Are you looking for the perfect ski that suits you? At Snowcountry, you will find a wide range. Whoever you are or whatever your skiing style is, we have a ski that matches your preferences. If you're not sure which ski is right for you, we are here to help with this buyer's guide. The information will assist you in selecting the right filters in our webshop, giving you a selection of skis that match your preferences, experience, and skiing style.

What type of skier are you?

The first question we ask is, what type of skier are you? Broadly, we distinguish between: piste, all-mountain, freeride, freestyle, and tour.

Piste skier

Do you prefer the groomed and well-maintained slopes? Then you're a true piste skier, just like the largest group of skiers in the mountains. Skill levels range from absolute beginners to advanced.

Piste skis have something for everyone. From race skis for the sporty types to more forgiving skis for beginners. Piste skis generally have a clear sidecut (shape), which makes them perfect for good turns. A slightly wider ski is less sporty but more versatile. This means you will usually have an easier time coming down with a slightly wider ski at the end of the day.

View all piste and race skis.

All-mountain skier

Are you everywhere on the mountain? Not just on-piste, but also off-piste and in the fun park? Then you are an all-mountain skier. Generally, you are more adventurous than piste skiers. You like to explore different parts of the ski area or the backcountry. You are on-piste, searching for fresh powder, moguls, and other challenging conditions. Some all-mountain skiers lean more toward piste skiing, while others lean more toward freeride skiing.

All-mountain skis are suitable for all conditions. Within all-mountain skis, we distinguish between piste all-mountain and freeride all-mountain. Piste all-mountain skis are up to about 90 mm wide underfoot. You can ski well on the piste with these but also off-piste. If you mainly ski off-piste, a freeride all-mountain ski provides more float. The width underfoot ranges from 90 to 105 mm.

View all piste all-mountain and all-mountain freeride skis.

Freeride skier

Do you seek adventure in off-piste terrain with powder snow, steep slopes, and forests? Then you are a freeride skier. Most freeride skiers are skilled and confident. They are also prepared for the off-piste environment with wide skis and avalanche gear.

Freeride skis offer agility and turning ability for off-piste skiing in deep snow and challenging terrain. The skis are usually wider throughout their length and have a pronounced rocker profile for float (more on the rocker profile later in this article). The width of the skis ranges from 100 to 115 mm. Freeride skis allow advanced skiers to confidently explore challenging terrain and easily make quick turns and maneuvers. For the true powder lovers who do nothing but ride fresh snow, there are powder skis. Very wide skis with lots of rocker for a real surf feel.

View all freeride en powder skis.

Freeride skier in the off-piste

Freestyle skiers

Are you mostly focused on performing tricks and jumps in the fun park, halfpipe, or just off the slopes? Then you are a freestyle skier.

Freestyle skis always have a twin-tip design. Some freestyle skis are completely symmetrical in the bend. This allows you to ski not only forward but also backward. Further in this article, we will delve into the shape of the skis. These skis are designed for stability and agility to execute tricks and maneuvers with ease and control. Ideal for anyone looking to take their skiing experience to the next level. Width varies between 85 and 105 mm underfoot.

View all freestyle skis.

Ski touring

With ski touring, you do not use the lift but go uphill on foot. This can be on the side of the piste, but many touring skiers prefer places where the lift doesn't reach. Especially for ski touring, we have developed a buyer's guide focusing on the products you use for touring.

Touring skis are also known as backcountry skis or AT skis (alpine touring). They have a lightweight construction for climbing and walking on steep terrain. Additionally, there are different types of touring skis, with some focusing more on efficiency for uphill travel and others designed for descents through deep powder snow and more technical terrain.

View all touring skis.

Looking for touring skis? Check out our article: Which tourski is right for me?

What is your level?

Your level is also important when searching for your perfect ski. We distinguish between: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert.

As a beginner, you have little to no experience on the slopes (<6 weeks). You are learning the basic skills such as stopping and turning. We consider you an intermediate skier when you are comfortable making turns and can ski down all slopes in control (4-20 weeks of experience). You may have started exploring off-piste skiing. As an advanced skier, you have a lot of on-piste experience, comfortably handle black diamond slopes (steep), mogul fields, and possibly off-piste skiing in remote areas. When we say expert, we mean skiers who are comfortable on any terrain, have the skills and athleticism for competitive skiing.

Choosing the right ski profile

By ski profile, we mean the shape of the ski. The profile determines how a ski feels and responds in different conditions. We distinguish three ski profiles: camber, rocker, and combinations thereof.

Before we delve into the profiles, it is useful to know that the 'tip' refers to the front of the ski, and the 'tail' is the back.

What is rocker and what is camber?

The camber profile is the traditional profile that has been around for years. The ski has a convex shape with the center arching upwards, and the 'tip' and 'tail' touching the snow. When you stand on the ski, it flattens, and the edges make contact with the snow, providing excellent edge control and stability. Skis with a camber profile are suitable for making turns on hard snow and groomed slopes.

With the rocker profile, the ski has a concave shape, and the profile is essentially reversed. The center is in the snow, and the 'tip' and 'tail' curve upward. When you stand on the rocker profile, the 'tip' and 'tail' rise even further, making it easier to initiate turns and improving floatation. The rocker profile is most suitable for off-piste skiing in deep powder snow.

By combining the camber and rocker profiles, several ski profiles have emerged, each with its own characteristics and advantages.

Rocker-camber-small rise

The rocker-camber-small rise profile is very versatile and is often seen in all-mountain and freeride skis. The rocker in the 'tip' provides floatation, making it easy to turn through powder or tracked snow on the slopes. Tracked snow refers to the mounds of snow created by skiing. The camber ensures good edge grip on the slopes and hard snow. Additionally, this ski has a 'small rise,' which is minimal rocker in the 'tail' of the ski, providing ease of turning. This slightly reduces edge-to-edge quickness compared to a full camber profile. In summary, this ski offers floatation, edge grip, and ease of turning.

View all skis with a rocker-camber-small rise profile.

Rocker-camber-rocker

This ski profile naturally has a playful character. The rocker in the 'tip' and 'tail' makes the ski easy to turn. This profile is often seen in freeride and powder skis. The rocker-camber-rocker profile is less suitable for higher speeds on hard slopes. In short, this ski offers a playful character and ease of turning.

View all skis with a rocker-camber-rocker profile.

Rocker-camber-flat

The rocker-camber-flat profile is commonly found in all-mountain skis. The rocker makes skiing in various conditions easier. The more rocker in the 'tip', the more the ski excels in powder snow. However, the camber provides edge grip, which is beneficial on the slopes and hard snow. The downside is that the rocker reduces edge grip compared to a ski with a small rise or rocker in the 'tail'. Nevertheless, it offers more control. In summary, this ski is versatile with good control in various conditions.

View all skis with a rocker-camber-flat profile.

Camber

The camber profile is mainly found in piste and race skis. Camber provides excellent edge grip at higher speeds and on hard slopes. The difference between piste and race skis lies in the ski's stiffness, known as flex. A race ski is generally much stiffer than a piste ski. It's perfect for carving on well-groomed slopes. However, the sporty nature makes race skis less suitable for less ideal conditions and lower speeds, making them less suitable for beginners. In short, a ski with excellent edge grip for well-groomed slopes.

View all skis with a camber profile.

Rocker-flat-rocker

This profile is usually symmetrical and is typically only seen on freestyle skis. The shape provides a playful character and ease of maneuvering. The "flat" section under the foot allows you to ski on boxes and rails. The ski is specifically designed for the fun park or halfpipe. This makes the ski less suitable for skiing on the slopes. In short, a ski with a playful character and easy maneuverability.

View all skis with a rocker-flat-rocker profile.

Full rocker

The full rocker profile is found in true powder skis. Skis intended for enjoyment in deep powder snow. These skis have a playful character and are easy to maneuver. They are often lightweight to enhance floatation. Everything to surf through fresh snow joyfully. These skis are truly intended for this use and are somewhat limited otherwise. In short, a ski with excellent floatation and maneuverability.

View all skis with a full rocker profile.

Choosing the right ski length

Choosing the right ski length depends on various factors, including height, weight, experience, ski type, and personal preferences. The table below indicates which ski length is suitable for each ski type based on experience.

Ski Type vs. Skiing Experience Beginner Intermediate Advanced / Expert
Piste Own height -10 or -15 cm Own height -5 cm or -10 cm Own height or -5 cm
All-mountain Own height -5 cm or -10 cm Own height or -5 cm Own height or +5 cm
Freeride Own height -5 cm Own height Own height or +5 cm or +10 cm
Tour Own height or -5 cm Own height or -5 cm Own height or -5 cm
Freestyle Own height -10 cm or -15 cm Own height -5 cm or -10 cm Own height or -5 cm

 

Why choose a shorter or longer ski?

Why you choose shorter or longer skis depends on various factors. For beginners, it is often comfortable to choose shorter skis. These are more maneuverable, making turns easier. 

Your weight can also have an impact. If you are lighter than average relative to your height, it may be wise to choose shorter skis. A ski is designed for a certain amount of power, and if you can't provide that, turning can be more challenging. If you are heavier than average, it is useful to choose somewhat longer skis.

If you have more experience, and ski at higher speeds, you should also opt for longer skis. Longer skis offer greater stability at higher speeds.

Distinction between men's and women's skis

In practice, there is little difference between men's and women's skis. The main difference lies in length. Women's skis are generally available in shorter lengths. Furthermore, women's skis are often lighter in weight and have a different width.

Every brand has a different approach in this regard. Some brands create entirely separate skis with different materials and widths. While others may only offer different colors and additional lengths. At Snowcountry, we prefer not to focus on gender but on you as an individual and your skiing experience. A skilled female skier does just fine on "men's skis", while a very light man with less experience may ski comfortably on "women's skis". We advise not using gender as the sole selection criterion. 

When choosing skis, primarily consider the other factors highlighted in this buyer's guide. Use these factors to set filters in our webshop so you can find skis that suit you.

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