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Gear Guide Sampler: All-Mountain

Award-winning all-mountain chargers from Skiing's 2013 Gear Guide.
posted: 09/25/2012

All-Mountain

You don’t specialize. Powder, chunder, chop, groomers,trees, bumps, and bowls—you love it all. It’s no surprise that manufacturers submitted more of this kind of ski than any other. Some of these are more trail-oriented. Others will head for the trees. But as a group, they’re the most versatile skis we tested.

Blizzard Bonafide

Awards:

2013 Testers' Choice
2013 Official Selection

Dimensions: 133-98-113

MSRP: $850

Blizzard’s Free Mountain series blew up last year thanks to great engineering and performance. This season the big twin-tipped Gunsmoke joins the group. Jibbers, rejoice. It’s just what one would expect of Blizzard—a smooth and surfy pow ski with groomer chops, plus the ability to let its hair down and ski backward. Testers wore their thoughts in the form of shit-eating grins.

 

Salomon Rocker2 90

Awards:

2013 Testers' Choice
2013 Official Selection

Dimensions: 130-89-117

MSRP: $625

“My favorite Salomon ski of all time,” said one tester. “Turns the mountain into a playground,” said another. Salomon’s versatile new Rocker2 90 is truly an all-mountain ski. It has a plush, comfortable feel. It trenches deep, satisfying carves on groomed snow. And it smears on command. It’s so playful, it had us seeking out new, techie tree lines we shied away from while testing more unwieldy models. “A home run in the World Series of ski testing.” effused a third.

 

Dynastar Cham 87

Awards:

2013 Official Selection

Dimensions: 133-97-113

MSRP: $800

Dynastar throws down a challenge by entering an 87-mm waist in the Hard Snow category, where narrower waists can be expected to dominate. Predictably, it’s No. 1 in Flotation and Crud Performance, with surprisingly strong scores elsewhere. There are much better hard-snow carvers in the group, but if you hope to ski soft snow as well you’ll consider its rocker-smoothed off-piste versatility a plus. Wood-core, metal-free, “smooth and easy; at home in steep bumps.” Notes: Dynastar’s Outland series of skis uses a combination of mild tip and tail rocker mixed with a stout sidewall/cap construction to handle hard snow without sacrificing soft snow performance. The Outland 87 is the most advanced and deep-snow prone in the series.

 

WOMENS

 

Atomic Affinity Storm

Awards:

2013 Testers' Choice
2013 Official Selection

Dimensions: 130-84-109

MSRP: $879

Our hypercritical test crew found few faults in this Testers’ Choice winner. The broad, rockered shovel of the Affinity Storm initiated easily on hardpack and surfed over chalky bumps. Testers prized its quickness and its ability to snake through trees and crowded groomers. It responded best to a more centered stance, which allowed it to eat up the fall line with smeary swivels and two-footed carves. “This is a great option for a Rocky Mountain frontside ski or an Eastern one-ski quiver,” noted one tester. Look to the Affinity Storm for a moderate-waisted ski with supreme versatility.

 

Elan Zeal

Awards:

2013 Official Selection

Dimensions: 128-88-108

MSRP: $ 700

In a world where many women’s skis are flimsy, foam-cored toothpicks (none reviewed here, of course), the Zeal, with its durable and damp aluminum topsheet, offers a reassuring sturdiness and heft. That doesn’t mean it’s heavy, but it has the ovaries to battle through crud, slop, and chunder without hesitation. Plus, its smooth, round flex helps it glide between turns on hardpack.

Find these reviews and more in the print and tablet editions of Skiing's 2013 Gear Guide. Subscribe HERE or grab a copy at your local ski shop. Want your shop to carry them? Tell them to email us: editor@skiingmag.com.

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