For some years, there was a pretty significant trend among good skiers, especially in the west, to experiment with wider and wider skis as everyday choices.
As these skis proliferated and rocker started sprouting up on almost everything, this became more and more common, generated more and more hype, and the ski manufacturers poured out dozens of models every year.
Pretty soon, we were seeing folks out on the hill with 110-120mm wide skis on days when it hadn’t snowed in a week or more. Often, these skis would have pretty significant rocker and you could hear the tips flapping around from a hundred yards away.
Everyone seemed happy at first, and all was smiles and giggles but eventually, the trend started to reverse itself. Some of these skiers were (and still are) happy with “powder” skis for everyday use, but a pretty fair number came back to the store to buy an 88-98mm ski to go along with the big ones.
It didn’t take long for the market trend to slowly start to reverse and the ski manufacturers started knocking down the amounts of rocker and they put the brakes on introductions of new skis beyond the 118mm (or so) range.
Meanwhile, the sales of the 95-98mm skis had taken off, and the Volkl Mantra became the best selling ski in the US market a few years ago. There was soon plenty of competition as a number of really successful skis in that width range hit the market, and sure enough, sales shot up.
The folks that had a powder ski and a 95-98mm ski were pretty well set and as long as they were OK with multiple skis, it was all good. However, there were skiers that were just tired altogether of the really wide stuff, and others that only wanted one ski, but wanted a little more soft snow bias than what most of the 98s offered.
The ski makers have pounced on this trend and are now introducing a lot of new “all mountain” skis in the 103-108mm range, also called big mountain skis, or freeride skis. Many of these skis are highly useful for the skier who prioritizes soft conditions but still has to deal with packed snow from time to time. Most of these models have some rocker but usually not a lot of it.