How to Choose the Right Skis

As a professional ski instructor, Jim Decker certainly knows his way around a set of skis. Whether it’s competing in the top ski events Canada has to offer or teaching ski students from beginners to experts alike, he’s seen what it takes to ski safe and comfortably.

There are several different types of skis so it pays to choose appropriately when shopping for a new set. Be it carving, freestyle, all mountain, big mountain, powder or backcountry, you’ll want to know the correct type of ski for the type of skier you’d like to be.

If you plan on spending most of your time on groomed slopes then maybe you’d be best suited to a set of carving skis. Carving skis are essentially racing skis that are especially good for speed and precise turning capabilities. It’s because of this that they are not particularly recommended for a more natural ski experience like what you might experience on a backcountry expedition.

A very popular type of ski not too different from our previously mentioned carving ski is the park-type (freestyle). These are designed for the more technical style associated with the freestyle terrain park where you’ll find jumps, rails, half-pipes and every other extreme element that’s been introduced into the recreational skiing world in that last 30 years.

Somewhere in a slightly more conservative column is our all-mountain ski. With a medium-radius it is still a good fit for speed and carving while being a bit more easily tamed. This type is highly recommended for first time skiers and experts alike.

Powder skis are for exactly what the name implies: deep, thick and fresh powder. Specifically designed for maximum-flotation and easy maneuverability in new, soft snow, some skiers adopt these as their go-to ski for versatility on the slopes.

For expert speeds in uneven, unpredictable conditions, look no further than the big-mountain ski-type. This style can handle the treacherous speeds and steep runs that only the daredevils may be attempting. Think of this style as a powder/carving hybrid; a certainly great choice for speed and agility on more untouched and ungroomed terrain.

Last on our list is the ever-popular backcountry ski. These light-weight skis are built with large dimensions for stability and notches in the ends to attach climbing equipment. These are suitable for a skiing experience often referred to as “touring”; a backcountry excursion where a skier hikes uphill while still mounted to his/her skis only to ski down again and through open passages of terrain.

Ultimately the style of skis you choose will boil down to personal preference. Throughout your first few seasons try out a few different varieties that were mentioned above and see which style fits you best in your favorite style of terrain. There are no hard and fast rules associated with choosing a set of skis to use; if something works better for you than what’s been recommended, by all means go ski with it!

The utmost golden rule of skiing is to try, try and try again. Don’t let the style of skis get in the way of enjoying one of the most joyous activities in existence!

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