How to Choose Alpine Skis

How to Choose Alpine Skis
Many factors come into play when choosing alpine skis. Although you will be faced with an abundance of choices, you'll need to consider your skill level and your terrain preferences, and your height and weight. This is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Anyone who has ever skied on a pair of rentals knows the problems associated with being on the wrong equipment.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Your ski boots
  • Your ski boots
Step 1
Determine your skill level. You can self-assess or have a ski professional give you his or her opinion. If you are a novice and you ski green terrain in a wedge position, you will want a softer, more flexible ski. In general, novice skiers use slightly shorter skis. As your skills improve and you are skiing steeper terrain in parallel alignment, look for a somewhat stiffer ski. If you ski advanced terrain at high speeds, you'll need an even stiffer and somewhat longer ski. A ski with a narrow waist and deep sidecut will help you improve your carving skills. Women should consider a female-specific ski. These skis have a slightly softer flex, and the bindings are mounted in a position that accounts for a woman's lower center of gravity.
Step 2
Research skis that are appropriate for your skill level. Reviews can be found in ski and outdoor-sports magazines, and on websites like Trails.com. Don't forget to check out ski message forums. Participants are not in the pockets of advertisers, so you can get honest feedback.
Step 3
Think about the terrain you will be skiing. If you usually stay on the groomers, you will want a carving ski, with a waist that is no wider than 70 millimeters. If you ski powder, your skis will be much fatter, with waists as wide as 95 millimeters. A powder ski is rarely functional on groomed terrain, and a carving-specific ski does not do well in powder. If you ski in both types of terrain, choose a ski in the mid-fat range, with waists between 73 and 85 millimeters.
Step 4
Narrow your choices to no more than four alpine skis. Any more than that will get confusing.
Step 5
Arrange to demo the models that interest you. Some resorts and ski shops will allow you to try out up to three different alpine models a day.
Step 6
Bring a friend with you when you demo. This is extremely important. Many people develop a subjective attachment to either a certain brand of ski, or a ski's attractive graphics. While graphics and brand loyalty are not inappropriate criteria for choosing alpine skis, they are not the most important. Your friend can give you feedback about how you look when you are on a specific ski. Ideally, ask someone to bring a video camera.

Tips & Warnings

 
Purchase your boots before you choose your skis. Some ski shops allow you to apply the cost of your rental to the purchase price. If you are an absolute beginner, wait a bit before purchasing skis, since you will probably outgrow the beginner models within a year.
 
Purchase your boots before you choose your skis.
 
Some ski shops allow you to apply the cost of your rental to the purchase price.
 
If you are an absolute beginner, wait a bit before purchasing skis, since you will probably outgrow the beginner models within a year.
 
Purchasing alpine skis that are too long will cause you to sit back on yours skis, which can have a negative effect on technique.

Article Written By Lisa Mercer

In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.

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