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.
No question about it, alpine skis are pricey. Middle-of-the-line models run for over $500, top-shelf all-mountain skis routinely check out for around $700 or more, unmounted, and some exotics seem to reach second mortgage territory. One has every right to wonder, what am I paying for?