Perhaps my biggest goal since joining Newschoolers (there are a couple of other big ones too), has been to make sure that all our gear coverage is honest, in-depth, and open to all brands, big or small. That is what we strive for with our Roofbox Reviews and our Editors' Picks, and I think we're doing a better job each year. Once again, we're last to the annual Editors' Picks party, and that's because I wanted to try to make sure every ski had a chance. Unfortunately, I got broken off before I could put in time on the Vishnu Wide, which looks like it will be a ton of fun, but we will have a Roofbox Review of those coming this season.
The term 'all-mountain ski' is used to describe a massive swathe of the ski market and what it means varies hugely depending on the target audience. For some, it means a 78 underfoot directional carver with a little tip rocker for 'float'. For others, it means skis like the Volkl Mantra, which allow you to charge in all conditions. But for us, all-mountain skis are those that you can throw on your feet no matter what kind of day it is and have fun. That means they're going to handle park days and be playful but stable when skiing the rest of the hill as well. For most of us, these are the skis that became our actual daily drivers. Without further ado, these are our picks:
Line Chronic - Twig
Do you like to ski the whole hill playfully but live somewhere it doesn't snow much? The Chronic is our pick for a harder snow focused all-mountain ski that still keeps it fun.
The Chronic has always been the flagship park ski for Line, but the new model sits more in the 'narrow all-mountain ski but still park capable' market space. The short radius and low swingweight combine to make these super quick and fun all over the hill, with generous camber and a nice poppy core generating tons of energy. That camber makes them a capable carving tool too despite a fairly soft, buttery flex pattern. However, the tips and tails are super low making the skis a bit prone to diving in soft snow and also to catching in tight transitions. The shape isn't the most conducive 5050s, surface swaps and nor to more swervy park skiing in general but they still do a decent job of most things in the park. I really enjoyed skiing them all over the hill and I liked them a lot on jumps, but I wouldn't pick them as a pure park ski. They are however perfect for the skier who likes to go out and shred around the resort while occasionally dabbling in the park. - Twig
4Frnt Devastator - Erica
The 4FRNT Devastator comes with full rocker and full (also longer) sidecut than our other picks, making it a different take on the all-mountain compromise. They aren't quite as naturally playful as the options but you can still have plenty of fun on them.
The 184 4FRNT Devastator is one of the most fun and versatile all-mountain skis I have ridden. The Devastator checks all the boxes when it comes to a one-ski quiver. It's quite playful for the jibby skier, and although I was wary at first, the softness in the tips and tails does not really hinder its ability to mob on groomers and through chunder. With a 108mm waist, they float through powder, and the long rocker keeps the tips from diving. If you’re more of a jibby type skier, I would suggest mounting at -3 or -2 from center rather than the recommended 5.3cm but I went with recommended. All in all, they are easy to maneuver, and if I had to choose one ski to take out every day, the Devastators are at the top of my list. - Erica
Check them out at : 4frnt.com
Armada ARV 106 - Twig
The ARV will appeal to people looking for a more playful, fun ski to jib it all: something with the DNA of a park ski but in a 106mm width.
They are less chargeable than the Kartel 108 and Devastator but they do have a slightly stiffer flex versus the previous version. That makes playing around, buttering and jibbing a touch more work but it also gives more energy coming out of butters versus the old ARV. The added taper makes the skis more comfortable buttering in pow and heavy slush despite being more solid overall. They also felt much more stable on jumps with hard landings. So, for better skiers, I think the ski now offers far more. Of this year's skis, these are my own 'I don't know where I'm going to be skiing so let's take a ski that does it all' ski and I'm a big fan. - Twig
ON3P Kartel 108 - Kretzschmar
The Kartel 108 is definitely the stiffest of our picks (and the heaviest) making it better suited to mixed snow than the ARV 106 but less easy to ski and spin as a result. Definitely one for more powerful skiers. In Matt's words:
"The Kartel 108 does it all. Jibbing, charging, and anything in-between really. It was an easy pick for the second consecutive year in our Editor's Choice for that reason. Crud, two feet of pow, puddles of spring slush, whatever you throw at the 108s, they will always win out. The 108s are stable enough to not wash out when you land a bit backseat on cliffs or that BC booter you and the boys built while the rocker profile allows plenty of pseudo-flexibility (they are really stiff, but there's so much rocker it doesn't stop you playing) when you want to do your best LSM impersonation on a Creation Nation-esque feature. It's one of the best skis I've ridden and I'll continue to ride it for years to come." - Kretzschmar