How to Compare Ski Equipment

How to Compare Ski Equipment
If you ski more than a few times a year, it is worthwhile to invest in your own ski equipment. Your own gear can be customized better to your ski style and save you a trip to the rental shop every time you want to go out. Where skis and equipment used to be fairly simple to choose, the gear has gotten more specialized, so it is best to figure out what kind of skiing you want to do and what your ski style is before going shopping for gear.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Skis

Step 1
Compare the ski dimensions, especially at the waist and tip. Narrower waisted skis are better suited for skiing on hard pack, while wider skis are better for all-mountain and powder use. Generally, skis under 80mm at the waist are best for hard pack, skis between 80mm and 110mm are ideal all-mountain skis, and those over 110mm are best suited for deep powder.
Step 2
Check the turning radius of the ski. The turning radius is a measurement of how big a circle the ski would make if it was put on edge and allowed to turn 360 degrees. Shorter turning radius skis are better for moguls, trees, and those who like to make a lot of turns, while longer turning radius skis are better for those looking for speed and to straight-line slopes.
Step 3
Compare the stiffness of the skis. This can be checked by holding the tip of the ski and bracing the tail against the floor, then pushing against the ski. Stiffer skis are less forgiving, and are preferred by skiers who like speed. Softer flexing skis are better for intermediates. Softer flexing skis that have a pronounced tip and tail rocker are preferred by powder skiers.
Step 4
Compare the tips. Some skis have early rise tips, which help the ski float more in powder. Park skiers prefer twin tip skis, which have upraised tips at the tail and tip, enabling the skier to ski backwards as well as forwards.
Step 5
Compare the length of the skis against the manufacturer's recommended length for weight. Use the guidelines as a starting point. Advanced skiers and those who like speed will often prefer a longer ski, which will be more stable when railing high speed turns. Beginners and intermediates will want a shorter ski that will be easier to turn.
Step 6
Check for integrated binding systems, which many skis are sold with now. These integrated binding systems are designed to flex with the ski for better performance.

Other gear

Step 1
Compare the bindings profile, if your ski doesn't have integrated bindings. Bindings are designed for intermediate skiers and more advanced skiers. The difference is in the DIN (Deutsche Industrie Norm) settings, which dictate how much force needs to be applied before a skier will release from the bindings. Aggressive skiers will want bindings with higher DIN settings, while less aggressive skiers will want bindings with lower DIN settings.
Step 2
Check the construction of the binding. More aggressive skiers will prefer bindings that have more metal than plastic.
Step 3
Test your boot in the binding, to make sure it is compatible with the binding.
Step 4
Compare the weight of different ski boots, the height of the cuff, and the stiffness, and match it to your ski style. Mogul skiers prefer a slightly softer flex, while racers and aggressive skiers want a stiffer, higher boot. Lighter weight boots will be less fatiguing on a long day of skiing.
Step 5
Compare ski poles by weight and design. Features to look for included adjustability, for skiers who ride a wide variety of terrain, and baskets. Powder skiers need wide powder baskets, while hardpack skiers want narrower baskets.

Article Written By Candace Horgan

Candace Horgan has worked as a freelance journalist for more than 12 years. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Denver Post" and "Mix." Horgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and history.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.

FREE UPDATES

Subscribe

We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.