Gear guide plus how to buy the best ski and snowboard this winter.
WHAT determines a good ski and how should you approach buying the best ski that suits you? That is a question that many buyers ask themselves.
There are no bad skis on the market these days, but finding the ski that makes you ski better will ensure you have more enjoyable days carving up the mountain.
You can visit a store and say “wow, look at those flashy graphics, they must be the ski for me”, as impressive marketing campaigns do influence choices.
There is a lot of terminology that ski companies throw at you, different widths to consider, shapes and lengths, but these can be fine-tuned depending on your height, weight, build and preferred terrain. This is where experienced ski shop staff can assist with their knowledge to get you started.
Reading ski test reviews will greatly assist you in gaining more knowledge, especially if you can relate to a tester that skis like you. Or you may be loyal to a favourite brand and upgrade every three years.
But will that ski “Suit You” is what you should be asking.
You must remember that each ski reacts totally different to each individual. Yet some people don’t test drive before they buy.
That is why the best way to know if a ski will suit your skiing is to take it for a few runs, ski your normal turns on your preferred terrain and see how it performs.
I can guarantee you out of three, five or eight skis, you will have one or two that you like better. More importantly, that ski will make you ski better and with less effort. It will feel like turns are smooth as opposed to skis that fight against you and don’t suit you.
There is nothing wrong with the other skis, and your mate probably likes some that you did not. It is all about your style, turn shape, weight, height, speed, everything that is characteristic to how you ski.
The length of ski is usually best between your chin and nose. If you are like most Australians and ski 80% on groomed runs, you should consider a ski that is 80mm or less under foot. These skis perform best on the corduroy.
All mountain skis range from 80mm to 95mm and are well suited for a mix of groomed and venturing into the off piste. The extra width will assist in powder or chopped up snow.
More advanced skiers who prefer to chase off piste snow may well consider a ski in the 90-100mm range. Australia generally has heavier snow so extra width does help you here.
For powder skiing in Japan for instance, people often prefer big fat skis so a width of 100mm-110mm may be your choice, but Japan snow is lighter so width choice could depend on your ability. The fatter the ski the more you stay on top of the powder rather than getting full depth.
Ski companies spend huge money on research and technology with today’s skis far superior than previous decades. Yet you still see people on old equipment. That is their choice, but they are missing out.
Ask your local ski shop for advice and if they have demo models. Look for ski demonstration weekends on the calendar at your favourite resort to test drive before you buy. Then find the shop that sells that ski. You will not be disappointed and will be skiing better than before.
◼ FRESH: Drew Jolowicz ripping into the Hotham powder.