2023 Stockli Montero AR Ski Review: Lead Image

Ski Reviews

2023 Stockli Montero AR Ski Review


As much as we try to stay away from the notion that one ski is not intrinsically better than another, some skis make it more difficult than others. That’s kind of the way we felt about both of the new Montero (AR and AX) skis from Stockli this year. While there are a lot of skis out there that cross over from decent to good, or from good to great, most of the skis we get on from Stockli are firmly entrenched in the “great” category, and the 2023 Montero AR is no exception. With slight changes from the previously awesome Laser AR, the Montero AR takes the performance, precision, and personality to the next level. We’ve always associated Stockli skis with quality, and they certainly carry the price tag to back it up. Whether you’re getting what you pay for is more of a subjective conversation. Are the skis worth an extra $400 or so? That’s up to you and your bank account, but by all of the experiences and measures that we’ve had on Montero AR, we’d say yes.

Built with a light wood core consisting of paulownia and balsa wood, the skis have a snappy and energetic start to them. They then add two sheets of titanal to the mix for dampness, grip, and power. The upper laminate features Stockli’s Flex Torsion Control technology which allows the ski to flex a bit more, both longitudinally and torsionally without sacrificing underfoot grip. By cutting S-shaped slits in the tips and tails of the ski, the Montero AR’s torsional stiffness is altered to meet the speed and terrain where it’s at. These cutouts extend roughly 17 cm from the tip down through the shovel and 9 cm from the tail up in the 180 cm length. This makes the ski easier to steer and allows for greater control in the turns. Additionally, the technology increases suppleness and the ability to adapt to different terrain and snow conditions. In terms of character and personality, this adds to the intuitive nature of the ski in that, even on your first turn, you feel like you’ve been on the AR forever. Another thing we like to talk about with the construction of the Stockli skis is the use of rubber dust in the lamination process. By adding this rubber dust to the epoxy and fiberglass layers, Stockli makes the ski quite a bit damper and quieter. The softer feel to the topsheet adds to this silent nature, creating a unique and rare chatter-free character.

AT A GLANCE


2023 Stockli Montero AR Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

PRICE

165, 170, 175, 180, 185 cm

16 m @ 175 cm

128 / 84 / 114 mm

$1,349.00


The shaping (and sizing) changed a bit from Laser AR, but not so much that this is an entirely different feel. The waist width jumped from 83 to 84 mm while the tips dropped from 130 to 128 mm. In the tails, we see an increase from 112 to 114. These slight alterations give the Montero AR an easier entry into the turn, a bit of a wider platform to stand on underfoot, and a tad stronger of an exit with a modest kick at the end. Interestingly, the altering of sizing somewhat negates the change in sidecut. Whereas the previous 182 cm Laser AR generated a 17.9-meter turn radius, the new Montero’s 180 comes in at 17.3-meters. This isn’t a huge difference at all, again leading us to believe that this is far from a totally different ski. Montero offers sizes from 165 to 185, breaking every 5 cm, so it’s a pretty tight spread of lengths, which we think is great news for skiers looking for the ideal size. Laser AR had a 7cm gap between sizes, meaning the new ski is easier to fine-tune and home in on the perfect ski for you. While these changes in sidecut do give the Montero AR more of an all-mountain shape and personality, it’s still not a wholesale change from what we’ve seen from Laser AR in the past, and we think that’s a good thing.

2023 Stockli Montero AR Skis: 2023 Stockli Montero AR Skis Camber Profile Image

Rocker profiling is about the same as well. The Montero AR features slight rocker in the tips and tails, giving the ski an easier entry and exit to the turn, but it’s not so dramatic that it makes it a playful freeride floater in the least. In our experience, there’s not a marked difference between the profiles of Laser and Montero. The Montero AR has width and terrain-appropriate rocker, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. The taper shape falls into the front-side realm of all-mountain, leaning more to a carving and on-trail shape than the other way around. This distinguishes and separates Montero AR from Stormrider 88, which falls squarely into all-mountain, especially in the shovel. Montero’s shovel taper is minimal, while the tail is mostly squared-off and flat. This falls in line with Stockli’s Full Edge Contact shaping, providing smooth and predictable grip from tip to tail.

Groomer and on-trail performance is where the Montero AR loves to live. I skied the 180, and it was great, but I’d certainly choose the 185 for myself as a length. It makes show-off turns for sure. While there are some other skis with wider shovels and more dramatic sidecuts that pull you into the turn, the Montero likes to be finessed a little bit. In the same breath, you don’t have to do a whole lot, since the technology built in allows the ski to flex at a varied range of speeds, so the Montero makes just as clean and round turns at 15 mph as it does at 40. The interesting thing about the ski, though, is that it has a very strong and stiff tail, relative to how hard you push it. When you encounter firmer snow and stand on the edge of the ski, it puts you right in the back if you’re not ready for it. I definitely advise to be prepared for this, as the Montero will not reward lollygagging at speed and on firm snow. On softer corduroy, the Montero AR is truly in its element. It’s a silent assassin that crushes the groomers with total confidence and style. You can vary up turn shapes and styles due to the slightly straighter cut, or you can stand on it and adhere to the stated radius—it's all up to you and how you choose to point the ski down the hill.

2023 Stockli Montero AR Skis: Full Width Action Image 1 2023 Stockli Montero AR Skis: Full Width Action Image 2

It's not that long ago that a ski at 84 mm wide underfoot would be considered a mid-fat, so it’s certainly worth bringing off-piste and adventure skiing into the discussion here. We skied the Montero AR in about 3 inches of snow (we get a lot of 3-inch snowfalls here in Vermont), and it was as amazing as you would expect. It plowed right through the chopped-up snow, and when it was untouched, the flotation due to the rocker was actually pretty darn smooth. Coupled with the damp feel and light weight combination, the soft snow performance is quite impressive. I’d say the AR will top out at about 5-6 inches, at which point the Stormrider 95 or 102 would enter the chat. In the bumps and trees, I’d opt for something with a more forgiving tail, but that doesn’t mean those zones are out of the question, you just have to work harder to get the same performance. I totally understand that with a retail price of $1349, you may want the things to do the moguls for you, but skier input is still required. I love the shovel flex and the waist width in the bumps, and if you’re willing and able to put in the effort for zipper-line style bump skiing, you can get it, but Montero AR is more comfortable making wider turns in the moguls. It’s a directional ski, after all, and with a shorter tail that increases the stiffness back there, it’s no wonder that these skis can be a handful in the tight spots. Our narrow and icy lines here in Vermont are not the best for the ski, but wider, softer, and more spaced-out lines will be right in Montero AR’s wheelhouse. The same can be said for the trees—wider and more spaced glades are better, and while tighter woods are not out of the question, the tail stiffness and lower rocker/square shape do make it on the more challenging side of the spectrum. Still, for an 84 mm underfoot ski that absolutely shines on-piste, these are only slight deficiencies, which only slightly border on downsides.

Frankly, I’m kind of sick of talking and writing about these skis—I just want to get on them and go. It’s pretty frustrating just looking at these skis on the wall, or in the rack of our warehouse—they deserve to be on snow, and on the feet of appreciative skiers. Seeing them sit still in plastic is an affront to the ski industry. The improvements, consisting of tighter (and longer) sizing, Flex Torsion Control, and better-looking graphics put the Montero AR in pretty rare air in the ski world. The sound (or lack thereof), range, and quality of these skis are simply off the charts. If you’re looking for that true all-mountain ski that can carve amazingly well without losing off-trail capabilities, the 2023 Stockli Montero AR not only answers the call, but does so at an extremely high level of precision and luxury.

2023 Stockli Montero AR Skis Ski Review: Buy Now Image

Written by Bob St.Pierre on 07/21/22

22 thoughts on “2023 Stockli Montero AR Ski Review

  1. Great review! What advice would you give for choosing between the AR and AX? Also- at 6'3" 200lbs- would the 180's be appropriate? Thanks as always!

    1. HI Sean!
      I think a lot depends on what else you have or are planning to get. I'm 6/2 225 and I'd choose the 185 AR if I had zero skis. I think the AX has a lot going for it too, but at my weight, I like more surface area underfoot. I'd recommend a good 100-105 underfoot ski for soft snow days to complement either--we're only talking 5mm underfoot, it's not a huge difference. Have fun!
      SE

  2. Hi
    Love your ski reviews and need your comments to make a final decicion! 😊
    I am 6,2’, approx 220 lbs and soon to be 57 years old. I am skiing 30-35 days/season which are split 60/40 between lifts and backcountry touring.
    Generally i guess my wife would say i have enough skis… but most of my skis are in the wider range, 100+mm for the powder days.
    For groomer and the harder days i am considering to take the step into the Stockli «world», with the Montero AX or AR. Which one should i choose…??
    My other skis for lift based fun are: volkl Kendo, Enforcer 100, Dps A100 and 112 and Katana vwerks.

    Due to my weight i am leaning towards 185 AR as it will be more versatile, but will it fit the hardest days?

    What is your recomendations?

    Regards
    Jan (from Norway)

    1. Thanks, Jan!
      I think if you're keeping the Kendo, the AX makes more sense than the AR, as there's some crossover there in terms of width. Personality-wise, though, the AR and Kendo are pretty different, so it's okay, but if you're looking to spread your quiver out a bit more, I'd look to the AX in the 183. You will NOT be disappointed on either. Have fun!
      SE

  3. Hi,
    Thinking of taking the Stockli plunge! I am 6' and 170 lbs, advanced skier mostly in New England with a yearly trip to Utah. Currently skiing Blizzard Rustler 10's in a 188, looking for a capable front side ski to use for the more typical East Coast conditions. Can you help me decide between the Montero AX and the AR? What length would you recommend?
    Thanks!

    1. HI Stephen!
      I'm an AR fan, with no love lost for AX. I'm 6/2 225 and I think my size calls for the extra material of the AR. You will also get more versatility out of AR, while the AX is slightly more dedicated to firmer snow/carving turns. I'd go with the 180 AR if I were you. Have fun!
      SE/Bob

  4. Thank you for your reply. How would the Montero AR compare with the deacon 84 and the elan wingman 86 cti?

    1. Hi Sean!
      The ski itself is heavier than the Deacon and the Wingman. The system of the Deacon put it in a different class, though, due to the integration. The Wingman comes either flat or system, and if you're on-piste mostly, I'd go system. The Elan has a carbon feel, sound, and energy to it, and while I like that for sure, it's no match for the dampness of the AR. The Deacon falls somewhere in the middle, with the metal frame that puts a lot of power to the edges, but you can still hear it. The AR is silent, and that's the most impressive thing about it. Just based on performance, I think it's a pretty dead heat, but for how they feel on your feet, the Stockli takes it by a mile. Have fun!
      SE

  5. I’m an advanced skier, 5’9”, 160 pounds. I ski mostly groomers with aggressive turns. Do you recommend 170’s for the AR?

    1. Hi Avery!
      I think so. The 175 would be right at head-high for you, which may be on the long side for a ski of this weight and power. You'll likely have more fun on the 170.
      SE

  6. I loved the 2022 Laser AR! As a female, the 161 was the perfect fit for me. I see that with the new Montero they only go down to 165. What option do I have to get the same performance as the Laser AR in the 2023 release? Will they be releasing slightly shorter sizes?

    1. Hi Breege!
      I do not see them coming in shorter lengths for the AR skis. As far as other brands are concerned, check out Kastle MX83 (161), Volkl Deacon 84 (162), Head Superhsape Titan (156 or 163), Fischer RC One 82 GT (159), or a few Elan's that may be interesting: Wingman 82/86 CTi, or Wildcat 82/86 CX. Hope that helps!
      SE

  7. What size would you suggest for a 5’7” 170lbs advanced East coast skier. 165 or 170? 170 would be about my height but with a longer effective edge I could run the 165 as well.
    Thanks !

    1. HI Scott!
      I'd think the 165 will provide a better overall experience. They're strong and sturdy, so there's no real need to size up on them. Have fun!
      SE

  8. I am an all mountain skier, and have been skiing 50 years (25 years on the National Ski Patrol). My go to ski for Vermont snow days with a base of man made hardpack underneath is the Stockli Stormrider 88 , length 177 (2015 vintage) . I am considering a Stockli AR or AX. I am 6 ft., 170 lbs, 78 years young. Most of my skiing is in the varied conditions in the East, with 3 or 4 Western trips per year. What length would you recommend for the AX, or AR? Gary Seitz

    1. HI Gary!
      If you get the AR, that'll likely become your favorite, and you may forget about the SR88. If you get the AX, that'll be a better complement to the 88, but you still may really find that it does a lot of things well. My vote is to get the AR in the 175, but if you go AX, I'd say 173. Have fun!
      SE

  9. If you had to choose one ski that would keep hold on steep icy slopes, allow high speed carving on groomers and do fine in moguls and occasional light freeride, would you choose these? Or maybe something other like Enforcer 88?

    1. Hi Matt!

      If I had the option of choosing the Montero AR I would almost always choose the AR. Its a Stockli so you know right off the bat the quality and build is going to be off the charts, but between the AR's and the AX's they really outdid themselves. The 84mm waist of the AR is perfect for carving up the whole mountain and mogul fields with confidence. I wouldn't necessarily take this ski in the woods, but hey I can't say it hasn't been done before. The Enforcer 88 is a great ski, but comparing it to the Montero in this context is almost a little unfair to the Enforcer. Have Fun!

      SE

  10. Hi!
    I am about to buy the new Montero AR, but I am torn between 175 and 180 lengths. I'm 6' barefoot,165 pounds, and 41, advanced skier, and while most of the time it is easy groomers for me, from time to time I love stepping into a steep slope and being aggresive with short turns. What would you recommend? Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Michael!

      I think with your build either length could be viable depending on a couple factors. The shorter 175 will definitely make those short turns come around faster and be great for terrain were a little more maneuverability is needed. This ski has a ton of metal in it so you won't lose much stability at high speeds with the shorter length so its really just a matter of how much grip you want at higher speeds. If you see yourself spending most of the time at top speed then get the longer 180, if not the shorter 175 will be a more rounded and better at handling the mixed terrain you might find all over the mountain. Have fun!

      SE

  11. So I am getting close to pulling the trigger on these AR's. With the hefty price tag, I want to make sure I am getting it right. I have been on the Enforcer 93's for 5 seasons, skiing the 185's. I have absolutely loved them, definitely my favorite skis ever. But with around 150 days on them, they're losing their pop and wearing down. I am a 30 day/yr east coast skier with a single trip to Utah annually. 50 years old, 6'1", 183 lbs. Still skiing aggressive on piste. Not skiing bumps anymore when I can avoid it, but I'll sacrifice my body to get into the trees and deep when out West. We have a lot of ice and variable conditions up here in upstate NY though. I was tempted to be lazy and just move to the new Enforcer 94's, but I am seeing way too much good about these Montaro's to not strongly consider them. Definitely open to just renting on my annual UT trips if conditions call for it. But for the other 30 days, what do you recommend and what size?

    1. HI Josh!
      The AR is more of that front-side option, so I'd say it's a better overall choice than the Enforcer 94 for where you're at in NY. I'd go with the AR in the 180 and skip a few dinners out in order to help defray the cost. They're fantastic skis.
      SE

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