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.
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. Many American women must agree, for they made Blizzard’s Black Pearl 88 the best-selling model four straight years. The Pearl’s success no doubt inspired the competition to up its game, resulting in a market over-stuffed with options.
The Women’s All-Mountain East genre is a crossroads category, where the DNA of skinny Frontside models mingles with that of the skinniest members of an off-trail tribe. For a category that professes to present “50/50” models that are equally at home on piste or off, the WAME is almost entirely comprised of skis descended from a fatter archetype.
Because the Women’s All-Mountain East category is so popular, brands want to load it up with as many models as they can. There are often two or three tiers of the retail price spectrum represented, so women have more value-priced options.
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-waisted ski has for a man, which is sufficient in all but the most luscious, bottomless conditions.