How to Buy Downhill Skis

How to Buy Downhill Skis
After you've been skiing for a few years, you may decide that it's finally time to buy your own skis. Owning your own skis has a lot of advantages. First, you can buy exactly the type of ski you want at the length you want without fear of the rental shop being out of your model. Second, they're the type of skis that fit your skiing style - not what's left in the rack. Third, you can maintain them and have them tuned and waxed exactly the way you like for your type of skiing. Here's what you need to know about making your first (or next ) downhill ski purchase.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Broad selection of skis Copies of skiing magazines with recent ski reviews Small notebook
  • Broad selection of skis
  • Copies of skiing magazines with recent ski reviews
  • Small notebook
Step 1
Decide which type of ski best fits your skiing style. Within the downhill classification of skis, there are freeride, freestyle, fats, mid-fats, powder and racing skis. Each model of ski is used for a specific type of skiing.
Step 2
Try before you buy. After you've narrowed down your search to five or six manufacturers and models, it's time to try them on the snow. Most major ski resorts have rental shops or demonstration centers located at the base or on the mountain. For a reasonable hourly fee, they'll let you take out whatever skis you like to give them a spin, then return them for another pair.
Step 3
Narrow your choices down to two or three pairs. Ski each pair on the same terrain under the same snow conditions. Ideally, demo skis on a day that offers variable ski conditions - groomed, powder and crud. Experiment with different lengths of skis of the same model. Take copious notes about what you like or dislike about each ski.
Step 4
Collect your notes and come to some conclusions. Unless you can afford to buy several pairs of skis, you'll never find one ski that performs equally well in all conditions, so be prepared to make some compromises. What can you live without? What are absolute deal breakers? For instance, if you rarely ski deep powder, then pass on the super-wide powder skis in favor of an all-mountain ski. If you tend to ski groomers more than off-piste, then go for a ski with more sidecut, i.e., skis that carve.

Tips & Warnings

 
Do your homework before you buy. Pick up copies of Ski and Skiing Magazines with ski reviews. Take lots of notes. Research ski retailers on the Internet to see who has the best deals on the skis you want. Consider holding off on your purchase until either the end of the ski season or right before the next one.
 
Do your homework before you buy.
 
Pick up copies of Ski and Skiing Magazines with ski reviews.
 
Take lots of notes.
 
Research ski retailers on the Internet to see who has the best deals on the skis you want.
 
Consider holding off on your purchase until either the end of the ski season or right before the next one.
 
Never buy a pair of skis without skiing them first. Don't settle for a pair of skis just because they're cheap.
 
Never buy a pair of skis without skiing them first.
 
Don't settle for a pair of skis just because they're cheap.

Article Written By Allen Smith

Allen Smith is an award-winning freelance writer living in Vail, Colo. He writes about health, fitness and outdoor sports. Smith has a master's degree in exercise physiology and an exercise specialist certification with the American College of Sports Medicine at San Diego State University.

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