Tips Up: Expert Advice on How to Buy Skis

Last updated 04. January 2019

If you’re new to the slopes and a bit overwhelmed by all of the options at the ski store, fret not because we’ve got some expert advice to help you out. Simply follow these tips and you’ll have a much easier time purchasing your next set of skis.

Tips For Purchasing Your Next Set Of Skis

1. Location. Location. Location.

Aside from gender, location is the first factor that you’ll need to consider when choosing your skis. If you’re absolutely new, then you may not have a preferred location yet. You will need to consider what area you plan on skiing the most. But if you’ve already spent some times on the slopes, then the location that matters is the place where you ski the most. It’s fine if you visit several different places. What matters is the place where you spend more time skiing than any other.

Your ski destination is going to have a significant impact on the ski type. Is it an alpine area that is highly maintained? Is it a backcountry slope that may be unstable? Or perhaps it is a cross between these two worlds, which is often referred to as “side country”. Most skis are designed to perform adequately well in all terrains, but they will each favor one or the other.

2. Making The Cut

The cut and size of your skis are very important. Many people make the mistake of buying too much ski. Some of the cut and size factors that you need to consider are the width, length, sidecut, and construction. Focus on each of these metrics one at a time and you’ll eventually build your perfect ski on paper. You then take that information with you online or to the ski shop to find skis that fit your needs.

The width may be the most important of these factors. There are a variety of width options available and as the width increases the ski will tend to float more. This means the ski is better at handling the more difficult terrain. However, the increased width also reduces quickness and precision. The correct ratio of precision to versatility will depend on the destination where you plan to ski.

point of view from skier looking at the skis and mountainNext, you will want to consider the sidecut. This is the curvature running along the edge of the ski from its tip to the tail. The sidecut has a significant impact on the turning radius of the ski. A straighter sidecut will allow for more stable turning. A deep sidecut can allow for much quicker turns, but it requires more precision and agility from the skier.

Finally, height will have an impact on the stability of your ride. A longer ski will offer more stability but it will decrease your maneuverability. A shorter ski will increase maneuverability, but the stability will drastically decrease as your speed rises.

3. Avoid The Hype

The ski industry is full of hype from marketing professionals, advertising agencies, test groups, and social media. While there is usually some truth among all of the hype, it can be impossible to find it on your own. For example, if a particular ski is highly recommended by a test group, that isn’t enough of a reason to invest in that particular ski. Instead, you need to dive deeper into the test results and discover exactly why it tested positively. Then you need to compare those results to your own needs.

Many people ski differently. You have your own ski personality and it needs to be considered at all times. A ski may get rave reviews because it appeals to a group of people with a particular personality. They may like to race down the hill as fast as possible and make wide turns. But you may be the type who likes to make quick, short turns between trees and obstacles.

4. Learn Your Ski Personality

You may already know your ski personality if you have experience on the slopes, but what if you are completely new? You should consider renting skis at first before making a serious purchase. A ski rental will give you an opportunity to test different lengths, widths, and cuts while discovering your own ski personality.

Once you’ve figured out who you are on the slopes you will be able to make a much better investment in the shop. And while you’re there, take the time to discuss your options with the shop owner. They are often a great source of information and advice.


Finding The Perfect Ski

Few things in life are as fun and exciting as skiing. But the process of buying new skis can be very confusing and tedious. Even skiers with years of experience struggle to decipher all of the numbers, options, and new features. Skis today are far more advanced than they were only a few decades ago. This is better for the consumer, but it takes some getting used to. Remember to discover your ski personality, carefully consider your favorite ski locations, avoid marketing hype, and then choose a ski with the right measurements to match your ski style.


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