What is an all-mountain ski?The general conception of an all-mountain ski is a waist millimeter between 85 to 105 millimeters, defining the floatation of a ski, in a variety of conditions. However, there are other factors coming into play in defining a ski like the stiffness, rocker and turning radius. The category a ski is put under is decided by the manufacturer when creating a ski. The all-mountain ski is a type of ski that should be able to handle all conditions from rock hard groomers to slush, crud, and powder. The hard part about creating an all-mountain ski is balancing all the features to make it equally good in all-terrain.
Some of these features are torsional stiffness, amount of rocker (often just tip rocker or early rise), turning radius and width.
Examples of all-mountain skisClassic all-mountain skis in the past include the Head Kore 99 to 105, K2 Mindbender 99Ti, Nordica Enforcer 100, Blizzard Rustler 9 and 10.
Some manufacturers choose to call skis down to a 75 waist all-mountain skis. This is not 100% correct but more a chance for the producers to give their skis a broader area of riding. As you can imagine a ski with a 75-millimeter waist has a serious disadvantage in floatation in powder, slush, and crud against a 100-millimeter waist. Whereas its easier to create a fun turning experience in the piste with a 100-millimeter waist than the other way around.
Basically, an all-mountain ski is a ski with descent characteristics in all snow conditions. If you are looking to ride a single ski every day - this is your best choice.
What must be said in a text describing ”what is an all-mountain ski,” is that the scale is much more gray than black and white. And I’m not talking about design people. 105-millimeter all-mountain skis are also inflicting in the category of powder ski, and an 85-millimeter waist all-mountain ski with a tight turning radius is seriously similar to a piste ski. In other words, these are not rules of law deciding what category a ski belongs to.
Construction of an all-mountain ski All qualitative all-mountain skis have a wood core. Normal types of wood are Poplar, Beech, Karuba, and Paulownia. These cores are often made stronger with wooden stringers or with additional materials stiffening the torsional stiffness and flex. Materials such as Carbon fiber, Titanal (often shortened Ti in a product name, or Graphene.
The tip rocker is often mild to unexisting depending on where the focus is put. More edge hold and piste characteristics - less rocker. More floatation and playfulness - more rocker.
The turning radius of all-mountain skis can vary heavily. The number provided by the producer is the radius of the sidecut. Meaning if you draw a full circle by the shape of the edge of the ski, you will have a radius. These characteristics are decided in production depending if you want a “hard charger” ski to go really fast within a more super-G like manner (bigger turning radius), or a more nimble faster-turning ski (lesser turning radius). Other elements in the ski are part of deciding how the ski will turn though. Torsional stiffness to name one.
Remember this is not an exact science. As you will notice, the perception can be quite different depending on the manufacturer. But the basic definition of all-mountain skis is.. A ski made to ski everything on the mountain.