Skiing is probably the most popular winter sport, and the most important thing when it comes to skiing is to find the right equipment, which in this case, is your ski. When shopping for your skis, apart from your skiing style, your skiing ability plays an important role when it comes to picking out the best pair of skis for you (for example, you’re a newbie, an intermediate level skier or an expert skier).
There are many criteria that you need to take into consideration:
- The skis themselves: design, materials, shape, length, width, type, stiffness of the skis
- The skier: height and weight, skiing style and ability, personal preferences…
- Other: Ski category, terrain, snow type…
There is no formula to determine the perfect size of skis for every skier. But a general rule is to pick a ski length that ranges somewhere between your chin and the top of your head. And normally, advanced skiers and expert skiers would use skis that are slightly longer than their height.
Ski construction is very varied; however, the basic components would normally stay the same. It has a laminated wood core in the centre, which is surrounded by composite layers above, below and sidewalls to the sides. The topsheet is the layer that is visible on the top of the ski, containing graphics. The edges are made of stainless steel.
- Cross country skiing: Requires thinner and longer skis, which are easier to glide along straight paths.
- Downhill skiing: Requires you to take quick turns.
- Stiffness of the skis: The stiffness of the skis is determined by the combination of materials and the shape of the ski.
Longer and stiffer skis are better for those who ride at high speeds as it offers more stability.
Shorter and more flexible skis offer a higher level of manoeuvrability.
- Skiing ability
- Beginners: It’s best for newbies to buy shorter skis since they are a lot easier to make turns. Search for some skis with softer flex, narrower widths, and capped constructions with rocker in the tips and tails.
- Intermediate and experienced level skiers: They can search for skis with stronger wood cores and sandwich sidewall contractions. Their skies can be a little wider. Cambers and rockers vary.
- Expert skiers: Look for skis that are made from titan, carbon or any other materials that can deliver a smooth and stable ride at high speeds. Cambers and rockers vary.
- Shapes of skis
- Narrow in the boot area: Easier to turn quickly and sharply.
- Wide in the boot area: Designed to give skiers more stability and make broader turns.
- Lengths of skis:
- Shorter skis (Close to the chin): Easier to turn. People who look for shorter skis are: newbies, people who are returning to skiing after a while, people who weigh less than average in comparison with their height, people who prefer to make quick and short turns, people who don’t like high speeds
- Longer skis (Close to the top of the head): Can go faster (for experienced skiers). People who look for longer skis are: Those who love high speeds, people who weigh more than average in comparison to their height, people who look for twin-tip skis for all-mountain riding.