Would you like to tackle the best slopes and off-piste areas of a mountain in one day, without having to switch skis? Then all-mountains skis are your weapons of choice.
Which ski should you try first? Find out with our expert tips below! And why did we say “first”? Because at INTERSPORT Rent’s more than 800 rental shops at some of the world’s best ski resorts, you can try as many women’s and men’s skis as you want – all of them at a great price.
Read on to get your extra dose of all-mountain ski know-how – our RENTertainers on site are happy to tell you more in person!
What are all-mountain skis?
All-mountain skis are versatile carving skis that can handle most terrain conditions, ranging from groomed slopes to backcountry powder. All-mountain skis are as agile as race carvers and as powder-friendly as freeride carvers, allowing experienced riders to enjoy both action-packed downhill adventures and spectacular powder rides.
Best suited for: advanced riders who enjoy on- and off-piste skiing
All-mountain skis give you the freedom of not having to choose just one type of terrain. However, the convenient all-round skis come in different shapes and sizes. There are products for women and men, for beginners, advanced riders and pros. Some are more suitable for the backcountry, others for slope skiing.
Checklist: How to find the perfect skis
Your choice of ski largely depends on your skiing skills and your preferred type of terrain. Plus, your riding style and speed also play an important role when choosing an all-mountain ski.
All factors at a glance:
- skills: beginner, advanced rider or pro
- terrain: on- vs. off-piste
- waist width
- profile: rocker or camber
- stiffness: flex and torsional rigidity
- women’s or men’s
Just like with any other ski, choosing the perfect all-mountain ski for your needs is all about the details. After all, every product comes with different properties and features. Essentially, this type of ski is snappy and playful on the slopes, and almost as sporty as a piste ski. Increased edge pressure and high speeds are not a problem.
All-mountain skis also provide the necessary flotation for stable off-piste riding in deep snow. If you mostly ski away from the slopes, you might want to consider a special freeride ski . Specific carving skis allow you to make the most of every ride, as they are designed to be the best in their particular type of terrain.
All-mountain skis for women and men
There are special all-mountain skis for women and men – and you can find a vast selection of both at INTERSPORT Rent. Some women’s skis only differ from men’s skis in terms of design and colours. However, many women’s skis are shorter, lighter and softer than men’s skis, making them easier to ski with less physical effort. Ladies’ skis also often have a shorter radius, and their bindings are mounted closer to the tip of the ski than on men’s skis.
Shorter skis are basically easier to turn and manoeuvre. That’s why beginners should choose shorter skis, up to ten centimetres below their height (with the tips ending roughly at eye level).
More advanced skiers often prefer longer skis (same as their height or slightly longer) as they offer more control at greater speeds. They also allow for long radius turns, albeit with greater physical effort.
Our tip: The perfect ski length is highly individual – it depends on your height, weight and riding style.
The weight of a ski is determined by the materials it is made of. Most of it comes from the ski core, which is usually made from (lightweight) wood. Various metal components such as edges and reinforcements make the ski more stable.
Heavy skis are more difficult to manoeuvre yet more stable, which can be an advantage in the backcountry. On hard-packed slopes, more weight and higher torsional rigidity can also have positive effects on edge pressure. A plus for sporty skiers!
Powder tip: An all-mountain ski’s buoyancy in deep snow comes from a combination of (low) weight and (large) width.
Carving skis have an hourglass shape, meaning that the ski is wider at the tip and tail than in the middle (waist). This is also called sidecut. A narrow waist will give you a shorter turn radius, while a wider waist allows for larger radius turns.
All-mountain skis typically have a waist width between 65 and 110 millimetres.
Our tip: Do you mostly ski on the groomed slopes and only occasionally go off-piste? Then you should go for a narrow all-mountain ski. You are a passionate freerider and only rarely go slope skiing? Then a wider all-mountain ski should be just right for you.
A ski‘s turn radius refers to the radius of an imaginary circle formed by completing an arc when a certain amount of pressure is applied to the ski’s edges. Usually, the radius of an all-mountain ski is somewhere between 14 and 18 metres.
A shorter radius also means shorter turns. The longer the radius, the larger your turns.
- smaller sidecut = wide ski = longer turn radius
- greater sidecut = narrow ski = shorter turn radius
The profile refers to the ski’s shape between the two contact points with the snow, as viewed from the side. There are two types of profiles: rocker and camber.
Most all-mountain skis have a rocker profile. It refers to the ski’s negative curvature, meaning that the tail and tip are slightly bent back, while the middle section of the ski touches the snow. This type of profile gives you good flotation for powder skiing.
There are also all-mountain skis with a camber profile. They have a positive curvature, with the skis’ tail and tip (which are bent back in a rocker profile) being the contact points touching the snow. The binding area will only touch the ground when you apply pressure, which is beneficial to riding at high speeds and on hard-packed terrain.
Flex and torsional stiffness
Torsional rigidity refers to your ski’s longitudinal stiffness. Skis with greater stiffness are generally more responsive and faster to react. Low torsional stiffness will give you less edge grip on icy or hard-packed terrain. On the other hand, a softer ski is more forgiving and thus more suitable for beginners.
In short: The stiffer the ski, the more advanced the rider should be.
Your ski’s flex rating refers to its flexibility. Softer flexing skis are powder-friendly and easy to turn but can start to shake at higher speeds. Stiffer flexing skis are more suitable for slope skiing, requiring more physical effort and an advanced technique. Again, the flexibility you will need largely depends on the type of terrain you are most likely to ride in.
Our tip: The perfect flex also depends on the skier’s weight.
Which all-mountain ski is right for me?
Now you know all about the different properties of all-mountain skis – that’s great! A quick recap: Your choice of ski largely depends on your preferred terrain and riding style.
Which type of ski is suitable for which skill level? You are …
- … a beginner: short and soft
- … an advanced rider: something in between
- … a pro: long and stiff
Our tip: For absolute beginners, we recommend easy carvers or all-round carvers.
Which do you prefer: freeriding or on-piste skiing?
- mostly groomed slopes: stiff, narrow, long, heavy, camber
- mostly off-piste and powder: soft, wide, short, lightweight, rocker
An all-mountain ski isn’t the right choice for you? Then our article “Which carving ski is right for me?“ might help you make a decision. Alternatively, you can visit our RENTertainers at one of more than 800 INTERSPORT Rent shops and have them help you find the perfect skis for you.