2022 Men’s All-Mountain East Skis

2022 Men’s All-Mountain East Skis

The “East” modifier is meant to imply that this narrower collection (85mm-94mm) of All-Mountain skis is a match for skiers who go on groomed trails most of the time but want the freedom to foray into the untamed backside of the mountain when conditions merit.  The cream of this crop have settled on a waist width between 88mm and 94mm underfoot, creating a very versatile profile that qualifies for the “All-Mountain” moniker.  Some brands differentiate their “88” from their “98” (All-Mountain West) model by making the former in a less burly construction that will slip into a slightly lower price point.  They make excellent “re-entry” skis for consumers who have been out of the ski market for several years.

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Bear in mind that only a decade ago a ski 90mm underfoot, such as the Salomon Pocket Rocket, was presumed to be a pure powder ski.  This collection has no such pretensions in a market inundated by an avalanche of skis over 2cm wider – and therefore inherently that much more buoyant – at the waist. But if a 88mm board could float just fine in boot-top powder in 2003 it can manage the feat in 2020, and the best of today’s crowded field don’t care what the snow condition is.


Digging deeper into this genre’s make-up, it’s divided along behavioral lines into two bundles: the friendly, easy-going rides versus the high-performance, Type-A personalities.  The former are accessible to almost any skill level and as such are great transition skis for those caught in intermediate limbo. At this width they are easy to balance on yet retain most of the properties of Technical skis so they still cut a precise arc when so instructed.  The latter, high-energy bunch either require elite skills or are best appreciated by those who know how to occasionally achieve a high edge angle and/or drive a directional ski over 40mph.

The 2022 Men’s All-Mountain East Field


The All-Mountain East family is a polyglot lot that can be divided into two camps: wide carvers that sit atop a family of Frontside models and narrow off-piste models, which have come to dominate the genre. Every sort of snow connection imaginable is on display, from fully cambered to double rockered. Despite the wide range of design diversity, all AME models purport to solve the same problem: creating an all-terrain tool that is equally happy off piste or on.

Think of the AME field as the Compromise Category, not quite as precise as Frontside skis on hard snow nor as surfy as Big Mountain models in powder, but built to perform ably in either circumstance. None of the diverse 2022 field (28 unisex models examined by our test panel) strikes the perfect, 50/50 balance between hard and soft snow performance as each retains a slight bias depending on the traits of the larger family of models to which it belongs.

Because off-trail baselines earn higher marks forgiveness than for steering accuracy, the AME genre is lopsided in favor of Finesse skis. Of the six new models debuting this season, five are Finesse skis and the sixth, Liberty’s evolv 90, was a Finesse ski last season before Liberty gave it an additional rib that tipped it into the Power roster.

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The largest contributors to the already bloated ranks of the All-Mountain East category were Rossignol and Atomic. Rossi’s new Experience series – a brand mainstay seemingly since forever – is headlined by the EXP 86 Ti and EXP 86 Basalt. The new Experience models are meant to provide an “all-resort” experience that’s a better fit with today’s mountain visitor. Atomic’s Maverick 88 Ti and 86 C comprise the bottom half of its new Maverick series of all-mountain models. While the Maverick 88 Ti’s Power scores were decidedly higher than the 86 C’s (as one would expect), the latter will retail for decidedly less, making it one of the year’s outstanding values.

The other newbies were Kästle’s FX86 Ti, a traditional glass and Titanal laminate with a lighter weight poplar/Paulownia core, and the aforementioned Liberty evolv 90, freshly re-minted as a Power ski by dint of a new 3-strut version of its Vertical Metal Technology. Of the top 13 models in the genre in total score, only two – the Maverick 88 Ti and evolv 90 – are new this season.

Any skier beyond entry-level ability should consider adopting an AME model as his or her one-ski quiver. There are a great many forgiving models in this field, ideal for masking the technical foibles of weekend warriors. There are also a slew of powerhouses that should appeal to advanced and expert skiers with a full skill set. No matter where you fall along the Power/Finesse divide, you’ll find your match in a category with more flavors than Baskin Robbins.

As we’ve mentioned every year since its introduction, the Völkl Kendo 88 deserves special mention for re-setting the performance bar for its generation. Every technology has a width, baseline and flex that optimize its benefits; Völkl’s innovative Titanal Frame and 3D Sidecut found their sweet spot in the Kendo 88. This category is all about handling mixed conditions. While one could argue that any of our top four Power Picks might be its match in this regard, none can claim to be its better.

If you’re one of the many lapsed skiers who are returning to the sport after a long lay-off, the All-Mountain East genre is probably the best place to shop for a ski that embodies the best of current technology without feeling weird or unnatural to an Old School skier returning to the skiing fold.

Power Picks: High-Geared & Gifted

The better your ability, the more you’ll appreciate one of our Power Picks. Not that one has to be a flawless technical skier, but there’s not much point in saddling up a Power ski unless one has the talents to extract its best behaviors. If honest self-appraisal suggests that you might be more into recreation than perfection, you’ll find a better match among the plentiful supply of Finesse winners.

But if you have the talent, boy, are you in for a treat. Our Power Picks are crazy versatile, up for any turn shape at any velocity from puttering to pedal-to-the-metal. Best of all, they’re ready for any snow condition from knee-deep to boilerplate. They turn the entire mountain into an all-you-can-eat buffet. Bon appétit.

Völkl Kendo 88



In last year’s review of the Kendo 88 we predicted that it would be Ski of the Year and indeed it was, both for Realskiers and many other pundits. The quality that continues to distinguish the Kendo 88 from a very strong field is that it seems able to raise its game in every circumstance. No matter how or where the skilled pilot asks it to stretch its performance limits – go faster, react quicker, ride quieter, dice up bumps or cruise groomage – the Kendo 88 handles it all in stride.

The single most important quality an all-mountain ski can possess is total indifference to terrain selection. On this score, the Kendo 88 has no peer. It transitions from wind-affected crud to crisp corduroy as if those two conditions were the same. On hard snow, it’s so quick to the edge the skier can’t even tell it’s rockered and it’s so stable in crud you can relax, drop the reins and let the boys run.

The Kendo 88 uses a “3D Radius Sidecut” with a long radius forebody, a tight shape in the midsection and longest radius in the rear. This allows it to behave like a GS cruiser at relatively low edge angles and morph in a moment to a snappy SL when its tilted and pressured. An energetic turn finish isn’t unique to the Kendo 88, but it’s nonetheless a relatively rare commodity in today’s market.

Read the full review here


Kästle MX88



The Kästle MX88 has been around long enough – over a decade – to be secure in its own identity.  It does not lack for self-confidence. When confronted with a surface that would cause most double-rockered baselines to quake, the nearly fully cambered MX88 yawns.  You can almost hear it say, “That all ya got?”

The MX88 never wavers because it has the bravado that comes from knowing it’s ready down to the last detail.  Its constituent elements check all the boxes of elite design: an all-wood, poplar and beech core encased in a glass and Titanal sandwich, with a dash of extra damping.  In Kästle’s case, it’s hard to miss the bonus shock-absorbing element, as its signature Hollowtech tip, now in its third iteration, can be ID’d from 100 meters.

There are some skis in the AME genre that do all they can to keep the tip off the snow; the MX88 is obsessed with the opposite concern, how to maintain contact over a rumpled surface that defies it.  Its natural camber line extends almost to the shovel, where the Hollowtech insert suppresses low frequency shocks before they get any fancy ideas about disrupting edge contact at the top of the turn. There are a couple of other models in the All-Mountain East segment that belong to carving-centric clans – RC One 86 GT at Fischer and V-Shape 10 from Head come to mind – but these are outliers in a culture of loosey-goosey baselines.

Read the full review here

Blizzard Brahma 88



The only negative comment I can summon regarding the Brahma 88 is, it’s no Black Pearl.

That remark requires a bit of explanation. You see, the Blizzard Black Pearl 88 has set sales records no other women’s ski may ever match, having outsold every men’s ski on the U.S. market for four years running. (Its reign most likely ended last year, but don’t let that fact interfere with my story.) The original Black Pearl was identical to the original Brahma, save for two sheets of Titanal.  It actually had an identical twin in the launch unisex collection, the Kabookie, which earned its own following as a hybrid in-resort/backcountry ski.

Point being, the most popular ski in America and the Brahma 88 were once cut from the same cloth; since then, the Black Pearl went on to make a for-women/by-women version that they could barely keep in stock, while the Brahma 88, despite the laurels laid at its feet by reviews like the one you’re reading, hasn’t achieved the same measure of success.

Read the full review here

Stöckli Stormrider 88



Back in the early 2000’s, when I was ski testing for SKI magazine, it seemed to me that every Stöckli I essayed cut a beeline for the base lodge, like a high-strung Super G that wanted to win every run. To this day, most Stöcklis still have a higher speed ceiling than normal, but they no longer all ski the same. Even within the Stormrider family, where all models are meant to mind their manners in problematic off-trail conditions, their personality differences are as sharply defined as their commonalities.  In other words, the Stormrider 95 and Stormrider 88 don’t ski like twins with different waistlines; each is its own animal, despite all their shared DNA.

In a head-to-head comparison with the Stormrider 95, the Stormrider 88 comes off as the lesser ski, literally, in trait after trait.  In a drift, it has less surface area, so it can be tripped up by slop piles the 95 planes over.  On a high edge, it has less torsional rigidity (due to its proportionately narrower Ti laminates), so it’s missing a smidgeon of grip on hard snow. When fully loaded and laid over – a position many Stöcklis call home – it’s not quite as energetic off the edge. The SR 95 even feels a tad quicker in short, sharply edged arcs, where you’d think the SR 88 would prevail. And the SR 95 seems as easy to steer from a centered stance as it does when the pilot is loading the tip, a position the SR 88 seems to prefer.

Read the full review here

Liberty evolv 90 NEW!



Little Liberty out of Avon, Colorado distinguished itself from scores of other small-batch brands when it made two momentous decisions a few years ago, one commercial, one technical.  On the brand-building front, it opted to establish a viable network of specialty shops, despite all the hassle and expense compared to selling direct to the consumer. On the technical, ski-building side of the business, it created a new design that used vertical aluminum struts, in lieu of horizontal sheets of Titanal, to dampen vibration and maintain snow connection.

Vertical Metal Technology was first applied in a dual-strut format to a 3-model V Series for the 18/19 season. For a brand that had built a following for its lightweight, bamboo and carbon cores in fat, freeride dimensions, the slender V skis with their hard-snow, fall-line orientation were a considerable departure.

Leaping forward to this year, VMT is still an important part of the Liberty line, which is more than can be said for the V Series. While the pioneer VMT series had several admirable qualities, the market never embraced Liberty as a carving ski provider. So, the savvy lads who run Liberty applied a 3-strut VMT to the already established all-mountain series, evolv. The new evolv 90 sits in the middle of the 3-model evolv series (the other evolv models are the 84 and 100) where it serves as the centerpiece, literally and figuratively, for the evolv family.

Read the full review here

Fischer RC One 86 GT



The Fischer RC One 86 GT is to all intents and purposes a hard-snow carving specialist with a waist just plump enough to put it in the company of a bunch of all-terrain generalists. In an effort to blend in, the RC One 86 GT has a tiny splay of tip rocker, and a tail rocker so tiny it should be called a rockette.

This masquerade lasts only as long as it takes to get the ski on the snow, where there’s no disguising its tip-to-tail connection.  A 175cm seems like plenty of ski even at the upper reaches of the recreational speed range, which its ultra-supportive edge invites one to inhabit.  You can set it to reel off medium-radius turns with the unalterable precision of a metronome. “Solid and rhythmic,” enthused Jan’s Jack Walzer after taking the RC One 86 GT for a spin.

Mark Rafferty of Peter Glenn filed this report after skiing the 86 GT in spring conditions at Squaw Valley. “A fun, strong entry in Fischer’s carve-oriented family of skis. I could feel the strength of the ski’s construction as I angled it for fast, high-g turns. It held great in icy conditions early in the morning and sliced through slushy snow after conditions softened. Fast or slow, the ski kept me in control in a most invigorating fashion.”


Read the full review here

Nordica Enforcer 88



The Nordica Enforcer 88 belongs on any list of the Ultimate 88’s.  It looks like a shrunken Enforcer 100, but the truth is closer to the other way around: the current Enforcer 100 is based on the Energy 2 Ti construction of the Enforcer 88.  Neither characterization is entirely accurate, as Nordica knew when it created the 88 that it would spend more of its life on groomers, so it tailored the Enforcer 88’s design accordingly. One could make a strong case that, when all factors, such as a skier’s skill, sex, preferred terrain and turn shape are considered, the Enforcer 88 is probably the most versatile Enforcer of them all.

For anyone who loves a short-radius carve or whose heart beats a little faster at the prospect of moguls, tight trees or the two in tandem, there’s no question the 88 is the pick of the Enforcer litter.  Its oddly abrupt front rocker might make you suspicious it’ll be a floaty, disconnected smear stick. But it isn’t the 88’s Persian slipper shovel that controls its performance, whether on piste or off, but the pronounced camber zone that lies right behind it. Once you’re rolling on hard pack, you don’t notice the tip, but as soon as you’re off-trail, you’ll be glad you have it out in front, softening the blows delivered by choppy conditions.

Read the full review here

Finesse Favorites: The Friendly Fraternity

Our Finesse Favorites are dedicated to making life easier for their owners. They don’t require a high edge angle to be responsive and flex under relatively light pressure. Unlike most of the Power Picks, they don’t need to run at high rpm’s to elicit their best behavior. Most of our Finesse Favorites are built with an off-trail bias, with double rockered baselines and tapered tips, which facilitate the development of off-piste technique. The umbrella trait of all our Recommended choices is forgiveness, providing off-trail access without penalty.

Head Kore 93 NEW!



Dear Readers, please welcome back to the top of the AME Finesse podium, the Kore 93 from Head. Three years ago, we anointed the Kore 93 as our All-Mountain East Ski of the Year, a title it richly deserved. In the intervening years, it slipped a tad in our tallies as testers’ attention turned to newer and shinier toys. This year, a modest modification to midsection gave a few of our testers an excuse to revisit the Kore 93; upon further review, we can reconfirm it’s not just the lightest ski in the genre, it’s also one of the very best at any weight.

It’s rare in the little ski world for one brand to have a materials edge over the field, as almost all key components come from a few, well-known sources. But Head acquired a license to use the Nobel Prize-winning material Graphene™, which it first deployed in its tennis division and soon after introduced the Joy line of women’s models, the first skis to use Graphene as their primary structural element and the only line of women’s models created from scratch, without using a single unisex model as a template.

It took a few years for Head engineers to get around to creating the off-trail Kore series; by that time, they already knew a lot about how best to use it. (When you’re the only brand using a new material, there aren’t any precedents to follow.) The boffo success of the Kore series changed Head’s presence in the off-trail, freeride sector overnight. Can you name a single model it displaced in the Head line? I didn’t think so.

Read the full review here

Nordica Enforcer 94



The Enforcer 94 gets a new number to underscore that it’s an entirely new ski, and not just an exercise in relabeling. Whenever a brand invests in new molds it represents an opportunity to re-examine every detail. For the Enforcer 94, this meant creating five new sizes, each with a unique baseline and sidecut. Adjusting the rocker/camber intersections for every length results in a ski that feels fully cambered, its abrupt but brief rocker zones solid and unflappable, both literally and figuratively speaking.

I’m not sure if the Enforcer 94 can actually confer expert status on anyone who steps into a pair, but it sure won’t hold anyone back. It’s a nearly perfect ski in that a lateral drift or trench-cutting carve is immediately accessible at all times. Every movement feels intuitive, unforced and integrated with the flow of the mountain.

It’s hard to pigeonhole the Enforcer 94 as a specialist at any one thing, for it has the chameleonesque ability to be whatever its pilot wants it to be. The key to its mutability is how mindlessly simple it is to transition from a crisp edge to a friction-free drift. This facility is what makes the Enforcer 94 to masterful in any terrain, from brittle hardpack to fluffy powder and every crud-junk-chowder consistency in between. It’s the epitome of an all-terrain tool.

Read the full review here

Salomon QST 92



Let the record show that no ski made as giant a leap forward last year as the Salomon QST 92.  In its two earlier incarnations it barely met our Recommended minimum standards, hanging by a thread on the tail end of the Finesse ski standings. Now it resides near the top of our Finesse rankings, and the result is no fluke.

When Salomon introduced the QST line, it needed to hit multiple price points, so the wider skis got the best tech while the lower-priced QST 92 was built less expensively. In 2020, the QST 92 got the same treatment as its wider mates, the QST 99 and QST 106, and the difference was evident from the first edge set.

The current QST 92 has more of everything you want – edging power on trail, a better shape for off-trail, a more solid platform – and less of what you don’t want: tip chatter, indifferent grip, overall looseness. Salomon pulled off this coup by reconfiguring how it used its primary components, flax, basalt and, of course, carbon. The basalt and carbon are woven together in an end-to-end matrix, while the flax gets its own mat directly underfoot. An all-poplar core is reinforced by a patch of Titanal in the mid-section and finished with new cork inserts in the tip and tail.

Read the full review here

Atomic Maverick 88 Ti



Depending on where and how you ski, the Maverick 88 Ti may be the best of the top 3 models in the new all-mountain series from Atomic, despite residing on the lowest rung of the pricing ladder.  It arcs the best short-radius turns of the bunch despite a mid-radius sidecut that’s equally comfortable when allowed to run for the barn. Its tail is supportive without being flashy, gradually releasing its grip as it crosses the turn transition.

As the narrowest of the Maverick Ti trio, the 88 Ti is the best fit for today’s arrhythmic bumps, and its ability to access a short arc in a jiffy is a huge asset in the trees.  When I let it run on a long, gradual ballroom on the sunny side of Mt. Rose, it remained predictable and trustworthy as I raked up the edge angle, banking off a receptive layer of solar-softened cream.  Its baseline is more cambered than its siblings (15/75/10), so there’s a longer platform under the pilot in all conditions, without sacrificing its ability to swivel a turn in a pinch.

I’m not sure I would have been so confident on a surface much steeper and harder; after all, the Maverick 88 Ti is, in concept and execution, an off-trail ski.  It’s ready and willing to smear at all times, although its secure edge is always there for the summoning should circumstances change on the fly. Its tips would prefer that the snow find it, rather than the other way around. This makes it a hero in spring snow, where its rockered forebody can buffer the blows delivered by ever-softening conditions. Bear in mind, it earned its highest marks for forgiveness and other Finesse traits, so it shines on softer surfaces.

Read the full review here

Kästle FX86 Ti


I ski the Kästle MX83 on a regular basis, so I can’t help judging the FX86 Ti by the standard set by its stablemate. It’s not a fair comparison, because the two skis are aiming at different targets.  They don’t ski much alike because they’re made to ski differently.  Let us count the ways.

Starting from the tips, the MX83’s full camber line is made to connect as early as possible, while the tapered and well-rockered (280mm) tip of the FX86 Ti is meant to do just the opposite.  Both use Hollowtech 3.0, Kästle’s signature damping device, but the FX86 Ti starts off as a looser construction, so it doesn’t feel as quiet as the MX83.

Moving to the middle of the ski, both models use a wood core and lots of Titanal in a combination Kästle calls Tri Ti, but the two constructions are subtly and importantly different.  The FX86 Ti uses poplar, beech and Paulownia – Kästle claims it’s the only three-wood core extant – but shapes it by making it thinner over the edge, reducing enough weight in wood to allow Kästle to add more Titanal while still keeping its overall mass below that of the MX83.  The changes make the FX86 Ti’s edge more supple, matching the mood set by the ski’s relatively low camber.

Read the full review here

Salomon Stance 90

 If you digest all the brochure copy expended on All-Mountain East models, you’ll find somewhere in every model description that it’s a “50/50” model, meaning it’s equally suited to skiing on-trail or off. What this seemingly innocuous shorthand term for a versatile ski masks is that no ski can ever truly be half-and-half, for every model is part of a design family that ‘s inherently biased to one side of the mountain or the other.

This prelude explains why Salomon felt compelled to create a second off-trail line, named Stance, when they already had a successful freeride series in the QST’s. The latter are unmistakably meant for the off-piste, while the Stance 90 tilts the 50/50 equation in favor of Frontside features, beginning with two sheets of Titanal and a shallower sidecut with a more slender silhouette that’s quicker edge to edge. Its square tail in particular is appreciably narrower than the norm in the AME genre, which keeps its orientation down the fall line.

The impression of quickness off the edge is enhanced by its lightweight design that in fact weighs less than the QST 92 and far less than Salomon’s Frontside flagship, the S/Force Bold. Its lightweight structure certainly contributed to our testers giving it higher aggregate scores for Finesse properties versus Power attributes, the only one of our top eight Recommended models to do so.

Read the full review here

Head Kore 87


How can a ski as narrow-waisted as the Kore 87 come across as the most versatile ski in its wide-body family? After all, the Kore collection is 100% an off-trail creation; its avatar should be the new Kore 111, not this string bean.

The improbable polyvalence of the Kore 87 is partly explained by a sleight of hand Head pulled off in the make-up of the narrowest Kore models in the 21/22 line. Taking advantage of Graphene’s ability to affect flex without a commensurate effect on mass, Head beefed up the Kore 87 to account for the certainty that it will spend much of its life on groomers. Its power quotient might have gone up a tick this year with the substitution of poplar and Karuba for Koroyd, which subtly enhanced its feedback on hard snow.

The improvements made to the Kore’s capacities on hard snow don’t seem to have diminished its inherent talent for off-trail travel. This is when the Kore 87 shines, for they can be moved around on a whim. The sidecut is fairly straight underfoot, so it’s simple to swivel, an action made even more greasy by a new, beveled top edge that slices sideways without resistance. But the primary contributor to the Kore 87’s ease of operation off-trail is its ethereal light weight. An energy reserve that would otherwise sputter out before noon can last until tea time.

Read the full review here

Blizzard Rustler 9


 The fraternal relationship between Blizzard’s two All-Mountain East entries, the elder brother Brahma 88 and its upstart sibling, the Rustler 9, encapsulates the contrasting cast of characters that populate this crossroads category.  While both skis belong to off-trail families, their personalities couldn’t be more different than, well, two brothers.

The Brahma 88 is the Type A personality that exudes strength and resolve. For a ski with a double-rockered baseline, it handles like a technical ski that’s accurate in every phase of a turn. Its baby bro, the Rustler 9, is not interested in following its elder’s tracks. Its comparatively loose, tapered tip wants to party. The Titanal laminate just below its topskin restores order underfoot, but nothing can suppress its youthful exuberance.

Scott Sahr from Aspen Ski and Board identified the Rustler 9’s topline traits when it debuted several seasons ago: “Light, easy to change turn shape, with perfect playfulness/stability ratio. Also, rocker is not over done; good loft with minimal tip vibrations.” Bob Gleason from Boot Doctors in Telluride gave the same diagnosis: “Notice the light feel and ease in directional change and quickness,” says the ever-ebullient Bob. “Does a delightful dance through the bumps and tight places. Best for the intermediate to lower level advanced,” prescribes Dr. Gleason.

Read the full review here

Head V-Shape 10



It may seem odd for a modern brand to have two full lines of carving skis in its collection, but Head lives in carving country, central Europe, where linked, dual-track arcing has a robust following. Head embraced carving as its central ideology when it introduced the Cyber series in the mid-1990’s, and it’s never lost its allegiance to the carving cause.  And Head has a license to use Graphene, giving its engineers the means and the motive to create a light carving series to go along with its already well-established band of beefy, Supershape trench diggers.

With Graphene in its arsenal, Head has embraced lightweight design with the fervor it once brought to the early carving craze. The unapologetic objective of the V-Shape series is to create the lightest on-piste design possible.  There are still traditional elements in the V-Shape 10, such as carbon, fiberglass and ash alongside Karuba in its wood core, but it’s Graphene that makes its LYT Tech construction possible.

The obvious point about the V-Shape 10’s LYT Tech design is it’s much lighter than the norm among men’s Frontside models. But the big trick in LYT Tech’s bag is how it uses Graphene to change one of a ski’s most fundamental features, its core profile.

Read the full review here

Rossignol Experience 86 Basalt



The Experience collection – EXP, for short – has formed the commercial core of the Rossignol collection for as long as memory serves.  As originally conceived, the Experience family served the large population of skiers with aspirations of all-terrain skiing who spent most of their time on the groomed, frontside of the mountain. It was the one product family that served the entire ability spectrum, from never-ever to accomplished expert.

Please indulge a brief stroll down memory lane, as it serves as an instructive backdrop to the new EXP series.  At the top of the first Experience family was the E98, sporting two full sheets of Titanal around an all-wood core. It was as torsionally stiff as rebar and took no guff from any terrain, from diamond-hard boilerplate to clumpy crud.  It was every cm an experts-only ski.  Many of our members stil revere it, I’m sure.

But the star of the line, in terms of sales, was never the E98, or its successor, the Experience 100, but the next step down in the line, the E88. Without the burly Titanal laminates, the E88 was more playful and easier for less skilled skiers to have their way with. I don’t know what the actual sales figures are, but in its heyday the E88 had to be one of the best-selling skis on the American market.

Read the full review here

Atomic Maverick 86 C 



Lest there be any confusion, the new Atomic Maverick 86 C didn’t crack our Recommended ranks because it’s a great ski. It earned our appreciation because it’s a remarkably good deal at its target retail of $499, a price plateau mostly populated by dreck.  Atomic has made a habit out of making a superior carbon ski with an 86mm footprint, going back to its first Vantage series. The Maverick 86 C continues in this grand tradition.

I learned more about the Maverick 86 C’s capabilities than I intended to when I stepped into a pair during a Peter Glenn demo event at Squaw Valley last March.  I was just in time to join a group taking an end-to-end mountain tour led by Jonny Moseley. Moseley and I were already well acquainted, going back to the days when I recruited him to ski for Head.  I wasn’t going to miss the chance to spend some time with Jonny, no matter what skis were on my feet.

So, off I went on an excursion that included more than the usual dose of moguls, for obvious reasons. I was gob smacked by how well the doughty little (176cm) Maverick could snake through bumps, its loosely connected tips smoothly sliding over the tops and soft flex helping it slither through troughs.  When it was time to gallop back to the lift, the tail was supportive enough to be stable within the normal recreational speed range.

Read the full review here

K2 Mindbender 90Ti



K2 completely changed every core model in its 19/20 line, without straying one centimeter from its core values. True, the Mindbenders are built differently than the Pinnacles of yesteryear, using all wood cores in their Ti incarnations (say ta-ta to Nano-tech), and more Titanal in the tail section to increase rear support compared to the passé Pinnacles.

Even though the Mindbender Ti series, of which the 90Ti is the narrowest, aims for a better class of skier (if you’ll pardon the expression), they’re not so stout they can’t be controlled by adventurous intermediates. The Mindbenders’ Ti Y-Beam construction puts Titanal over the edge in the forebody but moves it away from edge in the tail. This adjusts the skis’ torsional rigidity requirements to create more bite in the forebody and easier release of the tail, without affecting their even, balanced flex longitudinally.

Light and responsive to a gentle hand on the reins, the Mindbender 90Ti may at first blush feel a tad too loose in the tip to trust at warp speed, but it proves trustworthy if given a chance to run at high rpms. An elevated platform connected to the core by its robust sidewall gives the Mindbender 90 Ti turbo power when rolled on edge. “It turns the way you ask it to and holds with confidence on hardpack,” attests Ward Pyles from Peter Glenn. “Great all-mountain,” confirms the concise Karl Jacobson from Jan’s.

Read the full review here