Helpful Hints - Ski Comparisons

2020 Ski Comparisons: Men's 95 - 100mm All Mountain Ski Guide

For our third 2020 men’s ski comparison, we’re taking a look at skis in the 95-100 mm underfoot width range. This is arguably the most versatile category of skis. They are narrow enough to retain good edge to edge quickness, but wide enough to handle soft snow conditions. Of course, there is variety among them in terms of shape, construction, and their intended use. As always, let us know if you have any questions about any of these models or any ski you don’t see here. You can find additional information in our 2020 Ski Test, full-length Chairlift Chat reviews, and you’re always able to pick up the phone, call us, and chat directly with a skier.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Armada Tracer 98



AVAILABLE SIZES

164, 172, 180, 188 cm

TURN RADIUS

18 m at 180 cm

SIDECUT

132 / 98 / 123 mm

CORE

Wood / Adaptive Mesh

STRENGTHS

Maneuverability, Quickness, Touring Capabilities


Overview:

Re-designed for 2020, the Armada Tracer 98 is ready for any adventure that you can throw at it.  From cruising the front side groomers to tearing through rugged backcountry terrain, the Tracer 98 is designed and built for true all-mountain fun.  Constructed with a Caruba Core and Adaptive Mesh, the skis have tremendous uphill capabilities, while the mesh weave does its job by absorbing vibrations and delivering power to the edges.  It all leads to an extremely light ski with a surprising amount of pop and energy.  As a result, the Tracer 98 is an easy-turning ski that is intuitive and fun-loving.  For skiers who spend most of their time off-piste, the Tracer 98 will deliver uncompromising results.  Feel free to throw an Armada Shift binding on this sweet looking all-mountain setup for the ultimate in on/off-road performance.

Who it's For:

Playful, directional, off-piste enthusiasts who have more of an individual, rather than group style.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Atomic Bent Chetler 100



AVAILABLE SIZES

164, 172, 180, 188 cm

TURN RADIUS

19.5 m at 180 cm

SIDECUT

129.5 / 100 / 120 mm

CORE

Wood / HRZN Hull

STRENGTHS

Playfulness, Versatility, Fun Factor


Overview:

This fun-loving twin-tip is on the wide side for a park ski, but that doesn’t mean it lacks in any dimension of the freestyle world.  The skis are built fairly simply, with a wood core and a full sidewall, and this is ideal for both park skiing as well as all-mountain riding.  The wrinkle with these skis are the HRZN tips and tails that rise up and float over powder and fresh snow like a boat planes over water.  Additionally, the tip and tail design creates a super-smooth zone in the front and the back of the ski for butters, wheelies, or other fun little tricks.  The Bent Chetler 100 is truly a fun-loving ski that has a huge following in only its second season.  Built with a broad audience in mind, the BC 100 is a great addition to the Atomic family.

Who it's For:

This is Chris Bentchetler’s park ski.  Built for big mountain riders looking for something to play on in the resort.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Atomic Vantage 97 Ti



AVAILABLE SIZES

172, 180, 188 cm

TURN RADIUS

19.1 m at 180 cm

SIDECUT

131.5 / 97 / 120.5 mm

CORE

Prolite / Titanal Mesh

STRENGTHS

Lightweight, Responsiveness, Quickness


Overview:

The Atomic Vantage 97 Ti is a great option for advanced and expert-level skiers who are looking for a wider all-mountain ski with a good deal of versatility.  They’re wider, more piste-oriented skis that are very stiff and highly responsive.  The Vantage 97 Ti skis have a fantastic power to weight ratio thanks to the Prolite build.  By starting from the base and working their way up, Atomic has found a great way to eliminate unnecessary material while still retaining the strength and precision that’s necessary for true all-mountain versatility.  The Power Wood Core combined with the Titanium Tank Mesh makes for a stiff flex and a high-speed mentality.  It’s a lighter and more responsive ski than many others of this comparison and does require some precision input on the part of the pilot.

Who it's For:

Technical skiers who focus on form and cleanliness.  Advanced skiers looking for a wider on-trail ski without the traditional build.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Blizzard Bonafide



AVAILABLE SIZES

166, 173, 180, 187 cm

TURN RADIUS

20 m at 187 cm

SIDECUT

135.5 / 98 / 119.5 mm

CORE

Wood / Titanal / Carbon

STRENGTHS

Stability, Power, Dampness


Overview:

The classic gets a facelift for 2020, but the essence remains.  You get a wood core with two sheets of metal in a sandwich sidewall construction.  Carbon tips and tails reduce the swing weight, making it pretty maneuverable for its burliness, but the song remains the same: The Blizzard Bonafide is here to rip fast turns at high speeds with minimal to no vibrations.  These things are smooth, powerful, and stable enough for the most demanding of expert skiers.  The blend of poplar and beech wood makes sense in this application, and when you pick them up and give them a flex, it all makes sense.  The Bonafide is arguably the most stable ski on this comparison list, and the 98 mm waist makes it a highly versatile ski for upper level skiers.  The 18-meter turn radius at the 180 cm length makes a mean trench.

Who it's For:

Aggressive all-mountain skiers who are still looking to find their speed limit.  Former racers will love the hard-charging personality of the Bonafide.

AT A GLANCE


2020 DPS Wailer 100 Alchemist



AVAILABLE SIZES

171, 179, 184, 189 cm

TURN RADIUS

15 m at 179 cm

SIDECUT

132 / 100 / 117 mm

CORE

Wood / Carbon Fiber

STRENGTHS

Maneuverability, Versatility, High-End Feel


Overview:

DPS has an interesting philosophy when it comes to building skis.  For the Wailer 100 with the Alchemist construction and RP shape, the precision and maneuverability really stand out.  Regardless of ski length, the Wailer 100 has a 15-meter turn radius, which for a ski of this width, is on the short side.  This gives the skier a ton of quickness and pivoting prowess.  They’re super-quick from edge to edge, mostly thanks to the Aspen wood core and two full sheets of carbon.  It’s these materials that contribute to the high-end price tag, but the quality comes through in that construction.  The longer taper shape makes for a smooth transition in between turns in softer snow, resulting in that high-performance feel with a minimum of weight.  The big difference is just that: the skis act and behave like extremely top-end skis, but in a lighter and more maneuverable package.  They’re very composed at speed as well.

Who it's For:

Upper-level skiers who like to make smooth, consistent, and predictable turns in any and all snow conditions.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Dynastar Legend X 96



AVAILABLE SIZES

171, 178, 186 cm

TURN RADIUS

18 m at 186 cm

SIDECUT

132 / 96 / 112 mm

CORE

Wood / Titanal Insert

STRENGTHS

Power, Maneuverability, Stability


Overview:

It’s pretty stiff and has a shorter turn radius thanks to the five-point sidecut shape.  It’s more that the taper in the tips and tails is pretty early, leading to the 17-meter radius at the 186 cm length.  As a result, the Legend X 96 is a highly maneuverable, high-performance ski that is a go-anywhere, do-anything ski for all-mountain adventure.  The Paulownia wood gives it a lighter and quicker feel while the Ti-insert reinforcement gives you a good amount of strength underfoot.  Dynastar uses some interesting materials in the sidewalls, and this way they’re able to generate a strong fore/aft flex with supreme vibration damping as well as a smooth ride.  The longer tip taper allows for a wider shovel, and this keeps the skis afloat in deeper snow than its 96 mm waist may indicate.  Dynastar has a unique shape here that excels in tight areas, soft snow, and is remarkably stable when on edge.  The Legend X 96 checks a lot of boxes for a ski in this category.

Who it's For:

Aggressive off-piste skiers who value maneuverability and precision with a shorter turn radius.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Elan Ripstick 96



AVAILABLE SIZES

167, 174, 181, 188 cm

TURN RADIUS

18 m at 181 cm

SIDECUT

134 / 96 / 113 mm

CORE

Wood / Carbon Fiber

STRENGTHS

Versatility, Composure, Fun Factor


Overview:

The Elan Ripstick 96 is light, fun, and stable due to the carbon tubes that run the length of the ski.  We’re pretty impressed with what Elan is getting out of a ski of this weight in terms of performance.  At the 96 width, this Ripstick has a great shape for any and all conditions and has a great blend of soft and hard snow capabilities.  A few defining characteristics, other than the Tubelite wood core, are the vapor tips and the Amphibio rocker profile.  The lighter tips make for great maneuverability, while the right/left-specific rocker profile gives the ski a completely unique feel and performance.  With more pronounced rocker on the uphill edge and a longer effective edge on the downhill ski, you get a silkly-smooth transition between turns and phenomenal edge grip on that downhill inside edge.  The skis track perfectly through soft snow with no hooking or grabbing on that uphill ski.  Moderate tip taper make it a strong floater for its width.

Who it's For:

Skiers looking for a lightweight ski with great edge grip and versatility.  Tree skiers and mountain explorers will love the maneuverability and composure.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti



AVAILABLE SIZES

174, 181, 188 cm

TURN RADIUS

18 m at 181 cm

SIDECUT

130 / 97 / 121 mm

CORE

Carbon / Dual Titanal Layers

STRENGTHS

Strength, Versatility, Crud-Buster


Overview:

The Ranger 99 Ti is one of those skis that simply does what you tell it to, and it does it really well.  From big front side arcs to back country powder, the Ranger 99 Ti is one of the most versatile skis on the planet.  Built with a metal laminate that hooks right into the carbon tip, you get a light swing weight and a strong carving finish.  Fischer’s carbon nose is a great floater, with a long and low rocker profile, it definitely punches above its level in terms of soft snow performance.  For 2020, the Ranger is stronger than ever and is a hard-charging ski that has little to no speed limit.  At the same time, it still feels like a playful freeride ski that can do a little bit of everything.  Stability is another key word when describing the Ranger 99, as the metal laminate underfoot is thick and damp, absorbing unnecessary and unwanted vibrations.

Who it's For:

Hard-charging advanced and expert skiers with a point and shoot mentality when it comes to line choice.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Head Kore 99



AVAILABLE SIZES

162, 171, 180, 189 cm

TURN RADIUS

17 m at 180 cm

SIDECUT

134 / 99 / 120 mm

CORE

Graphene / Koroyd / Carbon

STRENGTHS

Torsional Stiffness, Versatility


Overview:

The Kore series has a pretty nice little niche carved out for itself these days.  Skiers love the lightweight performance of the whole line and sitting squarely in the middle is the 99.  With a perfect blend of flotation and carving ability, the Kore 99 hits a lot of the right notes for a wide variety of skiers.  The 99 is the stiffest of the bunch, thanks to the Karuba wood core and the combination of Graphene, Koroyd, and Carbon.  By using these materials instead of metal to dampen and strengthen the ski, Head has brought a new concept to the all-mountain/freeride market.  It’s amazingly powerful and precise throughout the turn and is a fantastic choice for a wider carving ski with a shorter radius and a ton of versatility.

Who it's For:

Skiers who love the performance characteristics of a ski with metal laminates, but not the weight.

AT A GLANCE


2020 K2 Mindbender 99 Ti



AVAILABLE SIZES

170, 177, 184, 191 cm

TURN RADIUS

18.5 m at 184 cm

SIDECUT

138 / 99 / 123 mm

CORE

Titanal Y-Beam

STRENGTHS

Stability, Versatility, Playfulness


Overview:

Stable, damp, and stiff pretty much sum up the Mindbender 99 Ti.  Built with a wood core wrapped in fiberglass and a Titanal Y-beam, the MB 99 Ti has dampness to spare.  It also has a bit of weight behind it, but it doesn’t feel that way on your feet.  The squared-off tip shape makes for a lower swing weight, while the metal ends before the tail, giving the finish of the turn a unique personality.  This ski does not really care what’s in front of it or underneath it, it behaves very consistently in any turn shape, style, terrain, or snow condition.  It’s an extremely predictable ski with great torsional stiffness through the forebody and tremendous edge grip underfoot.  The superior floatation and crud-busting ability of the Mindbender 99 is only surpassed by its ability to rail big GS turns on groomers.  A true masterpiece of modern ski technology.

Who it's For:

Advanced and expert skiers who truly ski the whole mountain.  Confidence a must.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Kastle FX 96 HP



AVAILABLE SIZES

172, 180, 188 cm

TURN RADIUS

18.1 m at 180 cm

SIDECUT

133 / 96 / 119 mm

CORE

Wood / Carbon / Fiberglass

STRENGTHS

Versatility, Backcountry-Prowess


Overview:

A totally new model for 2020, the FX 96 HP’s new design and build are ready to turn some heads.  While the HP used to indicate a dual-metal laminate, in this version the HP’s power is derived from a carbon/fiberglass sleeve.  The wood core is wrapped in that sleeve, creating a responsive and precise personality.  The tips, in part due to the larger Hollowtech 3.0 technology, are on the lighter and softer side for skis in this category, but the tail is still quite stiff and exact.  Adding to the maneuverability is the combination of poplar and paulownia over the edges of the ski.  This lighter blend makes the ski quicker from edge to edge, creating a swift-turning ski for any and all conditions and terrain.  The snap and pop that can be generated out of the turn on this ski is nothing short of miraculous.

Who it's For:

Precision-oriented skiers looking for high-end fit and finish.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Liberty Origin 96



AVAILABLE SIZES

171, 176, 182, 187 cm

TURN RADIUS

17.5 m at 176 cm

SIDECUT

130 / 96 / 118 mm

CORE

Bamboo / Poplar

STRENGTHS

Playfulness, Responsiveness, Smoothness


Overview:

Playful freeriding has never been more fun than on the Liberty Origin 96.  With a great blend of performance characteristics, Liberty’s all-mountain twin-tip has a ton of energy and stability for such a light feeling.  Built with a bamboo and poplar core with a carbon stringer running along the midline of the ski, you’ll get a smooth and fun-loving reaction with each and every turn.  The twin-tip shape is park and pipe ready, so when the mood strikes you to leave the trails and enter the park, you’ll be good to go.  There’s not much this ski can’t do, and it generates a surprising amount of power and dampness for a metal-free ski.  The Origin 96 is truly a versatile toy for all-mountain ripping—fantastic freestyle influence with a well-rounded personality.

Who it's For:

Fun-loving skiers, grown-up park rats, and general thrill-seekers of all ages.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Line Vision 98



AVAILABLE SIZES

172, 179, 186 cm

TURN RADIUS

18 m

SIDECUT

131 / 98 / 119 mm

CORE

Aramid / Carbon / Fiberglass

STRENGTHS

Playfulness, Butter-ability


Overview:

I like how Line has a different view of the ski world.  For twenty years, Line has been making some of the most interesting skis on the planet.  Built with innovation and a lack of fear, the Line skis are all about fun.  The Vision 98 sits squarely in the middle of that philosophy.  I guess you could call it a directional twin-tip, as it’s ready for everything, from all-mountain freeride skiing to park and pipe riding and everything in between.  Side-hit enthusiasts will love the quickness and lightweight precision of the Vision 98.  Built with a paulownia and maple wood core, the skis have a great blend of lightweight and stiffness.  Bolstering the core is a combination of Aramid, Carbon, and Fiberglass that adds power and responsiveness without adding weight.  With a softer flex and a buttery feel, the Line Vision 98 is a trick ski with a flair for all-mountain fun and adventure.

Who it's For:

Ollie fans who shred park, trees, and trails.  This is your quintessential all-mountain jib stick.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Nordica Enforcer 100



AVAILABLE SIZES

169, 177, 185, 193 cm

TURN RADIUS

18.5 m at 185 cm

SIDECUT

133 / 100 / 121 mm

CORE

Wood / Dual Metal Sheets

STRENGTHS

Power, Versatility, Stability


Overview:

With a bomber build and an honorable heritage, the Nordica Enforcer 100 returns for 2020 and continues to sit firmly at the top of this category in terms of popularity.  For a ski with a wood core and two sheets of metal in a sandwich sidewall construction, it’s impossibly quick and agile.  The shape and profile have a lot to do with the success of this model, as the blunt nose shape brings you into and through the turn with alarming precision and smoothness.  At 100 underfoot, the Enforcer is an ultimate tool for total mountain skiing.  From rock-hard groomers to bottomless bowls, the Enforcer can do it all with aplomb.  Skier input and confidence should be on the upper end of the spectrum, as the skis do have a fair amount of strength and power to them.  The Enforcer line continues to grow and expand, and it’s all thanks to this ski.

Who it's For:

Pretty much any and all advanced and expert skiers looking for the ultimate one-ski quiver.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Rossignol Sky 7 HD



AVAILABLE SIZES

156, 164, 172, 180, 188 cm

TURN RADIUS

18 m at 180 cm

SIDECUT

128 / 98 / 118 mm

CORE

Wood / Carbon / Airtip

STRENGTHS

Maneuverability, Approachability, Forgiveness


Overview:

Rossignol does a fantastic job year in and year out in creating some highly maneuverable and super-quick skis for all-mountain skiing.  The Sky 7, with its 98 mm waist and five-point sidecut shape, is a fantastic ski for trees, soft snow, moguls, and shorter turns.  They’re light and easy to turn, with a low swing weight and a penchant for pivots.  Featuring Rossignol’s Air Tip 2.0 and a Carbon-Alloy Matrix HD core, the skis have great edge grip underfoot with floaty tips and tails.  When you’re in the woods or the bumps, quickness is paramount, and the lighter overall feeling and personality of the Sky 7 really make it stand out in this terrain.  They’re impossibly quick and fun and seem to fit anywhere you point them.  A wonderful option for skiers looking for soft snow performance and high maneuverability.

Who it's For:

Tree skiers and turn lovers.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Salomon QST 99



AVAILABLE SIZES

167, 174, 181, 188 cm

TURN RADIUS

19.4 m at 181 cm

SIDECUT

134 / 99 / 116 mm

CORE

Wood / C/FX Blend

STRENGTHS

Versatility, Well-Roundedness, Smoothness


Overview:

It doesn’t take too many small changes to make a big, positive difference in a ski.  The Salomon QST 99 gets a few shape and build tweaks for 2020, and all lead to a stronger overall performance.  Built with a wood core with carbon, basalt, and flax laminates, the QST 99 eschews metal in its build, but still achieves a similarly damp and powerful effect.  They’re not light, and while some skiers may find that off-putting, advanced and expert skiers looking for strength and stability will find all that and then some in the QST 99.  A bit less taper in the tips for 2020 means a longer effective edge and a smoother overall ride.  It’s an easy turning ski that likes any and all shapes of turns and excels in a wide variety of conditions and terrain.  It’s arguably one of the most well-rounded skis on our wall.  Salomon has done us a solid with the new tweaks for sure.

Who it's For:

A great one-ski quiver option for skiers who love to cruise.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Stockli Stormrider 95



AVAILABLE SIZES

166, 175, 184, 193 cm

TURN RADIUS

19.4 m at 184 cm

SIDECUT

131 / 95 / 123 mm

CORE

Wood / Titanal Topsheet

STRENGTHS

Precision, Smoothness, High-End Feel


Overview:

The high-end feel and performance runs deep in the Stockli Stormrider line, and the 95 is quite possibly the most versatile of the bunch.  Built with a lighter weight wood core and a titanal topsheet, the stability and strength of the ski seems impossible, but make no mistake, it’s all right there.  Each and every movement that you put into the ski gets transmitted very quickly and efficiently thanks to the metal on the top.  The wider tip is playful in the soft snow, while the stiffer tail is squared-off and holds the carve until the bitter end.  As a result, the snap and pop that you can generate out of the turn is quite unmatched for a ski in this category.  The fit and finish of the Stormrider 95 are off the charts, certainly warranting the price tag.  They’re about as smooth and stable as you can possibly imagine a ski could be.

Who it's For:

Swiss watch makers (Horologists) and Porsche engineers.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Volkl M5 Mantra



AVAILABLE SIZES

170, 177, 184, 191 cm

TURN RADIUS

21.4 m at 184 cm

SIDECUT

134 / 96 / 117 mm

CORE

Wood / Titanal Frame

STRENGTHS

Precision, Stability, Power


Overview:

The Mantra name runs deep in the lore of modern all-mountain skiing.  For nearly a decade and a half, the Mantra has been the benchmark of high-performance versatility.  From laying down clean carves to busting through powder and crud, the Mantra has been known to do it all with a smile, as long as you’re going pretty fast.  There’s more of a low-speed limit rather than a high-speed limit on the Mantra, so be sure you’re willing to let it run to glean the best performance out of it.  Built with a wood core and a titanal frame, the ski has a ton of power and precision over the edges.  At 96 mm underfoot, it had its wings clipped a bit, leading to stronger carving and front side performance.  They prefer to plow through snow rather than dance over it, but or skiers looking for the ultimate in power and precision, look no further than the M5.

Who it's For:

All-mountain rippers, ex-racers, and dynamic skiers looking to push boundaries (and snow piles).

2020 SKI COMPARISONS:


Men's 95 - 100 mm All Mountain Skis


SKIS RADIUS SIDECUT CORE RETAIL PRICE
2020 Armada Tracer 98 18m @ 180cm 132 / 98 / 123 Wood / Adaptive Mesh $699.95
2020 Atomic Bent Chetler 100 19.5m @ 180cm 129.5 / 100 / 120 Wood / HRZN Hull $599.99
2020 Atomic Vantage 97 Ti 19.1m @ 180cm 131.5 / 97 / 120.5 Prolite / Titanal Mesh $699.99
2020 Blizzard Bonafide 20m @ 187cm 135.5 / 98 / 119.5 Wood / Titanal / Carbon $699.95
2020 DPS Wailer 100 Alchemist 15m @ 179cm 132 / 100 / 117 Wood / Carbon Fiber $1,299.00
2020 Dynastar Legend X 96 18m @ 186cm 132 / 96 / 112 Wood / Titanal Insert $699.95
2020 Elan Ripstick 96 18m @ 181cm 134 / 96 / 113 Wood / Carbon Fiber $649.95
2020 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti 18m @ 181cm 130 / 97 / 121 Carbon / Dual Titanal Layers $699.99
2020 Head Kore 99 17m @ 180cm 134 / 99 / 120 Graphene / Koroyd / Carbon $699.00
2020 K2 Mindbender 99 Ti 18.5m @ 184cm 138 / 99 / 123 Titanal Y-Beam $699.95
2020 Kastle FX 96 HP 18.1m @ 180cm 133 / 96 / 119 Wood / Carbon / Fiberglass $1,099.00
2020 Liberty Origin 96 17.5m @ 176cm 130 / 96 / 118 Bamboo / Poplar $599.00
2020 Line Vision 98 18m 131 / 98 / 119 Aramid / Carbon / Fiberglass $699.95
2020 Nordica Enforcer 100 18.5m @ 185cm 133 / 100 / 121 Wood / Dual Metal Sheets $699.99
2020 Rossignol Sky 7 HD 18m @ 180cm 128 / 98 / 118 Wood / Carbon / Airtip $699.95
2020 Salomon QST 99 19.4m @ 181cm 134 / 99 / 116 Wood / C/FX Blend $649.99
2020 Stockli Stormrider 95 19.4m @ 184cm 131 / 95 / 123 Wood / Titanal Topsheet $1,099.00
2020 Volkl M5 Mantra 21.4m @ 184cm 134 / 96 / 117 Wood / Titanal Frame $699.00

2020 Men's All Mountain Ski Test Results Image


Written by Jeff Neagle on 10/22/19

77 thoughts on “2020 Ski Comparisons: Men's 95 - 100mm All Mountain Ski Guide

  1. The Rustler 9 seems like it would fit well in this group of skis. What do you think?

    Nordica Soul Rider seems comparable to the 3 twin tip skis could almost make a 90-100 twin tip review, 90-100 carving ski review and 90-100 powder skis review.

    PS seeing you ski the skis is really helpful thanks for your ski reviews

    Michael

    1. Hi John!
      Wow I get five pairs to choose from! This is fun. In no particular order: Liberty Origin 96, Volkl M5 Mantra, K2 Mindbender 99 Ti, Fischer Ranger 99 Ti, and Enforcer 100.
      SE

  2. I’m incredibly torn between the Rustler 9 and the Ripstick 96 Black. For weeks I’ve been going back and forth. Would love to demo but I need skis now. I spend my time in the trees/bumps/trail sides but know I still need to rip groomers from time to time. 6 feet and 230. Prefer maneuverability and quickness over speed and power. Which one is better for my application based upon your comparison? I didn’t see the Ripstick Black in the comparisons above. Are they just a stiffer regular Ripstick 96? Attributes generally the same? Is the Rustler better in off piste conditions? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Rob!
      I think the Rustler is the way to go. The Ripstick Black is just a stiffer regular Ripstick thanks to an additional carbon layer. Both are great skis, and you won't go wrong with either, but at your size, I think you'll like the metal underfoot in the Rustler for added stability. They're both pretty quick and maneuverable, but I give the overall performance edge, from bumps to trees and even groomers to the Rustler. Hope that helps!
      SE

      1. It does. Thank you. I love your reviews above and the responsiveness! You folks and Blister are the most trusted in my book.

  3. Hello,
    I am going back and forth between mantra m5,mindbender 99 and the bonafide.I ski mostly groomers but I want to explore the whole mountain(powder,trees and steps not bumps) in a low snow area.I am 6'2" and 200,19 y.o and high intermediate.I would the ski to be a good Carver but yet playful.I am looking forward for your answer or any other suggestion

    Thank you in advance

    1. Hi Nikos!
      When you mention mostly groomers, I tend to see you on the Mantra. It's certainly got the best on-trail performance, and it's pretty versatile off-piste as well. Not quite the floater that the Mindbender is, but it sounds like you're placing emphasis on carving. Have fun!
      SE

        1. Hi again,
          At this width range would you suggest any other ski with similar on-trail performance to the Mantra but a bit more playful?
          Thank you

          1. Hi Nikos!
            Check out the Rossignol Experience 94 and the Fischer Ranger 92 or 99 (the 99 is only 99 underfoot in the 188 cm length, so depending on size, it's more similar to a Mantra underfoot). Have fun!
            SE

    1. Hi Again SE,
      After reading again and again your your AMAZING reviews I really liked the Blizzard rustler 9.So my question is .How would you compare the rustler 9 to the mantra 5.Could you grade(like from 1-5) their hard snow performance in terms of edge grip,stability and quickness?
      Thanks a lot!!!

      1. Nikos,
        Edge Grip: Mantra 5, Rustler 3
        Stability: Mantra 5, Rustler 3
        Quickness: Mantra 3, Rustler 5
        These scores are only in comparison to each other, not other skis, for what it's worth. Have fun!
        SE

  4. I am 5’ 8” and 135 lbs on a 164 Line Chronic and looking to upgrade. Would the BC 100 be a good 1 ski east coast quiver or is it geared too much to soft snow performance or would the Liberty Origin 96 be a better choice? Experienced skier but tend to have a more playful approach.. want to have fun in the trees, pop off natural hits but need firm snow performance for low snow days. Also, should I move up to a 172?

    1. Both great choices, Gregg!
      The Origin has carbon strips, so the tails are a bit stiffer, but the tip rocker makes it a fun and playful floater for sure. I think the BC 100 is the logical choice, especially with the nice camber underfoot and the consistent tip to tail performance. I'd say the low 170's are the place to be. Have fun!
      SE

  5. Hi there,

    I'm 6'2" 185lbs been skiing for 3-4 years upper intermediate looking to improve to advanced. I'm tossing up between the Sky 7 hd 188cm and the enforcer 100 184cm. I mainly ski groomers in New Zealand but looking for a ski with a bit of versatility to take it into softer snow when the conditions permit and I'm also heading to Japan in a few months for a ski holiday. I currently have some experience 88s that are a few years old but still do the trick on piste . On runs I feel confident on I like to ski fairly agressive which do you think would be the better fit? The enforcers to potentially replace the 88s or the sky 7 to add to the quiver?

    1. Hi Richy!
      Either way, I'd keep the 88's if you can. The Enforcer is a very versatile ski, and while it will carve quite well, there's still no substituting for that narrower waist in terms of quickness and edge grip. The Sky is way more playful and quick than the Enforcer, which prefers to plow and take a straighter and faster line. I think if you're moving towards the more aggressive side of the sport, I'd look to the Enforcer as your ski. Have fun!
      SE

  6. Hello there, really debating on the Enforcer 93 or Atomic Vantage 97 TI... Im 5´9¨and 155 lbs and really like to carve fast and sometimes get off trail when I can.
    Atomic vantage 97 TI 172 or 180?
    Enforcer 93 177 right?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi James!
      Yup! At speed, I think you'll like that Enforcer quite a bit. The 177 will feel a bit bulky at slower speeds, but overall, I think it's the right length. The Vantage is a bit stiffer, and even thought it's wider, is more piste-oriented. I give the overall versatility edge to the Enforcer. Have fun!
      SE

  7. Hi guys!

    I love the content and appreciate your thorough reviews! I grew up skiing in Austria every winter but unfortunately had a 10 year break from skiing. I recently moved to California and started skiing (a lot) in Tahoe. Having not skied for 10 years, I am definitely still brushing up my skills and want a ski that will help me improve. I spend equal time on piste and Tahoe’s many ungroomed steeps.
    Which ski would you recommend for me?
    By the way, I am 27, 5’8” and 170lbs.
    Thank you so much for your help!!
    Jake

    1. Hi Jake!
      Two great choices for a skier like yourself would be the Head Kore 99 and the Salomon QST 99. Both are incredibly versatile with high-end ceilings. No metal laminates make them supple and smooth both on and off-piste. I'd look to the low-170's for length. Have fun!
      SE

  8. Thanks for the reviews. I love reading them and the videos too. I'm 5'7" 170lbs looking to upgrade my skis. I am definitely an intermediate skier. I love charging the groomers and practicing bumps. I get stuck alot in powder on my old 170cm Head Peak 84. I really like the Mantra M5, Kore 99 and QST 99. What are your thoughts? Also, I don't really ski trees unless I want to cut across the mountain. I'm also a west coast skier. Thanks.

    1. Hi Vi Tang!
      I'd leave the Mantra off your list for now, as it's the stiffest and most demanding, and if you're an intermediate skier, it can be a handful for sure. The Kore is light and fun while the QST is stable and smooth. I think you'll prefer the Kore due to the lighter weight--it's got a high-performance ceiling but in a lighter package. Great carver and floater. I'd look at the 164 for length in that model. Have fun!
      SE

  9. Hi SE

    Love your reviews!

    I ski 4-5 times a year in the French Alps. I currently have Atomic Bent Chettler fatties for powder days (fewer and farther between!) and Line Sir Francis Bacon for resort and off-piste when the snow's not so deep.

    I'm looking for more of a front-side ski for the groomers and side country. I ski fast lines but love making short, snappy turns. I spend a little bit of time in the park and ski backwards a little bit too. I want something playful but super-stable at speed. I've been looking at the Rustler 9, Sick Day 94, Black Crows Camox and Atomic BC 100. But I'm also pretty taken by the Enforcers and the new K2 Mindbender 99.

    I'm 6"1 and 190lbs.

    Any recommendations?!!

    Thank so much. And happy new year!

    Pete

    1. Hi Pete!
      I think the Camox or the Rustler will fit your needs quite well. The K2 is on the heavy/sluggish side and the Line is on the other end of the spectrum. The BC 2-ski quiver is interesting as well, though. Quick turners generally like the Camox and Rustler. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Thanks guys!

        Appreciate your help.

        Keep up the good work!!

        And do you guys ship to the UK?? Those Liberties are also looking tempting but you can’t get hold of them over here.....

        Thanks!

        Pete

  10. Hello I Ski in Japan quite often about 15 days a year. Mostly in resort but I’m thinking to try black country and some offpist little bit of powder I ski quite hard. Can you recommend me between Black Crows camox freebird 19/20 and DPS Wailer 99 and Atomic Bent Chetler.I’m just at Wayne’s i’m just at Advance skier.Im weight 180 lbs and 5’10 Thank you.

    1. Hi Arm!
      The Camox is likely to be your best choice. A lovely blend of precision and power. Light enough to tour, but burly enough to rip. The Bent Chetler 100 might be on the soft side for your application, and the DPS, although stiff, seems to me to be more of a resort ski. I think that Black Crows is the way to go. Have fun!
      SE

  11. Hi,

    I just moved to Alberta from Ontario. I am 6 foot and 175 pounds, advanced-expert level skier. I am looking for a ski that can really hold its own in the trees, bowls and backside, but can also carve relatively well on the end of day frontside descents. What would you recommend?

    Thanks,
    Will

    1. Hi Will!
      Hard to go wrong with the Volkl M5 Mantra. At 96 mm underfoot it has a ton of power and edge grip, but is also still very fun and engaging when it gets tight. For a slightly softer flex, look to the Salomon QST 99--a bit turnier but not quite as stable at speed. Have fun!
      SE

  12. Hi. I'm a mid to low intermediate that's still trying to learn to carve and improve generally. I ski in Tahoe, 70% on-piste and 30% in trees (right next to the piste, not backcountry or anything). 6ft, 215 lbs. I don't go very fast and just like messing around with various turns, turn shapes, and terrain. I've got a 171 Kore 99 right now. It's the only thing I've ever been on, so I'm not sure how good of a fit that is for what I should be doing. Is the Kore 99 something reasonable given my low skill or is it going to be so demanding that it is difficult to improve? Any recommendations on something that would suit me better if so?

    1. Hi Adam!
      It's on the stiff side, but it's also on the light side, so you're kind of caught in the middle as far as performance qualities are concerned. I don't think it's a bad ski for you, especially given your propensity for mellower speeds and different turn shapes. The only other thing I'd recommend is taking a step narrower to something like the Blizzard Rustler 9 or the Salomon QST 92--both a bit softer and narrower so they'll turn easier. If there's a mid-upper 170 in either of those models, I'd try that out. So a bit narrower and a bit longer should help you out in the long run. Have fun!
      SE

  13. Hi!
    I have been skiing 55 yrs. and the past 25 on Atomics & Volkls. I want to upgrade to a really nice all mountain ski. I now ski 50/50 off and on piste. Tahoe can have varied snow conditions on the same day, so an all mountain that can handle powder in the morning, chop in the afternoon and hard pack the rest of the time, is my goal. I am a fairly aggressive, precise style skier, 60 years old, 5'11", 180#s, expert level, and like to go from carving to chute skiing on the same run. I have been bouncing back and forth on the Mantra M5 (demoed), Mantra 102 and the Atomic 97ti, leaning toward the M5, but the 102 is interesting with the 3 radii. Didn't like the 2019 Atomic 97ti but the softer tail this year seems like a plus. Any thoughts on a ski & length? Thanks for all your great information, videos and reviews!

    1. Hi Michael!
      I'd say the bigger difference between M5 and 102 is just the amount of material. The 102 just isn't quite as nimble, so it kind of needs that 3D Radius to put more control in the skier's hands/feet. I love the 102 in terms of stability, but if you value quickness, the M5 is a better option for you. The Atomic is stiff and burly with not quite the metallic feel of the Mantras. I'd go M5 in the 177 and have fun!
      SE

  14. Hi,
    I'm wondering what the consensus is on the Atomic Vantage 97 C (not included in this comparison) as I'm interested in a pair... my main concern is the flex on them as I'm a big guy. Around 6'3" (1,91m) and 240ish pounds. For reference, I've been using 2016's Salomon Rocker 2 100 at 186 cm length skis for the past few years which from my research is a fairly stiff ski but the more I've ventured off piste the less forgiving I've found them. It's manageable but they seem to take a lot out of me. Long story short I'm looking for something more "user friendly" and also lighter as my old ones weigh more that 2kg a piece without bindings and I'm really looking for something I can put a touring binding on (most likely a frame binding). Anyway, i'd like to know if you think the ski is "too soft" especially for a big guy. Also as a side question... I chose to go 186 with the Salomon scaling up from my old on piste skis (178cm) since it was a twin tip... in the case of the Vantage 97 C im wondering if 188 or 180 would be the correct size... i'm assuming the former but would appreciate your imput.
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Michael!
      I'm 6/2 220 and I actually prefer the C to the Ti versions in that ski. The Ti is just very stiff and planky, which doesn't jive with my style. If you're used to a Rocker 2, the C will be a better transition. Keep in mind in terms of bindings that a frame binding raises you up like a race plate, so it does make the ski twitchier and more responsive. That can be better on groomers, but not quite as playful in the softer snow. I'd go 188 in that model. Have fun!
      SE

  15. Hey guys, I've really been having issue figuring out what it is that I want. You all did a wonderful review and I want to thank you for putting all of the skis out like that.

    So my issue is thus: I'm 5'7, 147lbs, with advanced ability. The only issue being is that I've been stuck with a pair of old Vantage x75C's for the past five years and I've done the majority of my improving on them. However it has become apparent that I really do need to move up in terms of a quality ski, as my ski level has drastically improved from the beginner ski I once had.

    I'm east coast. I love tree(glade) skiing and do a great amount of it, along with ripping groomers and moguls when I see them. I've been looking at the M5 Mantras and the BC 100 (both in 170s or less) in particular, though I'm open to any other options. The Mantra seems like a great way to deal with little snow but it's also very heavy and I'm unsure of how good it'll preform in the seriously tight conditions of a glade. The BC is cool as well, but it's very light and poppy and I'm unsure of how it'll handle the really crappy days we get here on the east coast.

    Any and all help would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Fulton!
      The BC's only real limitation is the hard pack at high speeds. The Mantra doesn't have that problem, but it sure can be a handful in the bumps and trees. I think for overall fun and performance you should lean to the Atomic. They're fantastic all-mountain skis that float and cruise with the best of them. Have fun!
      SE

  16. I am an expert skier who goes about 10-20 times in the east with a trip out west every year. I have had 3 ACL surgeries and looking for a great carver for high speeds while something that can hold its edge in the steeps and chutes while most importantly being nimbler in the trees (a favorite of mine). I am considering the mindbener 99 or head kore 99, but want all available opinions. What do you think is best?

    1. Hi Jack!
      Pretty opposite ends with those two skis in that width. The K2 is heavier and far more stable while the Kore is lighter and nimbler. That seems to be your way of leaning, so I'd go with the Kore. For something that splits the difference, I'd recommend looking at the Salomon QST 99 for a decent blend of the two. Have fun!
      SE

  17. Hi...

    I demo'd the Rustler 10 this past week. They only had it in 180. No 188's. I'm 6'1" 220lb Advanced Skier. I ski a 186 Enforcer 93 and wanted another ski in the quiver for Springtime crud and to get into the bumps and trees. I have demo'd the Liberty Origin 96 and 106 and the QST 92 (not the 99), Mindbender 90. It as after the last two that I went wider. My question is twofold - at my size and weight and ability, would you go 180 or 188? I'm at Stowe next week and can always jump in the 188 to make sure. And two, is there a ski I may be missing that I should be looking at? So far I just feel that the little bit of metal that the Rustler has is making all of the difference, staying fun and poppy but stable enough where it can still rip a turn and dig an edge in when skiing groomers. Thanks! Looking forward to your response.

    One last question - is there a frontside carver I should be looking at? Too many good end of season deals to maybe not pick up a couple of pairs.

  18. See my questions above. I'll be up at Stowe week. Any feedback on my questions?

    Thanks so much for all of your reviews and input!

  19. Hi SE,
    Once again another informative video, thank you guys for all the work. But with all the info from this video and the individual ski reviews I now have paralysis by analysis. I have gone over every little detail and still can't figure out which ski will work best for me. So here's my situation, I used your videos and ski reviews to buy a pair of Volkl Kanjo's 168cm two years ago (It was my first time back on skis in 25 years). I absolutely love those skis, they are fun on the groomers, super light and quick. Now that my ability has advanced I'm exploring more of the mountain and different types of snow. So I'm looking for a ski that will grow with my ability, ski groomers but allow me to explore more and enjoy some powder when I can get some. I don't go looking for moguls but will ski them if necessary and want to do more tree skiing. I plan on keeping my Kanjo's for our local mountains but the new skis will be used for multi day trips to Mammoth, Tahoe and Utah. I'm 5'9" 165lbs and a strong intermediate.

    On a side note, I recently demo'd a pair of the Blizzard Bonafide in 173cm and man were those things burly! The weight was the first thing I noticed, but it didn't take long to understand why that wasn't necessarily a bad thing (why don't ski manufacturers include the weights of their skis on their websites?) They plowed thru the crud and were smooth! I've never charged that hard in chunk like that before but they felt totally stable. I was able to get only a half a day in on them so I don't feel that was enough time to pull the trigger on them. So I am turning to you guys once again for a suggestion on which of these skis would work best for me.

    Thanks in advance,
    Darren

    1. Hi Darren!
      I'm not sure why weight isn't more available--it may be that people will only look at how heavy skis are versus how they feel on your feet, and make a decision based solely on a couple of grams here and there. For touring skis and the like, where weight is paramount, I think there's more information available. A Bonafide may weigh less than a comparable Nordica Enforcer, but the swing weight and the maneuverability may be way different.
      For you, and your western skiing, I'd stick to that general shape and style of ski. Also check out the Mantra M5 if you liked the Kanjo--they're a bit lighter than the Bonafide (again, going by feel, not by grams). Also the Rossignol Experience 94 Ti is worth a look. Have fun!
      SE

  20. Hi, between the atomic bent chetler 100 and the Rossignol Sky 7 which should I choose for floating more in powder?

    1. Hi Ferra!
      The Sky has a more bouncy nature in powder due to the more dramatic taper and rocker and lighter tips, while the Atomic has the HRZN tips and tails which increases float with a narrower width. I'd say lighter skiers will get more float out of the Sky while average to heavy skiers will prefer the Atomic in fresh snow. Take care!
      SE

        1. Ferra,
          I guess in terms of how long the ski will last on the planet, yes, it's more fragile, but for ~5 years of skiing, they'll hold up just fine! Take care!
          SE

          1. Thank you so much, I do not ski a lot of times each year so they will last more I guess hahaha, I will give them a try. 🤙

  21. Hey Guys,

    Thanks so much for all of this terrific content, it's really helping me understand the landscape of options as I shop for new skis. I've been doing a lot of research on skis lately and your information is by far the most comprehensive and well-organized. With so many options available and no ability to demo skis this spring, I'm struggling to make a decision, so I could use some help.

    A bit about me, I'd consider myself to be somewhere between intermediate and advanced, I'm about 5'8" and 135 lb. I ski primarily at CO resorts. I tend to spend as much time as I can off the groomers - love tree runs, hit a decent amount of moguls, and seek powder when possible - but conditions and/or who I'm skiing with lead me to ride groomers quite a bit as well. I want a ski that will allow me to continue to progress in the moguls, while being maneuverable enough to navigate trees with confidence. I won't own multiple sets of skis, so naturally I need it to be versatile enough to handle any type of resort skiing as well (aside from park skiing, though I do enjoy hitting side kickers or launching off other on-trail jumps occasionally).

    I like the sound of the maneuverability of the Sky 7 or Bent Chetler, but don't know if they're too limiting or too powder/park focused. I'm intrigued by the playfulness of the Ripstick, but haven't heard much about how they handle moguls and trees. The Legend seems like it might have some promise, but I wonder if they're too stiff for me to maneuver quickly at my weight. The Enforcer and Mindbender seem well-rounded enough to be worthy of consideration, but maybe they are also too stiff or perhaps more suited for a more hard-charging, aggressive rider? I'm also still considering the QST 99, which might fit in the middle nicely, and the Tracer which sounds potentially fitting, but a friend has made me skeptical of the long-term durability of Armadas. Any thoughts to help me narrow it down more would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks so much for all the reviews, and sorry for the length of this post.

    1. Hi Michael!
      If you're not skiing 100+ days per year, I wouldn't worry too much about the long-term durability of any ski--they're all pretty good these days. I like the sound of the Bent Chetler for you, as they're not too park-specific in my experience. They can be used in park, but are fantastic in bumps and trees, and pretty darn good on groomers as well. QST is a burlier ski, not as quick as the Atomic or the Sky, but the most stable on your current list. I would stay away from the Enforcers and Mindbenders and Legends, as they are on the stiff and heavy side. Overall, it sounds like the Atomic is the best fit on your list. Take care!
      SE

  22. Grew up in the mountains skiing so I am pretty comfortable on skis. But, now I only ski 3-10 times per year. I spend most of the day on expert groomers, bumps, off trail, ad like to hop of the occasional stump. I do not spend much time in the park. I am happiest at speed, carving. I want a ski that can cut through Sierra crud but light (in weight) enough for the bumps. What would you recommend out of this list? I typically ski a 184mm length ski, but wondering if going shorter could help with playfulness and weight. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Mark!
      I've found that skiers like you with your application who don't know what they want are generally pretty happy on the Salomon QST 99. Great shape for Sierra, with all-mountain versatility. I'd go 181 in that ski. Have fun!
      SE

  23. Hi, I was hoping you can help me choose my next pair of skis. I live in Utah and primarily ski here around 40-50 days a year with occasional trips to Wyoming and Colorado. I'm trying to set up a three ski quiver with Bent Chetler 120s for powder days and another setup, still to be bought, around mid/upper 80's, for just ripping groomers when it hasn't snowed a bit. What would be a good everyday ski to take out in between? I've been looking at a pair of Mindbenders 99s, Enforcers 100s, and Bonafides. I tend ski pretty aggressively and enjoy hiking at resorts, skiing some side country, and skiing trees. I've been leaning towards the Mindbenders, but wanted another opinion. If there are any other skis I should be looking at, please let me know.

    1. Hi Matt!
      You have a lot of good options for sure, and the good news is that none of them are bad. I have a pair of Enforcer 100's (2021) and love them. Incredibly stable and smooth, although not quite as maneuverable as the K2. The Bonafide is a bit more planky, which if you like that, is a bonus. I'd say the K2 is the most maneuverable and playful followed by the Enforcer which is a good mix of everything, and the Bonafide which has a stiffer and heavier feel than the others. Myself included, I just haven't really found or heard of anyone who's not a fan of the Enforcer for what you're looking to do. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Hey, thanks for the reply! After your recommendation and doing a little more research, I decided to go with a pair of the 2020 Enforcer 100's from you guys. Those 2021's look really nice, but I just couldn't splurge on a pair with everything that's going on right now. Hope we all have a good season next year! We definitely need it after the shortened season and Covid.

  24. A ton of great info here i think is helping me along, but i also have a question i was hoping i could get feedback on. Im 5"11, 190. Strong intermediate skier. mostly midwest crud but also out west with mix of groomed and off piste & light powder. I stick to medium speeds and I have two reconstructed knees, so weight should be important. But i want the ski to have good stability in shorter/harder packs.so im thinking a frontside focused ski thats wider 90-95cm range to help with powder

    I've been looking at the mantra's, but i think it to much of a ski for me to handle, especially for long days. I have been looking at the kendo 88's and the vantage 90Ti and 97ti's and rustlers 9 &10. i guess what i think i need to work for me now and also help support me as i progress is a 175 ish length and 90ish width ski thats on the lighter side .

    thoughts and recommendations?

    thanks in advance.

    Tom

    1. Hi Tom!
      The Rustler 9 serves as a great Mantra-minus type of ski, with a strong performance level and lower weight and demand. You don't have to get it up to top speed in order for it to work well--very capable at all speeds and in all conditions. That said, the Rustler still rips, and has that high-performance ceiling, but doesn't have to live there like the Mantra. Also the Rustler gives you that low to mid 90's range underfoot that I think is perfect for your application. The 180 in that ski should be great. Have fun!
      SE

  25. These are great comments. I am torn between the 2020 M5s and the K2 Mindbeder 99. I am advanced/expert and spent a lot of time in trees and off piste. I am around 150 and 5'9'.

    Any thoughts or ski I might be missing?

    1. Hi Brent!
      As you've probably noticed, there's a lot of great choices out there, and these are two of the best! The Mantra gives a bit more energy and edge grip on-piste while the Mindbender is more of a plow-type ski in the crud and powder. The Mantra has more of a metallic/pingy sound and the K2 is a bit more woody/rubbery for what it's worth. I'm a fan of ski phonics, so that's where I go when deciding on skis. Have fun!
      SE

  26. What a great article and service. I'm hoping you can help as I buy a new pair of skis for the first time since high school in about 1990, when worked on a mountain, skied 6 days a week, and raced (poorly) one year ... but on a small Massachusetts hill. I didn't ski much for a while and have been skiing mostly demos and rentals for the past decade a few times a year (but with a nice pair of my own boots). I ski small mid-Atlantic hills with my elementary school kids who are learning and Utah and Tahoe on my own where I like to look for powder and go through the trees, but am mostly skiing the blue and double blues fairly aggressively, and on the edges where there's fresh snow. I need to be pretty nimble to help my kids, so I probably need something on the lighter/low swing weight side, but do want to be able to have some West Coast fun on my trips. Last year I demoed some Kendo 170s, which I generally liked, but found them a bit heavy. I'm advanced, 5'7, 165. Any guidance, including on length, on anything that covers this wide range would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Max!
      I think I'd direct you more to 88's like the Kendo, but as you said, lighter. Check out the Rossignol Experience 88 and the Elan Ripstick 88 to start. Lots to like about these types of skis--similar in shape to the Kendo, but without all the metal. The Ripstick is the lighter of the two, relying on carbon tubes to generate power while the Rossignol has a vertical metal laminate for strength and stability. Those two skis also have wider counterparts, the Ripstick also comes in a 96 while the Rossi comes in a 94, so if you are looking for that wider ski, those options are there as well. I'd look to the low to mid-170's for length in any model. Have fun!
      SE

  27. I am wondering what your thoughts are about the Elan Ripstick 96 vs the Armada Tracer 98 as a touring ski, primarily for Vermont skiing and likely 50/50 on vs off piste. For the groomers and harder charging days, I ski a Volkl RTM 84 which handles so much more than just carving, so there would clearly be some overlap with either of these skis. The RTM isn't my go-to choice for powder or trees, so I'm looking for a something that will augment the RTM when used on-piste, as well as work well off-piste. I was originally leaning towards the Rossignol Soul 7 for a tour setup, but am a little worried it may only be great on powder days. My current tour setup is an RMU Apostle 105 which is a fantastic ski when it's in the right conditions, but I find that here in the East we just don't get enough days where that ski gets a chance to shine.

    In addition to the Ripstick 96 and Tracer 98, I was thinking the Line Vision 98 or perhaps the Head Kore 99 might be other good options

    1. Hi Ian!
      I think you're in the right spot for sure in terms of those upper-90's light skis. I'd say the Ripstick has more of a resort personality than the Tracer, but is still light enough for that touring application. It's a bit stronger and more apt to handle aggressive skiing, so if you're not always in the fresh, I'd say the Ripstick is a better choice. I'd put the Kore up there with the Ripstick, and the Line closer to the Tracer, but even a shade lighter and softer. The Kore is stiffer than the Elan, but probably about the same weight. The Kore is a superior carver to the Ripstick, as it's quite a bit stiffer. Have fun!
      SE

      1. I definitely seems like either the Ripstick or Tracer may be my best options. On pure carving days I'd be on my Volkl RTM 84's (or the Deacon 84 which I'll likely switch to), although I do like that the Ripstick 96 sounds like it will handle groomed resort terrain better. Do you think the Tracer will struggle more on-piste? Also, have you had either the Ripstick or Tracer in the trees, and is one significantly better than the other there?

        Apart from use in touring, do you think one of these works better as part of a 2-ski quiver, when paired up with a more frontside oriented ski like the RTM/Deacon? And... if I were to one day add a dedicated power ski for those rare, magical days we get here and there in Vermont, would that change your thoughts on what would be the best fit for everything else between the hard packed, groomers and the powder days?

        1. Hi Ian!
          I do think you'll see more chatter in the Tracer vs. Ripstick on groomers. Conversely, I'd rather ski the Tracer in the trees here in VT as it has a more consistent flex to it. I've only skied the Ripstick 88 in the trees, and my colleague Jeff has skied the 96 in the woods and didn't seem to have much of a problem at all. They're very well-rounded skis. Paired with a RTM/Deacon 84, I guess I'd rather have the Tracer as my second ski--a bit lighter and more playful. If you were to add a third pow ski to the equation, I might change my answer to the Ripstick, but again, pretty small margins here. Have fun!
          SE

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