Ski Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right Ski
- Posted on
- By Ski Shack
- Posted in Skiing
With all of the different brands and models available on the market today, deciding which ski to buy can feel overwhelming. Ultimately it comes down to three questions: What kind of terrain do you like to ski? What is your skill level? And how often do you ski each season? Once you’ve answered these questions you can easily narrow down which ski is right for you.
What Kind of Terrain Do You Like to Ski?
When picking a new ski, consider the type of terrain that you ski on most. Different types of skis will perform better on different types of terrain.
If you often ski on groomers where the conditions are hardpack or ice, you will want to look at a frontside, or carving ski, for superior edge handling. If you frequent big mountains or like to go off-trail into the woods, you may want to consider an all-mountain ski that will be more playful and provide better float in powder. Skiers who spend their time in the terrain park should look at twin-tip skis that allow them to ski backward (aka switch).
What is Your Skill Level?
It's important to to consider your skill level when choosing a new ski. Often, ski model prices correlates with skill level. Beginner skis tend to cost less than advanced skis, as advanced skis feature more advanced technology and expensive materials.
Beginner skis are appropriate for folks who are new to the sport, or who prefer taking it easy on green trails. Skis tailored towards beginners are often lighter and softer with narrower waist widths. These skis are not too fast, easy to turn, and forgiving if you make a mistake.
Most people fall under the intermediate category. Intermediate skis are usually wider than beginner skis, and they often have a stronger wood core and sandwich sidewall construction to hold an edge at faster speeds. These skis may also have full camber, rocker, or even a blend of the two for effortless turn initiation.
The last category is advanced to expert level. Skis in these categories usually have layers of metal, carbon, or other materials to give better performance. These skis are normally stiffer longitudinally and torsionally and perform well at high speeds.
How Often Do You Ski?
If you typically stick to one kind of terrain, or want to fine-tune your setup based on the conditions, you may choose to purchase a ski that is suited to your home mountain conditions.
If you travel to different mountains or ski in various conditions, you may want to consider a ski that can handle a variety of terrain. Each year manufacturers create new hybrid models that can accommodate varied terrain; these offer flexibility for a skier who likes to explore different trails and mountains. For the 2021-22 season, Atomic launched the new Maverick and Maven series of skis, which are specifically designed to handle hardpack, powder, and everything in between.
Finding the right ski can be tricky if you’re not sure what to look for or what you should be asking. Hopefully, now you choose a ski with confidence. But if not, you can always stop by the Ski Shack, where our knowledgeable staff can help you find the right pair.
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Looking for something else? Based in northeast PA, Ski Shack carries a full line of outdoor gear, clothing and accessories to keep everyone in your family cozy, dry and safe in the great outdoors this season — no matter your experience or ability level.