Finding a decent pair of skis for sale can be relatively easy, but decent isn’t enough for aspiring skiers who want to take their skiing to the next level – they need to find the perfect pair. And in order to find the perfect skis online, there are a few important factors you’ll need to consider, such as length, width, camber profile, where you ski, and base construction.
There’s no one-size-fits-all ski. Factors such as weight and height will impact the ideal ski size for you. While weight and height are a good starting point, snow type, ski category, terrain and personal preference are also things to take into account. The general rule of thumb is to pick skis that are somewhere between the top of your head and your chin. Advanced skiers often opt for skis that are slightly longer, whereas beginners usually go for something slightly shorter. You should get slightly longer skis for snow if you don’t ski really fast and want to make short, quick turns. Go for longer skis for snow if you like to ski aggressively and faster.
The ski width is the measurement in the middle of the ski, which is typically the narrowest point. Narrower widths provide a better and quicker edge to edge when turning, whereas wider widths provide better flotation in choppy and powder snow. You’ll usually find ski dimensions specified by a 3 number measurement, such as 120/95/113. Each number refers to the measurement for the tip, waist and tail, respectively. In this instance, 120 is the tip width, 95 is the waist width and 113 is the tail width. The ideal ski width for you will depend on the type of skiing you plan on doing. However, wider ski models are now becoming more popular as modern improvements allow them to feel like narrower ski models while still providing the floating of wide ski models.
This represents the curvature of the base from the tip to its tail. Manufacturers now make many different camber profiles for the various styles of skiing. If you’re into pipe riding or cruising around pistes, a traditional positive camber profile is recommended. For more hardcore freestyle and off-piste riding, there are other camber profiles to choose from. Many brands do their camber profiles differently, but they all fall under 4 categories – positive camber, reverse camber (rocker), early rise tip and early rise tip and tail.
The terrain where you intend to spend most of your time skiing on is probably the biggest determining factor regarding what type and shape of ski you should buy. It also impacts the ideal length and width of the ski.
All-mountain ski models are for skiing the whole mountain. This is the most popular type of ski, and they’re designed to handle anything you throw at them, including steeps, groomers, ice, powder and heavy snow. If you’re only going to have one pair of skis, this is your best choice.
If you intend on spending most of your time chasing the classic feel of laying a ski over on edge and arcing turns, you’ll want a carving/piste ski, which features shorter turn radii and narrower waists for responsive turn initiation and exist and edge to edge quickness on groomed runs.
Freestyle ski models are suitable for park and pipe skiers who spend most of their time in the terrain park. If jibs, jumps and rails are your thing, then these are the best choice for you.
Powder ski models are for deep days and skiing in the backcountry. A powder ski is wider than other types, allowing you to stay afloat.
Ski bases come in 4 different constructions, and you may see different names or grades used from each brand, but each one of them falls into one of the 4 categories – extruded, extruded hybrid, sintered and sintered hybrid.
Extruded bases are constructed from one sheet of p-tex plastic that’s forced through a mould in the shape of the ski, creating a single sheet of plastic that’s then glued to the core. Extruded bases are easy to maintain, which is why many beginners opt for them.
Extruded hybrid, Impact, Extrintered or Sintruded bases use the same construction as extruded bases, except the p-tex plastic is a higher grade or infused with a chemical to make it more durable or harder.
Sintered bases are premium-end bases made with granules of polyethene that’s ground to powder, then heated and compressed onto the core. These bases are very durable, fast and hold wax more efficiently for a faster ride.
Sintered hybrid bases are the most expensive on the market. They’re manufactured the same way as sintered bases, except the polythene granules are mixed with carbon or another friction-reducing material to create bases that are very durable and lightning-fast.