Gear guide plus how to buy the best ski and snow­board this win­ter.

Alpine News - - Contents - By Steve Cuff

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.

PHOTO: Chris Hock­ing / Hotham

◼ FRESH: Drew Jolow­icz rip­ping into the Hotham pow­der.

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