When people first started skiing, there were not a whole lot of options as far as what you could use. They were pretty much one shape, and all did about the same thing. However, today that is not the case; there are tons of different types of skis, so it is beneficial to figure out just which one you need.
As stated before, there are many different kinds of skis. Such as piste skis, powder skis, touring skis, race skis, cross country skis, all-mountain skis, and freeride skis. For now, let’s focus on the two most versatile and popular forms of skis: The all-mountain skis and the freeride skis. Below you will find all the information you need to decide what your perfect ski is.
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What Are All Mountain Skis?
Just like the name suggests, all Mountain skis are perfect for both the ground and the powder. Many skis are designed only to be used on groomed terrain, so they have a narrow waist of up to 85 mm. On the other hand, all-mountain skis change in waist size from 85 mm all the way up to 105 mm. Most all-mountain skis have a waist bigger than 95 mm, which allows you to use it not only on the ground terrain but also all over the mountain where it’s just powder.
Additionally, all-mountain skis typically have deep side cuts and rockered tips, which makes them easy to turn, and they glide right over powder. The ease sometimes gives all-mountain skiers an edge on groomed terrain over even those who have skis specifically designed for that sort of skiing. This ease makes it possible for both experienced skiers, beginners, adults, and children all to use this type of ski. Because of how versatile the all-mountain skis really are, it is often people’s first set of skis.
It is important to keep in mind that all-mountain skis have a lot of variation. What one store gives you when you ask for an all-mountain ski might be very different from what another store gives you. Some are closer to carving skis, while others are slimmed down powder skis. Even further, some all-mountain skis are closer to big mountain skis. See the section about how to buy the right ski for you to figure out which variation is best for you.
What Are Freeride Skis?
Freeride skis are often compared to powder skis, but they are skinnier. They’re mostly designed for powder or ungroomed terrain, but they do okay even on groomed terrain.
While they may not be as fat as a powder ski, they are definitely not skinny. They’re underfoot is generally between 100 and 120 mm wide. This width is what allows them to do well on powder.
Similar to the all-mountain ski, freeride skis have a rocker tip, which means that it is curved at the end just before the shovel. This is important because it allows the ski to float over ungroomed snow, and it makes changing direction so much easier. However, the ski is not so altered for powder snow that it can’t grip onto groomed snow.
Freeride skis are fairly easy to use, but they are definitely harder than all-mountain skis, so they might not be the best choice for complete newbies. Even so, if you are planning to do most of your skiing on powder and ungroomed terrain, you may find that a freeride ski glides much easier than the all-mountain ski.
How to Buy The Right Ski For You
So if you’re a newbie and doing both groomed and ungroomed terrain skiing, you’re probably getting the all-mountain skis. However, if you’re doing mainly ungroomed or powder skiing and you have some experience, you may have decided that the freeride skis are better for you. But where do you go from there? Well, below you will find an explanation of what points you need to consider after you’ve chosen the type of ski you want.
Longer skis tend to be more stable, while shorter skis tend to be more maneuverable. Newbies probably want to lean towards the longer side, but more experienced skiers may experiment more with length. No matter what, the length of ski you need is influenced by how tall you are. For the most part, you should get a ski that, when standing up, comes up to between your chin and the top of your head. Any longer than that, and it will be hard to maneuver, and any shorter than that you may find it hard to stay standing up.
While your dimensions will be decided a lot by what kind of ski you choose to get, you’ll still probably find a range of sizes within that group. So, you have to decide what width you want. Skinny skis are better for groomed terrain because they allow for carving turns. On the other hand, wider skis float better over deep, powdered snow that is not groomed. What kind of skiing you are planning to do will determine how wide your skis should be.
Integrated bindings versus separate bindings
If a ski has integrated bindings, that means that the bindings are already on the skis, so you do not have to buy them separately or install them yourself. With integrated bindings, you can trust that they are installed well, and they are more convenient. If you are a beginner skier, it is probably a good idea to just go ahead and buy a ski with integrated bindings.
On the other hand, if you have more experience, especially if you are more advanced, you might want to buy the binding separately. Bindings can affect how you ski, so when you buy them separately you can make sure you get ones that fit your specific wants and needs.
Both the all-mountain skis and the freeride skis are versatile, quality types of skis. Which one you get really just depends on where you spend most of your skiing time and how experienced you are. Remember, no matter which kind you choose, pick skis that feel comfortable and fit you well. As long as you do that, you should have a great time skiing.