The Best Skis for Hard-Packed Snow

The Best Skis for Hard-Packed Snow
Hard-packed snow is natural or machine-made snow that has become firmly packed and compressed by grooming machines and wind exposure. This type of snow is typical at ski venues on the East Coast of the U.S. This snow is unyielding, making it difficult to put your skis on edge and keep them there. These conditions require stiffer skis, with waists no wider than 75 mm. Look for skis that are designated as "carving skis." Their smaller waists make it easier to put the skis on edge.

Elan Skis for Advanced Skiers

Elan revolutionized skiing by introducing shaped skis to the general public. It is one of the few manufacturers still making narrow-waisted skis. The Elan Speed Magic, for example, has a 65 mm waist. This women's ski is famous for its superior edge grip on hard-packed snow. Advanced male skiers will enjoy the Elan Speedwave 14 White Fusion. This stiff carving ski has a 72 mm waist and performs well on hard pack and icy conditions.

K2 Skis for Intermediates

The K2 True Luv may help female intermediates learn to love hard-pack conditions. They are stiff enough to be responsive on hard-packed snow, but flexible enough for female skiers who are still developing their carving muscles. The True Luv is part of the K2 T9 line. These female-specific skis feature a forward-mounted binding, which accommodates a woman's lower center of gravity, enabling her to put more pressure on the tips of her skis. Intermediate guys will find the same type of hard-pack enjoyment on the K2 Apache Rangers. The True Luv and the Apache Ranger both feature vibration dampening MOD technology, which minimizes chatter and enhances stability.

Salomon Novice Skis

Novice skiers fall. Falling on hard pack hurts, so forgiveness is an important feature in these skis. The Salomon Origins Amber, for example, is a novice women's ski that is described as "tolerant and forgiving." It provides control and stability when the ski is on its edges. Novice male skiers get superior grip and stability on the X Wing 4, which offers "effortless" skiing throughout the day. The Origins and the X Wing both have carve-friendly 72 mm waists. Both skis have narrow tails, which will forgive the occasional skidded turn.

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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