How to Choose Downhill Skis

How to Choose Downhill Skis
There are many factors to consider when selecting downhill skis, whether you are purchasing new or selecting a pair for a day's rental. Of utmost importance is the type of skiing you will be doing. For traditional downhill skiing, you will want to look at Alpine skis, which are designed with a balance of speed and handling that makes them ideal for traveling down snowy slopes at high speeds.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Decide on a ski length based on your skill level. Depending on your height, there are various ski lengths available, with shorter skis being the best option for beginners and the longest options reserved for seasoned veterans. Usually these length groupings are broken down into short, medium and long. Determine which would be best for your skill level.
Step 2
Determine how important navigation will be for your downhill skiing. If you are renting, this will depend on whether the slopes you intend to use are winding or straight. The more turning you will employ, the more important it will be to have skis with a narrow waist, or midsection, to improve your steering. Straighter slopes can be accommodated with wider waists that cater to speed. If you are buying skis, you may not be making this decision based on any specific slope, but you may consider the types of slopes you prefer.
Step 3
Decide how much flexibility you want your skis to have. Flex can be difficult to calculate, since it isn't a specification provided on every ski and can be difficult to measure in the traditional way of bending the ski to determine how much give it has. Usually, skis will at least specify whether they are flexible, to provide greater steering, or stiff, to make the ski faster. This again comes down to your personal preferences and the types of slopes you ski.
Step 4
Find a ski offering tip-to-tip camber. This slight downward curve in the ski acts as a spring when you enter turns, creating for a more "lively" skiing experience, according to Older skis and some designed strictly for downhill speed may not camber, but in general it is a preferred quality that you may find in most skis.
Step 5
Select a ski with a significant-size rocker. This may reduce your odds of catching snow on corners, which may slow you down or throw off your balance. In general, harder snow requires larger rockers because it will be more disruptive than powdery snow.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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