skis leaning on railing

– Skis Demystified –

Practical advice from ski guru, Jackson Hogen

1. Pick The Category

The simplest way to find the right ski is to focus first on your terrain preferences, as this will lead directly to the correct category. When discussing where you ski, be as specific as possible, naming the runs you like at the areas you frequent.

A ski’s genre is determined primarily by its width: narrow skis for hard snow, big fat skis for powder, and medium width models for all-terrain capability. Determining where you’ll spend a typical ski day will tell you and your salesperson which category of ski is right for you. 

2. Find the Right Length

Getting the right length is almost as important as finding the right model.

As a general guideline, low-skill skiers should select a length close to chin-height, average skiers around nose-height and advanced skiers around the hairline.

But height isn’t the sole consideration. Weight is also a factor, as is speed and terrain preference. Some ski designs reduce a ski’s effective snow contact, so they won’t ski as long as they measure. 

3. Match Your Style

Within each category, some ski models are made for highly skilled skiers who are capable of extending their feet far out from under them in order to set their skis at a high edge angle. These skiers are comfortable at speed and capable of varying pressure, stance and degree of edging to handle any terrain. We classify these skiers as Power skiers. Finesse skiers may have a very polished skill set, but they don’t generally exert as much force, ski as fast or attempt to set as high an edge as Power skiers. Their preferred skis might be softer flexing, less cambered and more forgiving.


Frontside Skis

Waist: 75mm–84mm
Terrain: 80/20 Groomed/Off-Piste

All-Mountain East

Waist: 85mm–94mm
Terrain: 70/30 Groomed/Off-Piste

All-Mountain West

Waist: 95mm–100mm
Terrain: 60/40 Off-Piste/Groomed

Big Mountain

Waist: 101mm–113mm
Terrain: 80/20 Off-Piste/Groomed


Waist: > 113mm 
Terrain: 100% Off-Piste

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