SnoCountry's Best All Mountain Skis For 2015
The defining trait of an “all-mountain” ski is versatility, a talent for adapting to any condition from brittle hardpack to tracked-up trees to fluffy freshies. The ideal all-terrain ski is ready for whatever is on the mountain’s menu that morning.
The best all-mountain skis must have the bones to carve into New England boilerplate and the fortitude to smash through western crud fields without being buffeted off line. Not surprisingly, these favorites are all meticulously made, modern incarnations of a classic formula: two sheets of titanium alloy around a stout wood core.
Kästle MX 98
The new Kästle MX 98 is a dream ski in that, at $1,349, most skiers can only dream of owning. “Dream” also describes the way it skis, sliding over or through any surface in its path with the grace and power of a python. It’s unintimidated by any condition and ignores any notion of a speed limit. Favors strong, technical skiers.
Head Rev 85 Pro
Remember the quaint concept of carving a turn? Head does, and builds all-terrain skis like the Rev 85 Pro with a deeper sidecut that slices a tight arc. It’s like combining a sports car’s cornering capability with an SUV’s open-minded attitude about terrain. While it behaves well in low gear, it prefers to run hot on a high edge.
The Völkl Kendo is a reminder of the merits of the traditional values of construction, shape and camber. Considered narrow in today’s width-obsessed world, at 88mm underfoot the Kendo still has plenty of surface area for knee-deep pow and more importantly, bites into hard snow with the tenacity a race GS ski.
The Bonafide is so well optimized for off-piste conditions that it’s mind-bending how well it holds a tip-to-tail edge on hard snow. Like big brother Cochise, it eats crud as though it was a soufflé and then segues to crisp corduroy without missing a beat. Like all great skis, it rewards the skilled, yet the Bonafide remains kind enough for those on the edge of expertise.