Which ski for me and why do we flex skis?

December 9, 2011

Which ski for me and why do we flex skis?

Skiing on the right ski for you, is very important!

With modern skis the choice is huge and it is easy to get it wrong, so here are some simple tips to help you choose the right ski, either a rental or to buy.

Firstly as a rule of thumb, modern skis for men should come up to between the chin and eyebrows and for women it should be from the top of the chest to the chin, there are some variables on this but if you stick to this rule you shouldn’t go too far wrong.

Width of ski and side cut, the wider the ski the easier it will be to ski in soft/powder snow and more difficult in hard pack/icy conditions, the sidecut of the ski is the difference in the width of the ski at the middle, narrow at the middle and wider at the ends, the bigger the difference the ‘more radical’ the sidecut. The sidecut dictates the turning radius of the ski (how short/long you can make a carved turn) the more radical the ski the tighter turning it will be.

Flexing the ski (see pic) will tell you how stiff/soft the ski is, basically the stiffer the ski the faster it will be, a soft wide ski with a medium sidecut will be very good in powder snow but demanding to ski on normal piste’d slopes. A stiff medium width ski with a slight sidecut will be very fast on a normal piste but hard work in powder.

Like all things choosing a ski is a compromise between our ability and what we want the ski to do. We don’t want to keep changing skis for the different conditions so basically we want a medium flex ski with a medium sidecut, a slightly stiffer ski will be more demanding and give you a quicker ride whilst still allowing you to go off piste, conversely a softer flexing ski will make your turns a lot easier to initiate be easier in the softer snow but they won’t go so fast or be so demanding.

As always if in doubt ask the person in the ski shop for his advise, or email me and I will try and give you the right answer.

Howard

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