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Find the best new All-Mountain kit which will help you unlock the whole mountain

Piste or powder, which would you choose? Well, now you don’t have to, the new wave of modern all mountain kit allows you to do it all. Ride fresh powder in the morning until it’s tracked out before carving up the groomers 'til your legs are burning all afternoon. 

Sceptics are silenced by the latest technology’s ability to float through light snow while still holding a strong edge on firm pistes. And while there is some compromise at the extremes of piste and freeride performance, the huge benefit of having one do-it-all setup far outweighs the small performance sacrifices. As technology has progressed, so too has the popularity of all mountain skis, with Snow+Rock stocking more all-mountain skis than any other category.

Choosing an all-mountain setup means that you can leave your accommodation in the morning safe in the knowledge that your kit will take you wherever you want to go. We spoke to Snow+Rock to dig into this season’s fresh produce and pick out some of our favourite male and female do-it-all gear.

Skis

Top 3 Women's All-Mountain Skis of 2018/19

Filmed on location in Galtur.

All-mountain skis are sometimes described as ‘jack of all trades’ skis, which after hopping on to a pair, you will struggle to argue with that description. Wider than piste skis, but similar in shape, with several construction elements that have been borrowed from freeride skis, these planks really offer up the best of both worlds.

Larger shovels up front and increased levels of rocker in the tip and tail are both commonly found on big mountain skis, but have found their way into all-mountain models. As well as offering increase float in softer conditions these features also have the added benefit of a more forgiving, playful ride with easy turn initiation. For stability at speed, riders tend to go for slightly longer models, at around eye to forehead height.

In the middle of the ski, the sidecut is often comparable to a piste ski, but typically a little wider at 80mm-100mm, which, when coupled with camber and a stiff construction hold an edge on the steepest and iciest slopes.

Our female testers were particularly taken by the Salomon Aira 80 Ti, a fantastic ski that performs equally well both on and off piste. Designed to be more on the piste end of the all-mountain spectrum, it is unsurprising that the ski particularly impressed at speed and firmer snow, but testers were surprised by its abilities off piste, afforded by the ski’s 80mm waist and wide shovelled nose.

“The Aira was one of those skis that you put on your feet and smile. The width of its tip allowed it to perform off piste with float and smoothness, while piste performance wasn’t compromised” Lynn Mill

The Salomon Aira Ti is available with Snow+Rock both online and instore.

Top 3 Men's All-Mountain Skis of 2018/19

Filmed on location in Galtur

For a ski to impress our reviewers once is commendable, but for the same ski to emerge on top for a second year is admirable. After no notable update this year the Dynastar Legend X88 remains a firm favourite for all who rode it. Easy to ski in any condition and a predictable flex that keeps the rider feeling engaged with the snow and able to juice the best performance out of the ski in any conditions.

“A rock solid all-mountain ski that can be pushed super hard at all times. Grips on anything!” James Allen

The Dynastar Legend X88 is available with Snow+Rock both online and instore.

Bindings

Some all-mountain bindings will come with a system binding designed to work with its specific ski, however, as with the ski technology, we also start to see some freeride bindings creep into the frame, for both skis mentioned above the former is true. Both bindings are very robust piste bindings due to the comparable loads withstood during all mountain riding and piste skiing.

If you are buying bindings separately the most important factor to consider is the bindings DIN range. Your DIN setting should sit comfortably in this range, ideally not too close to the limit, to ensure that you safely release when required but your skis stay put in deeper powder. As all mountain skis can be wider, pay attention to the brake size to ensure that they are wide enough to fit over the ski’s waist, if you’re not sure head into a Snow+Rock store and speak to one of their team.

The Dynastar and Salomon skis above are available packaged with specific bindings, view Snow+Rock's full range of bindings here.

How do I calculate my DIN?

Your DIN setting will vary depending on your skiing ability, weight, height, and boot sole length.

The DIN setting is the industry-standard measure of release force setting. The higher the DIN setting, the harder it is for the skis to come off. There are various charts and tools online to help you determine your DIN setting, but for the best results we recommend visiting your local Snow+Rock store and talking to a member of staff.

Boots

As All Mountain skiing is generally accommodated by lift powered ascent, boots will often resemble piste boots. Indeed, many all-mountain riders will be perfectly comfortable riding in a piste specific boot, highlighting the importance for prioritising the fit of a boot over additional features. However, some more adventurous riders will appreciate features borrowed from freeride boots like ‘hike and ride’ functionality where the upper cuff of the boot is able to move in relation to the lower shell, allowing for easy walking, whether that is to reach untouched powder in the morning or walk to the bar in the evening.

As a rule of thumb, going for a slightly roomier fit than a piste boot and avoiding the highest flex ratings will ensure comfort off piste and efficient energy transfer on piste. Men should look for flexes up to 110, possibly 120 depending on your weight and power, and women should top out at 90 to 100 considering the same factors. Again, we cannot stress enough that the fit of the boot is king, or queen.

For men, we like the look of Rossignol’s AllTrack Pro 120, which as the name suggests is designed to take you anywhere. An easy to use walk mode and grippy soles allow for easy boot-packing while the roomy fit suits a higher volume foot. A 120 flex performs excellently on piste but will suit more powerful riders off piste.

Dalbello’s female specific DS AX 80 boot is another fantastic boot for shredding all over the mountain. An accommodating fit provided by a softer boot while the new ‘Powercage’ exoskeleton provides a powerful platform to assault the whole mountain. This is undoubtedly one of the best new boots for 2018-19.

Both the Rossignol Alltrack Pro 120 and the Dalbello DS AX80 are available online and in store at Snow+Rock, spending time with Snow+Rock’s boot fitters is the best way to ensure you find the best boots for you from their extensive range. Head to your nearest store to find the boots for you, discover more about the process online here.

Poles

Pole preference for all-mountain skiers is largely personal to the individual. Some will prefer the bombproof feel of heavier metal poles while others will prioritise lightness over robustness. For those thinking about leaving the pistes behind then the option to add a wider basket to the sharp end of the pole will help grip in softer conditions. As with piste poles you are looking for a 90-degree bend in your elbow when gripping the pole in a standing position for the correct length.

Volkl’s Phantastic pole is a fantastic option for women, with a variety of lengths and colours available. The robust aluminium construction has the option to attach either a piste or powder basket.

If you are looking for a more versatile pole that will go with you further into the backcountry then Leki’s Bluebird Vario is an eye-catching pole designed to adapt to the changing terrain and your skiing style. Coming with Big Mountain Baskets and Leki’s patented Trigger S grip for safer release in a fall.

Not an all-mountain skier? Find out more about choosing your perfect piste setup in our recent guide.

Snow+Rock carry a range of equipment for all kinds of skiing. View the range online or head to one of their stores across the country.