2020 Women's 90mm All Mountain Ski Comparison - Lead

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2020 Ski Comparisons: Women's 90 mm All Mountain Ski Guide

For our first women’s 2020 ski comparison, we’re looking at all-mountain skis that hover around 90 mm underfoot. These days, this is one of the most popular segments of skis and arguably offers the most versatility, especially for skiing within the resort. Some of these skis are designed to be hard-chargers, some are designed for versatility, while others focus more on soft-snow prowess. With 15 different skis in this comparison, there’s bound to be a ski that works well for your own personal skiing style. We encourage you to follow the links below each ski to our Ski Test results pages where you can read more about each ski’s performance from the perspectives of our testers. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us through a comment, email, or phone call if you have more questions about any of these skis or any you don’t see here.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Armada Victa 87 Ti




AVAILABLE SIZES

155, 163, 171 cm

TURN RADIUS

16.5 m at 163 cm

SIDECUT

128 / 86 / 118.5 mm

CORE

Titanal / Carbon / Kevlar

STRENGTHS

Precise, Nimble, Grippy


Overview:

The Victa 87 Ti isn’t what most people think of when they imagine an Armada ski. The company is historically known for their twin tip, freestyle-influenced skis, but in recent years they’ve showed more focus on directional all-mountain skis than ever before. The Victa 87 Ti uses advanced construction consisting of a poplar wood core, carbon-kevlar struts, and titanal metal. It has some tip rocker, but no early taper to speak of. In our testing, skiers have been impressed by its stability and vibration damping; not something they expect from an Armada. Those carbon-kevlar struts also give it some nice energy out of a turn. Linking carving turns on the Victa 87 Ti is about as smooth as you could ever ask for. It’s also exceptionally nimble with its relatively narrow 87 mm waist width and quick edge to edge feel, which boosts its ability in moguls.

Who it's For:

Skiers who are looking for responsive carving performance in a ski that can handle bumps and tight terrain.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Atomic Vantage 90 Ti W




AVAILABLE SIZES

153, 161, 169 cm

TURN RADIUS

16.5 m at 161 cm

SIDECUT

124.5 / 90 / 111 mm

CORE

Titanium Tank Mesh

STRENGTHS

Responsive, Light, Quick


Overview:

The Vantage 90 Ti W from Atomic uses a relatively unique construction among skis in this category. Atomic’s Prolite construction specifically places heavier, denser materials along the edges of the ski while removing materials from two centered channels, one in the forebody, and one behind your binding. This construction technique creates a ski that’s impressively lightweight, and also quite stiff. That combination makes for a very responsive ski and one with excellent edge grip. It has a precise feel and loves skier input. For 2020, Atomic did soften up the flex pattern in the tail of the ski a little bit, which has increased forgiveness while retaining that precise feel. It’s now easier to release the tail edge of the ski, and when you add in the light swing weight, it makes this 2020 version more maneuverable than before. Its highlight, however, is still its high levels of torsional stiffness and edge grip in such a light package.

Who it's For:

Skiers who value precision, edge grip, and carving performance, but want a ski that’s lighter traditional sandwich construction skis with metal.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Blizzard Black Pearl 88




AVAILABLE SIZES

145, 152 159, 166, 173 cm

TURN RADIUS

15.5 m at 173 cm

SIDECUT

127 / 88 / 111 mm

CORE

Wood / Fiberglass / Carbon

STRENGTHS

Smooth, Approachable, Well-Rounded


Overview:

Ahh, the Blizzard Black Pearl 88. It’s been the leading ski in this category in terms of units sold for a number of years now and we give its versatility and approachability a lot of credit for that. Blizzard uses their women’s specific Carbon Flipcore construction in the Black Pearl series. They don’t use any metal, which keeps the weight down, but the carbon construction provides good torsional stiffness and edge grip and a nice, energetic, responsive feel. Its shape is geared towards all-mountain versatility with a slight preference for carving and on-trail performance. A lot of different skiers can and will enjoy the Black Pearl 88 this season. An intermediate can get on it and not feel overwhelmed, while an expert will find a surprising amount of stability and edge grip for a ski this lightweight that doesn’t use any metal. It’s affectionately known as the “little black dress” among a lot of women; it works, it’s trustworthy, and it’s likely going to make you look pretty darn good.

Who it's For:

A wide range of skier ability levels, although regardless of ability, you probably spend most of your time on groomed slopes.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Blizzard Sheeva 9




AVAILABLE SIZES

148, 157, 164, 172 cm

TURN RADIUS

15.5 m at 172 cm

SIDECUT

124.5 / 92 / 114.5 mm

CORE

Wood / Titanal Underfoot

STRENGTHS

Playful, Maneuverable, Snappy


Overview:

If the Black Pearl 88 leans slightly towards on-trail, carving performance, the Sheeva 9 leans towards the off-trail, soft snow performance and playfulness. The Sheeva 9 also uses some metal in its construction, which will help support more aggressive skiers. On the other hand, it has much more rocker and early taper than the Black Pearl 88 both in the tip and tail. It’s not quite as easy-going, but it’s also not overly demanding. Its edge release capabilities gives it really nice performance in terrain like trees and moguls. That metal underfoot gives it some extra performance when you are on the groomers, so even though its shape is geared more towards versatility than the BP 88, the Sheeva 9 can still link some nice carves when there’s no soft snow to play in. In general, the Sheeva series is an excellent compliment to the Black Pearl skis as they have more of a freeride mentality.

Who it's For:

Adventurous all mountain skiers who like to get off trail whenever possible. You value maneuverability and soft snow performance just as much as carving performance, if not more.

AT A GLANCE


2020 DPS Uschi Alchemist 87 C2




AVAILABLE SIZES

150, 157, 165, 171 cm

TURN RADIUS

17 m at 165 cm

SIDECUT

122 / 87 / 105 mm

CORE

Wood / Carbon

STRENGTHS

Light, Quick, Agile


Overview:

The Uschi A 87 C2 is one of the narrowest skis we see from DPS. The C2 name refers to the fact that it also has less rocker and less early taper than traditional DPS designs. It’s more focused on on-trail performance than what we’re accustomed to seeing from DPS, and it’s quite impressive, especially considering the company is not known for their carving skis. DPS uses their Alchemist construction in this version of the Uschi 87, which utilizes vibration-tuned, aerospace-grade carbon fiber. It has a smoother feel with better vibration damping than most skis we’ve tested that rely heavily on carbon in their construction. Being a high-end DPS ski, it does come along with a pretty hefty price tag, but the combination of a lightweight feel and high levels of stability, edge grip, and responsiveness helps justify the cost. Although it’s not as pronounced as we see in other DPS models, there still is some rocker and early taper. That shape with the narrow 87 mm waist width gives it a nimble feel to go along with its impressive carving performance.

Who it's For:

A skier who values high-end carving performance, but wants a ski that’s overall more versatile than a true frontside carver.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Dynastar Legend W 88




AVAILABLE SIZES

159, 166, 173 cm

TURN RADIUS

15 m at 166 cm

SIDECUT

125 / 88 / 109 mm

CORE

Wood / Titanium

STRENGTHS

Powerful, Damp, Stable


Overview:

Dynastar blends a tapered and rockered shape with a poplar wood core and metal laminate in the Legend W 88 and the result is a ski that’s relatively unique among this comparison. Often, skis with this shape are ultra-focused on being lightweight and maneuverable. The Legend W 88 isn’t particularly heavy, but it has more vibration damping and stability than you might expect when you look at its shape. This allows you to ski quite aggressively on the Legend W 88 without it feeling unbalanced or unstable. When you need to make quicker movements, especially at slower speeds, the shape comes into play and allows you to release the tail edge and make pivoting, smearing, and/or skidding turns with ease. This shape also helps with turn initiation on groomers and will likely help you smooth out your skiing when linking carving turns. This ski may have surprised our testers more than any other this past season, as a quick glance at the ski doesn’t communicate its ability on snow.

Who it's For:

Aggressive skiers who want a relatively even mix of performance. You can link carves then go slash a bunch of turns in soft snow all on the same ski.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Elan Ripstick 88 W




AVAILABLE SIZES

149, 156, 163, 170, 177 cm

TURN RADIUS

14.2 m at 163 cm

SIDECUT

130 / 88 / 105 mm

CORE

Wood / Carbon Tubes

STRENGTHS

Energetic, Fun, Quick


Overview:

If you ask Elan’s engineers and product manager what the main goal of their skis is right now they’re going to answer “fun.” In a world where consumers and skiers are often focused on superlatives, Elan has a refreshing approach. Skiing is supposed to be fun, so let’s make it as fun as possible. The Ripstick 88 uses carbon fiber in a 3-dimensional application. Tubes run from tip to tail of the ski. These carbon tubes absorb vibrations much better than flat carbon laminates and not only gives the ski an energetic, playful feel, but it’s also impressively stable, especially considering its weight. The flex pattern is a little softer than what we see in some skis in this comparison and that enables the skier to manipulate turn shapes and styles more easily than on a stiffer ski. On the other hand, the construction results in really good torsional stiffness, so if the turn you want to make happens to be a carve, they’ll do that just fine. They’re also a blast in moguls and have a playful personality overall.

Who it's For:

Skiers looking to have fun. Whether you’re carving turns, hopping through moguls, or wiggling through trees, the Ripstick 88 will do it all with a fun, playful, and refreshing feel.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Fischer My Ranger 90 Ti




AVAILABLE SIZES

155, 163, 171 cm

TURN RADIUS

16 m at 171 cm

SIDECUT

125 / 90 / 116 mm

CORE

Metal / Carbon

STRENGTHS

Stable, Powerful, Versatile


Overview:

Fischer’s My Ranger collection blends powerful on-trail performance with soft snow prowess in a ski that feels like it has significant freeski/freeride influence. The fact that there’s a skin attachment point on the tail is a nod to the fact that this ski is able to do more than just ski the groomed slopes at the resort. The long tip rocker with smooth early taper gives this ski a really good feel in soft snow. It charges through crud with the tip shape cutting through like a knife through butter. Fischer also uses metal laminates that connect to their carbon nose for 2020, effectively boosting the skis stability compared to past year’s skis. That carbon nose also helps shed some weight, which gives it a relatively light swing weight compared to skis with this much power and stability at speed. It’s light enough to skin up, but has the performance to ski aggressively and directly on the way back down.

Who it's For:

Powerful all-mountain skiers who do a little bit of everything. You value soft snow performance, but don’t want to sacrifice on-trail abilities.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Head Kore 93 W




AVAILABLE SIZES

153, 162, 171 cm

TURN RADIUS

15.4 m at 171 cm

SIDECUT

130 / 91 / 113 mm

CORE

Graphene / Koroyd / Carbon

STRENGTHS

Light, Stiff, Strong


Overview:

The Kore 93 W is new for 2020 and we’re psyched to see the Kore technology repackaged in women’s specific lengths. Head uses their own construction technique in their Kore skis. There’s no metal, but we get a blend of Graphene, Koroyd, and Carbon that gives the ski impressive vibration damping and good stability. Its shape has plenty of rocker, some smooth early taper, and the ski is relatively lightweight, so it’s also super quick and easy to maneuver. It’s a very versatile ski that can transition from quick pivoting turns to longer carving turns. We think most skiers will be somewhat surprised by its stiffness if they’re just picking it up off the wall of their local ski shop, so keep that in mind when you’re determining if its right for you. Although it’s a lightweight, versatile ski, it’s arguably best on the feet of a skier with relatively accomplished, advanced technique because of the stiffer flex.

Who it's For:

Skiers who like to ski the whole mountain and don’t like the weight that comes along with skis with metal laminates.

AT A GLANCE


2020 K2 Mindbender 88 Ti Alliance




AVAILABLE SIZES

149, 156, 163, 170 cm

TURN RADIUS

14.7 m at 163 cm

SIDECUT

125 / 88 / 112 mm

CORE

Titanal Y-Beam

STRENGTHS

Powerful, Maneuverable, Versatile


Overview:

K2’s all new Mindbender line is built for power, versatility, and playfulness all at the same time. K2 is specifically tweaking the torsional stiffness in different portions of the ski to achieve this result. In the forebody of the ski we find metal along the edges. In the tail, however, that metal is located in the center of the ski, not along the edges. When you’re driving a turn from the front of the ski you get powerful, precise performance, yet the shape and tail construction allows you to pivot and smear relatively easily as well. K2 has some athletic, young female athletes these days and the performance of their women’s skis reflects that. This isn’t the lightest ski in the group by a fairly significant margin, but it doesn’t feel tremendously heavy on your feet. Still, that heft and the performance that comes along with it is best on the feet of an advanced to expert level skier.

Who it's For:

Aggressive skiers looking for versatile all-mountain performance. If you’re not ready for the metal, K2 has carbon versions in their Mindbender collection.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Nordica Santa Ana 88




AVAILABLE SIZES

151, 158, 165, 172 cm

TURN RADIUS

15 m at 165 cm

SIDECUT

119 / 88 / 107 mm

CORE

Metal / Carbon

STRENGTHS

Smooth, Energetic, Carvy


Overview:

The Nordica Santa Ana 88 is new for 2020 and follows in the successful footsteps of the Enforcer and wider Santa Ana skis. Now the narrowest Santa Ana in the collection, this ski has a quicker edge to edge feel and better edge grip than ever before, but it still retains the super-smooth, versatile performance we expect out of these skis. Nordica uses a lightweight Energy2 Balsa core, but sandwiches it between two sheets of metal. The metal in these Nordica skis is thinner than we see in most skis, which is one of the keys to their performance. You get a lot of vibration damping and a very smooth, stable feel, but they’re a little lighter, a little softer flexing, and a little more forgiving than some of the stiffer skis in this comparison. That said, we don’t expect anyone to push them past their limits, as the Santa Ana 88 can hold up to aggressive skiing. The Santa Ana 88 definitely checks a lot of boxes and is a serious new contender in this category.

Who it's For:

Skiers who value versatile performance and want that smooth feel that comes along with metal.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Rossignol Experience 88 Ti




AVAILABLE SIZES

152, 159, 166, 173 cm

TURN RADIUS

14 m at 166 cm

SIDECUT

127 / 88 / 117 mm

CORE

Wood / Titanal

STRENGTHS

Versatile, Fun, Approachable


Overview:

The new version of the Experience 88 Ti is back for 2020 and has quickly become a favorite among a lot of women. It uses a slightly softer core than the men’s version, but the same Line Control Technology with the vertical metal beam in the center of the ski. It also has a nice long tip rocker profile and smooth early taper, a shape that’s borrowed from their wider 7-series skis. The new Experience 88 Ti shape is far better than previous version in soft snow, and the new construction retains the groomer performance we expect from this ski. It’s snappy and responsive on groomers, but now you can take it off the groomed slopes into terrain like moguls and trees and the ski loves it. The Experience 88 Ti has a pretty high performance ceiling, but is also approachable for upper-level intermediate skiers. It might not have the power of some of the skis on this list, but it makes up for it with its versatility and approachability.

Who it's For:

Skiers who want a versatile, high performing ski, but not one that’s going to beat you up if you feel like relaxing for an afternoon.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Salomon QST Lux 92




AVAILABLE SIZES

153, 161, 169, 177 cm

TURN RADIUS

17 m at 169 cm

SIDECUT

128 / 92 / 111 mm

CORE

Wood / C/FX / Cork

STRENGTHS

Floaty, Maneuverable, Versatile


Overview:

The QST Lux 92 is the widest ski in this comparison and hands-down one of the best in soft snow. If you’re looking for versatile all-mountain performance, but with a preference for softer snow conditions, this is a great option. Salomon has tweaked the shape and construction for 2020 and the new ski is smoother than ever before. It retains the maneuverability in soft snow and un-groomed terrain that we expect from a QST, but by adding cork to the tip and lengthening the effective edge, Salomon has increased the ski’s stability and given it better vibration damping. It’s an exceptionally well rounded ski as it practically performs like a powder ski when the snow gets deep, but can still lay over some pretty impressive carves. It might not have the responsiveness or edge grip of some of the narrower, stiffer, more groomer-focused skis in this category, but it takes soft snow performance to a whole new level compared to those skis.

Who it's For:

Adventurous skiers who prefer staying off trail or like to look for softer snow and natural hits on the sides of trails.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Stockli Stormrider 85 Motion




AVAILABLE SIZES

154, 161, 168 cm

TURN RADIUS

14.4 m at 161 cm

SIDECUT

129 / 85 / 113 mm

CORE

Wood / Titanal Topsheet

STRENGTHS

Smooth, Precise, Strong


Overview:

The Stockli Stormrider 85 is one of the narrowest skis in this comparison and hands-down one of the best feeling skis on firm snow. Stockli uses a titanal topsheet with a lightweight wood core. You get the benefits of metal from the topsheet, and those benefits are actually enhanced as your skier input is going straight into the metal, but the overall weight of the Stormrider 85 is impressively light. This gives it a less tiring feel than some of the heavier skis in this comparison, but it has high levels of performance. It’s stable, smooth, has excellent vibration damping, and feels responsive and energetic when linking turns. Our testers were quite impressed by its performance, especially if they had never been on a Stockli before. It comes along with a high price tag, but this is one that’s pretty easy to see where the extra cost is coming from. If you don’t mind the higher price and you’re looking for precise and silky-smooth groomer performance, this is a fantastic ski.

Who it's For:

Skiers who spend most of their time on groomed slopes and value a high performance ski with a high-end feel.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Volkl Kenja 88




AVAILABLE SIZES

149, 156, 163, 170 cm

TURN RADIUS

15 m at 163 cm

SIDECUT

129 / 88 / 111 mm

CORE

Titanal Frame

STRENGTHS

Powerful, Damp, Grippy


Overview:

The Titanal Frame construction we saw for the first time with the M5 Mantra and Secret 92 last season has been expanded into a bunch of new skis from Volkl. The Kenja 88 is the narrowest ski with this construction for women and it’s 2 mm narrower than the previous Kenja. By locating metal along the edges, Volkl has retained the powerful, precise feel we expect from Volkl. That Titanal Frame doesn’t meet underfoot, however, which has given these skis a bigger sweet spot than ever before. It doesn’t feel like you always have to be driving the ski like you did on the previous Kenja, although it still rewards you if you do. The Kenja has developed a reputation for being a powerful, race-inspired all-mountain ski, and that’s still a good way to think about it. You can ski it as fast and as hard as you could ever want to and the ski stays stable and composed. Although it’s narrower, this new version feels better in softer snow conditions and un-groomed terrain as well, although it still requires a skilled driver in those applications because of its weight and stiffness.

Who it's For:

Powerful, aggressive skiers who value precision and stability. Ex-racers who ski the whole mountain tend to be big fans of Volkl skis.

2020 SKI COMPARISONS:


Women's ~90 mm All Mountain Skis


SKIS

RADIUS

SIDECUT

CORE

RETAIL PRICE

2020 Armada Victa 87 Ti

16.5m @ 163cm

128 / 86 / 118.5

Titanal / Carbon / Kevlar

$649.95

2020 Atomic Vantage 90 Ti W

16.5m @ 161cm

124.5 / 90 / 111

Titanium Tank Mesh

$599.99

2020 Blizzard Black Pearl 88

15.5m @ 173cm

127 / 88 / 111

Wood / Fiberglass / Carbon

$599.95

2020 Blizzard Sheeva 9

15.5m @ 172cm

124.5 / 92 / 114.5

Wood / Titanal Underfoot

$549.95

2020 DPS Uschi Alchemist 87 C2

17m @ 165cm

122 / 87 / 105

Wood / Carbon

$1,039.20

2020 Dynastar Legend W 88

15m @ 166cm

125 / 88 / 109

Wood / Titanium

$599.95

2020 Elan Ripstick 88 W

14.2m @ 163cm

130 / 88 / 105

Wood / Carbon Tubes

$549.99

2020 Fischer My Ranger 90 Ti

16m @ 171cm

125 / 90 / 116

Metal / Carbon

$649.99

2020 Head Kore 93 W

15.4m @ 171cm

130 / 91 / 113

Graphene / Koroyd / Carbon

$649.00

2020 K2 Mindbender 88 Ti Alliance

14.7m @ 163cm

125 / 88 / 112

Titanal Y-Beam

$649.95

2020 Nordica Santa Ana 88

15m @ 165cm

119 / 88 / 107

Metal / Carbon

$599.99

2020 Rossignol Experience 88 Ti

14m @ 166cm

127 / 88 / 117

Wood / Titanal

$649.95

2020 Salomon QST Lux 92

17m @ 169cm

128 / 92 / 111

Wood / C/FX / Cork

$549.99

2020 Stockli Stormrider 85 Motion

14.4m @ 161cm

129 / 85 / 113

Wood / Titanal Topsheet

$999.00

2020 Volkl Kenja 88

15m @ 163cm

129 / 88 / 111

Titanal Frame

$649.00

2020 Women's All Mountain Ski Test Results Image
 

Written by Jeff Neagle on 10/24/19

8 thoughts on “2020 Ski Comparisons: Women's 90 mm All Mountain Ski Guide

  1. QST 92, Sky 7, Sheeva 9, Black Pearl 88, which one is the most forgiving and versatile ski as a west coast one ski quiver for intermediate skier looking to improve in different terrain and snow conditions.

    I’m 5’3” and 115lb, should I pick the length close to 160 or 155?

    Thanks!!

    1. Hi Bowie!
      I'd look to the BP 88 for your skills and application. It's just a really versatile ski for a wide range of abilities and ski styles. Perhaps not quite as forgiving as the Sky 7, but at 88 mm underfoot, is better suited for all-mountain skiing versus the soft-snow capabilities of the Sky. The 159 would be on the long side, and I think the 153 is the way to go. Have fun!
      SE

    1. Hi Bluebird!
      Quite a bit of overlap between those two skis. The 88, other than being narrower, also has the 3D Turn radius which gives the ski a bit more of an intuitive and adaptive feel versus the 92 which is a bit more locked in to the turn radius. The 88 is a superior carver and bump ski while the 92 is a tad better in soft snow. If you're on-piste most of the time, I'd go 88. Have fun!
      SE

  2. Which ski would you recommend for an advanced beginner to intermediate skier mostly skiing west coast groomed slopes, and mostly greens and blues/blue-blacks.
    This would be my first set of skis and looking for an easy, forgiving ride and stability, but room to improve into different terrain, more intermediate skiing.

    I’m 5’4” and 140 lb, thinking length close to 152-156

    Thanks!!

    1. Hi Soy!
      Check out the K2 Mindbender Alliance 90 C and the Elan Ripstick 88W. great skis for now and later! I'd keep it on the 150 side of 160. Have fun!
      SE

  3. 7 year devotee of my Volkl Kenjas, but due to the aging process I now have nerve damage that prevents me from turning them on anything more than a green run. I demo'd a Black Pearl 82, 166 and it kept me going and saved my butt more than once without judging me. I was able to dodge spring breakers, bounce it around in mushed up heavier type snow and cut them short when the glasses fogged up and the clouds came over making visibility "ski by Braille". They did it all and I actually felt a little adventurous for the first time all year. The only thing I felt lacking was going into the mushed up softer snow, I wanted a little more feeling like they stayed up over it.

    Question: BP 88- use the 165 or 159? I'm 5'5", around 165#. I can stay over them, and enjoy speed, but do need forgiveness and edge grip. My Kenjas are both 163. Last ones are 90 waist (2017).

    1. HI Kathy!
      If you liked the 82 in the 166, I'd keep it the same with the 88. You'll get the added stability and flotation of the extra material, but it's still not too heavy. Have fun!
      SE

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