end result is a pretty snappy carver that is highly regarded for being fun in powder and on groomers. Rated for advanced skiers, the ski design provides ample maneuverability even with tired legs.
Check out our full comparison table below: