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.