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SkiEssentials.com Bargain Basement – 6 2020 Men’s All-Mountain Skis

Here at SkiEssentials.com, we spend a lot of time reviewing the newest, freshest skis and gear. That’s typically what you’ll see in our Chairlift Chat articles and videos on YouTube. Another big part of what we do, which falls much more into the behind-the-scenes category, is seek out good deals on skis we personally trust and pass along those deals to you, our customers. In this article, we’re going to take a look at 6 different men’s all-mountain skis from the 2020 season which all earned high praise not only from us, but from just about everyone in the ski world. The added bonus here: you’ll save hundreds on these skis compared to their 2021 brothers and you’re going to get darn good performance.

AT A GLANCE


2020 Nordica Enforcer 100 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

CORE

STRENGTHS

169, 177, 185, 193 cm

18.5 m at 185 cm

133 / 100 / 121 mm

Wood, Two Sheets of Metal

Power, Versatility, Smoothness


Current Price: $429.95

Why We Like It:

The Enforcer 100 from Nordica has become one of the most popular, most sought-after skis on the market. It’s exceptionally versatile, as we’ve talked about over and over again in our reviews, Ski Test, and comparison videos. It lays down impressive turns on hardpack and holds an edge really well, feels stable and powerful, but it’s also not tremendously demanding. Off trail, it’s fun and maneuverable. The shape allows you to release the tail edge quite easily, especially among skis in this width range with this much power. While Nordica has made some subtle changes to the Enforcer 100 for the 2021 season, the 2020 version is still darn good.

Like the Enforcer 100, but think a narrower width would work better for you? Check out the 2020 Nordica Enforcer 93, which we currently have priced at $419.95.


AT A GLANCE


2020 Elan Ripstick 96 Black Edition Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

CORE

STRENGTHS

167, 174, 181, 188 cm

18 m at 181 cm

134 / 96 / 113 mm

Wood, Carbon, More Carbon

Versatility, Maneuverability, Energy


Current Price: $559.99

Why We Like It:

We’ve sung the praise of Elan’s Ripstick collection pretty consistently over the past few seasons, and that’s not about to change. For 2021, Elan has tweaked their Ripstick line and brought over some of the technology used in these Black Edition skis. We don’t get a Black Edition line for 2021, so in a lot of ways, this is still a “current” ski. Similarly versatile to the Enforcer 100, but it’s lighter on your feet, quicker, and a little more playful because of that. It’s not the stiffest, most powerful ski on this list, but the Black Edition skis always impressed with their solid edge grip and strong performance on firm snow given how light and maneuverable they feel. They’re also really, really, ridiculously good-looking.

We also have the 2020 Ripstick 106 Black Edition for a similarly low price. These skis fetched a premium price over the past two seasons and the Black Editions earned somewhat of a cult following.


AT A GLANCE


2020 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

CORE

STRENGTHS

173, 180, 187 cm

19 m at 187 cm

132 / 94 / 122 mm

Wood, Line Control Metal

Power, Versatility, Precision


Current Price: $379.95

Why We Like It:

The Experience 94 Ti from Rossignol might be the sleeper ski in this list, and at $379,95, it’s one of the best deals too. For some reason, the 94 never seemed to earn the popularity of the Experience 88, and for 2021 it’s been replaced by an ever-so-similar Experience 92. The 94 uses a thicker core profile than the 88, with the same Line Control Technology. Its shape is highly versatile with enough tip rocker to handle softer snow conditions, and a flatter tail to give it power and stability when completing a carving turn. Some might find it too stiff, but advanced and expert level skiers who approach the mountain with an aggressive, down-the-fall line mentality will love it.

We are sold out of the narrower Experience 88 Ti for men, but we do have a nice price on the women’s version, at just $349.95. Could be a nice couples setup!


AT A GLANCE


2020 Kastle MX 89 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

CORE

STRENGTHS

156, 164, 172, 180, 188 cm

17 m at 172 cm

129 / 89 / 113 mm

Wood, Two Sheets of Metal

Precision, Edge Grip, Power


Current Price: $789.00

Why We Like It:

I know, I know. You’re thinking to yourself, “how does a $789 ski fit into a bargain basement list?” Well, because it’s a Kastle. Kastle skis fetch a premium price due to their high quality materials, craftsmanship, and attention to detail. We’ve talked about it before. It seems like a lot on paper, but you can actually feel a difference. The MX89 is unique among this list because it uses 100% camber. Combine that with two sheets of metal and you’ve got a ski that’s incredibly powerful, precise, and with endless edge grip. Like the Experience 94 Ti, it might be a little bit much if you’re not in the advanced/expert range, but high level skiers tend to love the MX feel. The new version is similar, but now has tip rocker, so camber-enthusiasts may prefer the 2020 ski.


AT A GLANCE


2020 Blizzard Brahama 88 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

CORE

STRENGTHS

166, 173, 180, 187 cm

19 m at 187 cm

127 / 88 / 111 mm

Wood, Two Sheets of Metal, Carbon

Power, Edge Grip, Versatility


Current Price: $454.97

Why We Like It:

These last three skis, starting with the MX89, are all fairly similar in the sense that they’re all very close in waist width and all use lots of metal in their construction. The Brahma 88 a little bit more versatile than the MX89 for off-piste terrain thanks to some subtle tip and tail rise and a more rounded off shape in the tail, but it’s still extremely powerful. Two sheets of metal, an Austrian feel, and it’s certainly proven itself over its almost decade-long existence as a high-end all-mountain ski. Blizzard made some tweaks to the Brahma for 2021, including their new True Blend core technology, but that doesn’t change the fact the 2020 ski is still really, really good.

Need a little more width? We have a similar discount on the 2020 Blizzard Bonafide.


AT A GLANCE


2020 Volkl Kendo 88 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

CORE

STRENGTHS

163, 170, 177, 184 cm

18.6 m at 177 cm

129 / 88 / 111 mm

Wood, Titanal Frame

Versatility, Power, Precision


Current Price: $459.95

Why We Like It:

The Kendo 88 is unique among this list of skis in the sense that the 2021 version is identical. No changes for 2021 other than a new graphic, so if you pick up a 2020 ski, you’re still getting a current model in Volkl’s collection. The Kendo 88 has similar properties to the MX89 and Brahma, but its 3D radius allows for a longer turn shape for those that like to let it run. The Titanal Frame design has worked its way into the bulk of Volkl’s all-mountain and freeride skis and does a great job providing a powerful, precise feel, while also being a touch more forgiving than if it used a full sheet of metal under the topsheet. It’s not a tremendously forgiving ski, but arguably a touch more than the MX89 and potentially the Brahma too, somewhat dependent on skiing style.

You'll also find a great deal on the 2020 Volkl M5 Mantra, although we don't expect those to last long as we have a limited supply.


Written by Jeff Neagle on 09/10/20

6 thoughts on “SkiEssentials.com Bargain Basement – 6 2020 Men’s All-Mountain Skis

  1. Jeff... great content on the “cheap skis “
    I’m a 60+ year high beginner/ low intermediate skier that loves to just ski on groomers 85% of the time. Just getting back into skiing from the 1970’s and need new skis bindings and boots. I’ve rented the last three times out but ready to take the plunge and spend some $$$. I’m 5’8” and 175 pounds. Any suggestions???... boots or skis first... thanks in advance. Love your videos. Breckenridge is my favorite place to ski..btw

    1. Hi Stan!
      While we will always love to sell you skis, most anyone honest in this business will tell you boots first. Fit is paramount, so unless you know exactly what you're looking for and can find it online, we suggest putting your feet in boots at a reputable boot fitter. I'd say you're looking for something in the 110-flex range, but they do fit differently for sure. For skis, at your level, I'd look for something in the mid-80's underfoot--check out the Salomon QST 85 or the K2 Mindbender 85 for good all-mountain skis with a good amount of versatility. Not too heavy, not too light, they fall into the just right category for someone with your stats. We're looking to put out some more of that intermediate-level content in the future, so keep your eyes out! Have fun!
      SE

    2. I recently narrowed my daily driver for groomers, from Kastle MX88 and 98s to an 84. Narrower is a little easier on the knees and more edge grip (less work). Any of these will be fine rides on smoother groomers, especially the ones Jeff or SE calls easier or more forgiving. Be sure to budget for a few days in a row of carving lessons, on snow or a place like Denver's Snobahn.

  2. I recently narrowed my daily driver for groomer days, from Kastle MX88 and 98s to an 84. Narrower is a little easier on the knees and more edge grip (less work). Be sure to budget for a few days in a row of carving lessons, on snow or a place like Denver's Snobahn.

  3. Hello I’m looking to get into skiing more this year but am struggling with what to purchase. I’m 47 5’10” and running about 230 COVID hasn’t been kind to the waste. Lol. Working in getting back into better shape now. I’ve been looking at the K2 Pinnacle 88 at a 170 And the K2 Mindbender 85 at 170 but with the extra weight I’ve put on I’m wondering if I should go with a longer 177. I’m a true intermediate I’d say as I ski mainly blue and some single black runs but want to work my way into more of everything. I’ve purchased a pair of Head Vector 110 boots and still need to figure out which bindings to buy. Would you recommend one of these ski’s over the other and what binding would you go with based on this information. Thank you.

    1. Hi Aaron!
      The Pinnacle 88 is a snappier and stronger ski that loves making short, quick turns, but also has a surprising amount of flotation to it due to the longer tip rocker profile. We've found that they actually measure a bit long, so I'd say the 170 is a better length choice in that ski. For bindings, we normally pair them with a Marker Griffon 13 or a Tyrolia Attack 13--strong, good bindings at a decent price. Have fun!
      SE

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