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All Mountain vs Carving Skis (Comparison)

all mountain vs carving skis

With the season just around the corner, everyone needs a great pair of skis. All mountain and carving skis are two of the most popular types out there, but which one is better, and how do they compare?  

Carving skis are designed specifically for making sharp, clean turns on firm snow, while all mountain skis are designed for more versatile conditions and terrain.

There are several more key differences between all mountain vs carving skis, and in this post, we will go through all of these to help you decide which pair of skis suits you the most.

All Mountain vs Carving Skis

The main difference between all-mountain and carving skis is that all-mountain skis are more stable but have less edge grip and will not be as fast in groomed terrain. While carving skis are downhill skis featuring an aggressive sidecut and edge grip down the side of the skis to aid with speed and carving turns

Carving skis are best for skiing on groomed runs and are too thin for off-piste skiing and all mountain skis are great for both types of slopes.

 Here’s a quick breakdown of the differences between the two.

All-Mountain SkisCarving Skis
Pistes designed for Groomed and ungroomedGroomed
Turning radius15-22mLess than 17m
Waist width90-100mLess than 85m
DesignSome camber and rockerMore camber
SidecutAverageDeep
Flex ratingAverageHigh (Stiffer)
StabilityStable and versatileFast and nimble
Edge holdAverageMaximum

Let’s now take a look at some of the factors in greater detail.

Sizes

All-mountain skis are wider than carving skis, with a waist width of around 90 – 100 mm which gives it a larger contact area, making it a good choice for skiing on powder. 

Carving skis have a waist width of around 75mm – 8mm (or lesser) which makes them ski faster and helps form an edge quickly compared to all mountain skis.

Performance

All-mountain skis are slower and perform best on groomed slopes that allow you to travel quickly but it works fine on other terrains too. They are built in such a way that they can navigate any terrain.

all mountain and carving Performance difference

All-mountain skis have a typically turning radius between 15-22m, helping in maintaining straight-line speed.

Carving skis are much faster and work best on groomed slopes with little to no powder. They will not slip on the snow like some other skis because they are DESIGNED for these slopes. If you want to learn more about carving, take a look at our parallel skiing vs carving guide.

Carving skies also have a short turning radius, less than 17m, helping in having better control of ski movements. Controlling the speed of these skis is a lot easier, the stronger the turn, the faster the speed.

Design

All-mountain skis are broader than carving skis but have the same form. They usually feature deep side cuts to aid in turning and rockered tips to assist you to float on top of the snow. 

all mountain and carving ski designs

Carving skis are designed for speed and precision. To gain momentum, the edges are sharp and cut through the snow. 

Flex

All-mountain skis are not as stiff as carving skis and have a lower flex rating. Craving skis on the other hand are stiffer which helps the skier stay stable while skiing at high speeds.

All mountains are still stable enough to perform well on both groomed and ungroomed slopes.

Best Suited For

All-mountain skis are versatile and great for skiers of all stages and they are often a skier’s first set of skis.

Carving skis, on the other hand, are ideal for skiers with a better experience, especially in controlling speeds and edges (and knows how to not catch an edge skiing)

Best Suited For which skiers

Prices

Both the all-mountain and carving ski types fall in the same price range, where better quality skis cost higher and others lower.

Bottom Line

All-mountain skis have an aggressive side cut and edge grip down the side of the skis to help with speed and carving turns. While carving skis have a sharper edge and work well on groomed slopes; they are too thin for off-piste skiing

All mountain skis can be used easily by people of any age and skiing level, unlike carving skis, which are designed with sidecut edges and rockered tips to allow them to negotiate any terrain and are best for experienced skiers.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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