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Tips on Buying Downhill Skis

by Staff Writer

Downhill skiing

Finding a good pair of downhill skis is important to your skiing performance and pleasure on the slopes. While some manufacturers make higher quality skis than others, finding the right type and size of skis is usually more important than the brand. When you're looking for the downhill skis that are right for you, consider your body type, skiing style and the type of snow you most often find yourself in. Keep reading for more tips on buying downhill skis.

Buying Downhill Skis:

  1. Width: Skis have three width measurements, given in millimeters. A typical width measurement might look like this: 114 x 84 x 114. The width of the tip of the downhill ski is the first measurement. The width of the ski directly underneath the binding, or under your foot, is given second. The third measurement is the width of the tail or back of the ski. The wider the downhill ski, the more floatation it will give in deep powder, but a wider ski usually doesn't turn as well on hard-pack snow. If you know what sort of downhill skiing you typically do, you can buy skis that suit the slopes you frequently visit.

  2. Length: The length of a ski is given in centimeters. Most adult sizes will range in length from about 140-190 cm. Long skis don't turn as quickly as short skis but are more stable at high speeds and provide a little more loft than short skis. Beginners usually prefer a short ski. The length of your skis also depends on your size. An average man weighing 180 pounds will often have skis in the 165-175 cm range. An average woman weighing 135 pounds will often use skis in the 150-155 cm range.

  3. Core materials: The core of most skis is made of wood, foam or a wood-foam composite. Foam core skis are very lightweight and are more common among kids' skis and cheap skis. A wood core adds weight to the ski but offers better durability and responsiveness than foam. Composite skis are aimed at balancing weight and responsiveness. If you want the durability of wood cores or composite cores, look for discount skis, which are often previous years' models.

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