During the early 2000s, skis featured a cambered design. Then came the technology called rocker and it became a new sensation in the world of skiing. Its popularity generated different variations that aimed at improving riding regardless of the type of terrain or snow. So, what’s the difference?
When it comes to rocker vs camber skis, you can say that rocker is the opposite of camber. Or, you can call it a negative or reverse camber. Moreover, the camber provides you with a more effective edge on the snow, whereas the rocker helps to keep your skis floating on the snow. Let’s learn more about them in this post.
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What exactly are rocker and camber?
Both rocker and camber describe the nature of the curve that you find in skis and snowboards. You get to see the variations when you look at the skis from the side. Skis with rockers have midsections that tend to rest effectively on the snow. Also, they have tails and tips that curve up.
However, skis with camber have a different kind of midsection where they arch off the snow when there is less weight. When it is about the benefits of rocker and camber skis, there are many and it serves you with all you need.
Rocker helps in initiating easy turns and helps in providing superb flotation over soft snow. Camber, on the other hand, provides good edge control and springiness while maneuvering turns over hard snow as well.
Both rocker and camber skis have certain things that can satisfy the needs of every skier. These days, you can find rockered skis, cambered skis, and a combination of both. So, how do you choose between these variants? When it comes to choosing the type you want, you should consider the terrain that you like to ride or ski in.
Chamber in skis
It specifically refers to the area in the ski that’s slightly above the ground. In short, it is the area where there is no weight on the ski. The two points that touch the ground are the tip and tail of the ski. The middle section is slightly elevated.
It is a popular camber profile and it is pretty much common on a majority of ski designs. If you are looking for good control and stability, cambered skis are what you need to have. After you step into the bindings and push down some weight, the cambered edge comes in contact with the soft snow.
That way, you can have excellent control over the snow. Sometimes, the floating nature of the skis describes how the ski can perform under demanding conditions and at full speed. Most skiers like the camber ones because of their great performance abilities.
However, it requires more experience to harness performance. But if you are a seasoned skier, it gives you more response and control than you desire. Moreover, the style is versatile and provides sheer performance in many areas when you are in the mountains.
Apart from that, cambered skis are best for hard snow conditions. And, this includes hitting or racing the terrain park. They provide you with better edge control. But the cambered skis don’t perform well in powder or deep snow conditions.
Also, they provide you better-turning edge that becomes important when you are skiing on harder snow. Cambered skis offer many advantages.
- Cambered skis are good at handling high speed. That’s the reason why most racers use cambered skis for the security and precision they need at high speeds
- If you are looking to have that perfect grip on the snow while maneuvering steps, camber is the best option. The continuous edge that the camber provides tend to create a good edge on hard snow
- The edge that the camber provides helps to create stability while making stiff turns. That way, you will find the right stability while riding on the snow
Rocker in skis
Let’s take a look at another shape called a rocker. In general, the rocker is the opposite of camber. It is a continuous, balanced arc that curves up from the ski’s center and it resembles the bottom part of a vintage rocking chair.
So, when you see a ski that has a tail and tip bending upwards and away from the snow, it should be a rocker. Besides, a completely rockered ski is rare and isn’t much useful. As a result, you can find plenty of modern options that have a camber in the center and a rockered tail and tip.
They are considered great for having an overall experience in the snow. Hence, if you are looking for a powder ski, you want to make sure that it has lots of rockers. Also, some skis have both tail and tip rocker whereas some others just have a tip rocker.
That way, it makes them the right choice for all types of conditions. Because rockered skis have upward bend, it allows them to float easily on the snow. That way, it gives you increased control and a solid feel while you are in the snow.
However, the only downside with this type is that it tends to shorten the skis effective edge. It means that you won’t have much edge control if you are moving fast in deep snow conditions. Here are some advantages that rockered skis can provide.
- Because the rising tails and tips on the skis, help skiers to stay on top of the snow. In short, it improves the floatation ability of the skis in powder
- Fully rockered skis that are designed to stay afloat have a short effective edge. And, because less edge contact with the powder, results in greater maneuverability
- If you are thinking about having an enhanced park experience, rockered skis should be the right ones. Rockered skis make it easier for you to slide rails. Also, the risk of catching edges gets reduced as well.
What are combined rocker and camber skis?
If you are looking for the versatility of an all-mountain ski, a rocker and camber combined are what you should look out for. These are the models that incorporate both camber and rocker into a single ski design. As such, the skis deliver performance in a diverse range of snow conditions.
You can have the best of both worlds. It is the best option for people who like high-speed and ski-deep powder lines. A rockered tail and tip along with camber underfoot provides you with the benefits of both design profiles and allows you to maneuver all over the mountain with ease.
How to choose rocker or camber using terrain preference
- Park – Most skiers love the stability that cambered skis provide when making jumps in parks. The traditional design is helpful and remains consistent while you execute those jumps. But rockered skis simplify the task of transitioning from tail to nose.
Most skiers prefer to use them because they avoid hang-ups on rails or boxes. With a rocker design, it is easier to press into a rail.
- Powder – This is the right spot where fully rockered skis are designed to perform. The rising tails and tips allow the ski to float in the soft snow and they are likely to catch an edge as well. Although skis and snowboards that combine camber and rocker perform well on snow, they are great for use in other conditions.
- All-mountain – For skies who ride freely from groomers to backcountry and sidecountry, rockered skies are the ultimate choice. That’s because they can turn quickly and easily. Besides, the extra float that these skis provide in powder is one of their biggest advantages.
For skiers, the best combination is a low-rise tail, flat or camber midsection, and a rocketed tip. Apart from that, snowboarders can have a combination of both rocker and camber on their boards because the option is very popular in these varying conditions.
- Groomed slopes – There is no denying that cambered skies are a popular choice for most skiers at groomed slopes. That’s because of their reliable edge control and great stability even at high speed. Both snowboard and skis with a combination of camber and rocker perform well.
It makes it easier for them to chop up or crud snow with less effort. Moreover, fully rockered skis can perform well on resort slopes. But they might not perform well when the condition is icy. This is when edge control becomes crucial.
How to choose rocker or camber depending on your experience
- For advanced riders – If you are one of them, a rocker combined with a few variations of camber work wonders for them. Expert-level riders can tune their ride by getting the right combination that suits their needs better
- All skill levels – Skiers regardless of their skill can take advantage of rockered skis to a great extent. Moreover, progressing riders, recreational riders, and people who haven’t been on the slopes for long, can get an immediate boost from using a rockered ski.
Now that you are aware of rocker vs camber skis, go out on the mountain and experiment with a few different shapes. If you like to experiment with new things, use different profiles and test them to find out what suits you the most. And, you should be amazed how a minute change in rocker or camber can make a significant difference.