The day has dawned, it’s time to buy your own skis, replace some faithful gliding companions or even explore other variations of your sport. You now need to sift your way through the countless products on the market to find THE perfect pair of skis tailored to you and your skiing style. This article brings you all the advice you need to make the right choice. Let us guide you!
Don’t forget, to ensure that information is transmitted to the ski as reliably as possible, and for maximum comfort, good ski equipment is essential and you need to apply great care when choosing your bindings, bootsand your socks too, for men and women!
To make the most appropriate choice for your requirements, you need to assess your proficiency and also be aware of certain technical concepts relating to the product. As well as being determined by your chosen discipline and style, your choice of ski will also be governed by other more personal criteria.
This is one of the most important criteria to consider. To improve your skills, learn and enjoy the experience, it is essential to choose a ski tailored to your level. So it’s important to determine where you are situated on the following scale to make the best choices in relation to the other selection criteria.
Skiing is a whole new world for you! You alternate between side-slipping and snowploughing. You ski slowly on green or blue slopes.
You are starting to build confidence on turns and parallel skiing and are moving onto red slopes.
You're not worried about the colour, you can tackle any slope, but of course there’s still room for improvement.
Skiing is where you excel. Your technique allows you to experience intense sensations both on and off piste, you are confident on all kinds of terrain and proficient in all turning techniques.
WHAT SIZE OF SKIS?
The size will depend on your height and your chosen discipline and style, as well as your level of proficiency.
A beginner will tend to choose skis 10 to 15 centimetres shorter than those of an experienced skier to enjoy easier handling.
An experienced skier will opt for longer skis to open up greater float and stability. Finally, for the same reasons, a heavier skier may also opt for longer skis, and vice versa for a lighter skier (a few centimetres shorter). For more details, refer to your chosen discipline and style below.
TECHNICAL FEATURES OF AN ALPINE SKI
a ski consists of 5 sections:
this is the front part of the ski. You need to consider the width (wider: float/stability; narrower: precision) and its raised angle (long=rocker: handling/absorption of irregularities/easier turn initiation and exit; short=classic: snow contact, stability)
The rocker describes the raised sections on the tip and tail of a ski. The higher the rocker, the greater the assistance provided by the ski in powder snow, in terms of pivoting and turn initiation.
- Front rocker
- Front/rear rocker
It's situated below the boot and is defined by its width.
There are different waist widths:
- Narrow: precision and responsiveness (man/woman: between 63 and 74 mm)
- Medium: versatility on all kinds of snow (man: between 74 and 92 mm – woman: between 74 and 88 mm)
- Wide: stability and float (man: between 92 and 120 mm – woman: between 88 and 117 mm)
This is the rear part of the ski. You need to consider the cut (rounded: handling and absorption of irregularities; straight: responsiveness and precision) as well as its raised angle (long=rocker: handling/absorption of irregularities; short=classic: snow contact, stability).
The turn radius
It is the maximum radius of the turn that can be made with the ski (if the ski does not skid; this is a theoretic value).
It tells you whether a ski is designed more for short, medium or long turns. It is directly dependent on the ski's sidecut, which corresponds to the measurements of the tip, waist and tail.
In stores, a ski designed for shorter turns will have a radius of around 13 metres, while a ski for longer turns will have a radius of around 19 metres.
However, your choice of radius will depend mainly on your chosen discipline and level of proficiency. A beginner will opt for a shorter radius for better control of speed, while an expert who enjoys fast skiing will prefer a longer turn radius.
The camber is the curve of the ski when placed on a flat surface without your weight or the weight of the bindings. You can choose from 3 types depending on your discipline and style:
- Traditional camber: this camber has two contact points with the snow at the front and back which accentuate edge grip and responsiveness in turns even on hard snow. It is designed for skiing on groomed slopes.
- Flat camber: the contact point with the snow is the same over the entire ski. This allows faster rotations and better stability but less grip. This type of ski is used mainly for freestyle.
- Reverse camber: featuring one main contact point in the centre of the ski, this type of camber gives the ski perfect float and is ideal for freeriding.
Now that you are familiar with all the technical aspects of skis, the next step is to match these criteria with your discipline and style! Whether you are more of a powder skier who enjoys seeking out virgin slopes or are on a quest for perfect turns on beautifully groomed pistes, you can find the right ski in each style, tailored to your proficiency and needs.
CHOOSING YOUR PISTE SKIS
There’s no doubt about it, you're a piste skier! You prefer groomed slopes to powder and are looking to carve beautiful turns or hone your side-slipping technique.
If you are an occasional skier who likes enjoying the sunshine in ski resorts and prefer beautiful carving turns to top-speed descents, choose the ON PISTE range! These easy-to-handle and control skis adapt to all techniques to deliver maximum sensations.
Their features are designed to promote responsiveness and flexibility, with a waist of between 73 and 78 mm. A radius of around 14 metres allows you to link flowing sequences of short turns. This ski with a traditional camber has a rather short tip to maintain contact with the snow and transmit the best possible sensations.
When it comes to choosing the size of your skis, deduct 5 to 15 centimetres from your height for women, and 0 to 10 centimetres from your height for men, depending on your weight and proficiency, to ensure good handling.
You are a top-level athlete or a competitive racer; you are looking to excel in your races and optimise each of your lines with state-of-the-art equipment. However, you need to choose the most appropriate product from the RACE EXPERT range according to your style and requirements.
Racing skis comply with FIS (International Ski Federation) regulations; they are narrow and rigid, with specific dimensions for each discipline.
Giant Slalom skis are much longer than Slalom skis (for men, the same length as your height for Giant compared with 165 cm for Slalom; for women, the same length as your height for Giant compared with 155 cm for Slalom). The radius is also larger (around 27 metres or 30 metres for GS compared with 13 metres for Slalom) to tackle long turns with far greater speed and stability.
These skis are for expert skiers only and require perfect technique.
Are you a piste skier eager to explore new playgrounds? Are you an all-round skier seeking new sensations both on and beside the piste? Then our ALL MOUNTAIN range is ideal for you.
The skis in the ALL MOUNTAIN range have specific features to tackle all kinds of surfaces. In terms of size, opt for between 0 and 15 cm shorter than your height for women, and 10 centimetres shorter to 5 centimetres longer than your height for men, depending on your body shape and level of proficiency (see the video for more details).
Your main selection criterion should be the waist width: the wider the waist, the more confident you will feel off piste with better float. Conversely, the narrower the waist, the greater the precision and grip. To guide you, use the table below to decide where you are situated according to your skiing discipline and style:
These skis have a higher tip and a slight rocker for greater precision on hard snow and more liveliness on soft snow. However, they are more rigid than Freeride skis to provide good grip and responsiveness on the piste.
Touring skis are divided into three different ranges:
Fitness touring skis: these are narrower (waist of around 70-75 mm) and lighter for faster ascents and descents, tackling summit after summit, so opt for 10 cm shorter than your height to focus on lightness and speed.
All-round touring ski: faster ascents combined with downhill performance, that’s the objective of the all-round ski. Look for a waist of between 85 and 100 mm, with good float and moderate rockers for easier turns on soft snow. In terms of size, opt for between 5 and 10 cm shorter than your height depending on your level of proficiency.
Free touring: one objective, seeking out unique and challenging lines away from beaten tracks in the best possible powder. Look for a wide waist (around 110 mm) and a ski around 5 to 10 cm shorter than your height, depending on your level of proficiency.