For the advanced woman, the All-Mountain East category is most likely the best place for her to hunt for her one-ski quiver. In our view, the 88mm-93mm 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. Blizzard’s Black Pearl 88 has sustained this delicate balancing act for several seasons, becoming the number one selling ski in America over that span. Its boffo box office inspired its competitors to raise their game in response, flooding the AME with more options for the advanced woman than any other genre.
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.
For in the final analysis, it’s the adaptability to a broad palette of conditions that makes 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-wasited ski has for a man, which is sufficient in all but the most luscious, bottomless conditions.