By Ann Schissler
(November 2015) Like many of you, I’m in the market for a new pair of skis this season. For many years getting new ski equipment was no problem. My late father-in law was the International Vice-President of a ski company and would always provide the latest models and cutting edge technologies of whatever “house brand” equipment he was selling. It worked out great. But now that he’s gone, I’m on my own to choose which ski is best for me.
Let’s face it, skis are a pretty pricey investment with most models costing anywhere from $600 to over $800 and that’s without bindings. So, in order to choose wisely here are a few things I’d like to recommend. Not only are skis expensive, they are personal as well. You want a model that is right for you and the way you ski. Think about how you ski. Do you like to make wide turns or short turns? If short turns is your thing you’ll want a ski with a narrower waist than a ski designed for wider turns, which needs a wider waist. The single best way to determine if a ski is perfect for you is to ski on it.
Demo skis are the way to go. Often times, mountains will offer demo days where you can pick from many different boards. You can also rent high end demos and try before you buy. Most on mountain shops will let you demo several pair in a day or less.
I also like personal recommendations. I like talking with other women skiers to find out what they like and why. Testimonials from people you trust are invaluable. If you’re close in boot size, you may ask a ski buddy if you can try theirs out for a couple of runs. If you like them try renting a pair. Gone are the days of choosing skis for their graphic appeal, or because they will match your outfit. The technology the R&D people put into the design make the different models perform, well, differently. Without getting technical, the materials used, side cuts, camber, and width will all affect the skis performance.
Start by doing your homework. Visit ski shops, check out new models on-line or attend a ski show to find the boards that are right for you. You may want to start with a very timely article in the latest issue of Skiing magazine featuring the best women’s skis of 2016. Check out best-womens-skis-2016 for more information.