October 1, 2012 //

Expert All Mountain * Test 2013

 

Expert All-Mountain skis are designed to be the perfect companion for resort skiing in the west. In this category versatility is the name of the game. Think of your ski day: for a warm-up ripping some groomers, you want a ski that carves and responds with power, edge grip and stability; then up into the alpine and a bowl that’s still untracked, you want a ski that will fl oat, not catch; and later, as the moguls build, you want a ski that’s quick and responsive. Does this seem like too tall an order for one ski? Perhaps in the past, but in this test category there are skis that really do do it all. Some may excel more than others in certain areas, so ask yourself where on the mountain you find yourself the most, or perhaps having the most fun, and that should help you narrow the choice. And let’s not forget the east. Many of these skis can rip the groomers like a race ski, but still have that all-round ability for when the snow gets deep or you head out west on that dream trip.

Skis tested: ATOMIC | BLACK CROWSBLIZZARD | DPS | DYNASTAR | ELAN | FISCHER | HEAD | K2 |
KASTLE NORDICA | ROSSIGNOL | SALOMON | VOLKL

Meet the testers

Use SkiFinder to input your personal skiing characteristics to find the skis that best match your profile.

 Recommendations Legend

A Skier ABILITY (Intermediate (1) to Expert (10))

C Snow CONDITIONS (Soft (1) to Firm (10))

S Skier STYLE (Finesse (1) to Power (10))

W Skier WEIGHT (Lighter (1) to Heavier (10))

† Price includes binding * Length tested at Fernie

 

ATOMIC VANTAGE RITUAL

$800.00

LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 174, 182*, 190
sidecut: 130/103/119     turn radius:19 @ 182
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP | AVERAGE SCORE: 6.8
A 7.3 C 5.5 S 5.1 W 5.3

MEN – The Vantage Ritual excelled in powder, cut-up snow and trees, where a power approach was the way to go. “Big ski for big guys; it powers through anything,” noted Donny Dion, adding “it’s best at top speeds.” At 103mm underfoot, it clearly stated its intent to tackle the off-piste. “Big powerful fatties. It loves it deep and chunky,” wrote Drew Bragg. While capable for the strong skier away from the groomed, the Vantage Ritual also carved on-piste at speed for those with the required power.

ATOMIC ELYSIAN

$699.00

LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 150, 159, 168*
sidecut: 128/95/117   turn Radius: 18.1 @ 168
BEST IN: LONG RADIUS, INITIATION | AVERAGE SCORE: 7.3
A 7.0 C 3.1 S 6.3 W 6.6

WOMEN – Powerful ski for a stronger skier, the Elysian is equally at home on-piste as off. “It’s lively and fun, quick edge-to-edge on groomed and offers good flotation. Transitions well between soft and hardpack,” said Miriam Leishman. “Sensational! Top contender for this category. It truly masters all conditions,” claimed Janet Kuijt. Several testers commented that the ski required some power to carve well, but were a breeze in the deeper stuff. Val Cloutier wrote “a perfect ski for the powder addict, and great if you want to become one! ”

BLACK CROWS ORB 179

$799.00
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 168, 179*, 186
sidecut: 123/90/114   turn radius: 21 @ 179
BEST IN: INITIATION, SHORT RADIUS, LONG RADIUS | AVERAGE SCORE: 5.9
A 5.9 C 3.3 S 4.9 W 5.3

MEN – The ORB 179 is happiest off the beaten track, hunting soft Fernie snow in the trees and steeps. “Built for soft snow and tight trees! It’s very easy to throw around,” said Mark Stein. Donny Dion added, “A nice softer-flexing ski that’s easy in and out of turns. It can slide easily, making it agile in trees and bumps. Good at slower speeds.” Testers agreed that the ORB 179 was “reasonable on groomed,” has a more traditional feel, and was fun and floaty.

BLIZZARD M-POWER 8.5 FULL SUSPENSION

$1,660 †
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 167, 174*, 181
sidecut: 125/85/111 turn radius: 19 @ 174
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP | AVERAGE SCORE: 7.1
A 8.1 C 6.6 S 7.7 W 7.6

MEN – With race-ski-like performance on-piste, the M-Power 8.5 is a fun platform for ripping GS turns at speed down the fall line. According to Hank Shannon, “The edge hold is amazing and you can really lay this ski over. I think this ski likes groomers best.” Other testers’ comments were consistent, suggesting that the M-Power is an attack machine on-piste. While manageable off-piste, the ski was challenging if you were not completely on top of it.

BLIZZARD VIVA 8.0 SUSPENSION

$1000 †
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 151, 158, 165*
sidecut: 120/80/105 turn radius: 16 @ 165
BEST IN: INITIATION | AVERAGE SCORE: 6.5
A 6.5 C 5.9 S 6.6 W 6.7

WOMEN – The Viva 8.0 got consistent praise for its off-piste ability, with a more power-oriented, confident approach to cut-up powder and bumps. Joanne Younker found “it was fun in soft snow and easy to turn. A bit more work on the groomers,” noting that “the tail was stiff.” That stiff tail aided in edge grip, and while lighter women found it a bit demanding, stronger skiers liked the on-piste carving ability just fine. “Solid edge; I could rip big, strong GS turns in terrain other skis balked at,” claimed Michelle Ostafew.

DPS WAILER 99 PURE CONSTRUCTION

us$1249
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 168, 176*, 184*,192
sidecut: 121/99/111   turn radius: 17 @ 176
BEST IN: SHORT RADIUS, AGILITY | AVERAGE SCORE: 6.6
A 5.7 C 5.1 S 4.3 W 4.4

MEN – It’s not often a ski with a 99mm waist is described as “quick turning, responsive and light,” but that’s indeed the case with the Wailer 99. Mark Deneau found it “a quick turner that’s at home on hardpack and bumps.” Paul Ouelette added, “Light, lively and a ton of fun! It’s happier at moderate speeds; a bit jittery at lower speeds in chop and crud.” Several testers commented on how responsive this ski was, and also suggested it best suited to a lighter intermediate to expert skier.

DYNASTAR OUTLAND 87

$1000 †

LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 165, 172, 178*, 184
sidecut: 132/87/114   turn radius: 18 @ 178
BEST IN: AGILITY | AVERAGE SCORE: 7.6
A 7.3 C 5.3 S 5.1 W 5.5

MEN – Forgiving, quick and responsive, the Outland impressed our Fernie testers with its playful and well-rounded personality “An all-mountain ripper. It floats in pow, carves the groomed and skis easily at lower speeds, as well,” wrote Mark Deneau. “Take this ski anywhere. It performs great both in the rough stuff and on the groomers. Transitions from short- to long-radius turns with ease,” added Hank Shannon. Excelling in short, snappy turns, the Outland 87 feels light and is forgiving of mistakes.

DYNASTAR LEGEND EDEN

$650
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 152, 158, 165*, 172
sidecut: 126/85/110  turn radius: 16 @ 165
BEST IN: AGILITY | AVERAGE SCORE: 7.5
A 6.0 C 4.8 S 5.2 W 5.1

WOMEN – The Legend Eden is easy to ski, and adaptable to many styles of skiing and terrain. “Just like a comfy chair or hanging out with a good friend—it’s easygoing and lots of fun,” said Colleen Dunn. “Super-fun and versatile. It’s able to do anything… light and playful,” added Miriam Leishman. Versatility was mentioned by several testers; it’s competent on groomers and bumps, as well as off-piste. “A great all-round ski for all conditions and skier types. It’s light but still stiff, and responded to power. Fun ski! ” wrote Katy Joyce.

ELAN AMPHIBIO WAVEFLEX 88 XTi

$850
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 170, 178*, 186
sidecut: 136/88/116   turn radius: 17.2 @ 178
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP | AVERAGE SCORE: 7.1
A 6.7 C 5.5 S 6.0 W 6.1

MEN – Elan’s Amphibio technology combines a camber on one side of the ski and a rockered profile on the other to create a ski that does well in all conditions, on- and off-piste. Our test team loved it. “Wonderful sensations across the turn spectrum. It moved from firmer snow to soft chop without a hitch,” said Drew Bragg. Forgiving yet powerful, firm snow and soft, the Amphibio proved its versatility. “Screaming fast arcs of any size on the groomed, then well-mannered and fun in every condition. Great dual personality! ” stated Mark Stein.

ELAN AMPHIBIO WAVEFLEX 78

$850

LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 152, 160, 168*, 176
sidecut: 127/78/107   turn radius: 14.9 @ 168
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP | AVERAGE SCORE: 7.6
A 6.9 C 5.9 S 5.5 W 6.3

WOMEN – This ski proved to be dynamic and confidence-inspiring, encouraging its pilot crank it up. “Do not ski slow on this speed/performance machine! Experts only. If you’re good enough, get ready to be blown away,” raved Colleen Dunn. “Lively, fun, and made me brave. Stomp on it and it holds the arc at speed, short or long turns,” added Donie Blunden. The Amphibio uses a traditional camber on one side of the ski and rocker on the other, providing all-mountain capability. Our ladies found it shone on-piste, but was still a competent performer off-piste.

FISCHER HYBRID  8.0

$950
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 161, 168*, 175*, 182
sidecut: 128/85/111   turn radius: 18 @ 175
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP/EDGE GRIP | AVERAGE SCORE: 7.6 MEN; 7.6 WOMEN
A 7.8/8.1 C 6.1/5.6 S 6.9/7.7 W 6.6/7.9
MEN & WOMEN –  The Hybrid 8.0 shows prowess in a truly all-mountain manner. “A standout, supple carver on the groomers, with bumps and soft-snow abilities, as well,” wrote Mark Stein. Scoring high in edge grip and stability, it’s near race-ski-like feel on-piste did not inhibit the Hybrid 8.0’s ability off-piste at Fernie. “Versatile and predictable, with no surprises in powder or groomed,” said George Terwiel. Miriam Leishman added “it’s a big, beefy ski that’s great for all-mountain charging,” suggesting that the ski is best suited to the more powerful, aggressive skiers.

HEAD REV 85 PRO

$875 †
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 163, 170, 177*, 184
sidecut: 131/85/113   turn radius: 14.7 @ 170
BEST IN: INITIATION, EDGE GRIP, AGILITY | AVERAGE SCORE: 7.8
A 7.3 C 5.5 S 5.8 W 5.5

MEN – The words “effortless,” “forgiving” and “confidence-inspiring” were all over Ski Canada’s test cards, and indeed the numbers backed them up, with the Rev 85 ranking highly in initiation, edge grip and agility. “If skis could have autopilot, this ski would have it. It’s smooth, forgiving and easy to ski,” stated Mark Deneau. “Super-nice and beautiful! A fun carver that rips all over, with nice float in the pow,” wrote Ryland Nelson. Versatility and fun, with enough forgiveness for an intermediate, were the hallmarks of the Rev 85 Pro.

HEAD MYA No 8

$790 †
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 149, 156, 163, 170*
sidecut: 130/84/112   turn radius: 13.3 @ 163
BEST IN: STABILITY/EDGE GRIP | AVERAGE SCORE: 8.1
A 7.7 C 5.5 S 6.7 W 7.0

WOMEN – Ranking best in edge grip, stability and long-radius turns, the MYA No 8 impressed the Ski Canada testers as a piste rocket ship that was fun on the backside, as well. “Strong, fast, smooth, powerful— this ski is amazing,” stated Anne Terwiel. “And with all that strength and speed, it’s also forgiving and easy.” Colleen Dunn loved the MYA 8: “Killed it in the pow and crud. Seriously good for the seriously good.” This ski is ease and versatility in a high-performance package. “A fabulous ride in all conditions,” added Wendy Lemoine.

K2 AFTERSHOCK

$1,000 †
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 167, 174, 181*
130/86/114 17 @ 174
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP | AVERAGE SCORE: 7.3
A 7.2 C 5.4 S 5.9 W 6.2

MEN -Our testers at Fernie loved the Aftershock, some of them writing that this ski defined this category. “Your face will hurt from smiling so much! Absolute best in class! ” said Hank Shannon, adding that “this ski rolls in and out of turns easily. It’s quick and nimble in the bumps, yet super-stable at speed.” The solid-feeling Aftershock cruises the piste with power and ease, and comes to life in the bumps and crud; our testers only want was maybe more width for true float in the deep stuff.

K2 SUPERSTITIOUS

$1,000 †
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 146, 153, 160*, 167
sidecut: 128/84/112   turn radius: 14 @ 160
BEST IN: INITIATION, AGILITY, SHORT RADIUS | AVERAGE SCORE: 6.8
A 4.6 C 4.3 S 3.5 W 4.1

WOMEN – Our women had fun on the SuperStitious, finding it forgiving yet responsive, solid yet light and quick. Janet Kuijt felt it was “Magical! This ski is so light underfoot it’s playful in tight terrain, but surprisingly smooth and perfect for the day’s powder and crud.” The SuperStitious shone on softer groomers, where it was stable and agile, flowing from turn to turn. “I love it and want to marry it. It’s fun, playful and very easygoing. A great everyday ski that can also shred powder,” according to Colleen Dunn.

KÄSTLE MX 88

$1199

LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 158, 168*, 178*, 188
sidecut: 128/88/113   turn radius: 20 @ 178
BEST IN: LONG RADIUS, INITIATION, EDGE GRIP | AVERAGE SCORE: 7.1 MEN; 8.4 WOMEN
A 7.3/7.3 C 5.8/5.5 S 5.8/5.4 W 6.2/ 6.3

MEN & WOMEN –  Both our men and women agreed that the MX 88 is a truly versatile, capable, all-mountain machine. “This ski rips like trained jackrabbits. It’s super-quick turning. An absolute best—a category leader! ” stated Drew Bragg. “Wonderfully solid, this ski will blow your mind! It does everything everywhere, anytime. One word—wow! ” wrote Val Cloutier. “Power feel” appeared on many test cards. The MX 88 showed almost race-ski-like ability on-piste, while eating up bumps and crud off-piste. Stronger skiers will have the most fun on this ski.

NORDICA FIRE ARROW 84 EDT

$1,540 †

LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 160, 168, 176*, 184
sidecut: 127/84/111   turn radius: 18 @ 176
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP, STABILITY | AVERAGE SCORE: 7.6
A 7.7 C 6.1 S 6.6 W 6.9

MEN – Our test team consistently praised the Fire Arrow for its powerful carving ability, responsiveness and ability to blast through cut-up snow. “It’s easy to carve, powered through the crud and was on fire in the bumps,” summed up Ron Betts. He also liked how the ski “worked from a variety of stances,” indicating that a broad range of skiers would enjoy it. While this ski shone on-piste, stronger skiers will enjoy it off-piste, as well. “It bends into a perfect arc in all conditions, then rebounds and recentres you every time! An awesome ski! ” said Mark Stein.

NORDICA UNKNOWN LEGEND Ti

$1,100 †
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 148, 156, 164*, 172
sidecut: 130/80/113   turn radius: 13.5 @ 164
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP | AVERAGE SCORE: 7.3
A 7.0 C 5.5 S 5.9 W 5.6

WOMENSki Canada testers had the most fun on the Unknown Legend while snapping off short turns on the groomers at Fernie. “This ski will energize you! It’s dynamic in short turns and bumps, and solid at speed,” said Janet Kuijt. They felt the ski was responsive and powerful, however, it seemed to prefer harder snow. “Where there was a firm surface underneath, this ski really hooked up and carved a fast, true arc,” wrote Anne Terwiel. Off-piste required a bit more effort and skill.

ROSSIGNOL PURSUIT HP

$1,100 †
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 163, 170, 177*
sidecut: 125/81/111   turn radius: 16.8 @ 170
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP | AVERAGE SCORE: 7.8
A 7.7 C 6.0 S 5.9 W 6.5

MEN – Edge grip? Check. Stability? Check. Ability to rock and roll on-piste? CHECK! Our testers loved the Pursuit HP’s ability to rip the groomers. “Amazing arcs at speed. It plows through rough conditions like a tank, with awesome energy out of the turn,” commented veteran tester Hank Shannon. This ski showed capability and responsiveness in the bumps, as well. However, all that power and edge grip made the Pursuit a little less forgiving in the deeper snow. According to Peter Eaton, it was a “strong, stable performer on-piste…but a stiff flex hurt off-piste performance.”

ROSSIGNOL ATTRAXION 8 ECHO

$900 †
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 146, 154, 162*
sidecut: 127/75/108   turn radius: 12.8 @ 162
BEST IN: INITIATION | AVERAGE SCORE: 7.7
A 6.4 C 5.5 S 4.6 W 4.9

WOMEN – Nimble yet stable. Quick-turning yet solid. The Attraxion 8 Echo is truly versatile, seemingly doing it all well. According to Janet Kuijt, it’s “a super all-mountain multi- tasker that can transition seamlessly to your next terrain challenge or switch to cruise and be just perfect at this speed, too! ” “It’s agile without being skittish, and great for bumps, tight trees, groomers and small dumps of powder,” added Anne Terwiel. The Attraxion’s forgiving nature allows a broad range of skier types to enjoy the fun.

SALOMON ENDURO XT 850

$1,125 †
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 163, 170, 177*, 184
127/84/111 17.4 @ 177
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP | AVERAGE SCORE: 7.6
A 7.3 C 5.5 S 5.1 W 5.3

MEN - “Wide enough to profit in the powder, and a stable carver on the groomed,” wrote Mark Deneau, nicely summarizing a test-card consensus. The Enduro XT 850 has a power feel, with carving precision on the frontside, and float to get you through Fernie’s deep stuff. “The firm yet forgiving flex plows through or over terrain… Also an agile and stable ripper on-piste in all turn shapes,” noted Peter Eaton. “Solid yet playful,” added Erin Keam. With plenty of power, this ski was especially recommended for lighter types who really know how to ski.

SALOMON ENDURO XT 800

$1,099 †
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 154, 161, 168*, 175, 182
sidecut: 125/79/107   turn radius: 14.6 @ 168
BEST IN: INITIATION | AVERAGE SCORE: 5.8
A 7.1 C 5.1 S 6.8 W 7.1

WOMEN – Our female testers found the XT 800 to be a piste-biased, all-mountain ski for the stronger skier. “It loves the big terrain! Tighter turns were okay,” said Janet Kuijt, adding, “This ski’s inner voice said ‘small turns are for sissies! ’ It feels solid and inspired in big turns at speed.” It carves pure arcs on the groomers where speed is your friend, yet can be tamed off-piste, too. “This is for heavier skiers who like to push hard and go all day,” commented Val Cloutier.

VÖLKL V- WERKS RTM 84

$1,400 †
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 171, 176*, 181
129/84/111 18 @ 176
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP, STABILITY | AVERAGE SCORE: 7.6
A 7.9 C 6.4 S 6.5 W 6.9

MEN – Our Fernie test team loved this ski. An exceptional performer on-piste, the V-Werks ranked at the top in edge grip, stability and long-radius turns. “A solid platform to launch attacks on the mountain! Charge into any condition at any speed and claim victory,” stated veteran tester Mark Stein. “This ski has tons of life, massive energy out of the turn and it’s fast edge-to-edge,” added Steve Wall. With its sweet, pure arcs, this powerful and playful ski is best enjoyed by stronger skiers who ski more on the frontside of the mountain.

VÖLKL ESSENZA CHARISMA

$1,000 †
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 142, 149, 156, 163*
sidecut: 127/79/100   turn radius: 15.2 @ 156
BEST IN: INITIATION | AVERAGE SCORE: 6.5
A 6.3 C 5.3 S 6.4 W 6.1

WOMEN – The Charisma may feel light and easy turning, but don’t let that fool you. It has what it takes to rock and roll! “This ski rose to the occasion. It’s awesome in steep bumps and trees,” said a happy Anne Terwiel. The ski lets a wide range of skiers take advantage of its rare combination of ease with power “This ski is powerful and versatile. A great ski for all conditions, all turns— really impressed,” stated Michelle Ostafew. “Perfect for the lady who’s still shy in powder, but wants to get better,” added Val Cloutier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Response to “Expert All Mountain * Test 2013”

  1. Notha says:

    et le salomon rockette 90 femme????

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