When choosing your next pair of skis, it’s important to get your ski width correct. The dimensions of your ski under your foot can make or break your next ski day. Here’s our comprehensive guide.
Ski length and width go hand in hand (learn more about ski length here). A good first step when determining the width you want is to review the dimensions of the skis you have been using. Make note of what you like or dislike about them. Generally, wide skis are great for powder and softer snow while narrow skis are best for groomers and icy conditions.
Wide skis perform well in powder and soft snow because they have a large surface area, to improve float. A drawback of wide skis is that is that it takes more strength to tip the ski on edge and hold it there through a turn – and, it takes longer to roll from edge to edge, slowing the transition between turns.
Narrow skis move more easily from edge to edge, making them more maneuverable and nimble. Narrow width also gives the ski boot more leverage to set the edge on firm snow conditions and ice.
Mid-range width is somewhere in between – and is usually a good compromise for a versatile, every-day or all-mountain ski. Skis in the mid-width category strike a balance between quickness in tight terrain (trees and bumps), security on hard or icy snow, and off-piste performance (chop, chunder, and light powder). Mid-range ski width will also float in soft snow and have the power to plow through variable conditions. However, mid-range ski width won’t be the best for deep powder conditions. You’ll want wide skis for those blower powder days!
If you ski a lot or ski in various conditions, it’s not uncommon to have two pairs of skis. One set is typically wide, dedicated to powder conditions, epic ski trips (snowcat skiing or heli-skiing), and perhaps the backcountry (hut trips). The other pair is narrower and optimized for lift-served skiing and firm snow conditions on the mountain.
When determining the appropriate ski width for you, weigh a combination of your past ski preferences, where you ski, what type of terrain you ski most, and the intended use of the ski (daily driver, powder ski, groomer, all-mountain cruiser, etc.). Having the proper ski width will allow you to easily initiate and turn your skis allowing skiing to be easier and more fun.
Curious what might be best for you? Get started on your Skier DNA here and schedule a phone call with a ski designer in the last step to find out. Ready to learn more about proper ski dimensions and design? Check out these articles:
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