When looking to purchase a new pair of skis, it is important to understand the different types and what type of skiing they are used for. Knowing what type of skiing you will be doing, whether it’s recreational or for racing, as well as the type of terrain are important factors when making your decision. There are two categories types of skis. Alpine skis have a fixed binding on the ski where the boot attaches and are used for traditional downhill skiing. With Nordic skis, the heel releases from the binding. These are used primarily for cross-country skiing. Within each type, different brands will make varying skis, yet the general purpose for each ski is pretty standard across the board. Here are the four main types of Alpine skis.

All Mountain Skis

These skis can be used for all different types of terrain. They are best for groomed runs, and some powder. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, All Mountain Skis are great for skiers of all levels and genders. These skis are sometimes known as carvers, and allow skiers to turn easily. The only downfall to these skis is that they may not fulfill every specific demand for skiers looking to specialize in one specific area such as powder or in the terrain park. All Mountain Skis are further broken down into two subcategories, narrow and wide. The narrower the ski, the better suited you are for groomed trails. Wider skis allow skiers to better tackle trails with more powder.

Powder Skis

These skis have even wider waist widths than All Mountain Wide Skis. These skis are best suited for skiers who prefer trails with deep, light snow. They allow you to essentially float on top of the powder instead of sinking into the deep snow. While more advanced skiers might be able to use these all over the mountain, they are not specifically designed to maneuver as easily on groomed trails.

Twin Tip Skis

Twin Tip Skis are also known as freestyle skis. They have curved up tips like regular skis, and curved up tails. The curved up tails enables skiers to take off or land backwards on a jump. These skis are great for an adventurous skier who enjoys going fast and executing tricks.

Racing Skis

Most major mountains have Alpine Ski teams. For race skiers, you absolutely will need to get racing skis. Racing skis are typically longer, narrower, and stiffer than other types of skis. These skis are constructed differently than other more recreational types of skis, so to allow racers better stability at speeds, enhanced edge grip and easier turning initiation.

Keep in mind that buying your own skis can be somewhat expensive. If you are a new skier or only ski a couple times a year, it may be best to stick with All Mountain Skis. If you are a more avid, advanced skier, owning different types of Alpine skis will help you ski your best in each new terrain. For more information on what type of Alpine ski is best suited for you, the people working at your local ski and snowboard store can be a great resource. For more tips on skiing, checkout CoachUp’s skiing articles.

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