Looking for that perfect set of skis can take hours of research and consideration. Whether you are shopping online or checking them out in person at your local ski shop one of the first things to notice is the shape of the skis.
There are four basic terms to consider when looking at or talking about ski shapes. These are the width, length, sidecut and profile.
Let’s take a look at the width element first. This headline figure is normally the width in mm at the waist of the ski, though you should consider the width at various points to get a true picture. This width component is often a key factor to how a ski is categorised. Piste skis tend to be the skinniest, all-mountain slightly wider with freeride and powder skis coming in with the most girth.
Wider skis create more surface area, for increased flotation in soft snow, while narrower skis are able to offer direct power towards the edges for increased grip on firm snow.
The second aspect of the ski shape is the length of the ski. Traditionally skis would be towering overhead with lengths of two meters plus being the norm. Thankfully we no longer are burdened with such behemoths and more progressive shorter lengths are accessible to all abilities.
How to choose what length of ski to buy will be dependent on a few factors such as your weight, ability and style of skiing. The general range of ski length within a model will be set relevant to each category.
Piste skis tend to have a wide general range depending on the turning radius or style, all mountain skis tend to run in slightly longer lengths whereas freeride and powder skis will be at the longer end of the spectrum for skiing in deeper snow and at faster speeds.