Big mountain and all-mountain skis are two popular types of skis that you’ll see on the mountain. They are both versatile enough to let you handle various conditions, but big mountain models are better suited to skiers with advanced abilities.
Hi, I’m Christine, and I love the sport of skiing. I’ve tried nearly every style during my decades on the snow, and I have first-hand experience with both big mountain and all-mountain skis.
This article will provide you with a side-by-side comparison of big mountain versus all-mountain skis. I’ll show you how the skis are similar and some key differences that set them apart. This is good information for every skier to understand.
Let’s slide into it.
What are Big Mountain Skis?
Big mountain skis are also commonly known as freeride skis. This style of ski is designed to help advanced skiers tackle very challenging terrain. That’s why they get the name “big mountain” because they help you go big all over the mountain.
Big mountain skis are typically large, aggressive, and feature rugged construction that helps them provide stand-out performance in a range of different conditions. They are often stiff and heavy to bomb big lines and cut through crud without missing a beat.
If you have ever watched a ski video that features heli-skiing or other away from the resort terrain, there’s a good chance that the skiers there are using big mountain skis. These are a favorite for expert skiers who roam away from the resort.
What are All-Mountain Skis?
All-mountain skis are kind of like the little brother to big mountain skis. They are still very capable and have the most versatility of any type of ski that you’ll see out there. They can do well in just about every condition and terrain, and that’s why they’re so popular.
All-mountain skis are a good option for beginners because they allow you to explore many different types of terrain without holding you back. They can grow with you as a skier and will enable you to improve your skills without needing to switch skis.
These skis don’t have a particular focus and instead have a do-it-all type of design that is very helpful for skiers of all ability levels. They make for a good set of skis for a first purchase because of this, and I always have a pair of all-mountain skis ready for action.
Also Read: Best All-Mountain Skis of 2022
Big Mountain vs All-Mountain Skis: The Differences
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The main differences between big mountain versus all-mountain skis come down to performance and construction. Big mountain skis are built to be very rugged and handle extremely demanding conditions.
This means that big mountain skis will be pretty large and stiff to give them aggressive performance characteristics when needed. This is good for experienced skiers but can be too much for those with beginner and intermediate abilities.
All-mountain skis aren’t quite as aggressive. This makes them better suited to beginners and intermediates because they don’t have a significant barrier to entry. You can hop on a set of all-mountain skis and feel confident pretty quickly.
Big mountain skis also have a stiffer design, which helps them stay stable at higher speeds and bust through different snow types with ease. This is important in big mountain and freeride situations because the snow conditions are often highly variable.
This stiffer design also makes big mountain skis faster and a bit more stable than all-mountain options. That’s another trait that comes in useful in very technical situations and is why advanced skiers might prefer big mountain over all-mountain models.
All-mountain skis are less aggressive, which makes them more playful. This can be a good trait for the average skier looking to just have fun instead of taking on the most challenging run on the mountain. They are generally easier to ski than big mountain options.
Big Mountain vs All-Mountain Skis: The Similarities
Big mountain and all-mountain skis are different, but they also share several similarities. Both of these types of skis have a similar shape and profile, and they are difficult to distinguish from one another on appearances alone.
The skis both have a modern twin-tipped focused shape with significant amounts of rocker in the tip and tail. This shape is ideal in many situations, which helps them both perform well in various on-snow situations.
Both big mountain and all-mountain skis are highly versatile. They can allow you to explore every inch of the mountain without worrying about losing performance or capabilities. This is arguably one of the most important factors for both types of ski.
While they are built for different ability levels, both big mountain and all-mountain skis can help you improve your skiing abilities. This is because they both offer versatility that will allow you to go outside of your comfort zone and reach new levels.
You’ll also use a similar setup with both of these types of skis. Boots, bindings, and poles will be nearly the same and based on your ability level or preferences.
Big mountain skis are a good choice for any skier with advanced level abilities who wants to take on challenging terrain and get high-end performance while they do it. These skis are aggressive and built with serious skiers in mind.
All-mountain skis are incredibly versatile, making them the most popular style on the mountain. These skis can work for every ability level and allow you to explore many different types of terrains and conditions.