Updated: Nov 21, 2021
Choosing the perfect pair of skis is an art in itself. The easiest way would be to try a bunch of different skis to get a feel for what suits you the best. Since that isn't a viable option, hopefully this post can make it easier for a lot of people.
Three Main Factors
The three main factors when choosing a pair of skis are: Ski type, Ski length & Skill level. So, the first thing you have to do is ask yourself these two questions:
What's your favourite type of terrain to ride?
What's your skill level?
These two questions will make it a bit easier for you to decide on which pair of skis will suit you the best.
Different Types Of Skis
Let's first go over the different types of skis. The main six types are:
1. All Mountain
All Mountain skis are super versatile and are designed to work for basically any terrain. They are perfect for a first time ski buyer and for anyone that's looking to get the most out of a single pair of skis. If you're unsure about what you should choose or if you want a pair of skis that work for basically any terrain, these are your go-to.
They most often have a width of around 100 mm, which is great for most snow conditions.
If you decide that all mountain skis are the choice for you, we recommend that you take a look at our blog post 'Best All Mountain Skis - 2020/2021'.
2. Powder Skis
Powder Skis are obviously our favourite, since they're perfectly designed for powder skiing. They prioritize flotation and fun in deep conditions. The thing that charactarizes them is the rather large width of approximately 110 mm.
If you are some place where it snows quite heavily, these are essential. However, most of the time Powder skis are used as a supplement to your All Mountain skis for powder days.
3. Big Mountain Skis
Big Mountain Skis are designed for experts that go on drops, steeps and technical terrain. The width of these are approximately 105 mm, which is perfect for variable off-piste conditions. If you are a powerful expert skier, competitive freerider, or a skier that just loves a fast and stable ride, these are great for you.
4. Alpine Touring Skis
Alpine Touring skis are built to make uphill travel easier and are therefore more lightweight. These come in a variety of widths and usually have a directional shape and a flatter notch tail for attaching climbing skins. These are perfect for when you're touring and want to get those amazing powder runs. However, we don't recommend these to new skiers that don't have the backcountry and avalanche experience needed to ski beyond the resort boundaries.
5. Carving Skis
Carving Skis are narrow with a width of approximately 80 mm and prioritize quick edge-to-edge movements. They are built for skiers with good fundamentals that plan on skiing on groomers and firm conditions.
6. Freestyle / Park and Pipe skis
Freestyle (or Park and Pipe) skis tend to be slightly narrower than All Mountain skis with a width of 85-100 mm. The skis tend to feature a symmetrical twin tip design so you can ride backwards with no problems. They tend to be soft or flexing and they prioritize pop and playfulness as well as durability. If you love skiing in the park on rail boxes and/or in halfpipes, then these are perfect for you.
Now you hopefully know what kind of skis you're looking for depending on the terrain that you prioritize and your skill level. The question now is: what size should they be?
To make it easier we have created a size chart below that you can use. All you have to do is measure your height and weight.
In general the longer the ski is, the more stable it will be when you're going fast, it will however be harder to turn. The opposite applies to shorter skis: the shorter the ski is, the less stable it will be when you're going fast, it will however be a lot easier to turn.
So, if you are a beginner, park skier or looking for a less demanding setup, opt for the shorter end of the spectrum. However, if you are an expert and/or value speed and stability, opt for the longer end of the spectrum. Lastly, if you're an intermediate then you should opt for approximately the middle of the spectrum.
All in all, the guidelines we have outlined should help you find the perfect ski for you and your desires. However, at the end of the day it all comes down to what you're looking to get out of the experience. So, take some time and figure out what kind of skiing adventure you want, then pick your skis for that adventure.
If you have any questions, you can always send us a message and we'll help you out!