How to Shop for Skis

How to Shop for Skis

Are your skis torn out? Looks like it’s time you brace yourself for a hunting journey to find the right pair. Whether you’re an expert or a newbie setting out to glide down a snowy hill, you must take your time to buy the right gear for the job. 

Since the market is flooded with hundreds of options, choosing the right ski model and brand is quite tricky. However, you’ve got nothing to worry about as we have got you covered. 

Read this skis buying guide to learn what pair is suitable for your skiing style. 

The Ideal Skis For Women, Men, and Kids

Your anatomy plays an essential role in choosing your sports gear. Gender-specific skis are designed considering both men’s and women’s shapes, sizes, and abilities.

Although men’s skis can be labeled as unisex skis, it is preferred that females stick to women’s skis as they will better enhance their skiing ability. 

Similarly, kids’ skis are specifically designed for all the little champs out there. These skis are comfy and soft, and help your kids learn, grow, improve, and love the sport. However, the only exception with these skis is for the daring junior rippers who prefer to ski on freestyle-oriented or wider skis. 

Kids’ skis do not require re-drilling. Yet, they do need to be re-adjusted occasionally by a certified professional as the child’s feet grow bigger with age. The best part is that kids’ skis can be used by both girls and boys since they have no disparity in design or material. 

Skis for Pro Skiers and Newbies

Skiing in a ski compatible with your skill level is vital for your stability and control on the mountain. This is because your skill level directly relates to the waist width, flex, and terrain type you ski on. 

For instance, a soft flexing ski is convenient for learning since they are more forgiving of several technical errors you might make as a beginner. In contrast, if you’re an expert or advanced skier, you must opt for a stronger, stiffer ski as they can handle the extra pressure and force you may exert. In fact, they can help you ski faster and smoother. 

The rule has a few exceptions since the true powder skis aren’t too strong or stiff. Most pro powder skis are medium flex. So if you ski with a stiff powder ski, you may become unable to ski on the fresh snow. 

Your weight also plays a crucial role in choosing the perfect skis for you. For instance, skiers who weigh more than 200lbs should consider selecting skis higher than their actual skill level.

On the other hand, if you weigh less than 115lbs, you may jump down one skill level to buy more bendable, moveable skis. 

Skis for Different Uses

When you go ski shopping, you must remember the goal you want to achieve with your skis. This is because different skis are designed for different uses. 

Have a look at these ski uses to understand what ski you may be looking for:


Frontside skis are widely used for carving. They have a narrower waist and are designed for the skier to make carved or skidded turns on the groomers and trails. In addition, these skis are available for all skill levels. 

All Mountain Skis

These skis are made to tackle almost any situation the mountains may throw at you. With the all-mountain skis, you can go about doing almost anything. They are widely popular among skiers since they adapt well to mountain conditions. 

All Mountain Wide Skis 

The All Mountain Wide Skis are your all-around, do-it-all skis. They can carve, turn, seek powder, and plow through muck and obstacles. Underfoot, these skis feature waist widths ranging from 95mm to 105mm and may do almost everything.

Freestyle Skis 

These skis are for the fliers who love to spend most of their time up in the air. In addition, they are popular among skiers who enjoy skiing on park features. Most of these skis feature dual tips to ski backward and forward.

Powder Skis 

Powder skis can measure more than 111mm underfoot for maximum stability and flotation in deep snow. Also, they have a lot of swings and rockers. 

Race Skis

These skis are made to let you ski faster every time you wear them. With race skis on, you must brace for a fast ride all the way from the start line to the finish.

Alpine Touring Skis

These skis have several waist widths. However, they are designed to cater to equal abilities. For instance, you can use them for skinning, hiking, or gliding down the fresh snow. In addition, they are incredibly lightweight. 

System Skis

System skis tend to have a plate for fixing the binding to them. This attachment can improve your ski flex as it removes dead spots underneath the platform you mount. In addition, they have narrow waists, due to which they are generally on trial and groomer skis. 

Flat Skis

A flat ski does not have any bindings. In addition, they are generally used as all-mountain wide, all-mountain, powder, or freestyle skis. 

Why is Waist Width Important?

Waist width accounts for a critical aspect of selecting skis. This is because skis are classified by their waist width: narrow skis are made to carve on groomers, while wide skis are suited for surfing into pow. 

For instance, east coast skiers spend their time skiing on harder snow, so they prefer skis that have a narrow width. In contrast, beginner skiers may likely stick to skis with groomer widths.

What is in Your Skis?

The material used to build the skis should also be checked while making a purchase decision. You can check the following aspects of your ski’s construction to choose the best ski.

Ski Core

Most skis have layers of lamination on the center, which is the core or gut of your ski. 

High-end skis are typically designed with wooden cores since wood has a natural energetic pop. As a result, the skis become rebound and lively. Plus, wood is more durable and responsive to your actions. 

Foam cores are less durable, light, and cheap. In addition, plastic cores, mostly made with honeycomb technology, are more nimble or lighter, yet they have poor abilities for damping. Hence, they may produce noise over variable snow. 

Metal Laminates

Some skis are layered with a metal called Titanal. It’s an aluminum alloy usually laid below and above the ski’s core. As a result, the skis become quieter, chatter less, and stick to the snow better since metal is used to dampen the vibration. 

With metal layers, the skis may become more powerful and stiffer. However, this may reduce the playfulness of the skis. Metal layering is often found in high-expert all-mountain and front-side carver skis.

Fiberglass Laminates 

These laminations are cheaper and lighter than metal. In addition, they stiffen the ski without making it heavy. These layers are added to increase torsional rigidity, which may reduce your ski’s twisting abilities. 

Final Thoughts

Finding the right ski that can help boost your skills is an essential aspect of the sport. Therefore, you should carefully evaluate your skill level, ski material, and use before buying any skis. 

A good pair of skis can ensure your safety on the snow hills since you can use them better. If you’re a beginner, you should consider buying skis according to your skillset and weight. 

Warwick Braith

Warwick Braith is a thrill seeker at heart. He loves getting outdoors and testing his limits in the wild. As a blogger for YapQ, Warwick provides readers with insights and tips on how to get the most out of their outdoor experiences. Whether it's hiking, camping, or simply exploring nature, Warwick knows how to make the most of it.

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