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Ski Rocker vs Ski Camber: A Skier's Guide

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Ski Buyer’s Guide, Part 6: Putting It All Together

Your Next Pair of New Skis

Now that you have a basic level of the ski fundamentals, it’s time to pull them all together: 

Depending on what conditions you like to ski, here are a few basic takeaways for what to look for in your next new pair of skis.

All-Mountain Skis

  • Look for skis with a mid-range width. You want something that is narrow enough to be quick, but wide enough that you have good control in soft and variable snow conditions.
  • A good way to figure out width is to assess your past equipment. What was your last ski’s width and did it perform well in various snow conditions. Whatever your current ski does well at, we can mimic that. Whatever your ski did poorly, we’ll adjust. 
  • You’ll want a small amount of rocker to take on variable conditions, but not too much that it is flapping around at higher speeds.
  • It’s best to look for a ski with mid torsional stiffness.
  • For materials, it’s best to address what conditions you’ll be skiing in the most and combine that information with your skier demographic information (think height, weight, ability level, etc.).

     

Groomers

  • Narrow to mid-range width is best because this allows the skis to get on edge easiest. 
  • This width combined with the best flex pattern for you (depending on your height, weight, strength, etc.) will make the perfect ski. It’s not just about width.
  • You don’t want a lot of rocker in a groomer-specific ski. Rocker will make the ski chatter, especially at high speeds. 
  • You will want the ski to be torsionally stiff (won’t twist side to side).
  • Look for a ski that has mass, powerful materials, and traditional camber.

Bumps

  • If you love bumps, look for a narrow waist and forgiving stiffness (softer ski). If the ski is too stiff, it won’t turn quickly between bumps.
  • Look for a narrow tip / shovel for ease of turn transitions.
  • Also consider a narrow tail. 
  • The waist should be generally narrow as well.
  • You will want a straight sidecut, this allows the skis to be agile and maneuverable. 

Powder

  • Floatation is paramount when looking for a powder ski. Wider widths are best for increased floatation because they create more surface area for the ski.
  • Look for a wide tip shape / shovel and a narrow tail. This is a nice combination because the tip shape will allow you to float while the pintail will be more inclined to sink a bit and keep your tips above the snow. 
  • Depending on where you ski geographically (lightweight powder vs. a heavier powder), the torsional stiffness and materials will differ. 

Backcountry & Ski Touring 

  • It’s most important to evaluate your main goals with your touring skis. Are these skis that will mostly go uphill? Are they more of a lift-accessed backcountry ski? Are you training for a skimo race? All this information will determine the best combination of materials, ski width, and ski length.
  • If uphill is your main attraction, you’ll want a lightweight ski that is optimized for good conditions. 
  • If uphill is just to get you to the downhill, it’s better to consider weight, but build a competent ski for skiing.

Next Steps for New Skis

When you are ready to pull the trigger on your next pair of skis, there are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success. The first thing is to evaluate your current and past skis. What do you like about them and what do you wish they could do better, are two good questions to ask yourself. The appropriate length, width, ski shape, materials, and stiffness and flex pattern for your skis are really dependent on many factors. There isn’t one ski out there that can accommodate everyone’s ski preferences. The most efficient and effective way to purchase skis is to talk with a ski designer so they can recommend the perfect combination of ski dimensions that works for you. 

Ready to get started on the perfect ski for you? Start by filling out our Skier DNA here. Don’t forget to set up a time to talk with a ski designer in the last step. Here’s to making skiing more comfortable and fun! 

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