If you've been skiing for a while, you probably know what types of skis are best for your riding style. You know what you're most passionate about: downhill skiing (the faster the better), mogul skiing, powder skiing or park/pipe (freestyle) skiing. Depending on the type of skiing you're looking to participate in, the shape of the skis matter. They can be longer, skinnier, fatter, have varying rocker/camber profiles and/or have a different sidecut radius, and more.
Let's just get this out of the way first: there is NO true all-mountain ski. It's just not possible. You can't put a mogul ski and a powder ski together. The “all-mountain skis” you see from many brands are often no good for the bumps and are too skinny for powder. They're not actually meant for anything, they are just the most versatile. The lesson to be learned here is that you're going to have to decide what/where you like to ski most on the mountain and choose a ski based on that. So, if you mostly like to ski groomers, then you should get an all-mountain ski. If you like crud and powder, you should get a fat ski. Different types of skis are appropriate for different types of conditions. Take a look at the information below. It will let you know what you should be looking for in a ski based on what you like to ski.
For this type of skiing, you will want a very well-shaped ski. If you're more of a beginner, you'll want this ski to have a softer flex and the length should be no higher than chin level. Are you more of an aggressive skier? A hard driver? A ski with a stiffer flex and a slightly longer length will work for you. Lifter plates can be a fun addition because they lift you higher on the ski, giving you easier edge control. If you can get your hands on them, integrated bindings are also a great advantage. With integrated bindings, the ski and the binding are attached in a way to allow the ski to flex more naturally; a typical traditional binding won't allow the ski to flex under the binding. This gives the skier who loves to carve a more full, gripping carving experience! Boo yah!
Terrain Park Skis
For terrain park skiing, the number one feature you'll want to look for in a ski is twin tips. This allows the skier to ski facing both forward and backwards. It has been proven, however, that twin tips are not only awesome for jumps — they're also great for all mountain skiing, as well. Twin tips allow you to turn without completely finishing your turn (don't worry, this is OK). On a traditional ski, if you don't completely finish your turn before initiating the next one, your tails will catch. Twin tips allow you to ski more freely, without having to worry about catching your tails. You also want your park skis to have a softer flex and, if you can find it, a more symmetrical shape — where the waist of the ski is farther forward than normal.
All we have to say is FAT, FAT, FAT! A true powder ski should be wider than a normal ski. Most of these skis will have some sort of rocker or an early rise in the tip and tail, which helps you get through powder and choppy crud with ease. Powder skis make skiing through that powdery, deep snow easier than ever before — opening up many skiers, particularly those who would have avoided it before, to the joys of skiing powder. Look for a flat or reverse camber in the middle of the ski and a waist that is greater than 109mm. If you are always on the hunt for fresh snow, this is the type of ski you need.
Everyone has to start somewhere. If you're just learning to ski, it's important to find a flexible, softer ski that's also a little bit shorter. Although no skis are specifically labeled as “beginner” skis, you can look for specific features, like a narrow waist, a short to medium sidecut radius, and a rocker tip (and sometimes tail). We hope that these tips will guide you in the right direction when choosing the best ski for you. As always, the L9 team is here to help you determine the right skis for you. Contact us by phone, email or chat. We're available and passionate about helping you choose the right skis for your conditions.