Types of Ski
So you've decided to invest in a new pair of skis or ski boots... but there's so much choice it's difficult to know where to start! Well, this is the perfect place to begin.
We've compiled a quick guide to the major types of skis which also answers some the most frequently asked questions: Which is ski for both on and off piste? What length ski should I get? If I am a low intermediate skier, is there any point in getting a top of the range ski? How do I look after my skiing equipment?
Ski technology advanced dramatically during the 1990s when new materials and construction came together in easy-to-use, high-performance skis. The rapid development continued throughout the 2000s with innovative shapes and rocker profiles leading to a wide variety of ski types suited to different purposes.
Ski design used to be race-driven, so everyone skied on slalom or giant slalom skis. Today skiing equipment is largely driven by freeskiers who favour all kinds of terrain, from gently rolling pistes to steep and deep, powder covered mountain faces, plus everything in between. The difficulty in choosing skis can be that modern ski technology means that the skis now commonly defy easy categorisation.
Don’t be afraid to ask the staff in your local ski store for advice. They'll be only too happy to help you and it's in their interest to get you on the right skis for your needs. If you can, why not test the kit before you buy? You can often do this at UK indoor snow slopes, or see if there's a demo fleet of skis at your local shop in resort. Our own industry-leading Ski Tests have even more information to help you make the right choice.
Most recreational skiers will be accustomed to carving skis. They’re great for groomed runs, with the hourglass shape of the skis making them easy to turn. They tend to be 70-80mm wide underfoot with tips and tails around 110mm wide. Some carving skis will be softer flexing and more forgiving, making them ideal for intermediate skiers cruising the pistes. Higher end models will have sturdier construction are built to handle high speeds and hold an edge even on firm snow.