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How to Choose Skis

different types of winter skis laying in snow

Is it time to buy new downhill skis? Whatever your skiing style and ability, buying new skis is exciting… and should be fun! There are a lot of options out there, so we are going to guide you through some of the basics when deciding how to choose your skis!

What Type of Skis Should I Buy?

One of the first things you may notice is all the different types of skis out there. We have broken them down into three main categories. Once you determine what type is best for you, you’ll be that much closer to finding the perfect set!

All Mountain Skis

The All-Mountain skis are probably the most versatile type of skis out there. They can ski through most terrain efficiently, but do not necessarily specialize in any of them. For that reason, All-Mountain skis are great for beginners but all levels of riders use them because they are great all-around skis.

Freestyle Skis

Freestyle skis are made for terrain parks and jumps. This doesn’t mean a beginner can’t hit the hills on Freestyle skis, but they are most popular with intermediate to advanced skiers.

freestyle skier grinding on rails

Freeride Skis

Freeride skis are built for skiing in ungroomed powder and backcountry runs. Generally, these skis are for more advanced skiers who are getting of the beaten trails. These skies tend to be a bit wider to help you stay on top of that fresh powder.

freeride skier going down mountain in fresh snow

What Size Skis Should I Buy?

We’ve covered the three main categories of skies. There are definitely more specific categories within those, but for today’s guide, we will be sticking to the basics. The next thing you may be wondering is what size do I need?

There can be a lot of variation here depending on your preference and style of skiing, but we will focus on the main guidelines. You can also view our Ski Sizing Guide to get more information!

Is Height Important?

Height is going to be the main factor in determining what size skis you will need. The main rule is when standing the skis vertical in front of you, they should fall between your top lip and the top of your head. This gives you a good starting point and can start narrowing it down from there.

Skiing Ability

Now that you have a starting point for sizing, the next step is determining your ability and what type of skiing you intend to do. Beginners maybe want skis a little shorter. Same for skiers who want more maneuverable skis that will allow them to make quick turns. On the other hand, a skier who wants to go faster and through deeper snow may need longer skis.

What About Weight?

Like height, your weight will affect the size of skis that are best for you. While height will be the most important factor, skiers who are heavier for their height may want to go towards the longer end of the spectrum where the camber of their skis will be most effective. Likewise, if you are lighter for your height, you may want shorter skis to make sure your skis are the most effective on the snow.

What About the Design?

Another thing to consider when looking at new skis is the design of the ski itself. Whether you’re just starting out, or an experienced skier, the way the ski lies on the snow can have a big impact on how you ski.

Camber Design

If you look at a ski with traditional camber lying on the floor with no one standing on it, you will see an arch that lifts off the ground in the middle. You want to make sure the camber is correct for your height and weight. This will give you the best execution while out on the hills. When your weight is down on the ski, you will be able to dig in and carve. When you move from turn to turn, the camber snaps back from the bend in the ski to provide more efficient energy.

The camber shape of a downhill ski

Rocker Design

The rocker camber is the opposite of the traditional camber and is often called reverse camber or negative camber. Instead of having an arch under the bottom of the ski, a rocker has a slight bend towards a “U” shape. A rocker camber will provide more flotation over deep powder and increased maneuverability.

rocker camber on downhill ski

It’s Time to Buy Downhill Skis!

We have answered the most important questions for you when looking for new skis. Once you figure out the type of skis, your size, and the design, you can dive deeper into finding the perfect skis for you! Check out what we have available online or come into your local ERIK’S store and talk with an expert today!