For the advanced woman, the All-Mountain East category is most likely the best place for her to hunt for the one-ski quiver. In our view, the 88mm-90mm waisted ski possesses the optimal surface area and shape to deliver adequate flotation in broken snow without creating a ski so wide that tipping it on hard snow potentially puts the knee joint at risk. The more petite the person, the more this prescription pertains.

Most of our top picks are remarkably balanced, meaning they deliver outstanding performance yet are eerily easy to ski. For example, our top Finesse Favorite of 2018, the Nordica Santa Ana 93, also earned the top score for Power properties, which speaks volumes about its performance/ability range. When we factor in the terrain versatility the archetypical All-Mountain East provides, we’re led to the conclusion that for many female skiers, East or West, these skis bring the best bundle of behaviors to the all-terrain party.

In the final analysis, it’s the adaptability to a broad palette of conditions that make the All-Mountain East genre the home of do-it-all ski for women. Thanks to their shape and fairly svelte mid-section, they carve up groomed runs with aplomb. While they’re not as quick edge-to-edge as a slalom ski, they’re plenty nimble enough to snake through bumps or slip through trees. Of course they can’t float in freshies they same way a fatter ski can, but how many runs do you get in uncut snow, even on snow days? They have as much flotation for the average woman as a 98mm-waisted ski has for a man, which is sufficient in all but the most luscious, bottomless conditions.

The 2018 Women’s All-Mountain East Field

No doubt about it, the All-Mountain East field has become the most important category for the female skier. Women, like men in this instance, usually begin their ski careers on a Frontside model, as that’s what’s offered in the low-cost package ski and rental markets. When they’re ready to step up and get serious about their skiing, this is where they should look for their first quality ski.

Every year the choices in the AME genre keep improving, allowing skiers of all abilities, from timorous intermediates to hair-on-fire experts, find their perfect ski. This year, for the first time in several seasons, women who prefer the stability and power that only Titanal provides have more than a field of one from which to choose. We predict great things for Nordica’s new Santa Ana 93, a true all-terrain talent. Other new or substantially improved models to keep an eye this season are the refreshed Black Pearl, Head’s Wild Joy, the Kästle LX85 and Rossi’s revised Temptation 88 HD.