How To Choose Snow Skis

While skiing Wisconsin is not like going out to Colorado, there are some decent places to go. Before you go however you will need a pair of skis. So lets go over how to pick out a pair of skis that works for you.

Downhill ski engineers have found clever ways to make skiing more user friendly. The shape of the ski makes navigating the mountains far better. Snow skis in the twenty-first century, are made for riders at all levels in mind. Variations of rocker, flex, and side cut on the skis will help the expert tune in on high performance riding. While novice riders can choose ski options that focus in on the need to stay upright and turning capabilities.  Rosignol is one of the leaders in advancing ski technology.

Before we go into all the specifics, remember that you will need a helmet and googles. Here is some of the best ski helmets and how to pick one and a list of best ski goggles.

Types of Downhill Skis

Choosing Skis

Backcountry Skis

Untouched wilderness is easily explored by backcountry skis. For a tranquil wilderness setting, backcountry skis are well-suited for this adventure. This type of ski is most useful for as wooded slow pace, but is also useful powdered and groomed terrain. The alternative, snow (alpine) shoes, are far more cumbersome than skis. With a waist width of eighty to one hundred millimeters, backcountry skis offer a lighter alternative to alpine gear.

All-Mountain Skis

Also known as carvers, this style of ski fits groomed and powder runs, and can be purchased for all skill levels. The width of the waist are generally no more than eighty-five millimeters. Additionally, the rocker tips and profound side cute make All-Mountain skis easy to turn, making these type of ski acceptable for even the “experts”.

All-Mountain Wide Skis

These skis can handle a multitude of terrains including; powder and groomed runs. Also referred to as “fats” or “mid-fats”, the waist can measure up a whapping one hundred-five millimeters. Mid-fats will allow for stability in “disorganized” snow, without surrendering the stability on groomed slopes.

Powder Skis – As the name describes, this type of ski is best for powdered runs. In the case you need to employ them on groomed and backcountry runs, they will work too. Powder skis have been given the name “super fats”, due to waist sizes that can be larger than one hundred-ten millimeters for men, and four inches and bigger for women. The large waists provide a degree of buoyancy on the surface of the snow, but will hinder evasive maneuvering foe the skier.

Ski Types by Age and Gender

Men’s Downhill Skis

Skis are typically designed for men unless otherwise specified by the manufacture.

Women’s Downhill Skis

Woman’s skis are designed to maneuver easier. They are typically shorter and more flexible. As a result of the increased flexibility, women’s skis need less applied force to transition the user in the desired direction. The bindings are typically located toward the front of the skis lowering the center of gravity, making women’s skis easier to work with. However, this lighter more flexible construction does make them easier to break.

Children’s Downhill Skis

The size of the ski is very important to the comfort and safety as it pertains to children. Unlike clothes, you should not buy skis that children can grow into. A ski that is just a little too long for that particular kid could compromise their safety. It can also complicate the learning process discouraging the child from learning at all. The best was too asses the length of ski in children six and younger is to stand the ski upright. If it goes higher than their chin or six inches below the nose, it is too big.

Ski Dimensions

A ski is measures at three-points with metric measurements (ex.100mm). The three places measured by the manufacture are tip, waist and tail. For example this how you would see the specifications written, 130/99/121.


The tip of the ski is monumental to being able to turn while skiing and typically measures around 120mm. For example a good choice for hard snow would be wide tips and narrow waist.


For ideal performance on groomed snow, a narrow waist allows for increased velocity. A wider waist has more surface area and is good for soft powder snow, creating a slow acceleration.


The tail will help against falling on sharp turns at high speeds. The shape and dimensions of the tail are typically more critical for more experienced skiers. A wider tail will prevent the rider from executing quick sharp slides.

Side-Cut (turning) Radius

Lower turning radius numbers indicate an inability to execute sharper, tighter turns. Though not as successful with extremely tight turns, higher side-cut dimensions are associated with faster downhill speeds.

Choosing the Right Size

When choosing the right skis weight, height, terrain, and skill level must always be taken into consideration.


Typically, the proper length skis is measured by standing them vertically. They should reach from the ground to your nose. Length of skis may be vary depending on the specific skiing conditions. For example, backcountry skiing may be a slightly different length than all-mountain.


People with larger bodies should employ longer skis. The same applies for skiers with smaller frames. The length of the ski is proportionate to an individual’s mass. Longer skis for larger framed individuals and shorter skis for smaller framed people.


Less experienced skiers are best suited for shorter skies because they are easier to maneuver. “Expert” skiers generally choose a ski that best equips them for the type of skiing they plan to do.


Remember to choose the right skis for the right terrain. Choosing the wrong ski can be the difference between an exciting day on the slopes and a miserable day. The extra work you must do to have fun with skis not right for the terrain you are on, it is certain that you won’t enjoy yourself.

Ski Bindings

Integrated Bindings

Flexibility and easy turning make integrated bindings a popular choice. These are bindings assembled by the manufacturer and are a good choice for all-mountain skiers.

Non-Integrated Bindings

With higher DIN release setting, non-integrated bindings remain the top choice for middle and advanced level skiers.

Ski Camber / Rocker

Camber provides a skier the ability to recuperate from hard turns. If you have too little camber, you diminish the ability to maneuver between turns and straight lines.

Good luck and stay safe.

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