2022 Ski Comparisons: Men's Mid 80 mm All Mountain Skis - Lead Image

Ski Comparisons - Ski Reviews

2022 Ski Comparisons: Men's Mid 80mm All Mountain Ski Guide

In this week’s comparison, we’re looking at all mountain skis ranging from 82 mm underfoot to 86 mm. Perhaps surprising to some, there’s actually a lot of variety in this category. Some are designed to be versatile skis for different terrain and conditions, others are more like wide frontside carvers. We also get a huge range in price from mid $500 all the way up to just under $1500. Some of these skis come with integrated bindings, often referred to as system skis. We wanted to organize these skis by price going from the least to most expensive. In other to give a more accurate list, we’ve used our price including bindings even for the non-system skis. As is always the case on SkiEssentials.com, you can find a flat ski paired with a binding with a little discount off the “a la carte” prices. Without further ado, here is our comparison of men’s all-mountain skis in the mid-80 mm width range.

AT A GLANCE


2022 K2 Mindbender 85 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

156, 163, 170 , 177 cm

13.5 m at 170 cm

130 / 85 /113 mm

1711 g or 2584 g with Tyrolia Attack 11

$544.95 with Tyrolia Attack 11


Overview:

The K2 Mindbender 85 is an affordable all-mountain ski designed to offer versatile performance to beginner, intermediate, and even some advanced skiers. To keep the price down, K2 uses a simple Aspen Veneer construction rather than the Carbon Spectral Braid or Titanal Y-Beam found in more expensive Mindbender models. Although there aren’t any high-end metal or carbon additives, this simple wood core construction still provides good stability and responsiveness. The shape of them Mindbender 85 utilizes some slight tip and tail rocker, more noticeable in the tip, as well as a little bit of early taper. This shape provides a couple of different benefits. One, turn initiation is a little easier. As you tip the ski on edge, the rocker and taper in the tip help ease you into the turn. The other is forgiveness. The shape allows for a less catchy feel, especially in challenging terrain like moguls and trees. This performance promotes progression, making the Mindbender 85 an excellent choice for developing skiers.

Who it's For:

Beginner and intermediate level skiers who want to explore the whole mountain and want an affordable ski with a relatively even mix of performance characteristics.

Strengths:

Affordability, Energy, Compliance


AT A GLANCE


2022 Volkl Blaze 86 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

159, 166, 173, 180 cm

28/15/23 m at 173 cm

129 / 86 / 111 mm

1481 g or 2131 g with Marker 10.0 TP

$589.95 with Marker 10.0 TP


Overview:

On the heels of a successful launch of the Blaze 94 an 106, Volkl has added a new ski to the collection, this Blaze 86. In a similar sense as the Mindbender 85, the Blaze 86 is designed to offer similar performance as its wider, more expensive counterparts, but in a narrower and more affordable package. The Blaze 86 is very lightweight at just 1492 g per ski. In fact, it’s the lightest ski in this comparison, which makes it great for skiers who want ski that’s easy to maneuver and not too fatiguing. That weight is thanks to Volkl’s Hybid Multi-Layer core, utilizing wood alongside a strip of synthetic material through the center of the ski. The Blaze 86 also gets low-rise tip and tail rocker and Volkl’s 3D.Radius shaping concept. That allows for catch-free performance in softer snow conditions, even easier to maneuver than the Mindbender 85. With its lightweight construction, however, it’s not going to be the most powerful ski on a groomer, but for the skiers choosing it, that shouldn’t be a huge concern.

Who it's For:

You value a lightweight ski and maneuverability over edge grip or stability at speed. When you’re skiing groomers, you generally prefer making short turns rather than big arcs, and you like the idea of exploring off-piste terrain whenever possible.

Strengths:

Touring Capabilities, Quickness, Energy


AT A GLANCE


2022 Nordica Navigator 85 Ca Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

165, 172, 179, 186 cm

16.5 m at 180 cm

124 / 85 / 109 mm

1850 g or 2818 g with Marker TP2 11

$599.99 with Marker TP2 11


Overview:

The Navigator series has been around for a few years now, but has gone through a few different versions. This Navigator 85 CA is intended to be an approachable ski for intermediates after Nordica dropped the metal from its construction in favor of a sheet of carbon. That change took the overall weight down a touch, although as you can see the Navigator is still quite a bit heavier than the Blaze 86. Its shape is consistent with all the Navigator skis we’ve seen so far. Rocker and taper in the tip, much like a Nordica Enforcer, but then flatter and squared off in the tail. That shape gives it more precision on a groomer and more of a preference to finish a carving turn than either of the first two skis we’ve talked about. On the other hand, it won’t be as playful in un-groomed terrain and not as forgiving as either the Mindbender or Blaze in that application.

Who it's For:

Intermediates or less aggressive advanced skiers who spend most of their time on groomers, but prefer having a little more width than a true frontside ski for varying conditions. You prefer carving rather skidding your turns and aren’t as likely to venture into moguls or trees.

Strengths:

Grip, Approachability, Broad Appeal


AT A GLANCE


2022 Salomon Stance 84 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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PRICE

161, 169, 177, 185 cm

16 m at 177 cm

123 / 84 / 106 mm

1595 g or 2465 g with Tyrolia Attack 11

$644.95 with Tyrolia Attack 11


Overview:

We’re jumping up just a little bit in price with the Stance 84 from Salomon. This new ski is similar to the Blaze 86 in the sense that Salomon has created lighter, narrower, and less expensive versions of existing skis. In the Stance 84, however, we still get a single sheet of titanal, down from the two full sheets in the wider Stance models. That’s easily accounting for the price increase compared to the first skis we’ve look ed at. Salomon also uses some carbon in the fore and aft sections of their skis, again essentially trickle down technology from the wider Stance skis. The shape of the Stance 84 is intended to provide versatility. Camber underfoot is paired with rocker in the tips and tails, as well as some smooth early taper. It is, in a lot of ways, a similar shape to the Mindbender 85, although adding the layer of metal to its construction boosts power, stability, and vibration damping. In other words, the Stance 84 will feel a little stronger on your feet while retaining maneuverability in off-piste terrain.

Who it's For:

Upper-level intermediate and advanced skiers who need a little more stability for skiing fast on groomers, but still want a versatile ski that’s right at home anywhere within the resort.

Strengths:

Stability, Quickness, Versatility


AT A GLANCE


2022 Atomic Maverick 86 C Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

152, 161, 169, 176, 184 cm

18.2 m at 176 cm

125 / 88 / 109 mm

1601 g or 2603 g with Tyrolia Attack 13

$674.99 with Tyrolia Attack 13


Overview:

In a lot of ways, the Maverick 86 C is very similar to the Stance 84 from Salomon. It’s narrower and uses a lighter build than the wider skis in its collection. We also get a wood core, some metal, and some carbon, as well as similarly versatile performance. Atomic starts with a poplar wood core that’s supported by metal underfoot and carbon stringers that run longitudinally through the ski’s construction. Similar to the Stance 84, we get camber underfoot with rocker in the tips and tails, as well as some early taper too. It’s not terribly surprising to see the similarities between these two skis given Atomic and Salomon are owned by the same parent company. I digress. Where the Maverick 86 C sets itself apart from most of the skis in this comparison is its design elements for soft snow. Most notable is the HRZN tech in the tip, which is found on all of the Maverick skis and helps increase float in the tip of the ski. That, combined with the rocker/camber profile and relative light weight makes the Maverick 86 C one of the best off-piste ski in this list.

Who it's For:

Intermediate and Advanced skiers who want a lightweight, responsive, yet strong ski. You probably split your time about evenly between groomers and off-piste terrain like moguls, trees, and back bowls.

Strengths:

Quickness, Flotation, Snappiness


AT A GLANCE


2022 Dynastar M-Pro 84 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

163, 170, 177, 184 cm

17 m at 177 cm

122 / 84 / 105 mm

1720 g or 2727 g with Tyrolia Attack 13

$674.99 with Tyrolia Attack 13


Overview:

The shape of the M-Pro 84 from Dynastar is somewhat similar to that of the Navigator 85. Long rocker in the tip and some early taper too, but less rocker and a more squared-off finish to the tail. Differing from the Navigator ever-so-slightly, however, the M-Pro 84 is more capable off-trail. That might be counter-intuitive as it’s 1 mm narrower, but the subtle differences in its shape increase float and maneuverability in bumps, trees, and softer snow conditions. The construction is relatively simple, relying on a poplar wood core that’s milled into different thicknesses in different portions of the ski. This allows Dynastar to control the flex pattern and torsional stiffness, despite not using any additives like titanal or carbon. We do get some PU material integrated into its construction, something that’s trickled into a lot of Dynastar’s skis. This adds some valuable vibration damping, and helps achieve a stronger feel than you might expect.

Who it's For:

Moderately aggressive intermediate and advanced skiers who like to get off trail whenever possible. If you’re going on a ski vacation, you’re scoping out the black and double black un-groomed runs, less so the blue cruisers.

Strengths:

Power, Dampness, Off-Trail


AT A GLANCE


2022 Rossignol Experience 82 Basalt Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

144, 152, 160, 168, 176, 184 cm

16 m at 176 cm

127 / 82 / 115 mm

1715 g or 2823 g with Look NX 12

$699.95 with Look NX 12


Overview:

Rossignol completely redeveloped their Experience collection for 2022. The new skis have a shape that’s more geared towards carving, and we get slightly narrower widths throughout the line. We still see a good amount of tip rocker in the shape, but there’s no more early taper, which means you’re getting a longer effective edge and thus better grip. Construction is different too. Line Control Technology is gone in favor or more traditional sandwich construction and laminates. In this ski, we get basalt, which is an interesting material for ski construction. It provides a good amount of stability and vibration damping, but feels lighter than metal and is also less costly. This, as well as using a different binding, allows Rossignol to achieve a $200 difference between this ski and the Experience 82 Ti that uses titanal instead. Although some of the skis we’ve looked as so far do have some metal in their construction, the Experience 82 Basalt is certainly the most responsive carving ski we’ve looked at so far.

Who it's For:

Intermediate and advanced skiers who ski at moderate speeds and typically stay on groomers most of the time. You value carving performance and responsiveness over versatility or stability at speed.

Strengths:

Light Weight Carving, Energy, Grip


AT A GLANCE


2022 Armada Declivity 82 Ti Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

164, 172, 180, 188 cm

17.5 m at 180 cm

132 / 92 / 118 mm

1730 g or 2603 g with Tyrolia Attack 11

$744.95 with Tyrolia Attack 11


Overview:

Armada announced their Declivity collection last season and it was immediately met with high praise from both consumers and the industry (reviews). This Declivity 82 Ti is the narrowest in the collection and thus the quickest edge to edge and the most capable on firm snow conditions. To keep things light, Armada uses a karuba to keep the weight down, then adds two sheets of titanal with the top sheet using their Articulated Titanal Banding technique. Armada cuts longitudinal slits in the forebody of the metal, allowing the ski to articulate or twist more easily, which makes turn initiation easier and smoother. As you flex the ski into a carve, those strips of metal push together horizontally and build energy in an elastic compound in between the strips. It gives the ski a strong, yet energetic feel when linking carving turns: very snappy and responsive. With the 82 mm waist width and a shape that’s mostly geared towards groomers, it’s not the best in off-piste terrain, but still perfectly capable in bumps and some light soft snow.

Who it's For:

More aggressive intermediate, advanced, and even expert level skiers who want an all-mountain ski that’s focused on carving. You need a little more vibration damping and stability than the Experience 82 Basalt can offer.

Strengths:

Energy, Edge Grip, Silence


AT A GLANCE


2022 Volkl Kanjo 84 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

161, 168, 175, 182 cm

25/17/20 m at 175 cm

125 / 84 / 107 mm

1575 g or 2448 g with Tyrolia Attack 11

$744.99 with Tyrolia Attack 11


Overview:

There are three different Volkl skis in this comparison. What’s crazy is if we added their twin tips, you could up it to 5 Volkl skis in the mid-80 mm range. That’s a lot of skis, but they are all a little different. With the Blaze 86 leaning towards off-piste, soft snow use and the Deacon 84 (later in this comparison) leaning more towards firm snow and power, the Kanjo 84 strikes a nice balance between on-trail carving performance and un-groomed capabilities. We get a multi-later wood core with Volkl’s Glass Frame construction and a layer of titanal underfoot. Glass frame provides a very responsive, energetic feel. It might not be as damp or as stable as some of the skis in this comparison that use more metal, but it makes up for that with its quickness and fun-factor. For lighter and moderately aggressive skiers, it has plenty of edge grip on firm snow, but then you can take it into moguls and trees and benefit from the light swingweight and responsive nature. It’s super easy to flick around, but then can get back on a groomer and lay over some carves, which makes it a very versatile all-mountain ski.

Who it's For:

Upper intermediates, advanced, and even some expert skiers who want a versatile, lightweight, energetic ski that can go anywhere on the mountain, but still make some clean round carves on firm snow.

Strengths:

Quickness, Versatility, Underrated-ness


AT A GLANCE


2022 Blizzard Brahma 82 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

166, 173, 180, 187 cm

16.5 m at 180 cm

121 / 82 / 105 mm

1970 g or 2977 g with Tyrolia Attack 13

$774.95 with Tyrolia Attack 13


Overview:

The Brahma 82 is back for another season with Blizzard’s True Blend wood core technology, although the overall theme remains the same. That wood core is sandwiched between two full sheets of titanal. True Blend allows Blizzard to control the flex pattern of each length to retain the proper performance throughout all options, but the Brahma 82 is still a powerful ski that basically blurs the line between a frontside ski and an all-mountain ski. It’s titanal build provides plenty of power and vibration damping when carving turns on firm snow. It’s one of the strongest skis in this comparison, but there’s some versatility to it as well. Advanced and expert skiers will find it crosses over nicely between ripping groomers and wiggling through moguls. It’s on the heavier side of the spectrum at 1970 g, and when you combine that with the stiffer flex pattern, moguls might be a challenge for intermediates, but not impossible. Overall, in our opinion, its highlight is its burly yet responsive feel when linking carves on groomed slopes.

Who it's For:

Advanced and expert skiers who want a strong carving ski, but also want a little more versatility than you’d get with a true dedicated frontside carver. It loves being on firm snow, but you’re not completely stuck there.

Strengths:

Brahma Lineage, Stability, Power


AT A GLANCE


2022 Liberty Evolv 84 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

165, 172, 179, 186 cm

17.5 m at 179 cm

126 / 84 / 110 mm

1870 g or 2860 g with Tyrolia Attack 13

$804.95 with Tyrolia Attack 13


Overview:

The Evolv 84 from Liberty is now the narrowest ski they make. The V Series from years past is gone, but the new VMT 3.0 construction in the Evolv 84 has a lot of similarities to the construction in those V Series skis. Simply put, for 2022, the Evolv 84 gets a third vertical strip of metal. That enhancement to construction took an already strong, powerful ski and made it even stronger. The Evolv 84 is one of the quietest skis we’ve ever tested. Its vibration damping is off the charts, and vertical metal also provides excellent counter-flexing properties. That means the ski feels like it stays glued to the snow, giving you excellent control at all times. The highlighting performance of the Evolv 84 in our opinion is how well it links carving turns, but it’s capable off-piste too. With its flatter, stiffer tail, it does require a fairly skilled skier if taking it into technical terrain, but the Evolv 84 is largely intended for upper-level skiers, so no problem there.

Who it's For:

Aggressive advanced and expert skiers who value power, stability, and vibration damping, but also want a true all mountain ski they can take into un-groomed terrain without major limitations.

Strengths:

Silence, Dampness, Smoothness


AT A GLANCE


2022 Elan Wingman 86 CTI Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

160, 166, 172, 177, 184 cm

16.5 m at 178 cm

130 / 86 / 115 mm

1750 g or 2757 g with Tyrolia Attack 13

$824.99 with Tyrolia Attack 13


Overview:

In general, the Wingman 86 CTI has a some significant similarities with the Evolv 84. Very similar tip shape, similar rocker/camber profile, similar width. The biggest difference between these two skis is the Wingman 86 CTI has a more snappy, energetic feel, while the Evolv is more damp and quiet. In other words, the Wingman comes across the fall line more easily or with less skier input. That allows for a lot of really rewarding carves as the ski is a little bit less fatiguing than skis like the Evolv. Another contributor to its quickness is a slightly shorter turn radius at 16.5 m in the 178 cm length. Elan’s Amphibio Profile allows them to build the skis asymmetrically. That gives this ski and incredibly intuitive feel when linking turns. Tip it on edge and before you know it you’ve made 10 perfectly round carves. It might not have the top end stability as some skis on this list, but it makes up for it with some of the most rewarding medium-radius carves you’ll ever experience.

Who it's For:

Carving enthusiasts who prefer being on a wider platform that can handle softer snow conditions. You value energy and responsiveness over raw stability.

Strengths:

High-End Feel, Stiffness, Speed


AT A GLANCE


2022 Rossignol Experience 82 Ti Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

160, 168, 176, 184 cm

16 m at 176 cm

127 / 82 / 115 mm

1950 g or 3160 g with Look SPX 14

$899.95 with Look SPX 14


Overview:

The Experience 82 TI is immensely similar to the 82 Basalt we looked at before, but it gets 2 sheets of metal instead of basalt as well as a stronger binding in the SPX 14. That raises the price a full $200, but you get a much stronger ski. The Experience 82 Ti almost feels like a dedicated frontside carver. Not much tail rocker to speak of and with the 82 mm waist width and two sheets of metal, it’s only a couple mm different than some of their Hero Elite carvers. What’s nice about it is the All Terrain Profile and the slight amount of tip rocker gives it a more user-friendly feel than those dedicated carvers. Tip in performance is smoother as the ski really feels like it’s helping to pull you into a turn. Plenty of power and vibration damping from those 2 sheets of metal, although it’s a fairly heavy build, about 200 g heavier than the Wingman we just talked about. That heft, along with a pretty high stand height in the binding system, really makes it feel like it leans more towards carving groomers rather than venturing into un-groomed terrain. That’s perfectly fine with us, however, as it’s a very rewarding carving ski and Rossignol has plenty of other skis to take off-piste.

Who it's For:

Advanced and expert level skiers who stay on groomed slopes most of the time and value carving performance over anything else. You’re not concerned with weight as your skis rarely leave the snow.

Strengths:

On-Trail Carving, Power, Edge Grip


AT A GLANCE


2022 Fischer RC One 86 GT Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

161, 168, 175, 182 cm

17 m at 175 cm

130 / 86 / 116 mm

2185 g or 3190 g with Tyrolia RSW 12

$949.99 with Tyrolia RSW 12


Overview:

The Fischer RC One 86 GT is one of the strongest, most stable, and burliest skis in this comparison. That’s much in thanks to the thick .8 mm titanal that’s used in its build, and 2 full sheets of it too. Fischer does cut away some metal in the tips and tails and replaces it with Bafatex, which adds a pinch of forgiveness. Some subtle rocker and very slight early taper helps too, but overall it’s a fairly demanding ski that realistically is best for advanced, powerful skiers. What I’ve always been impressed with in the RC One 86 GT is its ability to just cut through whatever is in front of it. The fact that it hits 3190 g with bindings is certainly a big reason, but the stiffness and vibration damping plays a role too. If you’re the type of skier that wants to charge through whatever is in front of you, you’ll love the RC One 86 GT. Although the weight is somewhat of hindrance, you still can take this ski off trail too. Expert level skiers will be able to slash turns and smear, but an intermediate may find it too stiff.

Who it's For:

Strong skiers who want an all-mountain ski with no speed limitations. Whether you’re ripping turns on groomers or mobbing down an un-groomed chopped-up bowl, the RC One 86 GT doesn’t flinch.

Strengths:

Power, Stability, Power


AT A GLANCE


2022 Black Crows Divus Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

167, 172.1, 177.3, 182.4 cm

17 m at 177.3 cm

124 / 82 /110 mm

1704 g or 2711 g with Tyrolia Attack 13

$954.95 with Tyrolia Attack 13


Overview:

The Divus is far from the most popular ski Black Crows produces. The brand is known for their wider, more freeride-oriented skis, but there’s a lot to like about this well-rounded all-mountain ski. In some ways, it’s like a narrow Orb. We get a poplar wood core and the same two sheets of H-Shape metal found in the Orb (and also the Serpo and Justis). It’s difference than the orb, however, in the sense that the metal stops short of reaching the tips and tails. You get a good portion in the extremities of the without metal. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this corresponds with where the rocker profile starts. There’s also some subtle early taper too, although not much. Among skis in the 82 mm width range, this might be the most versatile ski for different terrain and conditions you’ll find. It’s not the most powerful on groomers, but can carve a turn just fine. On the other hand, it’s a blast in moguls and a great low-snow tree ski. It’s a consistent surprise for the skiers at our annual Ski Test. For whatever reason, this ski is consistently overlooked, yet consistently performs well in our testing.

Who it's For:

A wide range of ability levels who are looking for an extremely versatile ski, but one that’s still quick edge to edge. Intermediates through experts can carve, pivot, smear, bump, jump, and just have a blast on the Divus.

Strengths:

Stability, Quickness, Predictability


AT A GLANCE


2022 Head Supershape eTitan Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

156, 163, 170, 177, 184 cm

15.7 m at 170 cm

133 / 84 / 115 mm

2020 g or 3090 g with Tyrolia PRD 12 GW

$999.00 with Tyrolia PRD 12 GW


Overview:

The Supershape E-Titan from Head is the latest ski in a long running line of Supershape carvers. The Titan has always been the widest ski in the line at 84 mm underfoot. It is fundamentally different than the Divus we just looked at in the sense that this ski is shaped like a frontside carver, and it’s intended to be more of a carver than anything else. Not much rocker, no taper whatsoever, then we get two sheets of metal, a strip of graphene, and Head’s Energy Management Circuit designed to filter out unwanted vibrations. That’s the recipe for a very strong carving ski, and with that 84 mm wait width, it means you can stay carving through softer snow conditions too. There are certainly some similarities between this ski and the RC One 86 GT from Fischer, although we’d say the SS Titan is a little more precise, while the RC One has a touch more versatility. These Supershape skis have earned a strong following over the years to the point where it’s not crazy to see someone with two different pairs in their quiver. Owning a SS Titan and a SS Speed, for example, would be completely reasonable.

Who it's For:

Aggressive advanced and expert skiers who want a strong carving ski that can handle softer snow conditions too. You’re not overly concerned with versatility and rarely go off-piste, at least not when you’re on your Titans.

Strengths:

GS Performance, Grip, Power


AT A GLANCE


2022 Volkl Deacon 84 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

162, 167, 172, 177, 182 cm

23/14/19 m at 172 cm

132 / 84 / 115 mm

2067 g or 3150 g with Marker Lowride XL 13

$999.99 with Marker Lowride XL 13


Overview:

There’s a whole slew of different technologies and materials in the Deacon 84. If you want all the details, head on over to our full review or Ski Test, as it’s almost impossible to include them all in this paragraph. As an overview, the Deacon 84 is the most focused on firm snow performance out of all the Volkl skis we’ve looked at so far, but still has some significant versatility too. It might not have the raw power of the Titan, but it’s far easier to ski in off-piste terrain and un-groomed snow. That’s largely thanks to Volkl’s 3D.Radius, which gives the extremities of the ski a smooth, catch-free feel when you take it into softer snow conditions. On a groomer, that 3D.Radius has another benefit, allowing for a variety in carving turn shapes. The highlighting characteristic of the Deacon 84 is control. It puts it all in your hands, or rather on your feet. Among the other wide-carvers of this comparison, it might not be the strongest, but it makes up for any lack in power with its versatility, energy, responsiveness, and overall refinement.

Who it's For:

Technically sound advanced and expert skiers who like a lot of feedback out of their skis and value versatility and precision. The Deacon 84 is a well-built, well-designed ski with a ton of technology and advanced and expert skiers can really put that to use in a variety of terrain.

Strengths:

Versatility, Carving Power, Turn Shape Variation


AT A GLANCE


2022 Kastle FX 86 Ti Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

152, 161, 169, 177, 185 cm

15.7 m at 180 cm

123 / 86 / 114 mm

1655 g or 2662 g with Tyrolia Attack 13

$1,274.00 with Tyrolia Attack 13


Overview:

Metal is back in the FX line for 2022, boosting their stability at speed and vibration damping. Impressively, this ski is still just 1655 g, which is quite impressive given the inclusion of metal. That’s thanks to Kastle’s innovative way of blending paulownia and poplar to achieve the right performance at a very reasonable weight. The FX 86 Ti can lay over some great carves on firm snow, but off-piste terrain and soft snow performance is certainly a focus of its design. The FX skis have always leaned more towards freeride performance than the MX line, and even at 86 mm underfoot, that pedigree shines through. It’s maneuverable and quick in technical terrain, yet trustworthy when you need it to hold an edge. Those are both valuable characteristics in challenging terrain, making the FX 86 Ti a great ski for exploring new zones. Kastle also includes a skin attachment point to the tail, a nod to the fact you can certainly use this ski for touring, especially if your alpine tours don’t often find deep snow.

Who it's For:

Adventurous skiers who love to go off-piste, but don’t need a super wide ski. You value edge to edge quickness, precision, and grip over floatation and playfulness.

Strengths:

Moguls, Quickness, Energy


AT A GLANCE


2022 Kastle MX 83 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

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WEIGHT

PRICE

154, 161, 168, 172, 182 cm

16.3 m at 175 cm

126 / 83 / 112 mm

2023 g or 3030 g with Tyrolia Attack 13

$1,374.00 with Tyrolia Attack 13


Overview:

While the FX line leans towards off-piste, the MX 83 wants to stay on-piste. It’s mostly camber, there’s no taper whatsoever, and it’s much heavier at 2023 g. That makes it an extremely powerful ski on trail, but takes away forgiveness and maneuverability off trail. The MX 83 is right up there with the RC One 86 GT as one of the strongest, most powerful skis in this comparison, and it’s also one of the most precise with the lack of rocker or taper. It rivals dedicated carving skis with its torsional stiffness and vibration damping, while the wider 83 mm width allows for some extra performance when you’re not on perfect corduroy. It’s also a great ski for anyone who loves carving, but prefers being on a flat ski rather than a system ski or something with a plate. The lower center of gravity gives it a more balanced feel and slightly more forgiveness than you’d get in a narrower ski with higher stand height. As is true with all Kastle skis, there’s something about them that’s hard to put into words. Their handmade quality comes through in their performance. It’s always a rewarding experience being on a Kastle.

Who it's For:

Skiers who want a premium all mountain ski that leans more towards frontside carving than anything else. You spend most of your time on trail and want to maximize enjoyment when you’re out on the slopes, and aren’t concerned with how much it might cost to do that.

Strengths:

Quality, Precision, Power


AT A GLANCE


2022 Stockli Laser AR Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

WEIGHT

PRICE

154, 161, 168, 175, 182 cm

16.5 m at 175 cm

130 / 83 / 112 mm

1897 g or 3062 g with Marker XCell 12

$1,449.00 with Marker XCell 12


Overview:

The Laser AR has a lot of similarities to the MX 83. Similar width, two sheets of metal, premium hand-made build, and an exceptionally high-quality feel. The difference between the two is the Laser AR feels slightly softer-flexing and it’s lighter. It also uses a shorter turn radius. That increases responsiveness and allows for lovely medium-radius turns, but it’s fair to say it doesn’t have the raw power or complete lack of speed limit of the MX 83. It’s easier to manipulate into different radius carves, which is really fun, and overall is more approachable to a wider range of skiers. You don’t have to be the world’s best skier to ski them, although the world’s best skier would undoubtedly enjoy their performance. Among Stockli’s Laser collection, it’s the most versatile and one of the most approachable. Just like Kastle, it comes along with a distinctly high-end feel. Again, it’s hard to put that into words, but the overall refinement and attention to detail in Stockli and Kastle construction is undeniable.

Who it's For:

It’s hard to pick a skier for the Laser AR because so many different skiers will enjoy it. For some, it could be a one-ski-quiver all-mountain ski if you don’t ski a lot of soft snow. For others, it could be your narrowest, most carving-specific ski.

Strengths:

Versatility, Stability, Precision


Written by Jeff Neagle on 09/30/21

One thought on “2022 Ski Comparisons: Men's Mid 80mm All Mountain Ski Guide

  1. I don’t know about the Kaestle MX 88. But I have the MX 89. Your remark that you cannot describe the feel of a hand made ski is entirely accurate. I would compare it to my 1989 BMW 750 V12 that I bought new ( a 200 mph living room). Point them and go. Turn any shape you want, and feel the quality. They are certainly not a one trick pony. I skied 4+ inches of powder, trees and bumps. They carve faultlessly at any speed. I just bought the FX 86 for more versatility. I ski over 120 days a year and have 4 other pairs of skis including Ripstik 86 and 96 and Black Crow Atris. I love them but will never again buy anything but Kaestle. There is nothing that I have ever skied that has this quality feel. I have built many ski shops and have run the Boston Ski Expo. I have demoed almost every manufacturer. These are without a doubt the best ski that you can buy. I have skied the Stockli and Vist, but those lines disappointed with the feed back from the ski. I have also recommended to friends at various levels and they all love them for east coast hard pack.

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