Skiing is a sport that requires a lot of specialized equipment, and one of the most important pieces of equipment is your skis. Skis come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and understanding the numbers and terminology that go along with them can be confusing. In this article, we'll break down what the numbers on skis mean, so you can make an informed decision when it comes time to purchase a new pair.
The first number you'll see on a pair of skis is the length. This is the distance from the tip of the ski to the tail, and is usually measured in centimeters. Skis come in a range of lengths, from mini skis that are around 40 cm, to longer skiboards with length usually between 65 to 120 cm, to long skis that can be over 200 cm for advanced skiers.
Generally, mini skis are similar to ice skating or roller blading, while longer skiboards are more stable, yet still allow a great deal of freedom.
The second number you'll see on a pair of skis is the width. This is the measurement of the ski at its widest point, which is usually in the middle or waist of the ski. The width of the ski is important because it affects how the ski performs in different conditions. Narrower skis, around 70-85 mm, are better for groomed runs and hard-packed snow, as they are more maneuverable and easier to control. Wider skis, around 90-110 mm, are better for deep powder and off-piste terrain, as they provide more float and stability.
Snowfeet skiboards provide width of tail - waist - tail in one row on the bottom.
The third number you'll see on a pair of skis is the sidecut. This is the measurement of the difference between the width of the ski at the tip and the width of the ski at the waist. A ski with a larger sidecut will have a shorter turning radius and be more maneuverable, while a ski with a smaller sidecut will have a longer turning radius and be more stable at high speeds.
At Snowfeet skis you can find width of tip, waist and tail written in one line at the bottom of your ski.
The final number you'll see on a pair of skis is the flex rating. This is a measurement of how stiff the ski is, and is usually rated on a scale from 1-10. Skis with a lower flex rating are softer and more forgiving, making them easier for beginners to control. Skis with a higher flex rating are stiffer and more responsive, making them better for advanced skiers who like to ski at high speeds and tackle difficult terrain.
In addition to these numbers, there are a few other terms you may see when shopping for skis. "Camber" refers to the curve of the ski, with traditional camber skis having a slight arch underfoot. "Rocker" refers to a ski with an upturned tip or tail, which helps with float in deep powder. And "bindings" are the part of the ski that attaches your boot to the ski.
Understanding the numbers and terminology on skis can help you choose the right ski for your skill level and the type of skiing you plan to do. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, knowing what these numbers mean can make a big difference in your skiing experience.