The size ski you should be on is a combination of the type of skiing you plan on doing, your ability level, and your size. A shorter ski will be much easier to carve with while a longer ski will ski much better at high speeds. For skiing on trail, a short ski is fine, but if you plan on spending time off trail, a longer ski will help you cut through the crud and float on powder.
Ski width is an extremely important factor in determining how a ski will perform. There are 3 widths dimensions you need to pay attention to: waist (center of the ski) tip and tail. Most skis will have width measurements listed in a format like 132-94-119. With this example, 132 is the tip width, 94 the waist width, and 119 the waist width, all of which are measured in millimeters. The waist width will tell you what type of terrain the ski is designed for. A narrow waisted ski is designed for quick turns on groomed runs, and a wider waisted ski is geared towards skiing powder. There are plenty of options in between as well. The other factor to look at is the taper (the difference between the tip and tail width. The wider the tip is compared to the tail, the better the ski will float in powder, and the more the tail will tend to slide on turns. The closer the tip and tail widths are to each other, the more the ski will grip through turns.
In the last few seasons, many models of skis with rocker have emerged into the market. Rocker is great and definitely has its place in the market, but there is still a need for camber as well, which is the traditional ski profile.
Rocker can best be described by visualizing the "rocker" on the bottom of the legs on a rocking chair. A ski with rocker will roll into turns much easier and quicker, and give you more float in powder. Another great benefit of rocker on skis is that is helps the ski pivot easier on the snow, making turns much easier for those who haven't quite mastered the perfect carve, and making catching edges much more difficult
Many traditionalists still feel that camber is the way to go, and for certain conditions and skiers, it definitely is. Camber helps keep pressure on both the tip and tail or the ski and accelerate the skier through turns.
Most of today's skis feature rocker to some extent. Powder skis feature a full rockered profile, while most all mountain skis feature rocker in the tip (also called an early rise tip) and camber through the waist and tail. Most freestyle skis will also feature rocker in the tail for skiers who ski backwards or switch.
Sidecut is a measurement which will tell you how the ski will turn. Sidecut measurement is based off the radius of sidecut curve (assuming the curve made a full circle). The smaller the number, the deeper the sidecut is. The larger the number, the shallower the sidecut is. A deep sidecut will turn more sharply, while a shallower sidecut will make much longer turns.
Today's skiing gear is far superior than gear from previous decades. Modern technology can improve anyone's skill, whether you're a first timer or a seasoned pro. Although skis can improve your speed and control, the right ski boots improve your comfort and stability. Learn how to choose the right ski boots.
Boots are hands down the most important piece of ski gear. Even if you rent or demo skis, owning your boots is the way to go. Having a proper fit is crucial for you to enjoy your time on the hill. There is nothing worse than be strapped into an uncomfortable piece of plastic all day. We highly recommend trying on several pairs of boots from different manufacturers in our stores before purchasing.
Ski Boot Size
Don't just assume you wear the same size boots as you do shoes. Many people wear their shoes slightly bigger (unconsciously) for extra comfort. You do not want this with your ski boots. When standing upright, the boot will most likely feel too small. As you flex your knees forward (the position you'll be in while skiing) your ties will slide back from the front of the liner. Also, keep in mind that with some use, the boots will pack out a little bit.
Ski Boot Flex
Every boot has a flex rating. The higher the number, the stiffer the boot will be, and the lower the number, the softer flexing the boot will be. Keep in mind that every manufacturer has a different rating scale, so be sure to try a few on. Stiffer boots are going to ski much more aggressively, and have a much quicker transfer of energy to the ski, giving the skier better response. A softer flexing boot is going to be much more forgiving, being ideal for the beginner or non-aggressive skier. Softer flexing boots are typically more comfortable as well. Flex is also a matter of personal opinion to an extent as well. A heavier person will have an easier time flexing a stiff boot that a light person. Therefore most heavy people will prefer a stiff boot, and lighter skiers will prefer a softer flexing boot.
Ski Boot Width (or last)
Another major measurement in a ski boot is the width, or last. Deciding the proper width is based on a combination of personal preference (foot shape) and the aggressiveness of the skier. If you have a wide foot, you will need a wide boot, or if you have a narrow foot, you will want a narrow boot. That part is simple. Aside from fit though, width also plays a role in performance. A narrow boot is going to give the skier the most energy transfer between the boot and ski, giving the skier the most response. A wider boot will typically be more comfortable, and warmer due to the increased blood circulation through your foot. As with everything, there are many options in the medium category as well to give you the best of both worlds.
When it comes to skiing, Sport Chalet's experts know what you need. We'll bring you the latest skiing technology. From new ski designs to high-tech ski clothing, ski boots, and other equipment, we have it. Read our expert recommendations or visit one of our stores to buy or rent ski equipment for your next skiing trip.
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