Outdoor enthusiasts who can't get enough of winter rarely have only one pair of skis. Instead, they'll have a pair of alpine skis, telemark skis for the backcountry and even a pair of cross country skis for a day off the slopes. But, is there really that much difference between them?
Alpine skis have been one of the leading sellers in winter equipment. Highly specialized, alpine skis come in "freeride," "freestyle," "all mountain" and "racing" skis. Each are designed with specific applications in mind.
Freeride skis offer the skier a chance to explore off-piste runs within the confines of the ski resort's boundaries. Whether you like powder, crud or groomers, freerides skis can handle it all.
Freestyle skis are perfect for those who go after the thrill of terrain parks, rails and halfpipes. Typically made with "twin tips," freestyle skis are lighter than freestyle skis.
All mountain skis are made for aggressive skiers who enjoy all types of skiing, but typically stay within the boundaries of the ski area.
Racing skis are highly tuned and built for skiers that enjoy race courses and skiing at high speeds.
Telemark skis are for hearty skiers who enjoy skiing out of bounds and away from the crowds. Also called "tele skis," telemark skis are distinguished by their "free heels" that allow the skier to literally walk uphill using "skins." Tele skis are popular for backcountry enthusiasts and those who enjoy winter camping.
Cross Country Skis
Cross country skis feature extremely thin profiles and are designed to be used in Nordic parks. Cross country skis are popular with athletes who enjoy the challenge of foot races, marathons and other long distance events.
Racing skis are the high performance "race cars" of alpine skiing. Typically shorter and narrower than their all mountain counterparts, racing skis are highly tuned and very difficult to ski. They're designed with experts in mind.