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Guide to buying the perfects skis for you!

Are you in the market for some new skis but don't know where to start looking? Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice hitting the slopes, choosing the right pair of skis is crucial for an enjoyable experience. With a plethora of options available, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and intimated with ski jargon. But fear not! We're here to break down the key elements you should consider when buying new skis.

Ski Terrain Type

The first decsion you'll need to make is determining the terrain type of skiing you'll primarily be doing (think 80%-90% of your skiing). Here are the main categories:

  • Piste Skis: Designed for groomed runs, these skis are ideal for carving precise turns on packed snow. They typically have a narrower waist and are more rigid, providing stability and responsiveness on hard-packed slopes.

  • All-Mountain Skis (sometimes called 'all terrain'): As the name suggests, these skis are versatile and can handle a variety of terrain and snow conditions. They offer a good balance between performance on groomed runs, off-piste adventures and everything in between. All-mountain skis usually have a moderate waist width (90-110mm) and flex, making them suitable for a wide range of skiers.

  • Backcountry/Touring Skis: If you're an adventure seeker who loves exploring untouched powder and off-piste terrain, backcountry skis are your best bet. These skis are lightweight, maneuverable, and often equipped with features like rocker profiles and wider waists to provide floatation in deep snow. They're designed for hiking uphill and making fresh tracks in the wilderness.

Consider your skiing style, the terrain you frequent, and your skill level when choosing the type of ski that suits you best.

Length of Ski

The length of your skis plays a crucial role in how they perform on the slopes. Generally, shorter skis are easier to maneuver and are more forgiving for beginners, while longer skis offer better stability and edge hold at higher speeds. Here are some guidelines to help you determine the right length based on the type of skiing you mostly do:

  • Piste Skis: Choose a length that reaches somewhere between your chin and nose. Shorter skis are preferable for beginners, while more experienced skiers may opt for longer skis for increased stability.

  • All-Mountain Skis: Aim for a length that ranges from chin to forehead height. Again, shorter lengths provide easier maneuverability, while longer lengths offer better performance at speed and in varied terrain.

  • Backcountry Skis: Select a length based on your weight rather than height, as you'll need skis that can support you in deep snow and steep terrain. Refer to manufacturer recommendations or seek advice from knowledgeable professionals.

Turn Radius

The turn radius refers to the natural arc your skis will make when you initiate a turn. A shorter turn radius means the skis will make tighter turns, while a longer turn radius results in wider turns. Here's how turn radius affects ski performance:

  • Short Turn Radius: Ideal for quick, snappy turns, these skis are well-suited for carving on groomed slopes and navigating through moguls.

  • Long Turn Radius: Skis with a longer turn radius offer stability at higher speeds and excel at making wider, sweeping turns. They're great for cruising down open terrain and carving big arcs.

Consider your skiing style and the type of terrain you'll be tackling when choosing the appropriate turn radius for your skis.

Final Tip: Try Before You Buy!

While researching and reading reviews can provide valuable insights, there's no substitute for actually testing out skis on the snow. Many ski resorts and specialty shops offer demo days or rental options, allowing you to try out different models before making a purchase. This hands-on approach allows you to feel how the skis perform and determine which ones suit your preferences and skill level best.

In conclusion, selecting the perfect pair of skis involves considering the type of skiing you'll be doing, choosing the right length and turn radius, and, if possible, testing out skis before committing to a purchase. By keeping these key elements in mind, you'll be well-equipped to hit the slopes with confidence and enjoy countless memorable adventures on your new skis!

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