There are a lot of skis, but to choose the perfect one, you need adequate information. In this article, we will talk about a few factors you must keep in mind while buying the skis at an affordable price.
What are Skis?
Skis are used to glide on snow while enjoying the experience. This is one of those winter sports that people love to take part in, especially during holidays. While performing this sport, skis are the important thing which are needed, along with skills of course! Hence, finding the best pair of skis is necessary. While skis tend to cost a little higher than compared to other sports equipment, one can also rent the skis if they don’t ski on a regular basis.
How much do skis cost?
On an average, a new pair of skis can cost anywhere between $400 to $1000 depending on the type, size, and functionality. Along with skis, boots and bindings are also important to play the game safely. It can be said that the total price of the ski setup can fall between $600 to $1500.
A good pair of skis can surely boost your confidence while performing like no other. Along with quality, it is also important to look at skis that fit your budget and your ideal needs. Choosing the best ski set for yourself can be a confusing task, especially because there are a dozen choices available in the market. But worry not! We have listed some important features that will help you to narrow down your choices to the ones that will serve their purpose the best, while being within your budget.
Types of Skis
Before we get to know some additional features of the skis, it is important to know how many types of skis are available in the market and how to select among them. Below are some of them:
- All-Mountain wide skis: This ski is designed in a way that allows all age groups to glide on it. The waist width of these skis is 85-95mm.
- All-mountain skis: This is best while performing on mountainous terrains. Its waist width varies from 95mm-105mm.
- Carving skis: This is also known as Piste Skis and can be easily used by beginners to train and have an enjoyable skiing experience. It has a narrow waist, designed for carving with ease.
- Alpine Skis: Alpine skis are designed to aid some advanced level of racing. They are fast and give the best stability, which gives the users a higher chance to win a ski race.
- Telemark Skis: Pioneered by Sondre Norheim of Telemark, Norway, the telemark skis have a binding that is attached at the toe with the waist. This sort of binding makes the turning easier and more precise.
- Alpine Touring Skis: The Alpine Touring Skis are extremely lightweight and are designed for hiking, skinning, or skiing down. This type of ski is available in a range of waist width options.
- Cross-country Skis: cross-country skis get this name because the binding attaches only to the toe. These skis are very thin, light, and have straight Ski Edges. The skies are generally coated with wax.
- Race-skis: The race skis are designed for the racers and professionals. These types of skis fulfill the demand for stiffness, flex, and all other things which are needed by a racer. The race skis meet the demand of racers for Giant Slalom (GS), Slalom Racing (SL), and Downhill, Etc.
- Powder-skis: This is best while skiing on the deep powder. It has lots of rockers along with a 111mm waist width, which is useful for stability and maximum floatation in deep ice powder.
- Freestyle Skis: The Freestyle skis are designed for the feature to ride park and air. They are available with twin tips, which makes skiing backward and forwards.
Features of Skis to know
We all are now aware of the skis and their types. So, now it’s time to know some additional features which can help you decide which skis to go for. Some basic things make the skis to differ from each other.
- Waist width
There is one general rule for skis. The width of the skis depends on the depth of the snow. A wider waist will allow the skier to float on the ice and allows more stability for an off-piste skier. On the other hand, a narrow waist ski is very easy and quick to use and ideal for both, beginners as well as an expert.
Skis Waist size chart
- 85mm: This ski waist size is designed for both beginners and experts.
- 85-95mm: This waist size is versatile but mostly designed for on-piste skiing along with some off-piste.
- 96-110mm: This waist width is most preferrable during all-mountain skiing.
- 111+mm: This floats easily and maintains stability in deep powder snow.
- FIS Legal: The race skies comply with the FIS regulation of that year.
While selecting the skis, it is important to know about the flex of skis on ability level, aggressiveness, and weight. A soft ski will be less responsive, while a hard ski is preferred by heavy and aggressive skiers. If you are a beginner trying to buy the skis, then go for softer skis. Let’s get to know some flex types in detail:
- Very soft flex: The skis with very soft flex are designed for beginners. Children also use these skis as it aids easy learning.
- Soft flex: Skis with soft flex are very easy to control at slow and medium speed of skis. Further, they require very little energy to get some speed going.
- Medium flex: Skis with medium flex are ideal for powdered snow skiing. Medium flex skis are easy to control at slower speeds. However, with experience, control on higher speeds can also be developed.
- Stiff flex: Stiff flex skis are designed for advanced skiers. These skis are very responsive at high speed.
- Very stiff flex: Professional skiers and racers use skis with very stiff flex. Very stiff flex skis are highly aggressive and fast since they are used for racing.
Ski-tail is important when taking turns. The shape of the tail decides how it will take turns while skiing. The tip is also designed in different ways depending upon the nature of its use:
- Twin Tip: A twin tip is mostly found in freestyle and all-mountain skies. Twin tip helps in quick exit out while turning.
- Flared: The flared tip provides grip at the end of the turn. The flared tip is the most common ski tail using while skiing.
- Flat: A flat ski tail is preferred while racing. Racers select flat tailed skis as they provide grip, power, and total control on the skis until you decide to turn and exit at high speeds.
- Turn Radius
Turn Radius refers to the size of an arc when the ski is tipped on the edge. The turn radius is measured in meters. The small radius ski makes it easy to take a turn with a big radius. The turn radius measurements:
- Less than 12 meters: This is used for short turning ski.
- 13-21 meters: This is used for a medium turning ski.
- Larger than 22 meters: This ski is used for long turning skis.
Tips to choose the best skis
Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind while you shop the skis:
- Place of skiing
The very first thing to keep in mind while you think to purchase the skis is in which area you are going to use them. Select the skiing according to your terrain.
- Northeast: If you want to ski at Northeast terrain then select the skis which are comfortable to ski in the icy area. The skis with god edge help to dig and make the turn clear. The skis to be used at the northeast tend to be more narrow which allows controlling the skin while racing.
- West and Pacific Northwest: This terrain includes the mountain areas where skis are needed which helps in floating. The skis should be lightweight with a larger width.
- Both types: If you want to ski in both types of regions then it is advised you to select the all-mountain ski which is versatile to handle all types of skiing conditions.
- Know your ability
It is important to know about your ability and what type of skis you can handle. If you are a beginner then you must purchase skis that are easy to handle. Purchase the skis that can fulfill your needs according to your ability. Determine the flex and width of the skis according to your height, weight, and foot size. Comfortable skis help in improving confidence, stability, and control while skiing.
- Beginners: For beginners, select the softer flex which can be controlled easily with easy turns.
- Experienced skiers: If you are an experienced person then select skis with harder flex, which can withstand the pressure and force at most of the conditions.
Gender is also one of the factors which one should consider while purchasing the skis. Men and women are built differently and thus, it is important to select skis which can comfort them while skiing. However, men’s skis are unisex and can be used by both gender, but women’s skis cannot be used by men.
- Men: Men’s skis are designed in such a way that it can withstand the weight and force of the men.
- Women: The women’s skis are made according to the woman’s build and stance.
- Ski Length
The ski length should be compatible with your ability, height, weight, preference, build of the ski, etc. The length of the ski can be classified in two ways.
- Chin level
- Head High.
The chin level are short skis that are made for beginners and intermediate skiers. It makes turning and handling the skis easier, and are compatible with skiers who don’t want to ski fast.
- Ski dimensions: Before purchasing skis, it is important to confirm the dimensions of the ski which can support your level of skiing. There are two types of skis dimension:
- Skinnier skis: This type of skis is good for carving turns.
- Wider skis: This is good for flotation in deep snow.
Here are some of the factors that can help you save your money while buying skis.
- You will find a slight change in the price when you purchase the skis in the off-season. The shop owners offer plenty of discounts at their clearance sale. Hence, it is always a good idea to check them out during this time.
- Another option that can help you save serious money are second-hand skis. The only thing to check is its condition. Many people buy skis but do not use them and lastly, they sell them out at an extremely low price.
- Ignore the attractive and creative artwork which can cost much higher as compared to normal skis.
- Research the price of skis at different shops. It is seen that the price of products varies from one shop to another.
- Buy the combo packs to get a high discount on the products. Some shops offer boots, bindings, poles, and skis all together in a kit with a heavy discount.
Is renting affordable?
Most people don’t ski on a regular basis. Hence, it is understandable if you are one of them and don’t want to invest a large sum in owning skis. However, one question that we must answer is whether renting skis is better than owning a pair. Renting is a great option if you want to do it for one or twice. However, if you want to play this sport regularly then buying skis of your own is more profitable as renting will surely prove more expensive.
Now that you know everything there is to know about skis, your shopping spree will be much more fruitful and you will also be able to narrow some options down. Skiing can be a great sport, especially if you’re using the right equipment for you!