I know it’s hard to believe that now days, as ski widths creep closer and closer to snowboards, but it’s true! As you can probably guess, powder skis have come a long way in the last decade. It used to be that powder skis were pretty much identical to all mountain skis, except they were a little fatter. Now, powder skis have a range of technologies to draw upon to make the perfect ski.Types of Powder Skiers
The way we see it, there are three different types of powder skiers. First, you’ve got your casual skiers who dip off trail after it snows, hoping to make a few nice powder turns. Second, there’s the powder skier who “gets after it.” You’ll find this type of skier poking around in the back bowls, trees, under the lift, or wherever else there might still be snow a week after a storm. Finally, there’s the extreme powder skiers who pursue the backcountry and send it as fast as they can off of any cliff they see. While you have to consider the fact that everyone has different preferences in a ski, you can generally use these three categories as guidelines when deciphering powder skis.Gettin' it While it's Good
The first category of powder skiers only really cares about powder right after a storm. After that, they’ll return to the trails and enjoy the fact that the groomed runs are even softer than they were before. A skier in this category usually prefers a ski between 100mm and 110mm, mainly because they really aren’t used to a ski any fatter. Skis in this range typically have rocker in the tips and tails, making it easier to float in the powder. These skis also handle the entire mountain well, as they aren’t geared towards powder exclusively. If this sounds like the type of ski that you’re looking for, we recommend checking out the Head Rev 105
, Atomic Access
, or Fischer Watea 101
. Each ski is a great choice for getting after the soft snow, and can hold their own in a bit of off piste powder.I Know There's a Stash Somewhere...
The second type of powder skier actively pursues powder on the mountain, even if it means taking risky traverses and bumping off of a few trees. A skier like this has been after it for at least a little while now, and can handle a wider ski. Usually, skis between 110mm and 120mm wide are the target range, though some skiers may prefer something a bit wider. As far as flex, these skis will vary, but will almost never be so soft that they can't handle deep snow. Of course, these skis are also going to have rockered tips, allowing the skier to float, butter, and nollie off whatever they can. Remember, this skier is looking for the overlooked, and needs a ski that can be as creative as they are. Good choices for this type of skier would be the Salomon Rocker2 115
, Head Kiss of Death
, or the Atomic Blog
. These skis all have a fat waist, so you know it’s powder oriented, but aren’t so fat that you need 3 feet of freshies to use them. These skis are great for getting around the mountain and finding the secret stashes.Yeah, I Could Probably Send That
Finally, there’s the type of powder skier who does it purely for the adrenaline rush. These skiers will almost always be hiking around the backcountry, and aren’t afraid to jump off the biggest cliffs in sight. Skiers like this usually demand super fat skis, over 120mm wide, and a really stiff flex. Occasionally you’ll see some soft skis in this category, but usually they’ll be stiff to accompany the high-speed chutes and landings. Some skis that we have available in this category are the Atomic Bent Chetler
, Elan Boomerang
, and Head Boneshaker
. These are some of the fattest, burliest skis on the market, so you’d better know what you’re doing if you go with any of these skis!