2020 Ski Comparisons: Men's ~90mm All Mountain Ski Guide

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2020 Ski Comparisons: Men's ~90mm All Mountain Ski Guide

2020 Ski Comparisons: Men's ~90mm All Mountain Ski Guide // Helpful Hints

 

Ski season is right around the corner and that means it's time for our 2020 Ski Comparison articles! Here at SkiEssentials.com, we're all about determining what the right ski is for you. Through our in-depth reviews on Chairlift to the 2020 Ski Test Results and now these 2020 Comparison articles, we give you more information to help you choose the right ski than anyone else in the industry. Still aren't finding the information you're looking for? Just pick up the phone and give us a call or leave us a comment. Our motto of "Gear For Skiers By Skiers" isn't just a gimmick. When you contact us with a question, an avid skier is reading it and providing a response. These skis are listed in alphabetical order. We don't believe any one of these skis is necessarily better than another, rather they all correspond to a slightly different skier or skiing style. This Comparison series will run through the fall covering everything from frontside carvers to powder skis, so keep your eyes open for more to come!

AT A GLANCE


2020 Atomic Vantage 90 Ti



AVAILABLE SIZES TURN RADIUS SIDECUT CORE STRENGTHS
161, 169, 176, 184 cm 18.4 m at 176 cm 127.5 / 90 / 114 mm Titanium Mesh Lightweight, Responsive, Energetic

Overview:

We're kicking it off with the Atomic Vantage 90 Ti! Atomic's offering to this category is one of the lightest of the bunch, and also one of the stiffest. We've talked about it plenty before, but when a ski is both lightweight and stiff, it gives it a very responsive feel. This ski is largely unchanged for the 2020 model year, although Atomic made some slight changes to the flex in the tail of the ski. That's given the ski a smoother overall feel, while still reacting to skier input very quickly. The previous version, at times, felt somewhat unforgiving because of the stiff tail, while this new version allows for easier tail edge release. Although it doesn't use much rocker or early taper, the light swing weight increases its ability in off-piste situations and also makes it less fatiguing to through around. Overall, it's still a very responsive, very precise, and very lightweight all-mountain ski.

Who it's For:

Advanced skiers who spend most of their time on groomers and value precision, responsiveness, and a lightweight ski, but still want some versatility too. It's less fatiguing than heavier skis, so a good choice if you've been worn out by skis with 2 sheets of metal in the past.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Blizzard Brahma 88



AVAILABLE SIZES TURN RADIUS SIDECUT CORE STRENGTHS
166, 173, 180, 187 cm 19 m at 187 cm 127 / 88 / 111 mm Wood / Metal / Carbon Strong, Powerful, Damp

Overview:

The Brahma 88 has become a staple in this category, especially for those who like a traditional construction with plenty of power and stability. Blizzard essentially uses race construction in the Brahma with a full wood core sandwiched between two sheets of titanal. They also add in bi-directional carbon fiber to increase edge grip and responsiveness out of a turn. It is, however, not nearly as light as the Vantage 90 Ti, which makes it more tiring to ski. It's not for the faint of heart; the Brahma 88 prefers to be driven and loves high speeds. It prefers to plow through un-groomed snow conditions and variable terrain rather than hop and play over or wiggle through it, which a lot of aggressive skiers will enjoy. The Brahma 88 has no speed limit, but it's also fairly demanding. It holds an edge very well, tracks through anything, has that ultra-stable Austrian feel, but it's not necessarily a relaxing skiing experience.

Who it's For:

Former racers, high speed enthusiasts, and overall aggressive skiers who want a powerful all-mountain ski that will lay trenches. Danger-lovers, thrill-seekers, adrenaline-junkies… the list goes on.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Blizzard Rustler 9



AVAILABLE SIZES TURN RADIUS SIDECUT CORE STRENGTHS
164, 172, 180, 188cm 18.5 m at 188 cm 128 / 94 / 117.5 Wood w/ Titanal Backbone Versatile, Playful

Overview:

The Rustler 9 is arguably the most freeride-inspired ski in this group we've put together. Unlike the Brahma 88, it only uses partial metal, uni-directional carbon, and has significantly more rocker in both the tip and the tail of the ski. The Brahma 88 has that endless stability, but the Rustler 9 has lots of snap, pop, and energy. It also releases its tail edge much more easily and will make skidding, slashing, and smearing turns with ease. On the other hand, it will still carve a turn nicely and hold an edge well, it just doesn't have that race-level on trail performance as its narrower, more serious brother. It's a blast in the trees and moguls and loves to find little hits on the side of the trail to play around on. It's kind of like the offspring of a Brahma and a Regulator. In fact, we've even seen some skiers playing around on a Rustler 9 in the terrain park.

Who it's For:

The playful, freeride-inspired, all-mountain skier that doesn't want a noodle of a ski on their feet. Adventurous skiers who like to find a way to play everywhere on the mountain, but don't want to completely sacrifice carving performance.

AT A GLANCE


2020 DPS Cassiar A87 C2



AVAILABLE SIZES TURN RADIUS SIDECUT CORE STRENGTHS
165, 171, 178, 184, 189 cm 18 m at 178 cm 126 / 87 / 107 mm Carbon Fiber Lightweight, Nimble

Overview:

The Cassiar A 87 C2 is a unique ski in this group of skis both due to its construction and its price tag. Sure, it's over $1000, but with that you're getting vibration-tuned aerospace grade carbon fiber (Alchemist construction) and tremendous performance. The Cassiar A 87 C2 is super lightweight and really flickable. While it's not as pronounced as some of DPS' wider skis, it still uses quite a bit of tip and tail rocker and early taper, especially among other skis in this list. This shape combined with its light weight makes it extremely easy to maneuver through tight spots and tricky terrain. When you open it up on the groomers, it might not have the pure power or stability of metal, but the edge grip and responsiveness when linking carving turns is downright impressive considering the weight. The Alchemist construction provides solid edge grip despite the tapered shape. It's an impressive feat to make a ski that feels this maneuverable, but still can hang with heavier skis on the groomers.

Who it's For:

Skiers who are looking for a relatively even mix of performance characteristics in a ski with a high-end feel. We're not big fans of the "one-ski-quiver" title, but this is a ski that could be described as such.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Dynastar Legend X 88



AVAILABLE SIZES TURN RADIUS SIDECUT CORE STRENGTHS
166, 173, 180, 186 cm 18 m at 180 cm 125 / 88 / 109 mm Wood / Titanal Powerful, Edge Release

Overview:

The Dynastar Legend X 88 isn't nearly as light as the Cassiar A 87, but that's because it uses two full sheets of titanal metal. It does, on the other hand, use a relatively similar shape with plenty of rocker and early taper. This gives it a unique placement among this list of skis. You get the maneuverability that comes along with this shape, but the power, stability, and vibration damping of metal. The Legend X 88 is also relatively stiff, so despite it having a shorter effective edge, it doesn't lack any significant edge grip. That shorter effective edge makes turn initiation a little easier than on skis with extended sidecut, both in terms of carving and skidding-style turns. Think of it as a ski that will charge down the fall line, but that you can also slash a quick turn on to dump speed. It's got the stability for speed and the ability for quick adjustments. Just be ready to give it some skier input, as the heavier weight doesn't have the same flickable feel as some of the lighter skis.

Who it's For:

Skiers who want versatile all-mountain performance, but want it with those two sheets of metal and a powerful feel. Basically, if you like skiing fast and like skiing the whole mountain, the Legend X 88 is awesome.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Elan Ripstick 88



AVAILABLE SIZES TURN RADIUS SIDECUT CORE STRENGTHS
151, 158, 165, 172, 179, 186 cm 15.4 m at 172 cm 130 / 88 / 105 mm Wood / Carbon Tubes Lightweight, Fun Factor

Overview:

The Ripstick 88 shares a similar shape with the Legend X 88, but its construction is quite a bit different. Coming in at much lighter weight, the performance of the Ripstick 88 relies heavily on 3-dimensional carbon tubes running the full length of the ski. As we've found, this 3-dimensional application of carbon results in a different feel than the carbon laminates we're used to. The Ripstick 88 is lightweight, yet has impressive vibration damping. It mimics the feel of metal without the weight. You don't get quite the power, stability, or vibration dampness, partly due to it just being lighter, but it's quite impressive. On the other hand, the Ripstick 88 is far more playful and easier to maneuver than those heavier skis. It has a softer flex pattern than some of the skis in this list, but doesn't lack torsional stiffness. That means you can manipulate carving turn radius by getting the ski to flex into a shorter turn shape without it washing it out. It's really quite a lot of fun, which we think Elan would be psyched to hear, as fun is one of the main goals of their all-mountain skis.

Who it's For:

Glen Plake. Also, anyone who wants to feel like they have skis that will play and have fun no matter where you take them. Carving's fun, slashing's fun, throwing daffies in the moguls is fun.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Fischer Ranger 92 Ti



AVAILABLE SIZES TURN RADIUS SIDECUT CORE STRENGTHS
171, 178, 185 cm 17 m at 178 cm 126 / 91 / 116 mm Wood / Titanal / Carbon Soft Snow Carve-ability

Overview:

Fischer has updated their Ranger collection for 2020 with longer metal laminates that integrate directly into their unique Carbon Nose design. This has given the Ranger 92 Ti a more stout feel overall, but without the weight that comes along with two full-length sheets of metal. Swing weight is noticeably lessened by the Carbon Nose, which also does a great job minimizing vibrations or any kind of tip flap. With its rockered and tapered shape, the forebody of the ski feels freeride-inspired and eats up softer snow conditions. The flatter tail helps you finish a carving turn nicely, so it's safe to say the Ranger 92 Ti is designed for those with a carving oriented approach to their all-mountain skiing (as opposed to smearing). For those leaning more towards the pivoting, smearing technique, Fischer now has a Ranger 94 FR that offers an overall similar skiing experience, although with less metal and a more turned up tail for a more playful feel.

Who it's For:

Those that seek out softer snow conditions and explore the whole mountain, but who also want a fairly stiff tail that will finish a turn well and can handle some speed and powerful skier input.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Head Kore 93



AVAILABLE SIZES TURN RADIUS SIDECUT CORE STRENGTHS
153, 162, 171, 180, 189 cm 16.4 m at 180 cm 133 / 93 / 115 mm Graphene / Koroyd / Carbon Freeride Shape, Maneuverable

Overview:

We've often compared the shape of the Kore 93 to the Nordica Enforcer 93. As neither of those skis have changed for 2020, that's still a good way to think about it. The Kore 93, however, is lighter on your feet and easier to maneuver at slower speeds. It doesn't have quite the power or vibration damping of those skis with metal, but it has a very consistent tip to tail flex and impressive stability considering the weight and construction. It can get a little twitchy at high speeds, especially on the feet of heavy or aggressive skiers, but its performance in moguls and trees is notable among this list of skis. The modern shape also gives it extremely easy turn initiation on groomed slopes, so not only is it a great ski for off-piste terrain, but it can also be a wider frontside cruiser, especially for skiers who aren't burying the gas pedal on every turn.

Who it's For:

Explorative skiers who want one ski that can take them anywhere, and will shred trees and moguls. Also a good choice as a cruiser all-mountain ski, especially for a western skier who wants the extra width.

AT A GLANCE


2020 K2 Mindbender 90 Ti



AVAILABLE SIZES TURN RADIUS SIDECUT CORE STRENGTHS
163, 170, 177, 184 cm 17.9 m at 177 cm 127 / 90 / 114 mm Titanal Y-Beam Versatile, Damp, Strong

Overview:

From a versatility standpoint, the K2 Mindbender 90Ti is right up there among the chart-toppers. K2's engineers are specifically designing different amounts of torsional stiffness into different portions of the ski and the result is pretty awesome. In the forebody of the ski, you get metal along the edges which supports powerful carving turns and skiers that like to drive a ski hard. In the tail of the ski, however, that metal is only in the center of the ski, allowing for easier tail release for pivoting turns, moguls, trees, and other tight terrain. It has a really nice blend of stiffness and stability, but is also energetic and poppy. For some reason, it feels less serious than some of the competing models, yet it can hang with skis that are designed specifically for powerful performance. It doesn't use super-pronounced rocker, and it doesn't have a tremendous amount of early taper either. It's also not particularly lightweight, yet somehow it still feels fun and maneuverable. It'll rip carving turns and it'll also wiggle through the bumps.

Who it's For:

Skiers looking for that all-mountain versatility in a ski that feels strong, stable, and extremely capable. Because of the weight, however, you should be ready to give it some skier input, it's not a lazy ski.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Kastle MX 89



AVAILABLE SIZES TURN RADIUS SIDECUT CORE STRENGTHS
156, 164, 172, 180, 188 cm 17 m at 172 cm 129 / 89 / 113 mm Wood / Titanal / Fiberglass Strong, Powerful, Precise

Overview:

You won't find any rocker or early taper in this missile of a ski. Kastle has designed the MX 89 with two full length sheets of metal sandwiching a wood core and, you guessed it, a full camber profile with extended sidecut. That's essentially a wide race ski, and the performance matches the build. The MX 89, simply put, can absolutely rip. If your idea of a good day on the slopes involves arcing perfectly round GS turns at Mach 4 level speeds, this ski is going to be right up your alley. It has a distinctly high-end feel thanks to Kastle's dedication to quality materials and precision manufacturing. It has Cadillac-like smoothness with the precision and sporty feel of a Ferrari. The more you push it, the more you get back. On the other hand, if you're not comfortable really driving a ski, the MX 89 might beat you up a bit. It's also not the easiest ski in any off-piste terrain thanks to the weight and the full camber profile, but boy oh boy does it absolutely demolish groomers.

Who it's For:

You like to ski fast. You look at the steepest groomed run on any mountain and think, "Can I link carving turns down that whole face?" We can't vouch for your personal ability level, but the MX 89 is the right tool for the job.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Liberty Evolv90



AVAILABLE SIZES TURN RADIUS SIDECUT CORE STRENGTHS
1165, 172, 179, 186 cm 18.5 m at 179 cm 132 / 90 / 114 mm Wood / Metal / Carbon Quiet, Damp, Versatile

Overview:

Liberty has taken the Vertical Metal Technology from their V-Series skis and put it into a more versatile all-mountain shape. The tip of the Evolv90 has a nice amount of rocker and a smooth, rounded tip profile that's more versatile in soft snow than the similar-width V-92. The tail of the Evolv90 is flat, which helps it finish a carving turn very nicely when you want it to. The low camber profile helps give the ski a more forgiving feel when you're trying to skid or smear your turn compared to stiff skis with higher camber. It has an intuitive feel when making smaller radius, skidding turns, but can also lay down those powerful carves. It's (somewhat surprisingly) one of the quietest skis in this list with some of the best vibration damping. It feels powerful, but slightly more versatile than some of the heavy, 2-sheets-of-metal skis in this list. Kudos to Liberty for producing a ski from a more boutique-level brand that can compete with the big boys.

Who it's For:

Counter-culture groomer rippers. If you value small-batch production and like supporting smaller ski brands, but want that race-inspired power and stability, it's a fantastic ski.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Nordica Enforcer 88



AVAILABLE SIZES TURN RADIUS SIDECUT CORE STRENGTHS
165, 172, 179, 186 cm 17.5 m at 186 cm 122 / 88 / 110 mm Wood / Metal / Carbon Strong, Energetic, Smooth

Overview:

The narrowest Enforcer yet! It's also the quickest edge to edge, has the best grip, and feels more energetic and responsive when linking carving turns. On the other hand, you can still tell you have an Enforcer on your feet as it has that smooth, damp feel we've all come to enjoy. It's also one of the more versatile skis among those with two full sheets of metal. It feels right at home when laying down carves on firm snow, but you can also take it into the bumps and trees and have a good time. Of course, there are wider Enforcer options for those that are really seeking out soft snow, but we're psyched to have the Enforcer performance in a narrower option for those of us that don't get to ski deep snow very often. It's hands-down the best Enforcer for firm snow and is a formidable contender among this list of skis. Nordica's targeting some well-regarded skis that have carved (heh, puns) their place in the ski world, and the Enforcer 88 feels up to the challenge with its lively carving performance, good stability, and a touch of versatility.

Who it's For:

Advanced skiers and above. Probably a little too much for an intermediate. If you've skied an Enforcer and liked it, you'll be psyched with the extra carving performance of the 88.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Rossignol Experience 88 Ti



AVAILABLE SIZES TURN RADIUS SIDECUT CORE STRENGTHS
166, 173, 180, 187 cm 16 m at 180 cm 127 / 88 / 117 mm Titanium Line Control Versatile, Approachable

Overview:

Arguably one of the smoothest, most versatile all-mountain skis in this category. It also hits a big range of ability levels and skiing styles. The redesigned Experience 88 Ti is back for 2020 and we're glad it's unchanged. We've been impressed by this ski since its introduction and we think there are skiers out there who have yet to realize its potential. Line Control Technology gives it better firm snow feel than any previous Experience ski, but it's far more maneuverable and more fun when you take it off trail thanks to the rockered tip shape and relatively light swing weight. It's a breeze when slipping and skidding through moguls, will hop and play through the trees, and does it all with a relatively forgiving, pretty easy-going feel. Not to say you can't give it the gas and lay over some high speed carves, although if that's all you're looking to do you might be better off with a heavier ski. Perhaps the highlighting feature of the Experience 88 Ti is the fact that it never feels out of place no matter where on the mountain you take it.

Who it's For:

Intermediates all the way up to advanced skiers. Intermediates will find it helps promote progression in their all-mountain skiing, while experts will appreciate its balanced performance across the whole mountain.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Salomon QST 92



AVAILABLE SIZES TURN RADIUS SIDECUT CORE STRENGTHS
153, 161, 169, 177, 185 cm 18 m at 177 cm 128 / 92 / 111 mm Wood / Carbon / Flax Versatile, Intuitive, Smooth

Overview:

Salomon's QST series has been overhauled for 2020 and the QST 92 is better than it's ever been before. Salomon's unique construction provides similar performance as skis with 2 sheets of metal in terms of strength and stability, but it has a different feel. The freeride inspiration is obvious, as the QST 92 loves to slash and smear turns in any snow conditions. The combination of construction materials, on the other hand, retains impressive edge grip on firm snow. Still, when you look at the XDR 88 Ti below, it's even more obvious that the QST 92 is designed more for soft snow and adventurous skiers than its pure groomer performance. It's a touch heavier than the version it replaces, but the stability and overall feel has been improved, and it still feels like one of the most maneuverable skis in this list. If you haven't yet skied a Salomon QST ski, you need to, as there's something special about the way Salomon is building these skis.

Who it's For:

You like skiing the whole mountain, but what really gets you going is soft snow conditions and off-piste terrain.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Salomon XDR 88 Ti



AVAILABLE SIZES TURN RADIUS SIDECUT CORE STRENGTHS
165, 172, 179, 186 cm 17 m at 179 cm 129 / 88 / 112 mm Wood / Metal Energetic, Quick, Nimble

Overview:

If the QST 92 leans towards the freeride/soft snow side of the all-mountain spectrum, the XDR 88 Ti leans ever so slightly the other direction. Its construction is somewhat similar with a unique blend of materials, but you find more metal in the XDR 88 Ti. This gives it more stability at speed to go along with a quicker edge to edge feel and better torsional stiffness too. Like the QST 92, it has somewhat of a unique feel that we're only getting out of these Salomon all-mountain skis. Smooth, good vibration damping, but still energetic and fun. In fact, the XDR 88 Ti is probably one of the best mogul skis in this comparison, even though the QST 92 is designed more for off-piste terrain. The XDR 88 Ti feels very nimble when maneuvering through bumps, but then you can get right back on trail and link high speed carves. You're not, however, getting quite the same soft snow performance and feel as you do with the QST 92, but hey, that's why we have options!

Who it's For:

You value carving performance on firm snow and a quick edge to edge feel, but you want your skis to feel fun in the bumps and not like they're fighting you if you want to get a little more playful with your skiing.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Stockli Stormrider 88



AVAILABLE SIZES TURN RADIUS SIDECUT CORE STRENGTHS
168, 177, 186 cm 19 m at 177 cm 128 / 88 / 114 mm Wood / Metal Topsheet Smooth, Powerful, Lightweight

Overview:

The Stormrider 88 is lightweight, but strong. Stockli uses a lightweight wood core with a titanal topsheet. That metal provides plenty of vibration damping, which is exceptionally impressive given the overall weight of the ski. It is silky-smooth when linking carving turns on firm snow and its poise and balanced feel perhaps sets it apart from any other ski on this list. It's not as stiff and powerful as a ski like the MX 89, but its softer flex pattern allows for varied turn shapes more easily than those heavier, stiffer skis. Because it feels light on your feet, despite not using much tail rocker, it still is pretty darn easy to flick around when you find yourself in tight terrain. These $1000+ skis (DPS, Kastle, Stockli) all have certain characteristics that make you realize why they garner that price tag. For the Stormrider 88, it's its smooth feel, confidence-inspiring nature, and the fact that it still feels really good even at slower speeds, unlike skis that don't come alive until you hit a certain speed.

Who it's For:

Porsche owners who want their skis to match the performance and feel of their Cayenne Turbo SUV.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Volkl Kendo 88



AVAILABLE SIZES TURN RADIUS SIDECUT CORE STRENGTHS
163, 170, 177, 184 cm 18.6 m at 177 cm 129 / 88 / 111 mm Titanal Frame Strong, Powerful, Versatile

Overview:

How fitting to end with the Kendo 88, a ski that helped create this segment of all-mountain skis. The Kendo has long been known for its powerful, stable feel. This new version, despite using less metal, carries that trend forward. Volkl has taken the Titanal Frame design we saw in the M5 Mantra and moved it into the Kendo 88 as well. Metal is placed along the edges of the ski under the topsheet, which does not meet underfoot. This gives the ski a bigger sweet spot than any Kendo we've seen before, while retaining that stout, stable feel. It also has a new 3D Radius, which allows you to make some of the biggest radius carving turns of any ski in this category. If you really push the ski underfoot, however, you can get that radius to shorten into mid-range GS turns. It's also better off trail than it's ever been before. It doesn't use much rocker or early taper, so you need to ski it with pretty good technique and a willingness to drive the ski, but advanced and expert skiers will love its versatility.

Who it's For:

Volkl lovers. The brand has a following that's arguably stronger than any other, and if you like Volkl skis, you'll like the Kendo 88. If you've never skied one, you get all-mountain versatility with a powerful, precise, distinctly-Volkl feel.

2020 SKI COMPARISONS:


Men's ~90mm All Mountain Skis


SKIS SIDECUT RADIUS CORE RETAIL PRICE
2020 Atomic Vantage 90 Ti 18.4m @ 176cm 127.5 / 90 / 114 Titanium Mesh $599.99
2020 Blizzard Brahma 88 19m @ 187cm 127 / 88 / 111 Wood / Metal / Carbon $649.95
2020 Blizzard Rustler 9 18.5m @ 188cm 128 / 94 / 117.5 Wood w/ Titanal Backbone $599.95
2020 DPS Cassiar A87 C2 18m @ 178cm 126 / 87 / 107 Carbon Fiber $1,299.00
2020 Dynastar Legend X 88 18m @ 180cm 125 / 88 / 109 Wood / Titanal $649.95
2020 Elan Ripstick 88 15.4m @ 172cm 130 / 88 / 105 Wood / Carbon Tubes $599.99
2020 Fischer Ranger 92 Ti 17m @ 178cm 126 / 91 / 116 Wood / Titanal / Carbon $649.99
2020 Head Kore 93 16.4m @ 180cm 133 / 93 / 115 Graphene / Koroyd / Carbon $649.00
2020 K2 Mindbender 90Ti 17.9m @ 177cm 127 / 90 / 114 Titanal Y-Beam $649.95
2020 Kastle MX 89 17m @ 172cm 129 / 89 / 113 Wood / Titanal / Fiberglass $1,299.00
2020 Liberty Evolv90 18.5m @ 179cm 132 / 90 / 114 Wood / Metal / Carbon $649.00
2020 Nordica Enforcer 88 17.5m @ 186cm 122 / 88 / 110 Wood / Metal / Carbon $649.99
2020 Rossignol Experience 88 Ti 16m @ 180cm 127 / 88 / 117 Titanium Line Control $699.95
2020 Salomone QST 92 18m @ 177cm 128 / 92 / 111 Wood / Carbon / Flax $549.99
2020 Salomon XDR 88 Ti 17m @ 179cm 129 / 88 / 112 Wood / Metal $599.99
2020 Stockli Stormrider 88 19m @ 177cm 128 / 88 / 114 Wood / Metal Topsheet $999.00
2020 Volkl Kendo 88 18.6m @ 177cm 129 / 88 / 111 Titanal Frame $649.00

2020 Men's All Mountain Ski Test Results Image

 


Written by Jeff Neagle on 10/03/19

88 thoughts on “2020 Ski Comparisons: Men's ~90mm All Mountain Ski Guide

  1. Excellent review of the Stockli Stormrider 88. I'm curious about the compare-contrast between Stormrider 88 and Stormrider 95.
    It sounds like these new 88's are an upgrade to my 4 year old 72mm Stockli's that are still great in all conditions including moderate fluff in the Vermont slopes but no good in Utah deep powder.

    1. Hi Will!
      I think you'll see a big uptick in your flotation and all-mountain performance with the 88, and even more so with the 95. Yes you'll lose some of the torsional stiffness and carving performance with the wider 95, but if you're looking for something on the wider side, it's a great choice. My only concern with the 95 is that it's too big a jump for you in terms of width for what I'm assuming will be a one-ski quiver. Another thing to think about is that even the 95 won't be enough for significant snowfalls, so if you're interested in a two-ski quiver, I'd go with the 88 and then something wider like a 105 or more. Hope that helps!
      SE

  2. Hey guys, really excellent comparison! I think the Rustler 9 would work really well for me and wondered if you could give me some advice about length. I'm 5'11" and 155 lbs, a strong intermediate skier and I'm mostly in Europe now (although most of my skiing days so far have been in Vermont). I'm looking to replace / augment an old pair of Rossi Pursuit 16's in 163cm length, they have been great and fun but I'm going off piste more and my old skis just don't float. I'm also hoping for skis that are a little bit more playful, I do enjoy carving a lot but these days I also enjoy a few spins and jumps. Do you think the Rustler 9 fits the bill here, and do you think the 172 or 180 length would be better? Thanks!

    1. Hi Ash!
      I think you'll love the Rustler 9 for all-mountain skiing and playfulness. Here's a wrinkle: The 172 is 92 mm underfoot while the 180 is 94 mm underfoot. If you're looking for something quicker and with a bit more edge grip, go with the 172, but if you're looking for more stability at speed and flotation, I'd go with the 180. Your size is right in the middle, so it's kind of up to you as to how you want to use the skis. I

      1. Thanks for the reply, that's a great point. I was debating between the Rustler 9 and Rustler 10, so I'd rather have the wider version of the 9 with more flotation. Since I've already got a ski with good edge grip and piste performance, the Rustler will basically be my off-piste ski. I'll try out the Rustler 9 in the 180! Also, I know lots of people say this, but your reviews and round-ups are the best things out there. I've learned a ton about how ski construction affects performance from listening to you guys. Thanks for putting in all that work!

  3. Hi guys,
    So I am kind of shopping for a ski that is on the narrower side, can link carves well, is playful, can bust through crud and can give lots of power with a stiffer feel to it. I am 5 feet 11 and 140 lbs. I would call myself a pretty aggressive skier (type 3). There are so many fantastic types of skis out there, and I’m looking at the head kore 93, Rossignol 88 to, Brahma 88, elan Ripstick 88, kendo 88, enforcer 88, and the qst 92. I feel like I am torn between all of them, but what do you think would be the best ski for me?

    Eli

    1. Hi Eli!

      The Enforcer 88 and Kendo 88 both feel like good choices in my opinion. The Brahma 88 checks all your boxes too, except is rarely described as playful. I think the Enforcer 88 probably has the blend of characteristics you're looking for. Carves well, stable enough to blast though crud, but fairly playful too. The Kendo ups the power and stability a touch, and it also has a bigger turning radius, although to me it feels a little less playful. Kore 93 and QST 92 probably don't have the carving performance you're looking for, although neither is bad, it just sounds like you'd want a little more. The Experience 88 Ti and Ripstick 88 are both great, but if you're really charging and if you prefer a stiffer feeling ski, they're probably a little soft for you.

      Hope that helps!

  4. Hi guys,
    I am an expert skier, 5 feet 5 and 130 pounds. I ski in eastern Canada, mostly moguls, woods and carving. I am looking for an agile, lightweight ski as I mostly enjoy moguls and woods. I do not want to sacrifice carving performance as it is what we often do because of snow conditions, but I don't want a very stiff ski because of my weight.
    I've read all your reviews, but I am still indecisive.
    What would you recommend for me?

    1. Hi Manu!
      I think you're leaning towards the narrower side, so something in the 88-90 range if I'm reading you correctly. I think you'd like the Rossignol Experience 88, Atomic Vantage 90, or the Elan Ripstick 88. Of those, the Elan is the lightest, and the Rossignol is the best carver. The Atomic is a nice blend of both, so if you're still indecisive, I'd go with that one. If you were thinking wider, the Blizzard Rustler 9 or the Head Kore 93 are both light and playful with pretty nice carving for their width. Hope that helps!
      SE

  5. Excellent reviews as always!
    I own a pair of 2020 Volkl Kendos that I picked up last season at the end of the year as a demo unused set. I ski in the midwest- ie Wisconsin. Come in around 190-200lbs at 5'11" and would consider myself a level 3 skier. I like to ski fast and carve up the groomer. I am a patroller so I need something a little versatile. The issue with groomers in Wisconsin is that it can easily become ice and the runs are short where I spend most of my time. I am wondering what would be the top 3 skies you would recommend as a whole, and then of those what would the order of difference be in terms of feel from the 2020 Kendo? Having not skied the Kendo's yet I am not married to them yet, always looking for the best ski for my regular scenario, but if I can match the Kendo also up with another pair that would be great, but not required. Hope that makes sense! Thanks again for all the awesome reviews!

    1. Hi Tom!
      I think you'll love the Kendo and that you purchased correctly. If you were to get something different, I'd recommend the Volkl Deacon 84, K2 Ikonic 84 or the Fischer RC One GT 86--more front-side oriented skis with tremendous carving power. Not quite as versatile as the Kendo, however. Have fun!
      SE

  6. Hey guys great reviews!
    I am looking to purchase my first set of ski's, I have been renting for a few years. I am 5'9" about 220 lbs and a strong intermediate skier. I live in Minnesota but go out to Montana quite often. I ski mostly groomers and trees in Minnesota like to carve, tends get icy. When I get out to Montana I love to get off piste in some powder and the trees. I'm looking for something that can hold an edge on hard snow and be floaty and nimble enough for the powder and trees. I'm leaning towards the enforcer 93, but I am open to pretty much anything. I am also going to be taking lessons this year so I want a ski I can grow into. What would you recommend? Thanks again for all your content!

    1. Hi Nick!
      Sounds like you're describing an Enforcer 93 skier. Definitely something to grow into, and maybe a bit demanding at first, but I think your weight allows you to level up in terms of performance. You'll love the stability and response of the ski. On the slightly easier to use side is the Rossignol Experience 94 and the Blizzard Rustler 9. Both have partial metal laminates, so still provide good stability, but not quite the same weight/stiffness. I'd say the mid-170's is a good place to start in terms of length. Have fun!
      SE

  7. Hey guys, great reviews, thanks for all the detail!
    I am looking to purchase my first set of skis after renting so far. I am going to be skiing mostly in Europe and am a strong intermediate skier who currently spends most of my time on piste but starting to enjoy adventuring more off piste when the snow is good. I am looking for a one ski quiver to help me start exploring. I like going fast, carving, skiing bumps and mostly having a lot of fun on skis. I am 6'4" and about 180lbs. I am tempted by the Head Kore 93 and the K2 Mindbender 90. What would you recommend?
    Thanks again!

    1. Thanks, Ed!
      I'd go with the K2 based on your stats and skiing application. I loved the K2 in all of the conditions you listed, and at your size, they have more stability thank the Kore, which I've always felt is better for smaller skiers. The K2 is a superior carver and mogul ski for sure, with flotation being the only area where the Kore might have en edge. I'm 6'2 220 and I loved the Mindbender 90 Ti in the 184 cm length. Hope that helps!
      SE

  8. 40 yr old, athletic advanced East Coast Skier. Mostly VT. 5'9 170lbs. Love to rip groomers but get out to maneuver in trees as much as possible. Avoid moguls. Love a lighter ski thats tossable but do like to charge need some stability to keep me confident on the fast, icy days. Choosing between the Rustler 9, XDR 88 and QST 92. If you were to arbitrate that for me knowing what Im look for Id be grateful!

    1. Hi Matthew M!
      It sounds like you're an XDR 88 skier to me. The others don't quite have the same hard-charging capabilities on hard snow. They'll be fine in the trees unless there's a bunch of snow, but how often does that happen compared to your groomer skiing? They're all great choices, it's hard to go wrong. Have fun!
      SE

  9. 48 year old 6’2” - 220 lb skier moving on from
    181 K2 Aftershocks which are starting to feel heavy and hard to pivot in tight conditions. Ski mostly frontside blacks and blues at Breck/Keystone (groomed and I groomed) but want to get more off trail as my kids get older. Was looking at Rustler 9, Enforcer 93 or QST 92. Also open to other options as I look for the perfect balance between stability, forgiveness and weight. Your experience and expertise is appreciated. Thoughts/advice?

    1. Hi BT!
      You'll probably like the overall feel of the QST 92. The Rustler might be on the light side while the Enforcer might be on the burly end of the spectrum. I've always felt like the QST is a great mix of all things. I'm also a big fan of the Fischer Ranger 92, so that's worth a look as well. Hope that helps!
      SE

  10. Hi guys!
    like many above I am looking for a new pair of skis. Currently skiing in Europe with the 2015 atomic vantage theory and looking to go for a 95 waist or lower for my next pair, but more carve-minded than my atomics. I am 6'4 194lbs, love carving on fresh slopes, jumping off and continuing my track down in softer snow. I absolutely love the rustler 9, but fear that the carving capabilities will be about the same as my previous pair. Also loving the ranger 92, kore 93 and qst 92. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Simon!
      I'm a fan of the Fischer for that carving capability over the QST and Kore, but not by much. I'd also look to the K2 Mindbender 90 Ti for a strong option. Sounds like you're looking to stay 90-95 versus the 88's, where there are a lot more carving-oriented skis. The 90-95 is a bit more versatile for soft snow, so I think you're in the right zone. Hope that helps!
      SE

      1. Hi guys,

        First of all thanks For the detailed comparison. I am a very much carving oriented skier but want to go off piste some times and maybe also do some easier tricks like skiing switch or doing 360s. Was wondering if the Fischer Ranger 92 or the Nordica Enfocer 88 would suit me better.
        I am about 63 kilograms and 177cm tall.

        Thanks in advance

        Lukas

        1. Hi Lukas!
          The Enforcer 88 is a more aggressive ski, so although you sound like an aggressive skier, the things you're telling me is that you want to use them for more playful purposes, and that puts you in the Ranger 92 category. That said, the Ranger is a very adept carver and has tremendous edge grip and power coming out of the tail, it's just not the same as the two full sheets of metal found in the Enforcer 88. If you're already looking at a 92, you might as well check out the Enforcer 93 just for kicks. Have fun!
          SE

  11. Thanks for the excellent overview. I am a 40yo 5'5" 135lb intermediate advanced skier over the east coast. Spend all my time on resort. I enjoy moguls and waving through trees. I have been skiing with Rossi HP pursuit @165cm. I find it cumbersome especially on moguls and trees. The ski feels heavy towards the last few runs. Top speed is less priority, looking for fun and easy to live with. I have read lots of good review on Kore 93 but have noticed your comments that it might be too stiff for many applications. Wanted your guidance if Kore 93 would be a good choice or if something more relax would be more appropriate. What would be a good length for a smaller skier at my skill level?

    1. Hi Al!
      Right you are on all counts. While the Kore is stiffer, that doesn't mean its cumbersome like your Pursuit can be. The light weight and easy-turning nature of the Kore make it very versatile and adaptable to different conditions and terrain. I'd take a look at the Blizzard Rustler 9 for comparison, as both are great skis for what you're looking to do. I think if you're comfortable on the 165, you should stick to about that size in either the Kore or the Rustler models. Have fun!
      SE

      1. I headed out to my local shop and was talked out of the Kore. After doing bunch more reading, and thanks to your site many excellent review, I have settled on xdr as ski that fit my skiing condition/style. I wanted some advice on the 84 vs 88. While the 88 seems to be the more popular width, I am thinking the 84 will be lighter, more flex, more maneuverable and forgiving. I thought that would be a good fit for my wish to continue to improve on moguls.

  12. Hi, I am an advanced skier but due to age (65) and knee's (one is titanium) I mainly ski black groomers now. I am 5'11', 215 lbs. I mainly ski the east but hope to get out west every other year or so. I'm looking for something that will be easier on my knees but I still ski the groomers fast and love to carve. I think something that will help me in the occasional bumps and off-piste as I get older might be wise. I have skied Volkl for the last 20 years (Carvers then Supersports). I know, a lot of conflicting requirements. I have kind of zero'd in on the Kendo 88's, both the 88 and 93 Enforcers, and the Kore 93. I am also guessing something around 180cm. What advice do you have for me. Thanks a ton,
    Gary

    1. Hi Gary!
      The Kendo and the Kore are your more knee-friendly options. The Enforcer skis have fairly stiff tails, and that puts extra pressure on the joints. The Kore is lighter and more maneuverable, but the new Kendo 88 is a pretty sweet ski--more stable than the Kore, but not quite as versatile given the wider waist. I'd say 180 is right on for the Kore, and likely the 177 for the Kendo. Have fun!
      SE

  13. Great reviews! I am 59 and having my hip replaced after this season. Pretty slight at 165+ pounds. I am a very strong skier that likes bumps, trees and powder but am careful and expect to become more so after surgery. I only ski out west (home resort is Copper Mountain). I have a separate pair of Rossi Super 7's for powder days. I have skied on a Volkl Bridge (92 waist) for almost 10 years and am ready for something new as an almost everyday ski. Definitely want to get away from the twin tip, but otherwise have always been happy with with the Bridge. I seem to be debating between the Head Kore 93 and the Salomon QST 92 and am curious what advice you have...
    Thanks!
    Gary .

    1. Hi Gary!
      I loved the Bridge! Between the Kore and the QST, the biggest difference is weight. The QST is a heavier ski and is more stable as a result. It's not quite as quick or maneuverable as the Kore, but does just fine. I'd say that coming off or surgery, you'd want the lighter ski. Hope that helps!
      SE

  14. I am an intermediate skier using 170 K2 Pinnacle 85s for past two seasons. I am 177 cm and weigh 77 kg. I am considering to upgrade this season to the 166 Rossignol Experience 88. Do you think that ski will offer enough progression for me? Thanks

    1. Hi Tim!
      Yes. The E 88 is a great next step, both in terms of shape and performance. They have a high-performance ceiling, so even experienced experts will find a lot to like about the skis. I'd even consider sizing up, depending on how you felt about the 170 K2. Have fun!
      SE

  15. Hey guys. Really great comparison. Almost more confused now on what ski I should go with. I now ski a Nordica enforcer 100 for everything but need something lighter, quicker and more fun to ski with the family. I ski mostly in the Utah and would consider myself an intermediate skier but wanting to push it to the next level. I am 5'10" and weigh 165 and love hitting the trees and and technical stuff but again have to ski the groomers with the kids. Any suggestions would be really helpful. Thanks!

    1. Hi Ryan!
      Check out the Salomon QST 92--it's got some of that Enforcer mentality, but in a more user-friendly package. No metal, so it's not as stable at speed, but also easier to turn. Better at slower speeds and more useful for your application. Still a high-performance ceiling, though, if you want to crank it up. Have fun!
      SE

  16. Hey there, thanks for taking the time to make the comparison video. Like everyone, I think my choices just increased versus decreased. Anyway, I ski 2-3 weekends a year as an intermediate-advanced skier. Usually an east coast holiday weekend and a weekend out west. Typically spend about 80% of the time on trail cruising pretty fast with the rest of the my time going slower on the side of the trail looking for little bumps and piles of crud. When there is fresh snow, I love to try and find my way into the trees. Was originally looking at the Head Kore 93, but now the Nordica Enforcer 93, Rossignol 88 TI, Salomon QST 92, and Volkl Kendo all seem like options. Any advice is appreciated, thanks!

    1. That's like our whole list, TJ!
      Just goes to show that companies are doing a good job in making skis for a wide variety of skiers, and they're all pretty darn good. If you're spending 80% on trail, I'd go with something like the Kendo. It's amazingly versatile for how good of a carver it is. On the slightly easier to use side is the Experience 88, but still has a high-performance ceiling. The wider skis on your list give up a bit of quickness and edge grip, but that comes with additional flotation. But for 80% on-trail, I'd stick to a versatile 88 like the Kendo. Have fun!
      SE

  17. How would you compare the Experience 88 to the Ripstick 88s, including weight, ease of use / intuitiveness and “fun factor”. Is the Ripstick a better carver? How much more demanding is the Experience 88 than the RS?

    188cm tall and about 220lbs but looking for a fun lightweight ski that I can vary my skiing with and thats not too demanding. Stick mainly to groomers, like to pop off into the sides from time to time.

  18. Hi Guys!
    I'm searching for the right ski for my husband. We are trying to get back on skis with our kids 5 & 7 after a extended hiatus. He's a big guy 6'3" 275lbs and would consider himself an intermediate skier (skied as a kid but snowboarded as a young adult). We will mostly be on groomers in Alberta with the kids but want something that's a little all mountain as the kids get older/better and want to hit the trees and moguls ;). Was considering the Rossignol Experience 88 Ti? Any others we should consider? Looked at Enforcers and Kore 93 but thought they might be a bit much for his level. Thanks!!!

    1. Hi Chrissy!
      As a big guy, he could likely handle the higher-end skis, but there's not a real need for it. The Experience 88 is a great choice with a top-end ceiling, so I don't think he'll outgrow or overpower that ski. I would say that the 187 is the right length. Kore is a great choice, but a bit on the light side. Good for skiing with kids! Hope that helps!
      SE

  19. Hello SE,

    I am a skier-turned-snowboarder almost 30 years ago who has gotten back onto skis in the last couple of years as my kids learn to ski themselves. I am 48 yo, 5'9", and 185 lbs. I typically like alternately carving/charging groomers but eventually get bored if trail selection is limited, so I want to expand my off-piste ability. Also, my 10 yo likes to take me into the glades/trees and moguls where I am much less comfortable, and have a hard time negotiating tight, bumpy turns.

    To provide some context, we've been going to Smuggler's Notch just around the corner from you for a few years. We've been lucky with timely snowfalls, but Smuggs does not really groom the trails after a dump. If one is lucky enough to hit the trails early, that is great, but by noon they are beat up and unpredictable with hard patches between built up snow drifts. It makes it very challenging.

    In any case, I demo'd a few skis last season, and had a chance to try each in the soft stuff and on the groomers as follows:
    -- Pinnacle 88 (not the ti version): Okay, but not as good as I expected in the soft stuff (which could have been my technique). Chattered a lot on the hard pack. Not very responsive. Overall very nondescript to me.
    -- K2 Marksman: Wanted to try a twin-tip and a wider ski. I absolutely hated these and swapped them out after only one run on a really hard-packed groomer. Never got them into the soft stuff. It's been a while, but I seem to remember they were too squirelly for my liking.
    -- Volkl Revolt 95: Another twin-tip. Very solid and confidence-inspiring on the groomers. The fastest, most responsive ski of the bunch. Different story in the soft stuff. They didn't seem to float any better than the Pinnacles, and they actually submarined on me on a particular drift, causing my biggest wipeout of day. Not sure if this was due to the very mild rocker tip, my lack of technique, or both. Overall my most preferred ski of the three, but did not meet my soft-snow expectations.

    After researching much of the spring, I thought I had settled on the Blizzard Rustler 10 in 180cm. I like the reviews that it still maintained on-piste control, but had good off-piste and powder ability as well without being a true powder ski. But now I find myself wavering between the R10, the R9, and the Volkl M5 Mantra based on further reviews and research.

    My concern with the R9 is that its dimensions are very similar to the Revolt 95, but I would think the R9 has more rocker front and back, thus helping with off-piste riding, correct?

    My concern with the R10 is that the width (104) is similar to the Marksman (106) that I hated. Not sure if my impression was because it was a wide ski (the widest I had ever ridden) or from the other design aspects. Reviews seem to indicate the R10 still holds it own on the groomers, though.

    The M5 Mantra gets really good reviews as an all-mountain ski, but comments indicate it is less nimble in the trees and bumps than the R9 (for sure) and the R10 (maybe), and is not as well suited for soft snow as the R10.

    When all is said and done, my preference for a one-ski quiver is one that: 1) will increase my confidence in the trees/moguls, 2) hold its own in the soft, and finally 3) not give up too much on the variable groomers of the Northeast.

    So which one in which length?! TIA!

    1. Hi Chris!
      I'd narrow it down to the Revolt or the Rustler 9 from your list. If you like the sounds of the Revolt, I'd add the Nordica Soul Rider 97 to that list as well. The Rustler will have the best groomer performance, while the Revolt is a smooth ski all around. I personally really like twin tips for my all-mountain skis, as I'm on the Soul Rider 87 pretty much every day here at Stowe. I'd go for either the Revolt or the Soul Rider in a 172/173. The twins will be a lot more fun and useful for Smuggs, especially when you're chasing your kid around. Have fun!
      SE

      1. SE,

        Thanks for the reply. With respect to the Revolt, however, I did not like its off-trail ride at all, and that is the type of skiing I'd like to bring into my wheelhouse.

        I've read that the the Liberty Origin 96 might be another option for tight turns in the trees and moguls, as both this and the Rustler 9 have the rocker tip and tail. I did read on another site that the Origin may be better when straight-lining and that the Rustler might feel twitchy unless it is on edge. This seems to contradict other reviews that imply the Rustler is a little stiffer and more stable on groomers.

  20. Hi SE,
    Way over due for new skis like 20 yrs ! 53 yo level 7 (1-9) . Ski Mammoth Mt Cali mainly , like the fast groomed/ Un groomed but also want something versatile for heavy powder day . What do you recommend? Thanks Tim

    1. Hi Timothy!
      Look to either the Blizzard Rustler 9, Salomon QST 92, and the Head Kore 93 for a great blend of groomer performance and soft-snow versatility. The Rustler is the only one with metal while the other two use carbon and other materials to maintain dampness. You'll get the best energy and rebound out of the Rustler due to that metal, while the QST and the Kore aren't quite as lively. Have fun!
      SE

  21. Hi
    Thanks for the great advice that you have given on this site. It’s very helpful.
    I’m a 47 year old advanced intermediate. About 165cm tall and 155 pounds.
    I’m after a ski that performs nicely on the groomers but is nice in soft snow and easy to live with in tighter situations like trees etc.
    I rarely go extremely fast but do love the feeling of both short and long turns.
    Which skis and what length do you think I should look at? My research suggests Rustler 9, Experience 88, K2 Mindbender 90 and Salomon QST 92 and Kore 93. Of these I’ve only skied the Kore which I loved in soft snow (it felt a little ‘light’ on the firm groomers) and the QST which also was great in soft.
    Can you point me in the right direction please?
    Thanks again.
    Simon

    1. HI Simon!
      Look to the Experience 88 for great turn radius versatility. They have a pretty short radius, so they enjoy the quicker turns, but you're still able to open it up if you wish. You won't get the same "light" feeling on firm groomers. The tradeoff is that you don't get the best soft-snow performance, but it's not terrible by any means. The Rustler, Kore, and QST are certainly your stronger options for soft snow. I think you're still going to be happier on the "narrower" ski. Remember when 88 underfoot was fat? Have fun!
      SE

  22. I just bought the Kendo 88 after testing it for dew days at Les 2 Alpes (I am the Alpes Skier).

    I used to be an on piste, pounding the slopes as fast as possible type of skier (head supershape magnum from 2012), but I am transitioning to doing a bit of everything the last few seasons. Pounding the slopes the first few hours and then going off piste afterwards, so I was renting lots of different skies to test them out to find the second pair of skies (Nordica NRGY 90, Enforcer 100, Dynastar Legend, Rossignol 88TI, Mantra, the Stocki and Kastle, Brahma and Rusler, and even Kendo from 2019.), and this Kendo 2020 is the best all mountain ski in the last few years, in my amateur opinion!!

    I tried everything except for the pure powder (there was none), and it felt really good everywhere!! A really fast and stable on the groomed slopes, nice and playful at the bumps, good in the deeper (even tho it was hard deep snow🤷‍♂️), and “fun” at the snow park as well!!!

    I think it will be great for powder as well, I am sure it will require a bit more work then the wider skis, but I am ready for it!!

    You guys do great reviews and will be looking for a new advice in the future when i go full off piste....

    Hope my small comment helps the rest of the folks around here

  23. Hi SE!

    48, 5'8 195, intermediate, been skiing 3-10 days a year past 13 years. With my 8/11 yo sons now skiing we plan on consistent 10+ days a year in the Northeast.

    I have been using 2011 Dynastar Sultan 85 172's. I love them on intermediate and easier black diamond groomers, carving smaller turns and bigger faster powerful turns. But I can't handle them on harder steeper trails/conditions as well when conditions get choppy or in tight trees, find them hard to scrub speed/smaller turns on steeper, bumpier stuff. Obviously improving my technique will help, but not sure I will get too much better with the limited days I have, the occasional lesson aside.

    I really like tree skiing, but struggle in tighter steeper glades, so looking for something that's easier to turn, can handle chopped up conditions, occasional powder, etc. My kids are just starting, so something fun for those slower groomer runs where I look for quicks dips into the trees, lips to boost off (I am a mountain biker at heart) , but still keep up with them as they progress over the years. Willing to sacrifice high speed edge, but even better if I can have it all! (I can even keep Sultans for days when I know I will be on hard pack/icy groomers all day)

    I demo'd salomon qst 92 2020 (161 or 169, I think 161) recently in Bretton Woods glades and groomers, some fresh snow had fallen recently, so conditions were pretty nice. I def found them easier to turn and seemed to cut through the chopped up ungroomed conditions fairly well. Def felt lighter nature of skis at higher speeds on groomers, but still enjoyable.

    What else should i be looking at? From various reviews, Rustler 9 seem like they might be a good choice?

    Thanks in advance, look forward to visiting the shop when we get up your way this winter.

    -Stephen

    1. Hi Stephen!
      Yup, Rustler 9 is a great comparison, and I'd add the Head Kore 93 to that list as well. The Salomon is the heaviest, but also the most stable at speed. The Rustler has a partial metal laminate which keeps the ski glued to the snow in a carve, but can be manipulated to be maneuverable thanks to the lighter tips and tails. The Kore is likely the most consistent from tip to tail, and while it is very light, is also quite stiff. This makes it super-fun on groomers, but maybe not quite as forgiving in bumps and trees. None of these are true negatives, mind you, as they're all fantastic skis and will all fit the bill. I'd look to the 169/172 in those models for length as I think you'll appreciate the stability. Hope that helps and have fun!
      SE

      1. Hi again. Demo’d the Rustler 9 172 Monday at Stowe. lots of fresh snow 6”ish, more in the trees.... In the trees, it was a blast and just what I am looking for, easily maneuverable. But on the groomers, which were not groomed anywhere that I hit, in the chopped up snow, I found they just wanted to float over everything and wanted to be constantly making short turns. felt I had to ski differently on groomers, meet those demands. Unless I was making constant short turns, I wasn’t happy; when I just wanted to catch a break and plow through on the straight, wider longer turns, they didn’t feel great.

        Wondering if Salomon QST 92’s will give me 90% of the fun / easy turns/maneuverability but be stronger in the crud and good with bigger wider turns .... yet still retain some fun and poppiness. Ideally would have demo’d them in same conditions but Didn’t have another day free there.

        1. HI Stephen!
          It's going to be a damper ski for sure versus the lighter swing weight of the Rustler. The Salomon has a more even flex and build, and that gives it its consistency in the turns regardless of shape. You'd like the Rustler on firmer groomers, I'd imagine. Have fun!
          SE

  24. Hi

    My sob is a 14 yo boy, 120lbs, 5'6" who is an advanced skier and can ski groomed black runs and carves well and like to ski the ungroomed and do jumps. Now transitioning from junior skis to adult one is getting me all confused. I know he needs a not so stiff ski, can you recommend a few that might be the answer?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Danny!
      Fischer Ranger FR, Volkl Revolt 86, and Nordica Soul Rider 84 (or 87 for the more adult version) should be at the top of the list. They're mostly "twin tips," but have a ton of all-mountain performance as well. Have fun!
      SE

  25. Hi SE,
    Forgive the long post in advance, just want to give some background and color.
    Looking for a pair of east coast all mountain skis that are easier to turn on groomers and hold a better edge in sleek/icy conditions compared to my (2014) K2 Shreditors 102 -169 cm (which I plan to keep for the sporadic heavy snow falls for the next ~2 years before upgrading them).
    I'm 29 yrs - 5'9 - 170 lbs. Typically skiing blues -60%, blacks -30%, greens -10% (usually how I warm up), and some rare double blacks for now. I've gone a total of 14-16 times including learning over my 4 year progression, so I'd label myself as a intermediate skier that's some slight form improvement away from being advanced (will be taking another lesson to further improve). I like to routinely push around 30 mph, with my high currently at 42 mph (which I know isn't too fast), and eventually hope to hit 45+. This year I have pegged for improvement with some decent skiing already planned: 9-10+ days on the east coast and 3 days out West (almost matching my current ski day total).

    From my research I think I've narrowed it down to mainly 3: Volkl Kendo's 88's at 170 (1st choice), K2 Mindbender 90 Ti at 170 (a very close 2nd), and have kept the Enforcer 88 at 172 in my peripheral vision. I may demo the Volkl's in January and possibly the K2's in early February if I can't make a decision after I demo the Volkl's. - - - What's Your Thoughts on These?? Am I Overlooking Anything??

    Also, what bindings would you recommend to pair with these and DIN settings?? I currently have Marker Jester Ski Bindings on my K2's, since I thought they would be a little beefier to handle falls while learning.

    Thanks in advance for all your help! I hope to finalize a trip to Stowe in the next couple weeks to use some Epic buddy passes with a friend too!!

    JM

    1. We've had longer posts, JM!
      Your three skis comprise a great list, and overall, you'll find more similarities than differences between those models. The Kendo, with it's titanal frame and 3D Turn Radius makes for a compelling choice. The Enforcer needs some speed in order to come alive while the Kendo is more adept at multiple speeds. I was very impressed with the ski's ability to change speed and direction, while remaining super-stable at higher speeds. The Enforcer really comes alive above 25, I'd say, and just has a wonderful personality when going fast. The K2 is the wild card of your group, with a bit different of a build and personality. I found them to be quiet, stable, and fun, but could be a bit sluggish--not quite the liveliness of the other models. But if you like the dampness, it's hard to go wrong with the Mindbender. In terms of bindings, I don't think you're going to chart out at above a 13 DIN, as we pair all of these skis with either the Marker Griffon 13 or the Tyrolia Attack 13. Have a great time!
      SE

  26. G’day, thks so much for this impressive compilation of ski reviews, the choice isn’t necessarily easier to make though! 53y old, 150lbs, 5’11” advanced skier, in the east, got Hero carbon for hard pack days and Elan Ripstick106. Im looking for something in between 88 to 93 underfoot for those “calves deep” snow days.
    Looking at the Enforcer (88or93), Fischer Ranger 92Ti or even the Ripstick 88, but leaning towards the Enforcer. I like responsive skis that can turn and are stable at higher speed. Given my weight I don’t think I need very stiff skis, but I could handle them if its the better choice for me.
    Thoughts?

    1. Hi Marc!
      I think the 93 fits the "in the middle" type of day, certainly if you're looking for something for softer snow. The Ranger is a fantastic choice, with a stiffer tail and great snap out of the carve. If you like the Ripstick 106, the 88 has a similar personality, but maybe not what you're looking for as a tweener ski. If you're leaning to the Enforcer, I'm not going to talk you out of it. Have fun!
      SE

  27. Age 70+ and skiing groomers in the west on a K2 Rictor 120/82/110. What 2020 all mountain ski is least different from my current skis.

    1. Hi Donald!
      Check out the K2 iKonic 80 or 84 Ti. The 84 is super-smooth while the 80 has a bit better edge grip and is slightly quicker. Have fun!
      SE

  28. im bigger guy 300 lbs 6’2”, advanced skier, looking for new skis i prefer groomers in colorado. thinking about stockli, you think its gonna be good choice for heavier guy like me?

    1. Hi Andrew!
      Yup! Anything with metal will be good for you. Definitely stay away from just wood core skis. Volkl Kendo, Nordica Enforcer 88, and Blizzard Brahma 88 are some other good options. Have fun!
      SE

  29. Hi SE

    I really appreciate your articles and videos. I skied a lot until about 2001 (Austrian entry level instructor, two full seasons in the alps; I'd rather go skiing than teaching :-)). I took up skiing again four years ago (an idea of my wife :-)). So far I have only been skiing 8 days a year. I mostly ski with my kids but I try to get out as much as possible in the morning (before my kids get out), in the lunch break (i have my lunch in the lift), and in the evening if the groomers are illuminated.

    I am 5'11" and 159 lbs, 41 years old. I am athletic (at least mentally 🙂 ). Running 3-4 times a week and windsurf as often as possible. My skiing feels a bit rusty. I prefer going off-piste: powder, crud, trees etc, but I spend most of my time on piste with my family. On groomers I either ski in the trees next to the piste with my kids or do some drills (trying to get back my technique :-)).

    Having just returned from my yearly 8 days I have realized that I need more skiing in my life 🙂 First step is to buy my own skis again (next step is to arrange more skiing somehow...). So far I have rented skis. Previous years I have rented the old Blizzard Brahmas (2016) in 172 cm. I really like the ski in crud and on the piste when going fast and doing medium and large turns. I manage to do short turns as well but I have to concentrate a bit more especially in the trees and in moguls where I find them a bit too much for my current technique. I also tested the Rossignol Hero Elite ST 172cm for a few days when everything was a bit icy. I really liked these skis on the piste. Easy, intuitie to ski, tons of grip fast in edge to edge transition. We than had 20-30 cm of fresh snow so asked for some all-mountain skis in the shop. I was handed the Fischer Ranger 85 (2017-2018 ?) in 172 cm. These are the worst skis I have ever tried. Unstable, no pop, no grip, no float. After two days on the Rangers trying to figure out modern skis I got a K2 pinacle 180 cm. Clearly better than the rangers still to lacking grip, pop and float in my opinion. It was no fun. The shop had no other skis unfortunately, which also triggered my decision to buy 🙂

    After a lot of research (thanks to your reviews/articles/videos) I think that I will go for either Volkl Kendo 88 or the Rustler 9. Love the Brahmas but I would prefer something easier in the trees, powder and better for short turns in general. I fear that If I go Kendo they will be too stiff in moguls / powder, but If I go Rustler they will be like the K2 pinnacles.... What do you reckon? Rustler 9 in 180 cm or 172 cm and Kendo in 170 or 170 for my abilities? Thanks in advance and keep up 🙂

    1. Hi Jens!
      The Rustler is a great middle ground--strong carver on-piste with maneuverability and playfulness off-piste. The Kendo has more of a traditional build and feel though, just a bit stiff. I think you'd like the Kendo overall a bit more, and I'd go with that one in the 177. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Hi SE

        Thank you so much. Thank you for your advice. If I go all crazy could Rustler 9 in 180 cm which is 94 mm be my off piste ski (powder), and then combine it with a piste ski 70 mm or something?

        Thanks again

  30. Hi SE!

    So addicted to all your videos and reviews!

    Anyways, which of these skis would you think are best for Canada out West. What I am looking to do is ski around groomers with the family for a year or two. Follow my kids into side bumps and hits, and on the occasions where it snows overnight, to go up early and find some fresh pow. I really want this ski to be easy in tight corners and bumps. I also would like to get comfy skiing switch on these skis so i'd need a bit of tail rocker...if i had to pick between laying high speed turns, or being able to carve slow and methodically, i'd pick the latter just because my kids and wife are still progressing; I'm rarely going to be able to really giver.

    I'm 5'11 170lbs. Starting to learn how to tackle all the various 'blacks'...so Maybe advanced but definitely not expert. I was thinking maybe the experience 88 or the Rustler 9.

    1. Hi Carl!
      As I was reading your description, I kept thinking Rustler 9, and it popped up at the bottom, so I'm thinking that's a good way to go. The Experience is more directional and carving-oriented while the Rustler has more versatility and all-mountain ability. I'd go that route, likely in the 180. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Thanks SE.

        Do you think the Rustler 9 vs QST 92....I think its been beaten to death...but which of the 2 is a more 'forgiving' 'hit all side bumps' kind of ski?

  31. Hi SE,

    Love your content. I am an intermediate skier in Montana skiing on 20 or old Rossi Cut 10.6s, way too narrow for me. I have just gotten back into skiing and am looking to upgrade to a proper ski for my height and weight. 30Yo, 6'2", 220, weightlifter. Right now I am an on piste skier, mostly blue groomers, but we get pretty good dumps in NW MT so stability in powder and crud would be great. I'd also like to be able to grow to an advanced level, take the groomers with a little more speed, and attempt some blacks or occasional trees. I am hoping to demo some skis in the near future and could use maybe 3 recommendations. I have been eyeing the Kendo 88, Kore 93, and QST 92, but am open to suggestions. Coming from such narrow skis, I dont want to end up with a ski that is too difficult to enjoy.

    1. Hi Mark L!
      I think you'd be good sticking the 88's especially since you're mostly blue groomers. Your size and strength put you in the category to have a ski with metal, so the Kendo stands out to me. Add to that one the Nordica Enforcer 88 and the Blizzard Brahma 88 and you've got three great skis to choose from. They're all pretty similar in terms of overall performance, just with slightly different feels and characters. Have fun!
      SE

  32. Hi SE--

    I'm 52 yo, advanced to expert skier at 5'9" and 170 lbs, and mostly ski on piste out west, but occasional moguls. About 20% powder, 80% groomed stuff. Mostly like to drive pretty hard and make big carving linked turns. Less often switch it up with smearing quick turns. I want something that can carve well with stability, give me pop, but that I can steer and rotate quickly too. I'm asking a lot. Suggestions?

    1. Hi Lee!
      You're not asking too much for these modern skis in this category. On the narrower side, look to the Rossignol Experience 88 and on the wider side, the Salomon QST 92. The Rossi has the pop and snap while the QST is more versatile and better in softer or broken snow. If you're out west, you might like that extra width underfoot of the QST. Have fun!
      SE

  33. Hi SE - Lots of great info on this page! I'm looking to upgrade my entry-level ~20yo Rossi Axiums to a modern 21st century ski. I mainly ski on the east coast (Poconos, upstate NY) but hit Montana for a couple of days at least once a year. Solid intermediate to advanced skier, 44 yrs old, 6' 195 lbs, athletic but not very technical (self-taught, no lessons). I just got my kids up on skis, and so at least half of my ski days are spent cruising down green and blue groomers with them. So I def want something stable on which I can cruise comfortably. But for those few glorious hours when the kids are in lessons or ski school, I hit the blacks, more difficult blues, and backside/ungroomed trails with some speed. So I also need something to help me carve down those steep, icy east coast blacks. Bonus points if they're also relatively lightweight (and maybe have some rear rocker?) to help me get them around quickly/not catch an edge when I'm tired at the end of the day... Thanks for all you do!

    1. HI Shane!
      Sounds like you're looking for an Atomic Vantage 90 Ti to me. I'd also add the Salomon QST 92 to that list, but for the bonus points for lightness, the Atomic is the way to go. Hope that helps!
      SE

  34. Hey Guys,

    I love your videos and reviews! They are the best out there and have helped with any purchases!!

    I picked up the Salomon QST 106 for touring and powder days but its too wide for the local mountains in Vancouver and non-powder days in the interior of BC.

    I need to pick up another pair for daily skiing at the resort. I love playing in the trees making quick turns, enjoy moguls but also enjoy charging hard on the groomers racing my buddies.

    We do a lot of night skiing after work in Vancouver so its usually a little icy and heavier snow on the coast.

    I would love your guy's opinion on what you recommend for this.

    Keep up the videos!!!

    1. Thanks, Mike!
      If you like the overall feel and performance of the 106, I'd recommend staying with the brand and looking at the QST 92. The XDR 88 is a good choice as well, but with more of a front side mentality versus the QST series. In other brands, check out the Rossignol Experience 94 Ti for a strong all-mountain choice. Have fun!
      SE

      1. I do like the feel of the QST but I would like to try something similar in another brand.

        I will take a look at the Experience Ti, would this be one of the best options for playing in the trees making quick jump turns? Would the k2 Mindbender fall into this category as well or does it lack something?

        Do you guys ship to Canada?

    2. I do like the feel of the QST but I would like to try something similar in another brand.

      I will take a look at the Experience Ti, would this be one of the best options for playing in the trees making quick jump turns? Would the k2 Mindbender, Core 93 or Rustler 9 fall into this category as well or does it lack something compared to the Experience Ti and Qst?

      25yrs old, 5' 11" advanced but not an expert. What length would you recommend?

      Do you guys ship to Canada?

  35. Hi guys. Great posts and great videos. I'm an advanced intermediate skier and I bought the Brahma on recommendation from a local store. So far it has worked out fine, though on occasions I feel the ski takes too much work. I'm looking to supplement with a more versatile, easier to handle ski. I demoed the Rossignol experience 88ti and liked it very much because it felt to me very smooth/stable, easy to turn/handle, and had some weight to it. I'm also thinking of the Rustler 9, though I have not demoed. I ski mainly groomers on east coast. I'm 5 8, 150 pounds. I pushing towards more challenging steep terrain (and I ski most of the mountain), though I would not consider myself aggressive. Any recommendation for the 2nd ski? How does the rustler 9 compare to the experience 88ti. And what length? My brahma is the 166. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jerry!
      The Experience is similar to the Brahma in terms of shape, but likes to turn a lot more thanks to the more flexible build and the shorter turn radius. The Rustler is fantastically versatile and fun-loving with capabilities on both the high and low ends of the performance spectrum--doesn't have to be going warp speed to work like the Brahma. For a second ski, I'd lean to the Rustler to give you a good softer snow/variable terrain option. I'd go 165/166 in those models as well. Have fun!
      SE

  36. I do like the feel of the QST but I would like to try something similar in another brand.

    I will take a look at the Experience Ti, would this be one of the best options for playing in the trees making quick jump turns? Would the k2 Mindbender fall into this category as well or does it lack something?

    Do you guys ship to Canada?

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