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EpicSki › Buying Guides › All Mountain 50/50

All Mountain 50/50


This is a category that caters to the widest variety of skiers, primarily because it offers skis covering a bigger sweet spot for both on-piste and off-piste terrain. Usually with waist widths from the low 80's to roughly 100mm and significant varieties in rocker applications and flex patterns, the All Mountain ski can also be referred to as a "one ski quiver."
Lengths: 166,173,180,187
Dimensions: 133-98-188
The Bonafide for 2013 returns with a slight evolution in graphics. The Bonafide is the benchmark ski for me in the 98+/- category. With it's flip core and early rise tip and tail, the Bonafide is a fantastic ski on and off the trail. On the hardback, the Bone rolls up on edge as easy as almost any ski in this category. It is going to take a lot to dethrone this Blizzard as the reigning king of the 98mm skis. While there are some great skis on the 98 class and a good 5-6 that I would be happy to have on my feet, there is something about the Bonafide that makes the ski special.

The Bonafide could very well be the most versatile ski on the planet.
Lengths: 158, 168, 178, 188
Dimensions: 128-88-113
What can be said about the MX88 that hasn't already been said? Not much. But for 2013, Kastle tweaked what wasn't broken. On the new and improved MX88, the sidecut was evolved from a dual radius to an elliptical, keeping the identical dimensions, and the Hollowtech in the tip was enlarged. In skiing the outgoing model back to back with the new one, I had difficulty discerning the difference. Frankly, I don't care if there was a change or not, the MX88 is the best ski built. Period.

The best hard snow biased all mountain ski every built.
Lengths: 167, 174, 181
Dimensions: 125-85-111
The outgoing Magnum 8.7 was one of my favorite skis. I remember the first time I saw the 8.7 and flexed it. I knew it would be a great ski, a powerful wide body frontside carver. The new Flipcore skis are great in their own right. While the 8.7 could be skied off piste, it let you know that it wasn't its favorite terrain. The new Magnums immediately let you know that they are more comfortable in the crud and junk and are still happy on the groomers too. The Flipcore with its early rise tip AND tail just makes the new Magnums more fun.

Blizzard’s most versatile hard snow ski yet.
Lengths: 172, 180, 188
Dimensions: 139-98-128
Kudos to Rossignol for carrying over the Experience 98 into 2013 UNCHANGED – including the graphics. I really wish more manufacturers would keep graphics in line for two years, minimum. Of all the 98mm skis on the market, the E98 is very well the best hard snow biased of the bunch. If I lived in Sun Valley, this would be my ski of choice. I really like what Rossignol did with their Experience line, I like the shapes and the way that they hold on hard snow; they really ski like big GS skis, smooth and refined.

If you are looking for a 98mm ski with a hard snow bias, here ya go.
Lengths: 166, 176, 186
Dimensions: 128-94-117
Kastle doesn't make skis – which are essentially "tools" – Kastle makes instruments. The FX series, and specifically the 94, are some of the more anonymous skis offered. The MX's, RX's and even BMX's get all the press but the FX's are the black diamonds of the Kastle line (I will address the equally ignored LX's in their own review). But if you are looking for what could be the smoothest most refined ski offered, the FX94 is your choice. The FX's are very traditional in that they are a wood metal laminate with no early rise, no system bindings, no bars or beams, just pure function.

Smooth is too coarse of a word for the FX94.
Lengths: 159, 166, 173
Dimensions: 123-88-110
For the second year in a row I've skied the Black Pearl, not just in demos but nearly every time I went out. It seemed like she took everything I threw at her with a playful tenacity that you want in a ski like this. During a winter when we didn't have much snow, and even though the Black Pearl is not listed as a front side groomer ski, I found her groomer capabilities to be exceptionally good. She is still one of my favorite skis in the moguls, and inspires me to look for places to play off piste.

The Black Pearl is on my list of Hot Picks for 2 years in a row because she takes everything I give her and responds with the playful tenacity that makes me grin.
Lengths: 154, 162, 170
Dimensions: 135-88-124
When I made my first turn I was surprised by the quickness...I mean, really surprised.  After recovering from the shock of the first turn, I proceeded as usual on my test route. From short radius, medium radius, and long radius turns and back again, I was inspired to find some unforgiving terrain to play in and was not let down by the stability. If I were to pick one down side to the Temptation 88 it is that you need to be ready for its responsiveness.

If you're a female skier looking for performance and responsiveness in your daily driver, then you should get Tempted! 
Lengths: 154, 162, 170
Dimensions: 126-84-112
Replacing the Nordica Conquer, which was a system ski, the Wild Belle (men’s version is the Steadfast) is a great improvement over the Conquer, giving you feedback that may have been lost with the system binding. Wild Belle makes great transitions in turn shape and holds a decent edge on firm groomers, allowing you to play off piste with confidence.

I was a fan of the Conquer, and I’m an even bigger fan of the Wild Belle.
Lengths: 159, 166, 173
Dimensions: 128-84-112
I was wowed by the Black Pearl and was anxiously awaiting the arrival of her big sister. Imagine my excitement when I finally had a chance to ski the 2013 Samba and see what she was made of. What I didn't expect was the 98mm waisted ski railing the groomers as well as she loved playing in the moguls – and the fresh 18" of sierra powder that we were surprised with in mid January.

When a ski serves up an AH HAH moment that you've been looking for, the only thing left to do is Own It. That is why the Samba is my #1 Pick in 2013.
Lengths: 159,168
Dimensions: 128-95-117
With its adaptive rocker, this ski made it easy to initiate turns on the groomers, and get up on the moguls.  At 95mm under foot, it wasn’t the ideal groomer ski but it didn’t make you wish you weren’t on groomers either, all the while giving the vote of confidence to plow through crud and play in the light powder. This remains a great choice for a light weight woman who wants a one ski quiver with the intent of playing off piste most of the time.

The Atomic Elysian is a ski that can help you find your second wind when you’ve had a long day on the slopes and are skiing the whole mountain.


Comments (4)

Last year my wife got the Blizzard Black Pearl based on Trekchick's recommendation and they have worked out awesome! Katya improved on them last year and I think that they will continue to help her to improve this year as she becomes more aggressive.
Glad she found her RAWR!
The Bizzard Magnum sounds like it's worth a try for me. I feel like I've grown past my Apache Xs. The only question is what size? I'm 5'10 and 200 (ugh). I am a level 7. Hopefully, I can demo them. I ski mostly in the NE.
I love my viva 8.1s.....sounds like I need the black pearls too!!!
EpicSki › Buying Guides › All Mountain 50/50