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Which skis should you choose? This question is asked primarily by beginners, but also by those who already have their first steps on skiing behind them and would like to buy equipment for more advanced skiers or simply diversify their winter madness on the slope. Thanks to our guide, you will learn which type of skis to choose, how to adjust them to your height, and how to choose poles, bindings and boots for them.

Many people wonderingwhich skis to choosedo a thorough research on the Internet before shopping, ask more experienced friends or place high hopes on good advice from a seller in a sports store. No wonder - the purchase of downhill skis is not the cheapest, so we do not buy a new model every season: we want the equipment once bought to be effective for several years.

So what should you look for when buying skis?

How to choose the length of the skis according to your height?

When choosing the length of the skis, we must first of all consider where - on the slope or off-piste - and what technique we want to use. The main rule is that the longer the ski, the greater its stability and adhesion to the ground, which is especially important at high speeds. On the other hand, such equipment is less prone to twisting and the turns made are longer.

On the other hand, shorter skis are recommended for people who like smaller turns and skiing at moderate speed. However, it is worth remembering that on shorter skis it is easier to tip over at high speed, because their tips can fall into vibrations that are difficult to control.

It is assumed that shorter skis are better for lighter people, and longer ones - for heavier ones, and short skis are more often recommended for beginners, because they are better for skiing at low speed. Long skis will be more useful for people who already confidently and quickly ski on the slope.

Beginners should equip themselves with skis that are about 15-20 cm shorter than their height. It is best for beginner women to reach the chin, and for men - to the nose. The length of the skis increases with the level of advancement.

Read also: Warm-up on the slope

Slalom skis have a standard length of 155cm for most women and short men, and 165cm for most men andtall women. Giant skis are usually selected exactly according to the height of the skier, but it is already equipment for advanced people.

When purchasing for the first time, sellers in sports shops will usually help you choose the right length of your skis.

Parameters of downhill skis

How do I choose the width of the skis?

Width is another factor to consider when choosing your downhill skis. Formerly, the most popular were traditional skis, i.e. those that have the same width along their entire length or slightly tapered from the nose (front of the ski) to the heels (back of the ski). The vast majority of the skis in stores today are carving skis. How do they stand out? They are wider at the beaks, narrowed at the shoe - they have the so-called waist - and then wide at the heels again. Thanks to this, it is much easier to ride them, especially cornering, and at the same time control the pace of the ride.

Skis over 80mm wide are great for on-piste and off-piste skis because they have more buoyancy in powder. In turn, the narrower ones are intended mainly for riding on a more compacted surface and intermediate and advanced skiers will cope better with them.

Longitudinal stiffness of skis

After the length and width came the turn of stiffness. In this case it is considered that the less experienced the skier, the more he should lean towards less stiff skis, because the harder the board, the more demanding. A less stiff ski adheres better to the ground, while the stiffer one allows you to achieve higher speed on a hard slope. Most often the ski is wider the wider the size and the turning radius of the ski is.

Transverse hardness of skis

When selecting skis, it is also worth considering their hardness. The principle is similar to that for stiffness - the harder the board, the more difficult it is to ride, and therefore it is intended for more advanced skiers. When using hard skis, it is more difficult to turn corners, but they stick to the surface better than softer skis. On the other hand, in soft ones it is easier to turn and move at a moderate pace.

See what our expert Michał Jędrasik, a ski instructor from the Strefa Ruchu Ski School, says about how to choose equipment for downhill skiing

Worth knowing

Which ski shape should I choose: camber or rocker?

Skis can be classified not only by their width or length seen from above, but also by their shape when viewed from the side. The most popular ones - the carving type - are divided into two types:camberi rocker .

Skicamber , when there is no load, it bends upwards in the middle, so it does not stick to the ground. The situation is different with therockerski, the middle part of which is stuck to the ground, and the non-stick parts are only around the tip and heel. Camber works better on powder and in previous years it was produced more often, now manufacturers are more inclined to rocker, better adapted to driving on slopes - this equipment is easier to maneuver and safer in cornering.

Types of downhill skis

As traditional - of equal length across the width - skis are slowly becoming obsolete, carving skis dominate the slopes - with the "waist" in the middle. But that's not all, because carving skis themselves are divided into the following types:

  • Frontside- the most popular type of skis, recommended especially for beginners, although they are also used by professionals. Frontside skis perform best on paved slopes, with a turning radius of between 14 and 28 meters.
  • Allmountain- type of skis intended for intermediate and advanced skiers. Perfect for slopes and trails, they are wider than frontside skis. Their turning radius is up to 20 meters.
  • Race- skis designed for experienced skiers who like to ski fast on the slope. They provide great stability and control over the descent, but they are quite heavy and handling them requires mastering not the easiest technique. Race skis includeslalom skisfor small and sharp turns andgiant skisfor stability when making wide turns. Race skis are longer and have a smaller waistline than the rest of the models.
  • Freeride- skis perfect for off-piste skiing, high altitude skis and powdery surfaces. They are very wide, thanks to which they do not sink into the snow, and the skier is comfortable overcoming it. Intended for advanced people.
  • Skitour- skis with bindings similar to those used for cross-country skis, have a large turning radius - over 20 meters and are light. They will be perfect for winter mountain tourism.
  • Freestyle- very advanced people use these skis. They are short, light, and have raised ends for reverse travel. Designed to perform acrobatics in ski parks.
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The construction of each ski consists of:

  • noses , i.e. the part located at the front, at the very top of the equipment;
  • edgeson the sides of the skis;
  • slides , i.e. the bottom part of the ski - the one that touches the ground;
  • waist , i.e. the place where the ski narrows - where the boot is attached;
  • heels , which is the part of the ski at the back.

How to choose ski boots?

Ski boots, especially those used by beginners, should be primarily comfortable, but at the same time have to fit properly. The ski boot consists of the outer part, the so-called a shell and a soft insole, called a "slipper". The more "slack" there is in a boot, the more difficult it is to maneuver with the skis and the foot turns sideways instead of finding a solid support in the boot. Meanwhile, she should not be able to move around in shoes at all, only the toes may have a little more space.

The popularization of downhill skiing was contributed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, who was one of the first to describe his impressions after skiing.

Ski boots vary in hardness. The harder ones stick more closely to the leg and keep it vertical more easily, but the soft ones are more comfortable, which is why such models are recommended for beginners. It is best to choose those with a shell stiffness (referred to as "flex") between 50 and 80, and those with an index over 100 are intended for experienced skiers.

When choosing ski boots, it is also worth paying attention to the number of buckles they have - the more of them, the better, because thanks to them, the boot can more closely fit the leg and its fit is easier to control. In the upper part of the shoe shell there is also Velcro, which performs a similar function - it is supposed to hold the lower limb as tight as possible.

Ski boots should be tried on in socks, in which we will go to the slope, to best match them to each other.

How to choose the right bindings?

The binding is what connects the boot to the ski. As it mediates the transfer of movement to the ski, it should be properly adjusted in terms of the release force. Thanks to this, in the event of a fall, the skis will be released, which will minimize the risk of, for example, a knee injury.

Recreational skiers don't need a heavy binding or high release force, unlike advanced high-speed skiers. It is best to leave it to experienced service technicians to adjust the appropriate release force. The power to release the skis is set by the service technician based on the skier's weight.

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What kind of ski helmet?

Adultsin Poland, they do not have to wear a helmet - this requirement applies only to persons under 16 years of age. Those who, however, want to feel safer on the slope and provide better protection against cold and wind, can buy a helmet. In choosing the right equipment, it is helpful to measure the head circumference at a height of about 1 cm above the eyebrow line. It is also good to try on a few models in the store and choose the one that will stay well on the head, also with little movement, even without fastening the belt under it. There should be a soft lining on the strap itself.

Selection of ski poles

- The selection of ski poles does not cause any major difficulties. The stick is of the right length if, after taking it in your hand, you can easily create a right angle by bending your arm at the elbow - explains Michał Jędrasik, a ski and snowboard instructor from the Strefa Ruchu Ski School.

Correctly selected ski poles will allow you to maintain balance and proper posture while skiing. If they are indeed of good length, they automatically "force" the skier to keep a straight silhouette and keep the arms closer to the body. Too short sticks will cause an unnecessary tilt of the figure forward, and too long - backwards.

Prices of ski equipment

If you are going to ski downhill for several years, it is worth investing in good equipment, which will turn out to be a better investment than buying cheaper but completely perishable products every year.

When buying high-quality downhill skis, you have to be prepared for a considerable expense. The beginner's downhill skis themselves cost from 800 to 1500 PLN, but if we start shopping during the sale period, i.e. after the season - in March and April - we can buy equipment from the best manufacturers at a lower price. Ski boots are another big expense - it's better not to be tempted by models that cost less than PLN 300.

You can look for used shoes at online auctions, but you never know to what extent a person cared about hygiene and in what condition the shoes are. Ski poles cost much less - about PLN 70-150, similar to goggles, which we can buy from PLN 80. The last, optional, adult expense is a helmet - good-quality models are available from PLN 100.

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