Hundreds of ski models are presented in stores: for different skiing styles, different lengths, widths and stiffnesses. In order not to get lost and find skis for yourself, we have compiled a detailed guide. Together with professional rider Nick Piotrowski figured out what skiing is, how to find comfortable boots and whether a beginner needs to buy ski equipment at all.
When choosing skis, you need to consider three parameters: purpose, level of skiing and your height.
These skis have a narrow center and a raised front. They are designed for a wide range of riders and prepared tracks. Since beginners are trained on the slopes, such skis are ideal for them.
Universal. Skis for all types of tracks: from well-prepared to snowy, which have not yet processed the snow groomers.
Universal skis are suitable for those who are going to ride the whole day until the ski lifts are closed and in the snow of different quality.
Women's. Such skis are lighter, shorter and softer than unisex models. In women, the weight relative to height is slightly less than in men, therefore, to move on skis, they need to make other efforts. In addition, skis for girls often have a brighter and more colorful design.
For freeride. Such skis are distinguished by a wide waist. Off-piste skiing. Such skiing is not for beginners, so people who ride for many years and know avalanche safety rules choose freeride skis.
For a tour.
A ski tour is a combination of a ski trip and skiing in the virgin lands. Ski skis are wide and equipped with mounts that can be switched between the walking and skiing modes.
Park. These are freestyle skiing - jumping and gliding in figures in specially equipped snowparks.
Photo: Oksana Plyushko.
In the photo Nick Piotrovsky
Companies produce skis for different levels of skiing. Conventionally, the levels are as follows: beginners, continuing and experienced skiers.
Beginners. Skis for beginners are adapted for low speeds and testing equipment. Their task is to teach you to stand on a slope.
Such skis are usually light, soft and the most inexpensive - what you need for the first steps. Once you understand that skiing is for you, you can move on to more advanced equipment.
Continuing. People who are good at skiing and want to develop skills usually know where and when they will be skiing, and select skis for specific conditions. On the Moscow Region tracks, in Krasnaya Polyana and on the slopes of Switzerland, different weather conditions, snow quality and length of slopes are different.
In addition, skis for those who continue are often stiffer and have a wider waist. This means that the rider must be able to turn.
Experienced. Skis for experienced riders have sports characteristics and high technical requirements. High rigidity helps control the descent at high speeds.
Classical ski length for beginners - minus 10-15 centimeters from growth. If you have a small weight or you ride on short tracks (for example, in the suburbs), choose shorter skis. If your weight is above average and you plan to ride in large mountains and at high speeds - choose more authentic.
Photo: Oksana Plyushko. Pictured is Nick Piotrowski
Brand is a matter of taste.
Brands attract the attention of athletes-ambassadors and competent marketing. But we can say for sure that well-known brands produce skis of different price categories and produce high-quality equipment.
Many pros say that ski boots are even more important than skis. Properly selected boots will help you ride for fun all day. Inconvenient shoes can lead to leg pain, scuffs and even injuries.
All ski boots consist of an internal boot and an external plastic boot. A beginner should pay attention to softer models, because at the beginning of skiing and during training, comfort is of fundamental importance. The shoe block should fit your foot perfectly. Allow enough time to buy shoes to calmly try on different models.
In stores, sellers select shoes according to special patterns.
They take into account the size, width of the foot and the height of the lift. Modern shoes (except the cheapest) have a thermoformed inside of the boot. These shoes right in the store are heated with a special hairdryer, and then put on your foot with a maximum tightening for half an hour. As a result, the filler of the inner boot takes the shape of a foot. If your feet have any peculiarities and are uncomfortable in standard models, contact the bootfitters, that is, specialists in fitting shoes.
They will stretch and grind a shoe under any foot. If the shoes are tight, they don’t squeeze anywhere and their legs don’t run into them, most likely you have found your pair.
Photo: Oksana Plyushko. Pictured is Nick Piotrowski
Sticks for skiing are much shorter than for cross-country skiing. The correct length of ski poles is easy to determine: when you hold them by the handle, the elbow forms a right angle.
At the ski resorts there are enough craftsmen who ride without sticks. In classic skiing, sticks are required. Firstly, it’s easier to balance with them. Secondly, at the first steps on a slope you can lean on sticks so as not to fall. Thirdly, in large mountains there are gentle sections of slopes where sticks can be repelled as in cross-country skiing.
Snowboarders in such places have to unfasten and walk. There are always gently sloping areas in front of the lifts - there with the help of sticks you will quickly move to the right place.
Skiing - an expensive sport. But these two ways will help to save:
You can find great skis at a discount of 60-70%.
Photo: Oksana Plyushko. Pictured is Nick Piotrovsky
Rolling equipment is a good option when you are just trying to get downhill and are not ready to immediately spend a decent amount. At many resorts, well-known companies arrange free tests of new products: you can first ride the model you like, and only then make a purchase decision.