How do different ski characteristics relate to the skiing ability and snow conditions? Also how do these relate with ski durability in time?

Ski characteristics:

  • Front tip width
  • Middle width
  • Back tip width
  • Radius
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Camber / Rocker
  • Metal tip
  • Nucleus material: composite, wood
  • Stiffness

I know that this could mean a really long answer, but I guess it will help a lot of us in choosing a ski.

  • Could we get some clarification on what you're looking for in the question? Do you mean, "How do different ski characteristics relate to the skiing ability of different snow conditions?" As in, do these characteristics affect which types of snow/terrain someone should ski? Or do you believe that the characteristics of individual parts of a ski affect someone's level of expertise/skill in skiing?
    – bhilgert
    Mar 17 '17 at 17:04
  • Based on your level of skiing and the type of snow and terrain (on/off-piste) what features you should choose when buying skis?
    – Adrian Ber
    Mar 23 '17 at 8:15
  • I think you are over thinking this. You should close this and ask a new question "what features you should choose when buying skis for X use." rather than the technical components of each ski. Every ski is going to be some variation based on the compromises of each manufacturer. You should worry less about your ability and instead look at what will help you with your particular need. Jun 6 '17 at 17:01

Icy conditions will require more rigid skis that cut into the snow and don't track in established ruts.

Soft powder will require fat skis that float and flex through the soft snow.

Beginner skiers will want a ski that turns easily and doesn't go fast.

Advanced skiers tailor the skis to their particular desires and my eventually collect a quiver, each with it's specific condition & use.

Most resorts carry a nice variety of skis to rent. It's reasonable for intermediate skiers to rent a variety of skis in order to play with the style they like for the conditions of the day.

To briefly look at your metrics:

  • Front tip width: Float of the front of the ski
  • Middle width: Float of the middle of the ski
  • Back tip width: Float of the back of the ski
  • Radius: Float vs. pierce (if you plunge your ski through the snow, how easy is it to extract?)
  • Height: Speed vs. turning (longer skis will increase speed and increase turning radius)
  • Weight: Float & comfort on your legs & transport (light skis will increase your skiing endurance. Material will dictate how long they last)
  • Camber / Rocker: Turning & speed (This helps with turning and drag. There are some fun models for demonstrating the effects of camber on a ski)
  • Metal tip: Durability.
  • Nucleus material: Flexibility & Strength & Weight.
  • Stiffness: Control.

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