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The stiffness and flex pattern of a ski are a combination of ski width, ski length, the material makeup of the ski and the properties of the core. In order to understand the functions of these various elements that make up the ski, we encourage you to catch up on the previous articles from our Ski Buyer’s Guide:
The torsional rigidity of a ski, or the ski’s resistance to twisting, is created through a combination of the core, structural layers, ski shape, width, and length. Skis that have a high longitudinal (tip to tail) flex, will feel stable at speed and have good precision on hard snow. A ski that is softer will be easier to initiate into and release from turns. Softer skis are also more forgiving in bumps.
When looking for a pair of skis, you want to find your sweet spot. A ski that is too stiff for your skiing style will buck you around and you’ll feel endlessly tired. If your ski is too soft, you may experience the sensation of feeling like you are “going over the handlebars”. A ski that is too stiff will make you work harder to stay centered, you may have to ease off your power. Unfortunately, you can’t really figure out a ski’s stiffness or flex pattern by reading the description of a ski. One way to achieve the best torsional stiffness is for you is by demoing. Alternatively, a pair of custom skis takes into consideration your ski demographics to align your perfect flex and rigidity. For a good versatile ski, look for something that has a forgiving tip to tail torsional stiffness, but is stiff enough so that you feel you have enough stability and edge hold. To learn more about how to find your Perfect Ski, check out these additional articles.