Big sticks for ladies who aren't afraid to get in deep.

The 98mm waist has been the little black dress for years. While many brands are trending towards narrower options, these skis are still the Queens of the West, and know a thing or two about flotation.

Women's All-Mountain Skis at a Glance

  • What: Bigger boards that are still playful, damp, and know how to turn.
  • Who: Ladies who find themselves in deep, soft snow more often than not.
  • Where: Every inch of terrain in the Rockies and the West Coast, including skin tracks.

BEST IN TEST: Blizzard Black Pearl 98

Blizzard Black Pearl 98 Women's All-Mountain Wide Ski

This ski knifes, but it will also chill and let you enjoy the view. The 98 (formerly the Samba) got a nip and tuck last year to make it lighter and stronger, and testers love it more than ever. The Pearl is the directional option in Blizzard’s freeride line, with a solid, predictable feel. (For more slarve and playfulness, go with the Sheevas.) Weave through trees, suck up bumps, float through pow, or trench on groomed—there is nothing this ski won’t do. Beekman: “Smooth, solid, never punishing.” Read more about the Blizzard Black Pearl 98 here.

  • Strength: Balance of Skills, Overall Impression; Weakness: Flotation
  • Overall Rating: 4.19 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 135-98-119
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 152, 159, 166, 173
  • Radius (in meters): 15
  • MSRP: $720 (BUY NOW)

Elan Ripstick 94 W

Elan Ripstick 94W Women's All-Mountain Wide Ski

First, we love the uniform name for both genders’ models—less confusing and we don’t have to suffer names European dudes think American women like. Second, the Ripstick is the most aptly named of them all. No. 1 in Quickness, this ski lives to be on edge—just think about turning and it instantly lays over. Thanks to an innovative Tubelight Wood Core and Vapor Tip inserts, it’s lightweight and forgiving, yet the ski has plenty of backbone to stand on and give ’er. Ambrogi-Yanson: “Turns on a dime.” Check out the details of the Elan Ripstick 94 W here.

  • Strength: Quickness, Hard-Snow Integrity; Weakness: Flotation
  • Overall Rating: 4.16 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 135-94-110
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 156, 163, 170, 177
  • Radius (in meters): 15
  • MSRP: $750 (BUY NOW)

K2 Fulluvit 95 TI

K2 Fullovit 95 All-Mountain Wide Ski

Easy, fun, energetic, eager to please—this ski bounds down the hill like a Labrador Retriever. A women-specific BioKonic core places denser materials and metal around the edges while keeping the center light, making it brawny enough for experts yet über-forgiving for the lesser skilled. Testers found it to be an ideal soft-snow one-ski quiver for most of the market—No. 1 in Flotation, Forgiveness, and Playfulness—but it might not have enough bite in it for East Coast ex-racer types. “Fun for everyone,” said Humes. Read on about the K2 Fulluvit 95 TI here.

  • Strength: Forgiveness; Weakness: Hard-Snow Integrity
  • Overall Rating: 4.06 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 132-95-115
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 156, 163, 170
  • Radius (in meters): 14
  • MSRP: $800 (BUY NOW)

Nordica Santa Ana 100

Head Great Joy Women's All-Mountain Wide Ski

The Santa Ana 100 hums with a quiet, subtle power and silently slays whatever lies in its path. It’s confident, stuck to the snow, and far too well-bred to show off. With a lightweight wood core and carbon laminate sandwiched between two sheets of metal, it leads firmly and responds to your input—venturing wherever you want to go. It’s the widest in the category and prefers softer snow. Good for both powerful rippers and light-touch finessers. Bremner: “A pro at all things.” Read more about the Nordica Santa Ana 100.

  • Strength: Crud Performance; Weakness: Hard-Snow Integrity
  • Overall Rating: 3.98 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 131-100-119
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 153, 161, 169, 177
  • Radius (in meters): 15.5
  • MSRP: $799 (BUY NOW)

Kästle FX95

Kästle FX95 Women's All-Mountain Wide Ski

This ski is baller. Made in Austria and designed with Chris Davenport for big mountain freeride and couloir shredding, the FX95 is an all-mountain one-ski quiver ski for women who rip. A bullet train on the groomed, a tank through crud, and a waterfall through bumps and trees, it performs everywhere with grace, power, and that smooth Kästle feel. It has a wood core sandwiched in fiberglass, early rise tips and tails, and moderate camber underfoot. “Definitely a luxury model,” said Gibbons. Check out the details for the Kästle FX95 here.

  • Strength: Stability at Speed, Crud Performance; Weakness: Flotation
  • Overall Rating: 3.92 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 126-95-115
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 157, 165, 173, 181, 189
  • Radius (in meters): 16
  • MSRP: $1,049 (BUY NOW)

Armada Trace 98

Armada Trace98 W Women's All-Mountain Wide Ski

So. Much. Fun. The 98 was designed for tourability with downhill power: a lightweight wood core has Titanal reinforcements underfoot and damping Xrystal Mesh fabric throughout. A rockered nose hunts for fresh, but when things get spicy the cambered midsection and flat tail holds cleanly and securely, urging you to mash the gas. It feels more directional than surfy, more lively than damp, and far more sophisticated than the jibbers of Armada’s past. “A great blend of liveliness and stability,” said Gibbons. Read more about the Armada Trace 98 here.

  • Strength: Quickness; Weakness: Stability at Speed
  • Overall Rating: 3.88 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 127-98-119
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 156, 164, 172
  • Radius (in meters): 17
  • MSRP: $775 (BUY NOW)

BEST VALUE: Atomic Vantage 97 C W

Best Value: Atomic Vantage 97C W Women's All-Mountain Wide Ski

The new Vantage 97 C W has the same featherweight Prolite core as the award-winning 90, but the fluff-loving 97 has Carbon Tank Mesh instead of titanium, so it makes sense that it felt more forgiving and versatile than its narrower sister. Most testers loved its snap and energy—the minority worried it was too light to be trustworthy. The general consensus, though, was that it’s smooth and solid enough to feel comfortable but has enough bite to keep things exciting. Humes: “A ski that’s light and charges.” Read more about the Atomic Vantage 97 C W here.

  • Strength: Hard-Snow Integrity; Weakness: Crud Performance
  • Overall Rating: 3.85 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 130-97-119
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 156, 164, 172
  • Radius (in meters): 17
  • MSRP: $600 (BUY NOW)

HEAD Great Joy

Head Great Joy Women's All-Mountain Wide Ski

Head debuted graphene—a confoundingly light and strong material—into the tips and tails of the Joy line years ago, and has since integrated the Nobel-prize winning material into the Kore line and Nexo ski boots. The Great Joy is solidly built with an honest, directional feel, and testers appreciated its no-B.S. approach. For those on the verge of carving, the generous tip will pull them right in, though testers noted it got squirrely off edge—a symptom attributed to a tight tune. Bremner: “Sliced edge to edge like a samurai.” Check out the details of the Head Great Joy here.

  • Strengths: Quickness, Playfulness; Weakness: Forgiveness
  • Overall Rating: 3.81 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 141-98-124
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 153, 158, 163, 168, 173
  • Radius (in meters): 14.3
  • MSRP: $750

Völkl 90Eight W

Völkl 90eight W Women's All-Mountain Wide Ski

To achieve today’s high strength-to-weight ratios, some brands strip weight from the center, others from the edges. Völkl’s techy 3D Ridge belongs to the latter tribe, with mass in the middle and sensitivity on the perimeter, making its rocker-camber-rocker profile easy to tip, grip, and rip. Testers loved the damp stability and predictability of the 90EIGHT W, but some felt it lacked playfulness and pop. Built for speed and disapproving of skidders, it’s best driven by the expert set. Knight: “Steady at speed and damp.” Check out more details for the Völkl 90Eight W here.

  • Strength: Hard-Snow Integrity, Stability at Speed; Weakness: Playfulness
  • Overall Rating: 3.69 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 133-98-116
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 156, 163, 170
  • Radius (in meters): 15.9
  • MSRP: $775

Black Crows Daemon Birdie

Black Crows daemon birdie Women's All-Mountain Wide Ski

The “birdie” means it’s a women’s model, and a full-rocker profile should
be forgiving, but don’t be fooled: You’ll find no mercy here. This ski is wicked, zealously scalping its foes, but those who know how to bend ’em will be duly rewarded with power. With elongated edges, a Titanal plate underfoot, and a middle finger up to the “lightweight” trend, the Daemons made testers wonder where all that crud went. “My favorite ski of the day,” said Ambrogi-Yanson. Read more about the Black Crows Daemon Birdie here.

  • Strength: Crud Performance, Quickness; Weakness: Forgiveness
  • Overall Rating: 3.56 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 127-99-116
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 157, 164, 170, 177
  • Radius (in meters): 20
  • MSRP: $800 (BUY NOW)

Salomon QST Lumen 99

Salomon QST Lumen 99 W Women's All-Mountain Wide Ski

Testers were split about the Lumen 99—some felt it best suited for advanced intermediates on the cusp of carving because “it holds on as long as you need and gently eases you into the new turn,” said Bremner. Others felt it was best in soft snow because the tip was unwieldy and planky on groomed, which explains its relatively poor score in Quickness. Despite an edge-to-edge Titanal layer, its Spaceframe wood core and carbon/flax woven layer keeps things light. Read more about the Salomon QST Lumen 99 here.

  • Strength: Forgiveness; Weakness: Hard-Snow Integrity
  • Overall Rating: 3.5 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 134-99-116
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 153, 159, 167, 174
  • Radius (in meters): 19
  • MSRP: $725 (BUY NOW)

Dynastar Legend W96

Dynastar Legend W96 Women's All-Mountain Wide Ski

A tight turn radius means this ski shines in short turns, and liberal rocker at the tip made even the 178 feel manageable. A unique sidewall construction layers shearing material vertically behind the ABS, which makes the flex smoother and more progressive. (Think of bending this magazine: The binding will buckle, but this layer makes the ski flex like the unbound pages.) It’s lightweight, but still some testers found the tip unwieldy and the tail too stiff. “Great ski to figure stuff out on,” said Bremner. Check out more about the Dynastar Legend W96 here.

  • Strengths: Flotation, Quickness; Weakness: Versatility
  • Overall Rating: 3.44 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 132-96-112
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 158, 165, 171, 178
  • Radius (in meters): 14
  • MSRP: $750 (BUY NOW)

All-Mountain Wide Skis FAQ

What is the best all-mountain wide ski for 2019?

According to our veteran testers who spent a full week testing numerous skis this winter, the Blizzard Black Pearl 98 is the best women's all-mountain wide ski for 2019. 

What are all-mountain wide skis?

Do-it-all skis with wide waists (95-105mm), tip-and-tail rocker, and incredible versatility. You can carve them, take them in bumps, and enjoy powder snow (if you're lucky enough to be skiing on a powder day). While all-mountain skis are designed to perform well all over the mountain, they do generally have strengths and weaknesses. All-mountain wide skis generally perform better in soft snow and crud. 

Because wider skis are usually heavier than narrower skis (because more materials are used to build the ski), they are usually damper and more stable at speed than skis with a narrower waist, but they an be harder to maneuver and less playful. 

What size skis should I buy?

Women-specific skis generally come in lengths between 150cm-175cm. While women are usually coached to buy shorter skis because they will be lighter and easier to turn, the idea that women should be skiing short skis is outdated. Ski length should depend on your height, skiing style, and the sidecut of the ski—not your gender. 

Women should be on skis that are at least as long as they are tall. If the ski has minimal tip and tail rocker and therefore more effective edge, intermediate women may want a slightly shorter ski because it will make turn initiation easier. If the ski has significant tip and/or tail rocker and therefore less effective edge, advanced women skiers will want a ski that's longer than they are tall. 

Along with the ski's profile, turn radius often affects how quick or maneuverable the ski is. Intermediate skiers should look for a ski with a shorter turn radius (12m-15m) as it will be more responsive, while more advanced skiers who like to ski wider turns at speed may want a ski with a longer turn radius (15-18m). 

What is the difference between freeride and all-mountain wide skis?

All-mountain wide skis are usually narrower and have shorter turn radii compared to freeride skis. This allows all-mountain wide skis to excel in hard snow conditions and carve more readily than true freeride skis. Some skis in this category, like the Nordica Santa Ana 100, bridge the gap between these two categories.

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