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Reviewed by our Gear Geeks:

BEST ATOMIC SKIS OF 2021

Z

Our experts at work

We gave our Gear lovers one job:

Test 22 different Atomic Skis  and write reviews of the best.

The result is 10 of the best Atomic Skis on the market today.

hunter bierce

Hunter Bierce

PSIA Ski Instructor
Hunter Bierce is a PSIA Ski Instructor and multidisciplinary outdoor professional.

Bradley Axmith boating & sailing editor

Bradley Axmith

Editor at DIVEIN.com
Vikingship building gear enthusiast and waterworld fanatic.

 

Atomic skis have remained cutting edge products because of the amount of technological development the company continually applies. Some of the best skis on any mountain at any given time will be Atomics. That’s why they’re so popular with recreational skiers as well as competitive athletes.

Currently, Atomic manufactures just about every style of ski for every skill level. The following is a review of  our favorite ski options out of Atomic’s fleet. It’s a review of what they do, and who we think they would be a good option for.

Top 10 Atomic Skis

See our quick top 10, or go further down and read our in-depth reviews.

Last year Atomic made some significant updates to the legendary Bent Chetler powder ski, after nearly a decade of uncontested greatness in the industry. The retooled model is back this season, with the customary Chris Benchetler topsheets to round it out. For the uninitiated, Chris Bentchetler is largely credited freestyle ethic into off-piste terrain. See this 90-second clip from nearly 10 years ago to see what I’m talking about.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • HRZN tips for increased surface area
  • Full twin tip
  • Powder rocker
  • Stabilizing Carbon Backbone
  • 179cm, 184cm, 192cm variations
What we like:
  • Fun focused all mountain skis
  • Lighter than most of the competition
  • Proven powder powerhouse
What we don’t like:
  • Doesn’t handle hardpack as well as other powder-oriented models

The updated “Bent Chetler” is among the lightest skis of this style. They’re a center-mounted, twin-tip powder ski. They offer a way to translate playful freestyle ideology to an uncontrolled environment. If the snow is soft, you’ll be happy in these skis, even if you aren’t crazy about throwing crazy rotation off of sidecountry hits.

They’re built for powder first, but they have enough rigidity to hold an edge where it counts. The one caveat is speed. Despite all the praise that this flagship model gets for its hardpack performance, it’s still a 120 waisted ski. It has some inherent limitations at the end of the day. If you’re trying to make big GS turns on ice, your skis are going to rattle, and you’ll feel every bump you run over.

All-in-all, if you’re an aggressive backcountry skier who sees powder as a license to take risks, these are the skis for you.

The Bent Chetler 100 cannot be pigeonholed into the “surfy powder ski” category. Even though it shares a name and playful attitude with the 120 version, the differences between the two are so stark they’re nearly entirely different skis.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • HRZN tip and tail for increased surface area
  • Versatile mount point accommodates a lot of skiing styles
  • Light wood core to save weight and add pop
  • Full sidewall for durability and turn stability
  • 164cm, 172cm, 180cm, 188cm variations
What we like:
  • Lightweight but holds up in variable conditions much better than the 120
  • More directional ski that retains the playfulness the Bent Chetler line is known for
What we don’t like:
  • Aren’t as good as the competition at blasting through chunky snow
  • Aren’t as good as the 120’s in deep snow

This distinction is best explained in terms of style. In short, Bent Chetlers are known for their playfulness in deep snow. This model takes that same ethos and applies it to an “any day, all-mountain style.” You can trust it a little bit more when the steeps aren’t so deep. 

The Bent Chetler 100 is a directional all-mountain ski. Still, it’s not one of the double titanal laminate monsters that can blast through everything in its path. So what is it? It’s an effort to take the playfulness that the Bent Chetler name is known for and adapt it to conditions beyond blower pow. It has a traditional camber, versatility in the mount point, soft shovels for swallowing up variable snow. But, still retains enough rigidity from the foot back that you can drive them pretty hard. 

They make an awesome every day frontside/backside option for a wide range of skiers. It’s not a super specialized tool, but for playful skiers who want an unflinching, all-terrain option, there’s not much better on the market.

If you’re looking for the lightest possible powder-oriented touring option, the Bent Chetler 120’s are the way to go. But that doesn’t make them the obvious choice. Atomic’s Backland series is designed to excel on variable snow that you’ll almost certainly encounter while you’re out touring. 

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • HRZN tips to help get over rough terrain and add a little float
  • All mountain rocker with a respectable camber
  • Carbon backbone to save weight
  • 177cm, 184cm, 191cm variations
What we like:
  • A powder ski that can be dependably ridden on bad snow
  • Impressive weight given its size
What we don’t like:
  • Not as light as the Bent Chetler or some competitors
  • A 117 ski isn’t going to be as versatile as something with a narrower waist

It’s a pretty traditionally shaped ski, excepting Atomic’s HRZN tip that adds a little more surface area to the shovel than is typical. It’s a big and stable ski, but it can still fly up the skin track with the best of them. But a ski this wide isn’t all business.

It’s still a fun, dynamic option for people looking for a wide touring ski. It won’t float quite like the craziest and most rockered powder ski, but the Backland 117 still has enough tip and tail rise to be more than adequate to have fun no matter how deep the snow.

The Backland 100 is the lightest and zippiest ski from Atomic that still prioritizes downhill performance. It comes equipped with the whole range of the Backland fleet’s features. It’s more than capable of tackling nearly any snow you would want to ski on. They’re sprightly skis that conquer the mountain with agility rather than bullheaded charging ability. They also come with pre-cut climbing skins.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • HRZN tips for increased surface area
  • Carbon backbone to add strength and save weight
  • 164cm, 172cm, 180cm, 188cm variations
What we like:
  • Lightweight touring ski that retains downhill performance aspects
  • Versatile option that you can ski any day
What we don’t like:
  • Just because you can wear them on a powder day doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your bigger skis out

 

It’s worth keeping in mind that the Backland definitely rides like a lightweight ski and won’t ever ride like your favorite pair of big mountain chargers. But it’s on the more stable. If you had to find the best use for the Backland 100’s, it would be drawn-out days of alpine exploration. They offer the freedom to take a couple more laps or enjoy long days with equally ambitious descent objectives.

The Punx 7 is an affordable and recognizable park ski. It’s been widely represented in Freeski competitions throughout the years, and is a trusted tool of trick skiers everywhere. They follow the general park trend of being durable and low-price. The Punx are notorious for having just a little more value than comparable models of specialized park skis. 

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Twin tip for switch landings
  • Park rocker to prevent catching your tips
  • Snappy blended woodcore
  • 164cm, 170cm, 176cm, 182cm variations
What we like:
  • Practical and affordable park ski
  • Durably built and ready for the whole park
What we don’t like:
  • Limited versatility, but that’s the tradeoff for specializing

A blended ash and poplar woodcore is built specifically for absorbing landings and providing a little spring when you need it. They’re a classic ski and are a reasonably safe bet for park skiers who are rough on their gear.

The Redster line is Atomic’s spin on the recreational race ski. It’s for people who love making big, fast turns on fresh morning corduroy. They have a full sidewall, a full camber, and run full throttle down the hill. While they’re not as unyielding as a dedicated race ski, these are aggressive. And they might prove to be a little too much for skiers who aren’t comfortable with a forward stance and high edge angles. 

They have a less aggressive sidecut than most modern shaped skis but still will be much forgiving than a FIS ski. That being said, they’re definitely intended only for on-piste use. Crowded slopes or ungroomed slopes aren’t going to be much fun to ride on these. But, you can always switch to a pair of more practical off-piste skis and run away to the rough snow when things get crazy.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Active camber
  • Titanium laminate
  • GS sidecut for long arcing race turns
  • 165cm, 171cm, 177cm, 183cm variations
What we like:
  • The ultimate in recreational race skis
  • Hard to over ski while not being too much for the mountain
What we don’t like:
  • Not a very approachable ski unless you have a race background
  • Only intended for on-piste use

The Redster X series is a less aggressive version of the GS Redster, targeted towards people who want something more forgiving and versatile than a dedicated race ski. You’ll still be able to roll from edge to edge effortlessly, but the X9 WB has the benefit of letting you relax and get off your edges for a while. It’s also shaped in a way that accommodates more than just huge, high-speed arcing turns for low-speed maneuverability. 

The secret to success is an extra 10mm underfoot. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it lets the Redster X9 WB perform much more like a recreational ski and frees up space for the more generous sidecut. The X9 WB is for skiers who like to have the option to really open up and make aggressive turns but don’t want to spend their entire day doing so.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Active camber
  • Multi Radius Sidecut for increased versatility
  • Titanium laminate
  • 10 mm wider underfoot than the rest of the X9 series
  • 152cm, 160cm, 168cm, 176cm variations
What we like:
  • A much more approachable take on the race oriented recreational ski
  • More versatile than the other Redster models
What we don’t like:
  • Still a specialty piece with some limited applications

With so much of Atomic’s catalog catering to highly specialized disciplines within the ski world, there’s something to be said for being a master of none. The Vantage 107 Ti is an all-mountain ski targeted at intermediate to expert level recreational skiers. People who like to push it but aren’t concerned with having the craziest, most robust ski will like these. The Vantage 107 Ti will rarely limit all but the most aggressive skiers and is known for its stability and maneuverability through variable snow.  

It’s a light ski, but strategically so. Built around a titanium mesh and then reinforced where it counts, the result is a ski that stays damp at high speeds but not at the behest of weight. It’s also nice to have an all-mountain option from Atomic with a more directional tail. You really feel like you can lay down aggressive turns in any condition. 

They make a dependable choice as a frontside ski in all conditions. Because of their low weight, they’re a popular option for the backcountry. The Vantage 107 Ti makes the most sense for anyone out there who needs something to put some hybrid bindings on and ride every day.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • HRZN tips for increased shovel surface area
  • Titanal mesh to add strength and cut down on weight
  • Blended woodcore that adds stability at speed
  • 175cm, 182cm, 189cm variations
What we like:
  • Really practical all mountain ski and single quiver option
  • Does well in powder but built to ride in all conditions
  • Really nice in backcountry
What we don’t like:
  • Not as playful as some freeride options
  • Jack-of-all-trades, doesn’t do anything super well

The Vantage 97 is the widest ski in its class that doesn’t include some metal in it. Instead, much like the 107 Ti we just discussed, they use a mesh made of high-tensile carbon to add structure and support to the ski. Again this one lands right in the sweet spot for intermediate and advanced recreational skiers who favor stability and engaged maneuverability over the newschool slashy style. 

This isn’t like the Redster in that you need to be going lightspeed to get it to turn. Even compared to the 107 titanium version, the 97C is much lighter and does better in tight terrain. But it’s still more than capable of opening up and ripping up groomers. The one place where the 97C is lacking is on bulletproof morning snow or tracked out crust. In both of these cases, you’ll probably find yourself wanting a ski with some metal in it.

So who is the Vantage 97C actually for? It’s a refreshing alternative for skiers who favor heavy charging skis. This is a great way to keep that style of skiing and blasting through soft, variable snow. It gives you some more options if you find yourself in a tight treestand or dodging groups of ski school students on crowded slopes.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Carbon mesh to save on weight
  • Light woodcore
  • Directional, all-mountain ski
  • 164cm, 172cm, 180cm, 188cm variations
What we like:
  • Literally a “do-anything” ski
  • Hard to beat on weight and performance
What we don’t like:
  • Doesn’t ski powder as well, you’ll want another pair

One of the frequent criticisms of the ski industry is how hard it is to get involved in the sport in the first place. The Savor series from Atomic is an excellent entry point into the scene- it’s affordable, practical, and facilitates learning. If you’ve spent a couple of days on the slopes and think you might be ready to invest in your first set of skis, this is an easy, forgiving choice. 

It’s easy and intuitive to use, and it comes in that “full camber” classic ski shape that’s best to master the fundamentals of skiing on. It’s not going to take you very far off-piste, but it’s a great learning ski with plenty of power to back it up. It’s designed to favor carved turns but has a triple sidecut that allows you to easily slide into smeared turns if you need to hit the panic button and scrub speed. It also has a full sidewall and capped tips to give you a little more longevity when you inevitably run into stuff. 

The 7 is the heaviest of the Savor series, but it’s not an unreachable ski for newer riders. Experts will have fun linking carved turns for a morning but likely will out ski it before the day is done.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Full camber
  • Titanium laminate for stability
  • Graphite core to save on weight
  • 140cm, 149cm, 158cm, 167cm, 176cm variations
What we like:
  • Awesome starter ski that will grow with you as you learn
  • Forgiving but facilitates learning proper form
What we don’t like:
  • More experienced skiers will quickly overpower it

ABOUT THE ATOMIC BRAND

Alois Rohrmoser founded Atomic 1955 in a recovering post-war Europe and a world rife with nuclear anxiety. Amidst the grimness of the past and uncertainty of the future, it’s no stretch to claim that Atomic skis were a reimagining of the massive destructive power touted by world powers, channeled into unexpected directions (mainly downhill). As a company, they have generally had a forward-facing ethos that isn’t afraid of such reimaginings. 

Evidence of this is when Atomic engineer Rupert Huber was tasked with making a better powder ski at a time when wide skis were associated with out-of-shape skiers. He tackled the problem by sawing a snowboard in half. Atomic has since become a mainstay in the ski industry, having survived their own share of hardships and made significant contributions to the sport.

Atomic Austria manufactures about 600,000 skis annually, primarily from the factory in Altenmarkt im Pongau in the state of Salzburg. Beyond skis, Atomic makes poles, boots, goggles, helmets, bags and bindings.

Following a declaration of insolvency in 1994, Amer Sports of Finland bid for and acquired Atomic skis that same year. With a cash infusion Atomic was able to continue innovation by developing technology company Doubledeck, who use a method to automatically adjust flex and rocker style to individual skiers’ stance and weight.

Continuing the innovation trend, LiveFit and MemoryFit technologies have greatly improved the personalization of their revered ski boots, staying competitive and catering to high-performance athletes too.

Check out this video of Chris Benchetler of the Bent Chetler ski line shredding it up on some sweet backcountry terrain in the Atomic skis that bear his name:

In 2019, Amer Sports was purchased by Anta Sports of China making Atomic Austria a Chinese subsidiary alongside other venerable names like Salomon and Suunto. Though skiing usually stays out of politics–notwithstanding the Olympics–Anta Sports boycotted the NBA in 2019 following some of that league’s players denouncing Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong protesters.

If you already have an atomic ski or you just bought one, leave a comment in the comment section below and share your experience with it.

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about Atomic Skis

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    Are Atomic skis good?

    Atomic is one of the most trusted brands in the industry, and they make a number of skis from across different disciplines. From the legendary Bent Chetler, to the accessible Savor 7- there’s an Atomic ski out there for every style and level of skier. For a closer look at the Atomic lineup, take a look at our best of brand page. And to see how Atomic does compare to the rest of the competition, our top 10 all-mountain skis article can help you choose the best ski for you.

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    Where are Atomic skis made?

    Along with Salomon, Black Crow, and Armada- Atomic skis are mostly manufactured in their factory in Austria. What’s most notable about this factory is their concerted effort to cut down on emissions and do their best to “do better” on multiple different facets involved in their manufacturing process. From reducing their emissions by switching to renewable energy, to an effort to recycle raw materials; Atomic is making an effort to mitigate their impact and set an example for the rest of the industry. Read more about the history of Atomic skis.

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    Is Atomic owned by Salomon?

    Atomic is a subsidiary of Amer Sports Oyj, a multi-national Chinese-owned Finnish company that also owns many other outdoor brands such as Suunto and Salomon. As of 2018, Amer Sports Oyj itself is a part of Anta Sports. Find out more about the Atomic skis story here.

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    How much do Atomic skis cost?

    Atomic skis tend to be priced around the lower to middle end of the market spectrum, particularly if you’re looking into their all-mountain skis. We think that the Vantage series is particularly well-valued for the durability and versatility you get. Even their specialty skis such as the Backland series and the legendary Bent Chetler are competitively priced when compared to similar products around the rest of the industry.

    For a closer look at the price and performance of Atomic skis, take a look at our best of brand page. And to see how Atomic weighs up with the competition this season check out our top 10 all-mountain skis.

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    What are the best Atomic Skis?

    When you hear Atomic skis, undoubtedly one of the first things that will come to mind is the Bent Chetlers. They’re a contemporary classic and this newest super-lightweight iteration is worth a whole article by itself. But don’t think that’s the only thing they have to offer.

    Best Atomic Skis

    Atomic’s selection of skis is as diverse as any manufacturer in the industry. To see our favorites and what they have to offer check out our best of brand page. And for more on the comparison between Atomic’s top choices and other options, see our top 10 all-mountain skis article.

5 Comments

  1. Julia Rowan

    I purchased the Vantage 86. Works better on steeper terrain. why do I feel it’s an unstable ski? Should I ski it differently? I am a very good, advanced to expert skier. I am a woman skiing a 157 cm. I’m 5.2 and180 lbs.

    Help!

  2. Bradley Axmith

    Hey Julia. The 86 stands for millimeters under foot, which is one of Atomic’s most narrow options. It’s generally for someone used to the groomers looking to dabble in the softer stuff. It’s pretty light to assist with turns. I think that’s why it works well when you’re driving it downhill, but it sounds like they could be not enough ski for your power as a more experienced skier. Don’t know if it’s too late, but the 90 might be a better option.

  3. Peter

    I am going to buy the Atomic HAWX Magna 120 S Ski Boots Mens and then I wanted to buy the ski to match. My question is which Atomic skis should I get? I am a heavy guy and I want to be in control and no pain. Which ones?

    I am 5’11” 250 pounds and 13 shoe size,,,,Please tell me which ones you think would be good for me,,,I am not a expert and don’t want to go fast, I want to be in control.

  4. Hunter Bierce

    Peter, good choice with the Magna. I too have large feet that need a roomy shell, and your boots should be compatible with whatever ski you decide on regardless of brand. A dependable pair of boots is the single most important factor in controlling your skis, even more so than the skis themselves, so you’re off to a great start.

    If you’re committed to Atomic, I’d have to direct you towards the Savor 7. It’s lightweight, stable, and won’t punish you for skiing defensively. If I were you I’d opt for either the 176cm or 167cm size. The 176 will offer the most stable foundation for someone your size, while the 167 will turn a little bit easier if you’re after the easiest possible ride.

    For a little bit more demanding ski that can take you more places on the mountain, the Vantage 86C is a nice step-up. It’s shaped in a way that makes it more appropriate for getting off of the groomed trails and can hold more of an edge. You don’t need to ski fast to ride it well, but it definitely demands a little more from you than the Savor series.

  5. Ken M

    I skied Atomic Tm22s and Replaced then with a Dirans. Now needing a new ski what is the closest to the Tm22s & Dirans.

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