Downhill Skis

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Choose your downhill skis depending on your skill level and ambitions. Also make sure to choose the right length, type and sidecut.

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Ski length

Choose the ski length depending on your skill level and height. The less experience you have, the shorter skis you need. Shorter skis are easier to manoeuvre and are more responsive when turning. Also important is your weight. A heavy skier has more leverage for turning longer skis, which is something a lighter skier could struggle with.

  • Beginner - choose skis that are 15-20 cm shorter than you are, but less than 170 cm in length if possible. For children, choose 20-30 cm shorter skis.
  • Intermediate - 10-20 cm shorter than the skier, up to 180 cm in length.
  • Very advanced - your skis should be as long as you are tall.

 

Ski width

Ski width is measured at the waist (under the boot) and the choice depends on the terrain.

 

  • Slope - narrow waist (allows you to shift from edge to edge more quickly)
  • Freeride - wide waist (more surface area, making them more stable in soft snow and powder)

General waist width dimensions according to the terrain

  • 64-75 mm - suitable for well-maintained ski slopes, get stuck in soft snow
  • 75-85 mm - a compromise variant, more suitable for groomed slopes than for the terrain park
  • 85-100 mm - better suited for the terrain park, edge shifts on hard pack can be tricky
  • 100-135 mm - designed for the terrain park and soft snow, unsuitable for groomed slopes

Sidecut

The sidecut determines how easy or hard it is to make a turn. Directly related to the turning radius, which depends on the sidecut and ski length. The deeper the sidecut, the smaller the turning radius. Skis with a deep sidecut are also called carving skis.

Turning radius

Turning radius is the arc a ski makes during a turn. It depends on the ski length and depth of the sidecut. The rule of thumb is simple: deeper sidecut = smaller turning radius = shorter arc. A smaller radius enables nimble turns, but at a slower speed. If you want high speeds, choose a ski with a subtle sidecut, though keep in mind that its turn arc is long and making turns is more difficult in general.

 

  • Long arcs - 18-25 m radius
  • Short arcs - 9-12 m radius
  • Medium - 13-17 m radius
  • Beginners should buy skis with a deeper sidecut (9-12 m radius). The deeper the sidecut, the more flexible, responsive, and slower the skis are.
  • If you are used to classic cross-country skis, controlling skis with a deep sidecut can be a bit of a shock, so you should probably switch over to them gradually and choose a medium (15-17 m) turning radius at first.

Flex

Varies depending on the core material. A composite core is softer, while stiffer skis have a wooden core, often reinforced with titanium.

 

  • Soft skis - designed for beginners and intermediate skiers who prefer slower speeds. They are more manoeuvrable and easier to turn. Can vibrate at high speeds.
  • Stiff skis - are suitable for experienced skiers who enjoy high-speed skiing. They are stable at high speeds, but require more strength and a finer skiing technique to manoeuvre.

 

Protective equipment

Don’t forget to also buy a helmet, ski goggles and a back protector. These are particularly important for children and beginners.

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