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All-Mountain Skis

If You Prefer Playful Planks Over Stiff Boards, These 10 All-Mountain Skis Are For You

Just like people, skis have different personalities. These skis are the extroverts in the all-mountain category.

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Some skis are designed to be steady, rock solid performers on the hill. These skis are usually heavier, include at least a little bit of metal in the core, are stiffer in their flex profiles, and feature bomber sidewall constructions to assure you that there’s plenty of support underfoot. We’re talking about skis that put intermediates at ease because they’re predictable and smooth (we tend to describe them as “damp”), as well as skis that excite experts because they’re made for cruising fast and arcing on edge.

And then there are skis that are a little bit more of a wild card. These skis seem to buzz with energy and a life of their own. They’re poppy, agile, and built to accommodate a variety of skiing styles. These skis are what we describe as “playful” when we review skis in our annual Gear Guide, and they’re the ones that make skiing particularly fun and exciting.

Related: These forgiving skis won’t punish your (occasionally) sloppy skiing habits

When assessing a ski’s playfulness, our testers look for a ski that transmits energy and feels lively from turn to turn. Skis that are particularly damp or feel like lifeless planks underfoot score low in our Playfulness category.

On that topic: How we rank and review skis for our annual Gear Guide

It’s hard to pinpoint what makes a ski lively, because skis with heavy constructions can be as lively as skis built with lightweight materials. It just comes down to that secret sauce in a ski design—the perfect blend of core materials plus that extra something.

If you’re the type of skier who gravitates towards a ski with some personality, check out these all-mountain skis that scored the highest marks in the Playfulness category of SKI’s 2021-’22 ski test.

2022’s Most Playful All-Mountain Skis

Rossignol Black Ops Escaper

The Escaper’s versatility comes from a near-perfect rocker profile that allows the ski to have a good time everywhere it goes.

  • Playfulness score: 4.18/5
  • Overall score: 4.04/5
  • Waist width: 94mm
  • Gender: Unisex
2022 Rossignol Black Ops Escaper

Tester comment

“That perfect all mountain shape that allows you to have fun through the trees, crud, and bumps, but is also highly enjoyable arcing it back to the lift on the groomers. Wide array of possibilities with this ski, it will go anywhere.” —Luke Larsen

Armada Declivity 92 Ti

The Declivity 92 Ti is one of the narrower options in the all-mountain category, but with robust measurements in the tip and tail, it’s as versatile and fun as the best of them.

  • Playfulness score: 4.15/5
  • Overall score: 4.08/5
  • Waist width: 92mm
  • Gender: Unisex
2022 Armada Declivity 92 Ti

Tester comment

“These are really fun! Stable and solid underfoot while remaining playful and quick. Performs really well in variable snow and are skiable no matter what position I was in. Stable, too. Lively and fun on piste, with lots of ability to push or cruise. Overall, a really well-made ski.” —Dustin Cook

Dynastar M-Pro 99

Testers call the Dynastar M-Pro 99 one of the most approachable and user-friendly skis in the all-mountain space thanks to its versatile waist width and lighter weight construction.

  • Playfulness score: 4/5
  • Overall score: 4.08/5
  • Waist width: 99mm
  • Gender: Unisex
2022 DYNASTAR M PRO 99

Tester comment

“What a nice ski. It’s easy to turn, stable at speeds, and enjoys crud, groomers, and bumps. Couldn’t find anything it didn’t enjoy. Fun skiing in any conditions.” —Michael Rogan

Nordica Enforcer 100

Built with two full sheets of Titanal, a carbon chassis laminate, and full sandwich sidewalls, these skis are not for beginners. But strong skiers who know how to drive a ski are sure to find bliss.

  • Playfulness score: 3.91/5
  • Overall score: 4.23/5
  • Waist width: 100mm
  • Gender: Unisex
2022 Nordica Enforcer 100

Tester comment

“You can’t ask for much more in an all mountain ski. There’s a reason the Enforcer is the ski that everyone compares all other skis to. It’s got all the fun feels.” —Luke Larsen

Fischer Ranger 99 Ti

Again, you have to be a strong skier to tap into the Ranger 99 Ti’s full potential, but if you qualify, you’ll find

  • Playfulness score: 3.86/5
  • Overall score: 4.06/5
  • Waist width: 99mm
  • Gender: Unisex
2022 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti

Tester comment

“So much energy out of the turn. If you’re off the back, it will take off on ya, but it’s not too hard to climb back on board. The skis were easy to steer through crud, whether skidding or on edge. There’s enough of a platform to stand on and drive across the fall line, and to let you engage at your own comfort level.” —Jon Sexauer

Fischer Ranger 94 FR

The Ranger 94 FR features the same bomber construction as the wider Ranger 102 FR, but it’s quicker and more playful thanks to its narrower waist.

  • Playfulness score: 4.36/5
  • Overall score: 4.17/5
  • Waist width: 94mm
  • Gender: Unisex
2022 Fischer Ranger 94FR

Tester comment

“I felt like the energizer bunny hopping through the forest. Super energetic and balanced. If you like to make lots of turns and like a light feeling ski, these are very fun.” —Tracy Gibbons

Armada Reliance 92 Ti

Featuring an elongated tip rocker but fully cambered tail, this ski is designed to be playful in the front, business int he back.

  • Playfulness score: 4.2/5
  • Overall score: 3.94/5
  • Waist width: 92mm
  • Gender: Women’s-specific
2022 ARMADA RELIANCE 92 TI

Tester comment

“Yeah baby, yeah. Sensational all-mountain ski that likes it all at the speed that you deserve. Best friend materials for sure; up for shenanigans or just cruise mode.” —Georgie Bremner

Stöckli Nela 88

Testers applauded the Nela 88’s ability to handle a variety of terrain, which makes it a great all-mountain choice for intermediates to experts.

  • Playfulness score: 4.1/5
  • Overall score: 4.11/5
  • Waist width: 88mm
  • Gender: Women’s-specific
2022 Stöckli Nela 88

Tester comment

“A great ski of multiple personalities. Stable as anything at speed but fun and playful off-piste.” —Stephanie Humes

Nordica Santa Ana 98

Ladies rave about the Santa Ana 98’s stability and knack for hardpack. If you’re a strong skier, you’ll even get to see the Santa Ana 98’s playful side.

  • Playfulness score: 3.94/5
  • Overall score: 3.90/5
  • Waist width: 98mm
  • Gender: Women’s-specific
2022 Nordica Santa Ana 98

Tester comment

“Whatever Nordica is doing matches what I love about a ski. It has guts but isn’t a hardass. Dances in bumps and crud. Sticks to the snow on groomers, giving confidence to hit the gas. More appropriate for advanced experts than intermediates.” —Robin Barnes

4FRNT MSP CC

This ski is built to carve on edge and tackle tough conditions, but testers also praised its responsiveness and energy.

  • Playfulness score: 3.94/5
  • Overall score: 3.85/5
  • Waist width: 99mm
  • Gender: Women’s-specific
2022 4FRNT MSP CC

Tester comment

“Fun and playful. Has more response than I thought it would. Got me through crud with ease and whipped off arcs on the groomers. Really pretty graphics.” —Abby Ghent

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