Choosing the Right Skis

Posted December 8, 2017 by Madeline Boucher

With the holidays fast approaching, we all know that the snow is heading our way here in Erie, PA. As we are waiting for that first snow fall, skiers and snowboarders are preparing themselves for the upcoming winter on the slopes! When choosing your new set of skis, you must keep in mind the following:

Where will you be skiing?
Will you only be skiing in the Erie area? Do you head up to Vermont for the winter? Do you go out go to Colorado every year? Are you making a trip to the Alps?
What is your skill level as a skier?
Never skied before? Novice? Intermediate? Intermediate/Expert? Expert?
What type of skiing will you be doing?
Do you want the challenge of riding down the moguls? Do you want to flip in the Terrain Parks? Do you want to ski in the woods? Do you just want to make it down the mountain safely?

Sizing Skis

“What size skis do I need?” is probably the first question you have. This is where you need to think about your skiing ability and your skier type. Generally, skis are measured by your height ranging between your chin and your eyebrows. For the young skiers, ages 12 and younger, the skis should reach their chin. Skiers who are heavier may want to consider longer and wider skis.
A new skier older than 12 years old may want a ski that measures closer to their chin or mouth. Shorter skis are typically easier to control as they create an easier and faster turn. After a new skier learns that, they often want a ski that is much shorter. Avoiding skies that are too short is essential. If a woman, who is 5’4 and 130 pounds is on skis that that are 120cm, not only would she not be steady while skiing, but there is minimal room for improvement in her skiing. With skis that are too short, turns would be shorter and the skier may have difficulty controlling.

Camber and Rocker

Whether you are looking for your first pair of skis or your 4th, understanding ski technology (camber and rocker) may be helpful to determine what you might want.
Camber is essentially an arch. When you put your skis on the ground and step in them, you may notice the center of the skis flattening because of your weight. That is camber. It acts as a spring in the ski. Camber skis are easy to control via turning, carving and stability because it provides a better grasp onto ice and snow.
Rocker is the opposite of camber, as it resembles the outline of a saucer. Rocker is compatible for soft and powdered snow and turns can be done faster.

Ski Types

When you walk into a ski shop, you will notice different types of skis and many different price points. You will need to think about the three questions at the beginning. Downhill skis are often categorized as:
• All Mountain Skis
• Powder Skis
• Park Skis

All-Mountain Skis
All-Mountain Skis have a narrower waist usually measuring up to 90mm. These skis are suitable any skier no matter their experience level. With the narrower waist, all-mountain skis create faster and wider turns. Best for groomed slopes and compact snow, many skiers in the Erie area prefer these skis because of the type of snow we get and the slopes that are offered.

Skiers who often skis in the Rocky Mountains or even up in New England, may prefer wider skis, ranging from 91mm-110mm. These wider skis make slower turn but have better stability.

Powder Skis

Powder Skis have the widest waist, usually 110mm and wider. Hence the name, these are best used during a fresh snowfall in powder. However, powder skis are not as suitable for compact snow.

What skis are ideal for the parks?
Are you a daredevil who likes to ride the rails, jumps or halfpipes? Knowing what you like to do in the park is crucial to determine the type of skis that are best suitable for you. Do you do large jumps? Or would you rather slide on the rails? Twin tip skis are often ideal for park skiing. Twin tips are skis with both ends of the skis curved up, which can allow a skier to ride backwards.

Skiers who do a lot of jumps or spend a lot of time on the pipeline, should consider a more cambered ski. It would be more forgiving and softer as you jump and land. A stiff and narrow ski is essential for these types of skiers. Stiffer skis allow for more stability in the air and while landing; narrower skis allow better control for “launching” and landing.
If you are a skier who rides the rails in the terrain parks, then a rocker ski would be the better way to go. It would allow for easy control as you will probably turn and spin more frequently. A softer and wider ski would be the best type of ski as it would be more flexible for better stability.

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