Get All Of A Quiver Over Our Top 5 All Mountain Skis

Buying skis can be a confusing, and let’s be honest, somewhat costly experience.  With so many different skis on the market, how do you choose between a fully rockered powder slayer, a nimble twin tip, or a hard charging carver, and still pay the rent at the end of the month?   Well, the easiest solution is you don’t….the clever folks in ‘ski-land’ have taken all the decision making out of ski shopping for us, by designing high quality all-mountain skis that can do it all, and still leave you smiling at the end of the day.

Welcome to the world of the one-ski-quiver:

The one-ski-quiver should be able to take you to every corner of the mountain, navigating groomers, bumps, trees and powder stashes with equal ease.  

And a lot of them do it well, really well!  So the question is, which one is best for you?  There are a lot skis out there in the all-mountain category, so we asked our friends and local experts at Epic Mountain Sports in Winter Park, to give us their top 5 picks for a men & women’s one-ski-quiver within their fleet of demo & retail skis.

Top 5 Women’s All-Mountain

Top skis for all mountain at winter park

Icelantic Nomad Skny, Rossignol Savory 7, Rossignol Temptation, Volkl Yumi, Dynastar Cham Woman 87

#1  Rossignol Temptation 88
Sizes: 154, 162, 170    Tip Rocker: Yes    Sidecut: 135/88/124    Radius: 15 m

Almost every skier type can have fun on this ski from dusk ’til dawn.   It really shines on the frontside of the mountain with just enough pop in the bumps, effortless short turning radius, and the ability to hold an edge when you dial up the speed on the groomers.   Head over the the backside, and the Temptation doesn’t disappoint.   It has just enough shovel width and tip rocker to keep you on top of the powder, but maintains a great feeling of stability and direction when you have to bust through the crud, or wiggle through the trees.   All in all, a great all-around ski that will perform best for intermediate to advanced skiers. 

– Tester: Emily, Epic Mountain Sports

#2  Dynastar Cham Woman 87
Sizes: 152, 159, 166, 172    Tip Rocker: Yes    Sidecut: 127/87/103    Radius: 14 m

These skis are a world of fun.  Just think of carving and you will find yourself arcing big, beautiful turns on the groomers, with minimal effort and zero chatter.   Tighten things up through the bumps you’ll be rewarded with all the pop and agility you could ask for, while staying fully in control of the ski.   The tip rocker and shovel width offer just enough float to enjoy some light and airy powder in the back bowls, but if hunting down the pow on a regular basis is your thing, I’d recommend going with the larger 97 model.   A good performing ski in all categories, that would be best suited to intermediate – advanced skiers. 

– Tester: Katherine, Epic Mountain Sports

#3  Rossignol Savory 7
Sizes: 162, 170, 178    Tip Rocker: Yes (air tip)    Sidecut: 136/106/126    Radius: 17 m (178)

Yes, this is technically more of a freeride/backcountry ski, but we found it to be so incredibly versatile that we just had to add it to our top 5 picks.  The widest of the skis in this list, the Savory 7 is an absolute blast in the powder, with its new air tip rocker making light work of deep snow pockets, and also helping it to stay light and balanced through the trees.  Take it over to the frontside and it is surprisingly easy to get over on an edge and carve smoothly on the groomers.  More advanced skiers will be able butter up some turns through the bumps, but it’s fair to say that this ski is better suited to more open terrain.  With the increasing interest in skiers looking to enjoy occasional side side-country adventures alongside their resort skiing, we felt that the Savory 7 is a great choice for advanced intermediates to expert skiers looking to ski in, and out of resort.

– Tester: Emily, Epic Mountain Sports

#4  Volkl Yumi
Sizes: 147, 154, 161, 168    Tip Rocker: Yes     Sidecut: 136/106/126    Radius: 13-18

The Yumi is a really light & versatile ski that is a great one ski quiver for beginners to advanced intermediates.  Its forgiving flex makes it very easy to turn and a lot of fun to play with through the bumps and low angle trees.  It can also stand up and boogie on the groomers, and holds an edge surprisingly well at a variety of speeds.  With an 83 mm waist, the ski performs well in fresh powder conditions, but can get pushed around a little in heavier crud.   This ski would be best suited to a skier that spends most of their day on the frontside of the mountain, but still wants to be hit up a powder stash with confidence when that big storm comes.

– Tester: Katherine, Epic Mountain Sports

#5 Icelantic Nomad RKR SKNY
Sizes: 161, 171, 181, 191    Tip Rocker: Yes     Sidecut: 120/85/110    Radius: 13-21 m

There aren’t many skis out there that can truly be called unisex, but the Nomad RKR Skny fits the bill very well.  I tested the 171,  and found this all-mountain ski a fun and solid ride on the groomers, and big enough under foot to to make the most of all those hidden powder pockets.  It’s a little stiffer than some of the other women’s skis, but aggressive skiers will really appreciate its solid handling power when ripping all over the resort.  Oh, and nobody beats Icelantic on graphics, expect some appreciative nods in the lift line!  

– Tested by Emily, Epic Mountain Sports

Top 5 Men’s All-Mountain

Great skis to rent in winter park

Dynastar Cham 107, Head Rev 85, Line Bacon, Rossignol Sin 7, Icelantic Nomad RKR

 #1  Rossignol Sin 7
Sizes: 164, 172, 180, 188    Tip Rocker: Yes    Sidecut: 128/98/118    Radius: 15.9m

This playful and forgiving ski really makes every level of skier look like they know what their doing.  It’s nimble in the the bumps and trees, and will still offer some good float in powder.  Take it on the groomers and it will go on edge easily and offer stability all the way through the turn.   This super light ski is so easy to turn that it will keep you legs feeling fresh and ready for battle all day long.  All in all, a fun and easy ski to enjoy in a variety of conditions and terrain.

– Tested by Justin, Epic Mountain Sports

#2  Dynastar Cham 107
Sizes: 166, 175, 184, 190    Tip Rocker: Yes    Sidecut: 137/107/122    Radius: 20m

Don’t be fooled by its unusual shape, the Cham is a superb all-around ski.   Start your day off on the groomers for some big, fast turns and you’ll be wowed by how well this thing rails.  It’s not a bump ski, but you’ll still be pleasantly surprised at how well it can smear through the moguls.  The Cham really comes into it’s element in the powder and trees.  The wide shovel and tip rocker makes light work of powder and crud, and reduces leg fatigue.  This ski can really ramp it up, or shut it down at the drop of a hat, and will be the most fun ride for intermediate to advanced skiers.

– Tested by Ryan, Epic Mountain Sports

#3  Head Rev 85
Sizes: 163, 170, 177, 184    Tip Rocker: Era 3    Sidecut: 131/85/113    Radius: 14.7m

This ski is a dream for skiers who mainly ski on the frontside, but still want to be able to access the rest of the mountain from time to time.  You’ll find it super responsive and agile through the bumps, and easy to get on edge for switching up short and long turns on the groomers, offering the skier a lot of confidence on steeper pitches.   Although not its forte, the Rev can still offer enough float to enjoy some powder turns on the back side, and offer a fun ride through the trees.  This ski will be enjoyed by beginners level skiers, all the way through to advanced.

– Tested by Justin, Epic Mountain Sports

#4  Line Sir Francis Bacon
Sizes: 172, 178, 184, 190    Tip Rocker: Yes    Sidecut: 140/108/136    

This ski will happily take on the whole mountain, but is best suited to skiers who like to seek out the powder stashes in the trees, and shred the bowls at the first sign of snow.  It’s a great powder ski, and busts through the crud like it doesn’t exist.  Take it to the front side and you can trust it to hold a solid edge on the groomers, with no chatter when you open things up.  Although its not a typical bump ski, the Bacon smears nicely through the moguls and has a lot of pop in the tip and tail if you want to freestyle things up.   Best suited to intermediate to advanced skiers who like to play on every feature of the mountain.

– Tested by Tony, Epic Mountain Sports

#5  Icelantic Nomad RKR
Sizes: 161, 71, 181    Tip Rocker: Yes    Sidecut: 140/105/130    Radius: 19m (181)

This is the big brother of the SKNY featured in the women’s top pick above.  It’s a charger of a ski that can be pushed to the limits and still say ‘is that all you’ve got?’.   Aggressive skiers that like to seek out powder stashes and tree skiing will love this ski for its ability to float easily through the powder, and bust through the crud like a trooper that takes no prisoners.   Take it to the frontside and the Nomad carves nicely on the groomers, and although not a bump ski at heart, can still butter its way through the bumps.   Extra points awarded for being locally made in Colorado.

– Tested by Ryan, Epic Mountain Sports

Try Before You Buy

One final word to the wise.   Although there are a lot of great online deals to be had on skis, this is one piece of equipment that I would recommend trying out, before you hit the ‘buy now’.

Most stores, like our featured store Epic Mountain Sports, will take the price of a day of demos off of the cost of a retail purchase, and you will leave the store in the happy knowledge that you know you’re going to love your skis.

I have bought a pair of skis online before, and it’s fair to say that it didn’t go so well.

Having spent a full morning going cross-eyed trying to decide what type of skier I am, what type of ski I need, and reading about a 1000 different online reviews…I figured I knew exactly which ski was for me.   When the skis finally turned up (after a magical mystery Fed-Ex tour around NA), I flew up to the mountain in a blaze of glory.  As soon as I had clicked in and was skating over to the lift, I had that sinking feeling in my gut.  The feeling was confirmed after a few runs; they were just too stiff of a ski for me and felt dead on my feet.  Long story short, I ended up selling the skis on Craigslist for about half what I paid for them.

The following year, I followed protocol, tried out a few skis I was interested, and bought my dream planks straight off the shop floor.  That was two years ago, and I still fiendishly protect my store bought skis, cherishing every sweet turn down the mountain.

Do you have a favorite all-mountain ski that you think the world should know about?  Start the conversation, by sharing your thoughts below.

 

February 7th, 2014

Posted In: Helpful hints, Reviews, Skiing & Snowboarding

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