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What Skis Should I Buy: Comparing Women's 90mm All Mountain Skis - 2019 Edition

Which Skis Should I Buy? Comparing Women's All Mountain Skis in the 90mm Range - 2019 Edition // Helpful Hints


You may have seen our ski comparison articles in the past. We often have skiers asking us to compare a certain set of skis, and one of the most common requests is women's skis. Women make up a big percentage of the total skiers. In fact, skiing is growing faster with women than any other category. As we're expanding our range of comparison articles, we thought it was important to include a few women's comparisons. First, we'll look at all mountain skis in the 90 mm waist width range, followed by a comparison of 100 mm skis in the coming weeks. Let's start, however, by talking about women's skis in general.

There are essentially two schools of thought for women's skis. Perhaps you've heard them before. On one hand, you get the "women ski just as well as men, so their skis should be the same as men's skis" concept. On the other hand, you also get the "women are physiologically different than men, so their skis should also be different." Now, take a moment to think about those two claims. Neither one is wrong. Yes, women skiers can absolutely shred. Also, yes, women's bodies are different than men's bodies. So, we don't feel that either theory is necessarily wrong, rather it's interesting to see the varying opinions among brands. Women have a lot of choices for skis these days, whether they're the same as the men's models or not. With that said, let's jump right into this comparison, and we'll come back to this concept a few times throughout the article.

Which Skis Should I Buy? Comparing Women's All Mountain Skis in the 90mm Range - 2019 Edition: 2019 Elan Ripstick 94 W Ski Image

2019 Elan Ripstick 94 W:

The Ripstick 94 W is a super versatile all mountain ski. Elan's construction is relatively unique, with their Tubelite wood core and carbon rods along the edges of the ski. The result is a ski that's impressively lightweight, but still remains quite stable. You'll notice the weight as soon as you pick up a pair. When they're on your feet, you'll notice the combination of the light weight and the ski's relatively pronounced rocker and early taper gives it a distinctly maneuverable feel. The flex pattern of the Ripstick 94 W is relatively soft too, although consistent from tip to tail. This allows you to manipulate turn shape very easily, whether in a carving turn or if you're pivoting or smearing the ski. While the flex is relatively soft, it will still hold up to some aggressive skiing. It might not be the burliest ski on this list, but not too many women will find it lacks stability.

Who it's For: You like to ski the whole mountain and don't want to feel held back by your equipment. You don't feel like you need a super-stiff ski, and value maneuverability and a fun overall feel more than pure power.

See its Ski Test Results



Which Skis Should I Buy? Comparing Women's All Mountain Skis in the 90mm Range - 2019 Edition: 2019 Nordica Santa Ana 93 Ski Image

2019 Nordica Santa Ana 93:

The Nordica Santa Ana 93 is an interesting ski as it's very similar to the men's Enforcer 93, but uses a lighter weight core. In addition to reducing overall weight, this also gives the ski a slightly softer flex. Sure, there are some women out there who might prefer the stiffer, heavier Enforcer 93, and that's okay. For most advanced to expert women, however, the Santa Ana 93 provides a perfect mix of stability and maneuverability. The two sheets of metal give it excellent vibration damping and stability, while the flex pattern and shape makes it easy to release your tail edge when you want to. Heavier than a ski like the Ripstick 94 W, but that means it will track better through choppy snow conditions. It's definitely another ski that likes to do a little bit of everything, and performs really well in soft snow, but it does it all with a distinctly smooth, stable feel.

Who it's For: Like the Ripstick 94, It's best for a skier that likes to do a little bit of everything. With the Santa Ana 93, however, you're going to want to be a relatively aggressive skier who values having metal laminates in your skis.

See its Ski Test Results

Buy it Here

Which Skis Should I Buy? Comparing Women's All Mountain Skis in the 90mm Range - 2019 Edition: 2019 Volkl Secret Ski Image

2019 Volkl Secret:

While the Nordica Santa Ana 93 differs from the men's Enforcer 93 in construction, the Secret is the same as the men's M5 Mantra. The difference here, however, is that it's narrower. Again, it's very interesting to see how different companies perceive and present the difference between men's and women's skis. Compared to the Santa Ana 93, the Secret is a little more focused on firm snow performance. It uses less rocker, and its Titanal Frame construction is designed to transmit energy and power straight to the edges of the ski. In terms of edge grip, it's one of the best skis in this comparison, but its 92 mm waist width also allows you to take it into some softer snow conditions. By not linking the metal on the top of the ski underfoot, the Secret lets flex the ski into shorter radius carving turns relatively easily. Maybe not as forgiving as the Santa Ana 93 or Ripstick 94 W, but a little bit more precision.

Who it's For: You don't want to sacrifice too much firm snow, groomer performance, but you also want to be able to ski softer snow conditions too. You should have relatively accomplished technique and shouldn't be a timid skier.

See its Ski Test Results

Read our Review

Buy it Here

Which Skis Should I Buy? Comparing Women's All Mountain Skis in the 90mm Range - 2019 Edition: 2019 Salomon QST Lux 92 Ski Image

2019 Salomon QST Lux 92:

The QST Lux 92 from Salomon is the same width as the Volkl Secret, but its construction and shape gives it a more freeride-inspired feel. Salomon uses unique construction that relies on a wood core, carbon, flax, and metal. There is only a partial metal laminate, so the ski feels lighter than the Secret and Santa Ana 93. The Lux 92 uses quite a bit of rocker and early taper, in a very smooth design. It transitions through different snow conditions impressively easily, and has a very intuitive overall feel. It has enough torsional stiffness to hold an edge through relatively aggressive skiing on firm snow, although it doesn't have quite the vibration damping or power as the Secret or Santa Ana. On the other hand, it's a little easier to maneuver than those skis thanks to the lighter swing weight. Light enough to even justify mounting it with a touring binding, but also perfectly appropriate as a dedicated resort one-ski-quiver.

Who it's For: You want a fun, maneuverable all mountain ski that you can take anywhere. You don't want two sheets of metal or a heavy, demanding ski, but still want it to be able to hold an edge. Overall, you have a little bit more of a playful, freeride-inspired skiing style.


Buy it Here

Which Skis Should I Buy? Comparing Women's All Mountain Skis in the 90mm Range - 2019 Edition: 2019 Blizzard Sheeva 9 Ski Image

2019 Blizzard Sheeva 9:

The Sheeva 9 from Blizzard is very, very similar to the Rustler 9 for men, although they take a little bit of weight out of the core of the ski. It uses pronounced rocker in both the tip and tail, along with fairly substantial early taper. The metal in the ski is focused underfoot and ends before it reaches the tip and tail. The Sheeva 9 is another ski with a freeride-inspired feel, but it feels a little more precise on firm snow than the QST Lux 92. There's some noticeable Austrian-heritage in the way it feels underfoot, but the shape lets you release its tail edge more easily than what we've traditionally seen from Blizzard. You can feel the metal in the Sheeva 9 a little more-so than you can feel it in the QST Lux 92, which has both positives and negatives. It's not quite as easy to throw around in terms of swing weight, but it's still a very maneuverable ski that feels at home in both firm and soft snow conditions.

Who it's For: Like some of the other skis we've looked at so far, you want a versatile ski for all different types of terrain. You don't, however, want to give up the ability to lay down some powerful carving turns.

See its Ski Test Results

Buy it Here

Which Skis Should I Buy? Comparing Women's All Mountain Skis in the 90mm Range - 2019 Edition: 2019 Head Wild Joy Ski Image

2019 Head Wild Joy:

Head is a company who devotes a ton of R&D into their women's skis, and the result is a completely different design and construction compared to men's skis. The Wild Joy is somewhat similar to the Secret in its shape, as it doesn't use a ton of rocker or early taper, but its construction makes it much lighter than the Secret. Head uses a material called Graphene in their skis, which is the lightest and thinnest element we've discovered as a human race. While it doesn't have quite the same level of vibration damping and stability as metal, it's way lighter and still provides a stable, confidence-inspiring feel. Its 90 mm waist width feels at home both in firm snow and soft snow, although it's not quite as easy to pivot and maneuver the Wild Joy as some of the skis we've looked at with more pronounced rocker. It's not exceptionally challenging, but it does have a longer effective edge compared to skis with more rocker.

Who it's For: Realistically you probably spend most of your time on groomers, but you don't want a ski that feels like it's pigeon-holed to that terrain. You want a lightweight ski that won't wear you out, but still like to ski fast and hard sometimes.

See its Ski Test Results

Buy it Here

Which Skis Should I Buy? Comparing Women's All Mountain Skis in the 90mm Range - 2019 Edition: 2019 Atomic Vantage 90 Ti Ski Image

2019 Atomic Vantage 90 Ti:

The Atomic Vantage 90 Ti, as opposed to the Wild Joy, is exactly the same as the men's ski in design and construction. This is a unique ski in the sense that it's very light, but also very stiff. Like the Wild Joy, its shape is a little more geared towards firm snow performance than anything else. Atomic positions denser materials and metal along the edges of the ski, somewhat similar to the concept behind the Volkl Secret, although the Vantage 90 Ti is significantly lighter thanks to an abundant amount of material removed in the center of the ski. The stiff flex, high levels of torsional stiffness, and the light weight makes it super responsive. It doesn't have quite the same damp, smooth feel as heavier skis with more metal, but on the other hand it responds to skier input quicker than heavier skis. Some skiers will love this feel. It feels exceptionally energetic when it's linking carving turns, and has so much responsiveness that it demands a relatively high-level skier.

Who it's For: Skiers who spend most of their time on groomers and have strong, accomplished technique. If you lay it over on edge and power it up, it responds immediately with incredible precision.

See its Ski Test Results

Buy it Here

Which Skis Should I Buy? Comparing Women's All Mountain Skis in the 90mm Range - 2019 Edition: 2019 Blizzard Black Pearl 88 Ski Image

2019 Blizzard Black Pearl 88:

While the Sheeva 9 is relatively similar to the men's Rustler 9, the Black Pearl 88 is quite a bit different than the men's alternative. Instead of metal, the Black Pearl 88 relies on wood and carbon for its performance. Its shape is more geared towards firm snow than some of the more-rockered skis we've looked at, yet it's still a very versatile all mountain ski. The Black Pearl 88 sets itself apart from some of the skis on this list in the sense that it's relatively approachable for intermediate skiers, but still can be enjoyed by experts. This is, perhaps, why it's become one of the most popular women's skis in the world. It doesn't have super high levels of stability or vibration damping, but it responds really well to skier input on groomers and links carving turns very well. You don't have to be the most aggressive skier to get the most out of it. Some ultra-aggressive skiers will want more stability and vibration damping, but tons of women love the overall feel of the Black Pearl 88. Holds an edge, will maneuver through moguls and trees, and does it all with a fun feel.

Who it's For: A similar skier to one who would choose the Head Wild Joy. You realistically probably spend most of your time on groomers, you're not super aggressive, but you still want a high performance all mountain ski.

See its Ski Test Results

Buy it Here

Which Skis Should I Buy? Comparing Women's All Mountain Skis in the 90mm Range - 2019 Edition: 2019 Dynastar Legend W 88 Ski Image

2019 Dynastar Legend W 88:

The Legend W 88 from Dynastar uses very pronounced early taper and rocker. This gives it easy maneuverability in un-groomed terrain. The effective edge is a little shorter on firm snow than some of the other skis we've looked at, so if your focus is groomers the Legend W 88 might not be for you. On the other hand, it absolutely loves to ski moguls, trees, and other off-piste terrain. It's a super versatile ski overall, but if anything it prefers to be off trail. That doesn't, however, mean that it's going to feel totally worthless on firm snow, just keep in mind that the effective edge will be shorter. Some skiers will really like this feel, as tipping it on edge will just take you into a turn without much skier input. It's also insanely easy to release your tail edge, which allows you to make different turn shapes and styles super easily. Definitely one of the most maneuverable skis in this list.

Who it's For: You love moguls and trees and value maneuverability over stability and edge grip. You do ski some groomers, but if you have an opportunity to head off-piste, you're going to take it.

See its Ski Test Results

Buy it Here

Which Skis Should I Buy? Comparing Women's All Mountain Skis in the 90mm Range - 2019 Edition: 2019 Rossignol Experience 88 Ti Ski Image

2019 Rossignol Experience 88 Ti:

The Rossignol Experience 88 Ti is another ski that matches shape and construction with the men's version. It's also another ski that's very versatile, with an even mix of performance characteristics. Rossignol's new Line Control Technology gives it good stability and vibration damping when you're skiing fast on groomers, while the new shape allows for more versatility than we saw in previous versions of the Experience (old women's Temptation) line. It can handle aggressive skiing on firm snow, but it also feels maneuverable and relatively forgiving in soft snow and un-groomed terrain. Without a doubt, it's the best Experience collection yet from Rossignol. It's also similar to skis like the Black Pearl 88 in the sense that it's relatively approachable for a wide range of skiers. The flex pattern is a little stiffer, however, thanks to vertical metal in the center of the ski. On the other hand, however, the tip rocker makes turn initiation exceptionally easy.

Who it's For: Skiers who are looking for a true one-ski-quiver. Whether you live in the east, west, or somewhere in between, an Experience 88 Ti can take you anywhere on the mountain and is appropriate for a wide range of ability levels.

See its Ski Test Results

Buy it Here

Which Skis Should I Buy? Comparing Women's All Mountain Skis in the 90mm Range - 2019 Edition: 2019 K2 Alluvit 88 Ti Ski Image

2019 K2 Alluvit 88 Ti:

The K2 Alluvit 88 Ti is relatively similar to the Experience 88 Ti. It uses quite a bit of tip rocker and tail rocker, which also aligns with early taper. This boosts the ski's maneuverability in softer snow conditions and un-groomed terrain. When you're on firm snow, K2's Konic construction techniques help deliver good stability and edge grip. Like we saw in some other skis in this list, K2 positions denser materials and metal along the edges of the ski. When you're locked into a carving turn you get the benefits of metal: stability, vibration damping, and power. The center of the ski, however, uses lightweight materials. Combine the relatively light overall weight with the ski's pronounced rocker and early taper gives it a very maneuverable feel in soft snow. It's a blast in moguls and trees, like we've said about other skis in this list. It's another one of those skis with a relatively even mix of performance characteristics, and one that feels comfortable in any and all snow conditions.

Who it's For: You might not be the most aggressive skier on the mountain, but like the Experience 88 Ti, you still want a high performance all mountain ski. Carves turns, pivots and maneuvers easily, and is a whole lot of fun.

See its Ski Test Results

Buy it Here

Which Skis Should I Buy? Comparing Women's All Mountain Skis in the 90mm Range - 2019 Edition: 2019 DPS Uschi 87 Alchemist Ski Image

2019 DPS Uschi 87 Alchemist:

The DPS Uschi 87 Alchemist is one of the lightest skis on this list. Firm snow performance is a new focus for DPS, and the Uschi 87 is a perfect example. Their innovative Alchemist construction is impressively lightweight, while still retaining good torsional stiffness. This means the Uschi 87 will hold an edge really well, and because it's light it's also going to respond to skier input very quickly. Longitudinal stiffness, on the other hand, is a little softer than the Vantage 90 Ti we looked at earlier (another very lightweight ski), so it's not going to feel quite as demanding. The slightly softer flex also makes it more forgiving in moguls and other un-groomed terrain compared to a ski like the Vantage. You give up a little bit of edge grip and power, but it's still a ripping ski when you want it to be. It's a carving ski with DPS attitude. It's light, maneuvers well, yet can hold an edge really, really well (especially considering its weight).

Who it's For: Skis in the 90 mm width or above seem a little wide to you, yet you still want a versatile ski. You like laying down carving turns, but you don't want a ski that's going to feel fatiguing over a long day of skiing.

See its Ski Test Results

Buy it Here

Which Skis Should I Buy? Comparing Women's All Mountain Skis in the 90mm Range - 2019 Edition: Armada Victa 87 Ti Ski Image

2019 Armada Victa 87 Ti:

If you just glance at it, you might think the Victa 87 Ti is a soft-flexing, easy ski because of its topsheet graphics. Don't be fooled, however, because this ski absolutely rips. It uses titanal in its construction, as well as Carbon Kevlar struts. The result is a ski with excellent vibration damping and stability. Remember when we started this article with those skis with metal? The Victa 87 Ti has the same performance benefits, but its narrower waist width gives it one of the highest levels of torsional stiffness. It links carving turns really well, and its wide tail lets you finish a carving turn with significant power. The tip rocker helps smooth out turn initiation, so it doesn't require expert-level skier input to get it to carve on firm snow. It does, however, feel more at home on firm groomers than anywhere else on the mountain. That makes sense, as Armada has a lot of other skis that are more focused on soft snow, maneuverability, and playfulness.

Who it's For: You spend most of your time on firm snow and love linking carving turns. You might even have a race background and want a ski with some metal, but one that's also a little easier and more forgiving than traditional carving skis or race skis.

See its Ski Test Results

Buy it Here



 

Written by Jeff Neagle on 11/21/18

63 thoughts on “What Skis Should I Buy: Comparing Women's 90mm All Mountain Skis - 2019 Edition

  1. Really helpful article. How about the Coalition. Snow SOS 2019? Vs. the Secret? Vs. the Black Pearl 88? Have been skiing the Kenjas for the last few years and they are literally falling apart. Demo'd The black pearls last year and really loved them but they ran out of the size I wanted. I ski mostly Mammoth and expert level though can't do all the double blacks.

    1. Hi Debbie!
      We don't have much experience on Coalition skis. I will say, however, that the SOS is much wider than the skis we compared in this article. Judging by its width and its rocker profile it's a more off-piste, soft snow focused skis than what we looked at in this article.
      We actually have all lengths of the Black Pearl 88 available right now if you're looking to pick up a pair!
      SE

  2. Hi,
    Thanks a lot for the video! It's super helpful. I'm considering getting a pair of skis close to 100mm. Do you have a plan to do one for 100mm ski comparison?
    Thanks,
    Sally

    1. Hi Sally!
      So glad you find it helpful! Yes, we will be releasing a 100 mm article and video. Keep and eye out for it in the next couple weeks!
      SE

  3. This page is hard to find on your website, even if I'm in the Gear Reviews section of Chairlift Chat. The only way I could figure out how to access it was through the original email I received on Dec. 5th. Thanks.

    1. Hi Vicki!
      We're planning on improving search capabilities on Chairlift Chat. We are aware of the issues, but thanks for leaving your comment! You can find most of our articles through a quick google search, or you can also look back through the main Chairlift Chat page. Change it to 20 articles per page and you can look back through old articles fairly quickly.
      Thanks again,
      SE

  4. Thanks for the great overviews and YouTube videos. Very informative and certainly greatly appreciated!
    I'm torn between the Salomon QST and the Head Kore. I am 5'10" 160 lbs. Pretty fit and capable but not always perfect technique. I would consider myself an intermediate/advanced intermediate yet very aggressive skier who likes to spend most of the time in the trees and would like to improve in moguls but also skis mostly black diamonds when on the front side... I'm leaning toward the QST 99 as it seems to be more forgiving and offers that in between size that can be used in any conditions. However, I am impressed by the tech of the Kore and the all mountain performance of such a lightweight ski. I believe you've mentioned the Kore 99 is the stiffest of that series and I am concerned that may not be the best for moguls and playfulness. If you had to compare or make a recommendation for someone who does want stability but is willing to sacrifice some of it for more maneuverability in the bumps what would you recommend? Other thoughts?
    Thank you as always!

    1. Hi William!
      Both are great skis, but I get the sense you'd prefer the QST 99. As you correctly identified, the Kore 99 is quite stiff. At your size and considering you're still looking to progress and improve your technique, I would worry a little bit that the stiffness of the Kore 99 would slow down that progression. The QST 99 can absolutely still handle aggressive skiing, but it's more forgiving overall. I thought about whether there was another ski I would recommend over the QST 99, but nothing jumped out at me. I really like the QST, think it has an awesome mix of performance characteristics. Sounds like you'd love it.
      Hope that helps!
      SE

  5. Hi,
    I am trying to pick a ski for my wife. She is solid intermediate skier looking to improve her skills.
    She demoed 2019 Volkl Yumi and 2018 K2 Fulluvit and she wants something in between the two.
    Little more damp than Yumi but a little lighter than Fulluvit.
    I'm considering Black Pearl 88 or 98. Does this sounds good option? Or do you have any other recommendation?
    Also is 88 vs 98 quite different? I'm leaning toward 98 as we are in the west coast.
    Thanks,
    Chung

    1. Hi Chung!
      Yes, I think the Black Pearl is a great choice! I do think it's performance falls in between those two skis. It's not an exceptionally damp ski, but it does feel a little smoother overall than the Yumi. I actually think the Sheeva 9 should be up for consideration too. Some metal in the Sheeva, while there isn't any in the Black Pearl. It does sound like she values some of the performance benefits of metal, and the shape and width of the Sheeva 9 would help in your western terrain and snow conditions. I'm not sure she needs to as wide as the Black Pearl 98. I wonder if maybe she wasn't digging the slower edge to edge feel of the Fulluvit (95) and perceiving that as weight.
      What do you think? Had you considered the Sheeva 9?
      SE

      1. Thank you for the reply. Haven't thought about Sheeva yet. Is that ski also suitable for intermediate skier as Black Pearl? And how much weight difference between Sheeva 9 and Black Pearl 88?

        1. Hi again Chung!
          Yes, an accomplished intermediate can definitely ski the Sheeva. I thought of it because both the skis she tried do have metal in their construction, and the Black Pearl 98 doesn't. Still, if she wants to be significantly lighter than the Fulluvit, the Black Pearl is probably the way to go. I wouldn't say the Sheeva is significantly lighter than the Fulluvit, but it's a really fun ski. Just something to consider. It is a bit heavier than the Black Pearl because of that metal. I still think the Black Pearl 98 feels a bit wide, I'd go either Black Pearl 88 or Sheeva 9.
          SE

  6. I love my Rossignol s90w 160 cm because they are super light weight and great in the trees and moguls. I like advanced runs and off-piste but I don't ski as fast or in heavy/cruddy snow as much as I used to. I don't love that the skis are a bit squirrelly on the groomers. I love my Marker Squire bindings again because they are light weight. I have a bad knee that doesn't want a heavy weight hanging off it on the lift. I need new skis because the ski shop screwed up my binding remount. I have a trip coming up so there is no time to demo. What would you recommend please?
    Thanks, Simona

    1. Hi Simona!
      Sounds like you'd love the Elan Ripstick 94 or the QST Lux 92! There are others in this category that would work too, but those two really jumped out to me as good options. They're both relatively lightweight, and are both a blast in the trees and moguls. They don't feel sloppy or squirrelly on groomers, either. Fairly similar concept as your current skis, but more advanced construction (technology has improved). For bindings, the Squire is still great. You should also consider the Tyrolia Attack 11. Similar binding overall, quite lightweight, great performance.
      Hope that helps!
      SE

  7. Hi! I am trying to decide between the Sheeva 9, the QST Lux, and the Volkl Secret. I've only tried the Sheevas and really loved how lightweight, easy to turn, and playful they were in the trees and in moguls, but I feel like I might want to go with something with a little more vibration dampening and aggressiveness on the front side of the mountain. I'm an advanced intermediate skier looking to become more aggressive. What do you recommend?

    1. Hi Katie!
      Out of those three skis, if you want something more stable, powerful, and with better vibration damping on the groomers, the Secret would be the way to go. The QST is going to feel fairly similar to the Sheeva in terms of overall stability and damping. I would also throw the Santa Ana 93 from Nordica into the mix. In my opinion that ski sits in between the Sheeva 9 and the Secret. More stable at speed than the Sheeva, but also more maneuverable and forgiving in off-piste terrain than the Secret. Definitely something to consider!
      Hope that helps
      SE

  8. Hi, I am hoping for some help picking new skis. I am 5'6", 175 lb and have been using my old Volkl 5 Star Attivas that I got probably 12 years ago but am looking to update. I am an advanced skier but prefer to go fast and do lots of carving turns on groomed runs here in the West (Tahoe) rather than do moguls, trees, or powder, especially since I typically ski with my intermediate husband and small/learning kids. I would say I'm a "fun" skier rather than an aggressive one. Today I demo'd some Nordica Santa Ana 93s in size 153 (that's all the shop had) - they felt really great and easy to maneuver and use. I also demo'd Blizzard Black Pearl 88 in size 166 and 159, only one run each. The longer ones were a bit better but didn't feel quite as good as the Santa Anas, the shorter ones actually had my thighs burning on one easy run, like I was working super hard to control them maybe? I'd be open to any of the above options, please help!

    1. Hi Eve!
      Sounds like you are trying to split the difference between the on-piste capabilities of your old skis with a freeride ski that will take you anywhere. The Santa Ana's are great, but if you're looking for something lighter and easier to turn, check out the Blizzard Sheeva 9 or the Salomon QST Lux 92. They're a bit wider for on-trail skis, but aren't super-heavy or difficult to manage like the Santa Ana can sometimes be. But if you liked the Santa Ana, don't let me talk you out of it! Have fun!
      SE

      1. Thank you so much! I found a demo day in a few weeks that will have those skis available. I'll let you know what I think!

        1. Hi Katy!
          To focus on the two skis you tried first, the Legend uses quite a bit of early taper in the tips and tails, while the Temptation 88 HD has really wide tips and tails. My guess is you were responding to the differences in shape. Did the Legend feel easier to turn and easier to maneuver? I expect it did. Because of that, I think it makes sense to look towards all mountain skis that use a good amount of rocker and early taper. The Secret, Wild Joy, and Vantage 90 Ti have shapes that are more similar to the Temptation you tried, rather than the Legend. In the ~90 mm all mountain category, I think something like the Legend W 88, K2 Alluvit 88 Ti, or the new Experience 88 Ti would make more sense for you. These skis are also going to be easier in powder and trees than the skis with wider tips and tails, and considering that's a focus for you, it re-affirms my thoughts.
          Does that make sense to you?
          For length, yes, I do think you could size up, especially because these skis use fairly long rocker. Don't be afraid of going up to the 170 cm range, or even low 170 cm range in these skis.
          Hope that helps!
          SE

  9. Hi-
    I'm a level 7 skier in my 40s, looking to move to an all-mountain ski. I come from the Northeast, now live in CA and have been skiing the resorts at Tahoe. I'm most comfortable carving on the frontside (and have young kids who will probably be skiing there for the next couple yrs, so I want to be realistic about where I'll be) BUT I've been enjoying getting into some powder and dream of venturing into the trees... Used to ski K2 Axis X; recently borrowed Dynastar Legend 84s, which I loved; also tried the Temptation 88 HD, which I didn't like as much (not sure why?). I'd like something that will give me the same control on hardpack and ability to carve fast, tight turns as the narrower skis but will also allow me to (hopefully) move into more variable terrain, including moguls. I've been considering the Volkl Secret, the Wild Joy, and the Atomic Vantage 90 Ti. Any thoughts?
    Oh, and also wondering if I should size up, length-wise, if I move to a wider ski. I'm 5' 11" and 140 lbs; my last skis were 163.
    Thank you!
    Katy

  10. I live in the Pacific NW so snow conditions very from hard pack groomers to powder (but typically on the heavier side). I ski groomers with my kids but enjoy the open bowls, moguls and trees too. Been skiing for 40 years and consider myself advanced and can be aggressive in moguls. Demo'd Black Pearl 88 (166) and Salomon QST Lux 92 (161) today. Black pearls were great on groomers but felt too long in deep moguls and trees. Lux were slightly heavier which didn't bother me and did well in the steeper trees and moguls. I think going to 169 would be too long for me. Also looking at Santa Ana 93 which I have not tried yet. Looking for suggestions.

  11. Hey! I have been venturing out into powder and off piste more this season and am trying to decide between the Santa Ana's and the Secret. I would still like a Ski that does well on groomed runs as well though.

  12. I loved the Volkl Secret but found them to be very noisy. I mainly ski in the Northeast. What is a comparable ski to demo next?

    1. Hi Heather!
      If you liked the QST 92 in the 161, I wouldn't try to talk you into the longer length. The Santa Ana is a stiffer ski, but is still quite maneuverable and fairly light for how stable it is. Also check out the Blizzard Sheeva 9 for an in the middle comparison of BP 88 and Santa Ana 93. Hope that helps!
      SE

      1. Hi Sabrina!
        The Santa Ana is a bit more playful while the Secret is a stronger carver. Overall, you'll find a lot more similarities than differences between the two models. The Santa Ana has longer tip and tail rocker, so is better suited for fresh and soft snow, so if that's your preferred terrain/snow conditions, I'd go that route. Have fun!
        SE

        1. Hi DMR!
          Check out the Nordica Santa Ana 93, Blizzard Sheeva 9, and the K2 Fulluvit 95 next. Have fun!
          SE

  13. Hello! I'm heavily torn on buying the Blizzard Black Pearl 88s and the Blizzard Sheeva 9s. The Sheeva seems like a happy medium between the BP 88 and 98, while also being bit more playful and easier to turn on moguls. I'm struggling with length differential - I would normally ride 159/160 - and then Sheeva options are only 157/164, whereas the BPs come in the size range I'm used to. Recommendations??

  14. Hi - I am 5'8", 135lbs, fairly aggressive skier in late 20's. I've skied all my life but have gotten more serious in the last 5-10 years. I've been on Nordica belle to belle's for the last few years (161); they've served me really well but I do think they are getting a bit short for me and are really light when it comes to firmer conditions / tough to navigate in deeper crud. I ski roughly 20-30 days (1/3 east, 2/3 west) so I'm thinking a wider ski may be appropriate? Looking for an all-mountain ski that can be playful in the bowls and glades but also be stable on the groomers. I demoed the Santa Ana 93 at 169 which I really liked but unfortunately didn't get to head in the moguls due to conditions. Since I tried the longer ski, I know it'll be heavier but I was surprised how noticeable it was relative to the light ones that I'm on now - should I stick with the 161s knowing that I am going to a more advanced ski if I proceed with this one? I also tried the Daemons at 170 (birdies weren't available) which were fun but didn't love them as well as the Ripstick 86's at 166 which didn't feel very responsive (which is disappointing because I thought I'd love them based on the reviews I read!). Any other suggestions you can give me? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kelsey!
      Sheeva 9 is an awesome ski. Definitely a little more playful, and easier in the bumps too. Because of the rocker profile in the Sheeva (more pronounced than the BP, and likely what you've been skiing in the past) you can do a little longer., 164 cm should be just fine if you're used to skiing a 160 cm.
      Have fun!
      SE

      1. Hi Kate!
        The Volkl Secret is another great choice, as is the narrower Kenja. From Blizzard, the Sheeva 9 is a bit lighter than the Santa Ana, but is very versatile and super-fun. The Volkl's are very stable and damp while the Sheeva is a bit more on the lively side. I'm also a fan of the Salomon QST 92--another light and stable option. Let me know!
        SE

  15. I live in Washington and am looking to purchase skis that I can take anywhere around the mountain. I only ski in the west coast. I demoed the Ripstick and really loved how playful it was, and it did well on groomers as well, but I noticed it chattered with a bunch of crud especially this late in the season. I was thinking the Sheeva 9 might be a good middle ground between having playfulness while also being a little heavier. But maybe I should just stick with the Ripstick because I was generally really happy with it? I'm not a very aggressive skier and I value maneuverability. What do you guys think? I'm open to any other suggestions as well!

  16. Hey! I'm trying to decide between the Blizzard Sheeva, Black Pearl, and Salomon Lux. Used to skiing out east on Rossignol Temptation 84's at 170 cm, but I've recently moved out west and am looking for a pair of powder skis that will also perform well and carve on groomers. In addition, I feel like my Rossi's are slightly too long as I am underweight for my height, and would like a pair of skis that will make it easier to control my speed while still improving my skill (intermediate-advanced). Considering the sizes available in those skis, I'm wondering if the Black Pearl 166, Sheeva 164, or Salomon 161 would be best for my needs, or if the 161/164 would be too short for me (I am 5'10). Thanks!!

    1. Hi Natalie!
      If you want to reduce some of that chatter, the Sheeva 9 is a fantastic choice. It's going to have similar characteristics to the Rustler overall, they have a similar shape, but the metal underfoot really helps smooth out and quiet the ski. It's a touch heavier, but that's a reasonable trade-off if you want a quieter ski. That said, the Ripsticks are a blast. Did the chatter translate to you feeling unstable? If it didn't, you'd probably get used to the movement in the ski, and it is a touch more maneuverable due to the lighter swing weight.
      Hope that helps!
      SE

      1. Hi Alyssa!
        I think the Sheeva is the way to go for a versatile soft-snow ski. They're light and fun and very stable underfoot. I think the others are fine, but the performance of the Sheeva is on a higher level. I think the 164 is a fine length! Have fun!
        SE

  17. Hi there! I'm having such a tough time deciding on new skis. I've been skiing for 3 years with old hand-me-downs (I have a snowboarder background), and am ready for some all-mountain skis. I'm 5'-3", 118 lbs, currently riding a 157, and I ski Tahoe. I like to carve fast on groomers, but I also love to play in the trees and powder. I recently demo'd some skis including the Blizzard BPs in a 159, The Santa Ana 93s in a 152, the 2017 Rossignol Experience 88 HD in 156, and the K2 Alluvit 156. The 152 length in Santa Anas felt a little short. I love the lightness and maneuverability of the Blizzards; however, I want to make sure I get skis that can handle off-piste and some powder really well. I'm really intrigued by the 2019 Rossignol 88 Tis - maybe a 159? Are they lightweight as well? Any other recommendations for skis that can take me anywhere?

    1. Hi Kristen!
      It's great you had an opportunity to try all those skis! 152 cm does seem a little short for you in the Santa Ana 93, not surprised you felt that way. The Black Pearls can handle some softer snow conditions, but I do think the Experience 88 Ti does a little better. More tip rocker, a little more early taper. That design really helps smooth out their performance in softer snow and un-groomed terrain. They are still quite lightweight, yes. I think you would feel similarly about the weight as you did on the Black Pearl. You could make an argument that the Sheeva 9 might be a little more appropriate than the Black Pearl as it's a little more geared towards versatility across the whole mountain. That said, I don't think you'd be disappointed with the Experience 88 Ti by any means. Huge improvements to that ski over the version you tried, and it's a very versatile all mountain ski.
      Hope that helps!
      SE

  18. Hi there! I'm trying to buy a versatile all mountain ski and have demo'd Elan Ripsticks 94 in 156, and Nordica Santa Ana 93 in 153. I'm 5'1" and a 1/2", and 104lbs. I'm looking for a lighter weight ski as I have a bit of arthritis in my knees. While I liked the stability and dampening quality of the Santa Ana's at speed (especially for crud), I did find them more difficult to maneuver through trees and moguls and overall heavier (my legs were tired quicker). The Ripsticks felt lighter and easier to turn but when I tested them at speed on hard, choppy snow they didn't feel as good. Do I need a shorter ski to help with the weight? What are some other options I should consider?

  19. Hi SE!
    I'm 5'3", 200 lb (and slowly decreasing), high intermediate/advanced skier -- comfortable in blue and black on piste terrain, learning to be more comfortable off piste and on bumps and tight trees. Love to both cruise and go a little faster when conditions allow. I will be skiing mostly on the East Coast in the next couple of years but might have a trip out to the West Coast here and there if I can swing it. I currently own the Rossignol Experience 84 W 152 length, and I've had feedback that I could benefit from slightly longer skis. I demo'd the women's 2020 Head Kore 93 (162 length) and loved it, and also demo'd the 2020 Head Total Joy at I believe 158 length. I'm pretty set on getting the Kore 93 next season and I was wondering if I should potentially invest in one of the Joys -- I was also looking at the Epic and Super Joys but haven't gotten a chance to demo them -- or if you have other suggestions to complement the Kore 93. I've got half a mind to sell my Rossi skis, but I'm not sure yet.
    Thanks in advance,
    HG

    1. Hi Karen!
      I agree that for your application, the Santa Ana might be a bit too bulky. A good middle-ground might be the K2 Fulluvit 95 or the Head Kore 93 (which a shorter, women's version is coming out for 2020) which are both a good compromise of performance between the two models you've tried. Also check out the Blizzard Sheeva 9, it's light but stable underfoot. Hope that helps!
      SE

      1. Hi HG!
        I like the sounds of the Kore for your all-mountain versatile ski, but for the carver, I'd look for something with a bit more stability, as I think you'll find the Joy's to be a bit chattery. Check out the Volkl Flair 81 or Blizzard Alight 8.0 for a more composed firm snow ski. The low 160's should be the right size for those skis as well. Have fun!
        SE

  20. Hi all!
    Looking for a little advice! I need skis for all-mountain out west in the US and big mountains in the Alps. I ski all season, including last weekend in Breck, so they have to handle a little crap. I ski mainly blacks, some tough blues and easier double blacks. I'm aggressive, but have weak knees so I need slightly lighter skis that absorb the shock a little and/or still turn easily!
    Size: I've skied anywhere between 150 and 165, but prefer between 155-162. Width somewhere in the the 85-95 range.
    Thoughts? Advice? Encouragement?

    1. Hi Ally!
      Sounds like you should be on the wider side of your range, given the locations you ski and the terrain/snow conditions. Check out the Blizzard Sheeva 9. It is 92 mm underfoot and has a partial metal layer underfoot and tapering in towards the tips and tails. You get the stability you need without a full sheet or two of metal that can hamper the knees. The 159 would be a good length in that ski. Also that Salomon QST 92 is worth a look, and for a slightly wider option, the K2 Fulluvit 95 is a great ski. Hope that helps, have fun!
      SE

  21. Hi. I'm torn on a women's all mountain ski. I'm an advanced to expert skier. Although I used to ski mostly in the West, it's mostly in the northeast now. I like skiing steeps, bowls, and sometimes the bumps. I do head into the backcountry sometimes. I'm slightly aggressive, but I don't want something that feels crazy fast/out of control. 5'5, 128#. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Kendra!
      I'm thinking the Blizzard Sheeva 9 is the way to go. It's got a bit of extra width, so the speed limit isn't crazy, but the versatility and playfulness are all there. I'd go with the 159 in that ski. Have fun!
      SE

  22. Hi there, I'm 45 yrs, 5'10", 154lbs, and ski in New Zealand up to an advanced level. My current skis are 165cms, K2s that have served me 17 seasons! I mostly ski on trails, but would like something that can help me feel more confident in powder (when we have some!) and off piste. Looking forward to your advice. 🙂

    1. Hi Nic!
      You're in the right category for sure. Look to the Blizzard Sheeva 9 or the Salomon QST 92 for a bit of extra width and stability for all-mountain shredding both on and off-trail. I'd say the length should be about the same--mid to high 160's. Have fun!
      SE

  23. Hi! I’m looking for a new all mountain ski. I ski out west. Advanced, fairly aggressive skier (age 50) who often accompanies kids on double blacks or off piste (can get down but form often breaks down beyond blacks)I am 5’1” and weigh 105. I’ve torn both ACLs (1 skiing) so would like more maneuverability on more difficult terrain or in deeper snow. Have Older (8 yr) skies that don’t turn as well in powder. Local ski shop is pushing the Blizzard black pearl 88. They also have the Kore 93. thoughts on either of those or should i consider something else?

    1. Hi Karen!
      They're certainly right to push the Black Pearl 88 on you--it's a fantastic ski. The Kore is great as well, with a light but stable feel. With the knee injuries, it's nice to have something light like those models. If you're looking for a bit more performance without going full-metal, check out the Blizzard Sheeva 9--it's quick, playful, and has a little extra width for softer snow. The partial metal laminate of the Sheeva makes it a strong groomer performer as well. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Thank you! I’ll look into the Sheeva 9. I was concerned the BP88 is more of an intermediate ski. I prob ski 50% groomed, 50% crud/off piste, ski moguls... would only have abt a 152cm ski. Also, u think BP88 better than BP98?

        1. Karen,
          I think the 98 would be on the wide side, and as it's built like the 88, it still has some of that intermediate feel, while the Sheeva is a bit wider than the 88, but has a slightly beefier construction. In that model, your choices are either 148 or 156, and I'd err on the long side--it doesn't feel or look much longer than the 152 in the Black Pearl. Hope that helps!
          SE

  24. Hi! I'm looking for some all mountain skis to ski out in Whistler. I'm 5'4" and 130lbs. I've just stopped racing - currently skiing Fischer RC4. I really want a ski that I can really charge and lay on edge, focusing more on frontside groomer performance but also being able to hit some bumps and any ungroomed runs. Thinking 80-90 width? I've been mainly looking at the Völkl Secret/Kenja 88, Nordica Santa Ana 93/88, Fischer My Ranger 90 and Head Kore 93. I'm a bit unsure on comparison what would be disadvantages/advantages of these, but also if I should maybe look at a more piste based ski that can do a bit more (e.g. Völkl Flair 81 or Fischer RC One 86 GT)?

    1. Hi Nicole!
      I think you'll find the versatility and performance you're looking for in the 88's. The Kenja and Santa Ana should be at the top of your list, and the Fischer shouldn't be too far behind, especially if you think you want to go a bit wider. I don't think you'll get the performance you're looking for out of the Kore, as many former racers are just too used to the feeling of metal in their skis. The wider versions of these skis will provide more flotation and better soft snow performance, but at the cost of edge grip and torsional stiffness, again, things that racers seem to want in their all-mountain skis as well. Hope that helps!
      SE

  25. Hello! I am 5' 1" about 115 lbs and an advanced expert skier. We do most of our skiing out west but live in the east. My favorite terrain is off-piste steeps and the bowls in the West. I also enjoy fast groomers with my kids. From your video above I am trying to decide between the Nordica Santa Ana, the Volkl Secret, and Vantage 90ti. What would help make my decision?
    Thank you!
    Leslie

    1. Hi Leslie!
      I'll try to point out a unique feature of each to help you out. They're all great skis, first off, and you'll find more similarities than differences overall. That said, the Santa Ana (93, I assume), has the most freeride feel to it, that is the tip and tail rocker are the most pronounced, and will give you fantastic soft-snow performance without sacrificing on-trail grip and power. They have a woody feel to them, which I like. The Secret is on the other end of the spectrum in terms of their overall feel, which is very metallic. The metal laminate is right at the top of the ski, so you not only get a ton of precision on the edge, but also an extremely damp and stable feeling. I'd say it's the strongest carver of your group. The Atomic is very light and stiff. This gives you the quickest edge to edge speed, but it isn't quite as stable as the other skis on your list. For trees, bumps, or other tight spots, the Atomic is a great ski, but doesn't quite have the power of the other two. Hope that helps!
      SE

  26. Hi - I am trying to choose women's skis for the northeast. I am a cautious intermediate skier. I love skiing at Killington in southern VT, but also ski in southern NH which is a bit icier. I am currently between Blizzard Black Pearl 88 women's skis and Rossignol Experience 84 Ai Women's skis.
    What are your recommendations?

    1. Hi Christine!
      You'll get better edge grip and turning from the Rossignol, so that's likely a better choice for icier conditions, but the Black Pearl is more versatile for a wider variety of terrain and snow types. I think that a cautious intermediate will find better success on the Rossignol. Have fun!
      SE

  27. Hello,
    I am 5'0" and 105 pounds. I am turning 50 in a few weeks and I am a solid intermediate skier looking to improve my skills. I have been described as an aggressive skier, because I have had to keep up with my spouse, who is an advanced/expert skier. I have only been skiing for 4 years and have only skied on Piste. I grabbed some suggested beginner skis 4 years ago (K2 136cm) and hung on to them longer than I should have. I demo'd the Blizzard Black Pearl 82s in a 145 and a 152. The 145s were amazing, but made me feel a bit out of control. The 152s were like a dream, but I am worried about buying them without getting some solid advice on other brands that might suit me better. Heading to Tahoe in 2 weeks and want some new skis to take with me.
    What would you recommend?

    1. Hi Christina!
      I'd put that ski up against a Volkl Yumi and a Rossignol Experience 84, but if you liked the Pearl 82, I'm not going to talk you out of it. They're great skis and it's obvious you enjoyed your time on them! Have fun!
      SE

  28. Hi SkiEssentials, i'm so glad i found this comparision review !
    We've just started our ski season here in New Zealand post Covid and i'm looking to replace my ols seond had salomon 160 twin tips (that i have loved) with something new, now that i have finally given up snowboarding and committed to skiing the whole season. I'm 60kg, so i think thats 132lb, and 164cm, so maybe 5'4". I ski mostly piste and we can have extremely icy conditions here at times (like your east coast i think). Like Christine above, I am considering between the Blizzard black pearls. I'm guessing 159 ish would be the right length in either of these ? 152 seems a bit short (though i used to ski 150's pre snowboarding and before i had twin tips). What i don't know though either - is how do i know whether to choose the 84 or 88 waist in the rossignol experience ? I know i need to demo both perhaps but i don't understand enough to know whats better for me here. (I also spend time teaching my fairly little kids), powder is rare here and doesn't last long. chop and crud from rain and refreezing is much more common and so i end up between that and ice and groomer corderoy or loose man made snow at times.

    1. Hi Keri!
      I'd say the 159 would be better than the 152 for you. In terms of the Rossi skis, the 8 has metal in it, so it's going to hold better on firmer snow. If you're a more advanced skier, I'd look to the 88 versus a more intermediate/improving skier looking for something easier to turn would be better off on the 84. The 88, same as in the Black Pearl, is not too wide for those icy conditions, and certainly gives you a stronger chance on the mush or softer snow. Have fun!
      SE

  29. Hi SkiEssentials,
    I'm in a similar boat to Keri above, just about to start the ski season in NZ. I was an intermediate+ level skier but but it has been a long while since I've skied (having lived in West Aussie for the last decade) so I'm feeling a little out of my depth when it comes to choosing a new set of skis. I am hoping to push my skills this season with a lot of time on the slopes and although I'll be mostly skiing on piste, I wouldn't mind something that can handle some occasional powder. I've been tossing up between the Nordica Santa Ana 88 (2021 or 2022 model), the Blizzard Black Pearl 88 or perhaps the Volkl Kenja or Secret. I'm 174cm (5/9") and weigh 64 kg (140lb), so I was thinking around 165cm. Any advice would be appreciated, thanks in advance!

    1. HI Marama!
      The Santa Ana is the one in the middle--plenty of strength and power, but still light and maneuverable. The Secret and Kenja are one step burlier, and the Black Pearl is on the lighter and more forgiving side. I think the mid 160's is a good place to be, and overall, I'd recommend the Santa Ana 88. Have fun!
      SE

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