Powder Skis Vs. Downhill

Powder Skis Vs. Downhill
While most skiers are content with one pair of alpine skis, those who want to enjoy the fine art of powder skiing might have a pair of downhill carving skis as well as a pair of powder skis. Many people wonder if having these different types of skis are necessary. The answer depends on the type of terrain you are most likely to ski. If you primarily ski in the East and take one trip a year to Colorado, Utah or British Columbia, you probably do not need a powder specific ski. But if you frequently ski in the backcountry, or if you like to ski in knee-deep powder, powder skis might be beneficial.

Waist Circumferences

In contrast to powder skis, downhill carving skis have a much smaller waist. While a basic downhill ski might have a 75-mm waist, the average waist of a powder ski is about 95 mm.


Powder skis have a softer flex than carving skis.

Reverse Camber

Powder skis have a reverse camber, otherwise known as a rocker, which keeps the skis from diving under the snow in deep powder.

Overall Width

Powder skis, also known as fat or "phat skis," are wider or fatter than downhill skis. This gives them better flotation.

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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