As technology progresses, are we any closer to finding the perfect do-it-all setup? We certainly aren’t far off...

All-mountain skiing is quite literally, skiing all over the mountain. Tearing up freshly groomed corduroy one run before dipping your tips off piste on the next is all in a day’s work for an all-mountain skier. New products and technologies are enabling everyday skiers to live the “one ski to ride it all” dream.

In the early years of all-mountain skis, this jack of all trades discipline had the benefit of cherry-picking the best technologies from specialised products to concoct the perfect mix of features for all-mountain shredding. However, for a while now, all-mountain equipment has been the best-selling category for most manufacturers, as such it is often developed in line with or ahead of on-piste and freeride gear.

When you can’t choose between disciplines, an all-mountain setup is right for you. If you’re struggling to pick out a setup in this sprawling ski discipline you can discover what's hot in 2020 with our all-mountain buying guide.

Looking for a more specific setup? Check out our buying guide for this season’s best Freeride and Piste Performance gear.

Skis

 

When riding a set of all-mountain skis, you will immediately be struck by how enjoyable they are to ride across all snow conditions. Modern all-mountain skis will carve on demand when on hardpack, while in softer conditions they will float. In all conditions they are controllable and handle predictably, inspiring confidence and pushing you to explore, whether that be inside or outside the piste poles.

From afar, most all-mountain skis look fairly similar for piste skis, as you get closer you will notice they are generally wider in construction, around 80-90mm, and some interesting shapes that you won’t commonly find on piste skis. All-mountain skis take the best elements from both types of ski and throw them together into one package.

Piste ski camber is typically combined with freeride ski rocker to give enough carving performance but with a more accessible and forgiving ride. The rocker and long shovel up front have the added benefit of keeping your tips up off-piste. While piste skis are more responsive on hardpack, and freeride skis may float better when the going gets deep, neither can transition between conditions as well as all-mountain skis.

Men looking to improve their technique but also to explore new areas will struggle to find a better ski for both of those things than the Rossignol Experience 84 Ai. Our testers found this ski hard to fault citing it’s “soft and playful” nature, also noting that the ski had “very easy turn initiation with a big, soft tip. Very easy and forgiving!”

Rossignol has a strong racing pedigree, known for fuelling riders’ penchants for speed, and we are pleased to report that the Experience 84 is certainly no slouch on-piste. The camber underfoot ensures that when you push it onto its edge, the ski holds firm while the sidecut allows for easy transitions from edge to edge and reactive turning. The ski is extremely light in the tip and tail, with the French manufacturer removing unnecessary material to reduce the swing weight, and it certainly shows. The ski pivots on a dime and floats fantastically well in softer snow, with the tip and tail rocker allowing riders to ease into turns and smear out whenever they like. 

The Men’s Rossignol Experience 84 Ai is available in Snow+Rock stores and online for £565 including binding, read the full review here. View Snow+Rock’s entire range of Rossignol skis here.

 

In the case of the Salomon Aira 80 Ti women’s ski, the French manufacturer has adopted the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” approach. Our testers were certainly happy to see the ski back on test in Pila stating “because of the strong off-piste performance with the fun and playful piste performance”.

More on the off-piste end of the All-mountain category, the ski performs very well in ungroomed terrain, the all-female test crew commenting on its power and playfulness off-piste. Our chief tester noted that “the ski does all the work for you and you can slip into autopilot” and that was the case wherever we took this pair. Point and go is the name of the game, with this set of skis scoring maximum points for ease of use, but also satisfying the needs of the most advanced skier. Like the Rossignol above, this is a ski that will suit most all-mountain skiers from intermediates through to experts.

The Women’s Salomon Aira Ti is available in Snow+Rock stores and online for £530 including binding, read the full review here. View Snow+Rock’s entire range of Salomon skis here.

Boots

All-mountain riding is a spectrum, a melee of on-piste and off-piste riding. It’s understandable then, that you will see all-mountain skiers riding in everything from race boots to full-blown freeride boots. The fit of a ski boot is the most important factor when choosing some new all-mountain clogs, if you are comfortable, you will be able to perform at your best, whatever the terrain.

While your riding style and needs should inform your choice between a piste or freeride focussed boot, we have highlighted some of the most popular all-mountain boots packed with useful features.

The Dalbello Panterra has previously been more of a freeride boot, but since the introduction of its Lupo free-tour range, the Panterra has shifted into the all-mountain category. The Panterra has a unique three-piece construction which gives a progressive flex pattern, which is nice and forgiving when cruising but stiffens up as you push into the boot. Keeping its functional walk mode and with a new Grip Walk sole, walking in the Panterra is a breeze, whether that be hiking for fresh snow, or fetching a fresh drink. The boot is available in a multitude of flex options for both men and women and has a handy front buckle where you can adjust the width of the boot from 100-102mm, to accommodate a wide range of foot shapes.

Offering many of the same features as the Panterra, but at a more modest price point is the Rossignol All Track range. Available in different flex levels for men and women, the All Track range is a well-priced alternative in the Snow+Rock range, around £50 cheaper than similarly specced models. While you will have to go without Grip Walk soles, the walk mode is good enough to satisfy most and helps when getting about sans skis. With a roomy 100mm last, larger foot shapes will feel at home in the All Track, and just like the Panterra, there’s a heat mouldable liner to fine-tune the fit.

The Dalbello Panterra and Rossignol All Track boots are available in Snow+Rock stores and online from £350 and £285 respectively. View Snow+Rock’s entire range of ski boots here.

The best way to ensure your boots fit you well for seasons to come is to spend time with an experienced boot fitter, like those at Snow+Rock, where the retailer offers a comfort guarantee. Find out more about the boot fitting process here.

Bindings

In general, all-mountain bindings do not differ too much from piste bindings as the stresses and strains encountered in the two disciplines are comparable. You may notice that some all-mountain bindings have chunkier construction to guard against unsolicited knocks when exploring off-piste.

Choosing bindings for all-mountain skis is often an easy decision to make as most all-mountain skis come with bindings as part of the package. In the case of the Rossignol Experience 84 Ai, this is the Rossignol NX 12 Konect GW, and for the Salomon Aira, the Salomon Z10 GW Included. These bindings are both used on several models and perform well across a range of piste and all-mountain applications. These bindings are both system mount systems, where the manufacturer has bonded a large plate, or rail, to the top of the ski alloying for easy adjustment for different boot sizes by a ski technician, this also has the added benefit of providing a very strong interface with the ski.

Check out Snow+Rock’s full range of bindings online or head in-store to chat with one of their in-house experts.

Remember, to ensure your bindings are fitted safely and to the correct settings according to your weight, height and ability level, it is best to consult one of Snow+Rock’s qualified in-store experts.

Poles

Just as with so much all-mountain kit, poles are a personal preference and depend on your riding style.

Those with a tendency to head off-piste and be slightly harder on their kit should go for a more robust pole, usually made of high-quality aluminium. Scott poles are renowned for their strength and longevity, and their 540 pole is no exception. Available in several signature loud colourways, the vibrant pole packs a punch thanks to its 18mm S2 aluminium shaft.

Atomic’s AMT SQS pole for women strikes a good balance between lightweight and strength. Featuring a comfortable rubber grip the pole will be comfortable in hand and perform wherever your skis take you.

If you like the sound of these two poles, but want to something to get the blood pumping a little faster, try out Leki’s Hot Shot S which has a hidden chamber in the shaft for carrying a winter tipple with you on the slopes.

The Scott 540 and Atomic AMT SQS poles are available in Snow+Rock stores and online for £27 and £26 respectively. View Snow+Rock’s entire range of ski poles here.

Find out more about Snow+Rock and view their entire range on their website at www.snowandrock.com