Ski - Selecting The Right Ski
There are a lot of skiis out there which makes it hard to choose the right ones. Getting the right Ski for your level of Skill and for the type of skiing you plan to do can make all the difference in how you experience your next Ski vacation.
There are a number of general categories for types of Ski that go by different names but are commonly grouped into All Mountain, Carving, Racing and Powder.
Different people use different names for Ski categories, but starting with the four listed will help you narrow down the Ski equipment field considerably.
There are also other categories of Ski, like cross country that go beyond this quick primer. You also need to narrow down what you are going to do on the Ski such as freestyle Skiing (jumps and tricks), backcountry (no groomed slopes) or packed powder - resort style Skiing.
Sidecut is an often used term (thanks to the snowboarding crowd) for figuring out the shape of a Ski. Sidecut is the variation in width between the tip, middle and tail of a Ski. The measure of sidecut determines the turning radius of your Ski. If you want to do a short turn, you will need more sidecut (shape) to the Ski. For speed down the hill (fewer turns), you want less sidecut shape. There's not enough space here to go into the details of sidecut calculations, but one example is a giant slalom Skier who is looking for a turning radius of something like 22 meters which translates into a Ski of 105/62/94. This is where the friendly staff at your local Ski shop comes in handy to help with your calculations.
The middle or waist of the Ski is important. The Ski waist generally ranges from 60 to 90 millimeters. A carving Ski for groomed slopes usually measures in the high 60's to mid 70's. A versatile all mountain Ski, or mid-fat Ski, will measure at the waist somewhere in the 70-80 mm range. For deep powder backcountry Skiing, you want a fat Ski with a waist of 85 mm and up.
The biggest difference between a beginner's Ski and an expert's Ski is stiffness or flex. A stiff Ski is less forgiving of Skiing mistakes and works better on ice and crud. A soft Ski (less stiff) absorbs more of the Skier's errors and generally works better in powder.
Ski lengths vary. If you are just starting out, short is better because it's easier to handle and turn. There are Ski designed specifically for women. So there is a Ski category distinction between men's and women's Ski. The length of women's Ski run in the 160-179 centimeter range; men's Ski are generally in the 178-188 centimeter range
The best way to size up a Ski is to try a demo. So, on your next Ski vacation, do your research, then take a demo out for a run. The rental shops at most Ski resorts are well stocked with the newest Ski.