How to Select Downhill Skis

How to Select Downhill Skis
Next to your ski boots, the most important downhill skiing equipment you can buy are your skis. Downhill skis come in a variety of models, shapes, lengths and sizes, and are made by a variety of manufacturers. Which ones you buy depends on the type of skiing you enjoy, the terrain in which you ski and your ability.

Before you venture out looking for downhill skis to buy, there are a few things to keep in mind. Price is a good place to start, but there are other important considerations.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Selection of skis Copies of annual ski reviews Small notebook and pen
  • Selection of skis
  • Copies of annual ski reviews
  • Small notebook and pen
Step 1
Look for the fall editions of ski reviews published by major ski magazines such as Ski and Skiing. Try to narrow down your selection by the type of skiing you enjoy and the skis used for it. For instance, one site breaks down the product reviews by freeride, expert, all-mountain cruiser, aspiring expert, wide powder and super-wide powder skis. Read what the experts say about how each of these perform. Evaluate your own skiing and ask yourself which one of these types of skis would work best for you.
Step 2
Research the Internet for more information about the specific type of skis you're leaning toward buying. Look for what consumers and experts are specifically saying about the various models of skis. How do they perform in a variety of conditions? How do the various lengths affect the way the skis ski? Since you'll probably only be able to afford one pair of skis, look for a pair that will perform well under all of the conditions you enjoy. Write your results down in a notebook and take it with you on your next ski trip.
Step 3
Rent or demonstrate a pair of skis that interests you at a shop at the base of the mountain. Some resorts also have demo centers on the mountain. For a reasonable fee, you can rent as many pairs of skis as you like and exchange them whenever you want. Take one pair out for 30 or 40 minutes to see how you enjoy them. After half an hour, swap them for another pair that's on your list of skis to try.
Step 4
Isolate your findings to a few pairs of skis. Take them out and explore different levels of runs in different snow conditions. The color and cosmetics of the skis are the least important factor when making a decision on what to buy. They should feel stable or responsive, whatever is the most important to you. They should turn quickly or cruise like a Cadillac at high speeds. Most important, the skis should feel like they were made for you and the way you ski. Make copious notes about what you like or dislike about the skis.
Step 5
Exchange the ski for the same model in a different length. Different length skis perform differently under different circumstances. If necessary, go back to the previous length ski to get a good feel for the length that best fits your needs.
Step 6
Ask the shop staff where you rented your skis if your rental fees will apply to the purchase of a new pair of skis. In most cases, shops will give you a break on the price, especially if it's at the beginning or end of the season when they want to move out older inventory.

Tips & Warnings

 
Shop at a ski shop that is close to the resort. Keep an open mind about which skis to buy. Stay within your budget but buy the best that you can afford.
 
Shop at a ski shop that is close to the resort.
 
Keep an open mind about which skis to buy.
 
Stay within your budget but buy the best that you can afford.
 
Avoid renting skis at hardware stores or other non-ski retailers. Stay away from buying older demonstration skis that have already been used.
 
Avoid renting skis at hardware stores or other non-ski retailers.
 
Stay away from buying older demonstration skis that have already been used.

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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