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How to Choose the Right Ski?

It’s no surprise that there has been a resurgence of interest in skiing, it’s become cool again, especially amongst the younger. In part, because the gear is now so much better. Boarding has been hugely popular, especially for off-trail riding, but with the range of skis now available, skiers have a huge choice to help them have the best day, on or off-trail.  But more than ever, there’s now such a choice that it can be sometimes hard to decide which ski is best for you? Here’s a quick background, and a video, on how to choose the right ski.

Common Ski Terms

First up, here are some common terms you might come across when choosing a ski.

  • Waist width. The width of the ski at the narrowest point.  The narrower the ski the quicker it will transfer edge to edge. A wider ski will sit up on top of soften snow, ideal for powder or off-trail.
  • Turn radius. The size of the carved turn a ski makes. A smaller ski radius is better for slow to medium speeds, whereas a larger turn radius is better for faster more aggressive skiing.
  • Ski core. There are many different types of ski cores and construction, from metal through to carbon-fibre. It does affect the performance of a ski, so talk to an expert before you buy as to what might be suit you.
  • Flex. Beginners and intermediates are usually better with a softer ski which easier to flex, turn and manoeuvre.  Heavier or more advanced skiers will be better with a slightly stiffer ski which will hold an edge a lot better.
  • Ski Profile. Rocker, the ski sweeps up at the tip and the tail, ideal for soften snow and off trail. Camber, just the top and tail are touching the snow at res, this helps load up your weight and energy into the ski to propel you from turn to another.

Main Types of Skis?

Yep, there are different types, and you really do need to match the type that best suits your style.

  • All-mountain.  The most common type of ski, great for skiing all over the mountain. It's carves and performs amazingly on trail, but because it's a little bit wider and there's a bit of rocker in the tip, it's still great for skiing in that softer snow.
  • Powder or Backcountry.  The widest ski underfoot, usually over 100 millimeters and typically with a little bit more rocker in the tip.  Ideal for skiing off-trail in soft snow or powder.
  • Freestyle.  They are narrower underfoot, generally about ninety millimeters and have twin tips.  Great for people spending most the time in the park or hitting the jumps.

Choosing the right ski size?

The right length of ski you'll need is directly related to your height and your weight. As a general rule, the ski should come between your nose and your eyebrows when the tail is on the ground. The heavier you are the longer you can go within your suggested size range.

Ski Demo Days

The best way to choose a ski is to actually try one out! Many ski shops and brands run demo days around the various ski areas of NZ, and for free you can try out different types of skis, often for an hour or so, and see what you like the best. We highly recommend this as a way to find the right ski for you!

Visit a Specialist Ski Shop

We all love online shopping, but seriously, we don’t recommend shopping online for skis and “finding that bargain” unless you absolutely know what you want. We strongly recommend you head into a specialist ski shop, talk with the experts, be honest about your ability (and weight) and see what they recommend. It’s a big investment, one you’ll have for years, but most importantly, one that will directly influence how much fun you have on the mountain.  Search here for a ski shop near you!