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Be confident in the skis you purchase

At Corbetts, we pride ourselves on carrying a wide arsenal of skis for all ski levels and styles. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed about what ski will best suit you, you’re in the right place. We’ll break down what to look out for so you can narrow your search down using our filters.

Only need info on a specific topic? Jump down to what you're looking for:
01. Gender
02. Ability Level
03. Ski Length (Sizing Chart)
04. Style & Feel
      -Waist Width
      -Flex
      -Profile (Shape, Rocker & Turning Radius)
05. Terrain & Use

GENDER

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MEN'S
Corbetts carries a variety of Men’s skis, no matter your skill level or your preferred style of ski.

WOMEN'S
We recommend that ladies pick women’s specific skis. They are designed to consider height, weight and anatomical shape of a female skier, whether you’re just starting out or an aggressive skier.

KIDS
Junior skis are designed like a beginner ski, they will be softer and more forgiving to help them learn and improve. Boys and Girls skis are generally the same construction but sometimes have different graphics.

      

 

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Whether you are just starting out or like to ski aggressively, your skill level will be a contributing factor to selecting the right ski. Your ability level will help you choose the appropriate flex, waist width and length of the ski. There are exceptions that may factor in to the right ski, for instance, if you are a heavier skier you might want to jump up an ability level, similarly, if you are on the lighter side, you may want to jump down (see our sizing chart below for more details). This goes for the waist width of the ski as well, as a novice, a narrower waist width is easier to learn on but the terrain you will be skiing on may require a wider waist underfoot.

 

  • BEGINNER
    A Beginner is someone who is just getting started and still learning the basics. They are working on building control in their movement. A ski with a softer flex is usually recommended as it will be more forgiving.

  • INTERMEDIATE
    Intermediates will be comfortable on skis and moving at moderate speeds. Some terrains may still be a bit more challenging to this level of skier.
  • ADVANCED
    The Advanced skier is confident in most weather conditions and on a variety of terrain. They will have built a solid technique and will keep control at higher speeds but may not ski aggressively.
  • EXPERT
    An Expert skier will hit the slopes in any snow conditions and will maintain safe control on all terrains at high speeds. The Expert skier will benefit from a stiffer ski that will handle speed and precision better.

 

      

 

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If you’ve been looking at purchasing a pair of skis, you probably know that height and weight are key determining factors but we like to think of them just as starting points. As you read on, you’ll see how the terrain, your ability level and even just your personal preference might affect the length of ski that will work for you. In general, a ski that is between your chin and the top of your head will be ideal and while we suggest certain lengths based on your height, make sure to check out why you might want to size up or down.

 

SIZING UP YOUR SKIS:
-If you are an advanced or expert skier, a longer ski will handle speed and aggressiveness better
-If you weigh more than average for your height
-If you’re selecting a twin tip ski
-If you’re selecting a ski with a lot of rocker in the tip.

SIZING DOWN YOUR SKIS:
-If you are still learning, a shorter ski will be easier to handle and control
-If you weigh less than average for your height
-If you like making quick turns and don’t mind compromising speed

 

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There are a number of features that go into the design of a ski and that will help you select a ski for the right terrain or use. We’ll break down some of the major points that will contribute to the way a ski feels and how it performs. We’ll be looking at Waist Widths, Flex and Profiles.

WAIST WIDTH
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The waist width refers to the width of the ski at its middle point; this is usually narrowest point of the ski. A narrower waist width will be ideal for quick turns and harder snow whereas a wider waist width will provide a larger surface for more floatation, perfect for powder. When you’re checking out ski specs, you’ll often see a measurement made of 3 numbers, like 140/116/130mm referring to the tip/waist/tail measurements.


  • 60-89mm

  • 90-109mm

  • 110-120mm

 

FLEX
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There are a few things to consider when you’re looking at the Flex rating of a ski such as the skier’s weight, the ability level and the terrain it will be used on. Someone who is more experienced or has more weight on the ski will benefit from a stiffer ski since it will handle the added pressure better but if the ski will be used on powdery terrain, easing up on the flex will provide more floatation.

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    VERY SOFT
    These guys are best for true novices or young skiers with little weight. They will be more forgiving and easy to learn on.

 

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    SOFT
    Something easy to control for beginners to intermediates skiing at moderate speeds. A soft ski won’t require as much technique to make it react as it should.

 


  • MEDIUM
    There’s always a happy medium. A medium flex ski will serve well in most situations; it’s still easy enough to control at slower speeds but offers stability when picking up the pace. For powdery conditions, a medium flex is also the most common choice so as not to get buried under snow.

 

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    STIFF
    As you go up in stiffness, so should your ability level. A stiff ski is designed to work well at higher speeds and will respond well to proper technique.

 

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    VERY STIFF
    These are reserved for aggressive skiers that like to charge down the hill.

 

PROFILE
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For the purpose of this guide, when speaking of the profile of a ski, we’re referring to its Shape, Rocker, and Turning Radius. Again, depending on how you intend to use your skis some profiles may be more beneficial than others.

SHAPE
When looking at a ski, the shape usually refers to the tail of the ski. The shape of the tail will determine how a ski exits a turn.

  • TWIN
    Just as the name implies, a twin tip ski will have the same tip and tail. A true twin tip will be perfectly symmetrical from tip to tail including where the rocker in the ski is whereas a directional twin might vary slightly. Twin tip skis are very popular for freestyle skiing since they are ideal for riding backwards or coming out of a turn with little effort.

 

  • FLARED
    A flared ski shape will offer you a compromise between more grip for carving but still release from the turn with minimal effort. This is the most versatile ski shape.

 

  • FLAT
    A flat tailed ski is designed for more aggressive skiers, generally used by racers. They require more technique to exit a turn and work best at high speeds.

 

ROCKER
The Rocker profile of a ski is the curvature or arc pattern it has when looking at it from the side.

CAMBER
This is the traditional profile. A cambered ski will arc up at the center of the ski and the contact points will be near the tip and tail of the ski. Since the cambered profile offers the most edge grip, pop, and requires precise turn initiation; this profile is ideal on hard packed snow and is popular with racers and park riders.


ROCKER
Also known as reverse-camber, this resembles a smooth arc from tip to tail. Whether rockered or cambered, a ski will take a rockered profile once weight is applied in a turn. Since no weight is required to achieve this arc in a fully rockered ski, they are ideal to stay afloat soft snow and will be easy to initiate turns with less chance of catching an edge.

Rocker Ski Profile

ROCKER/CAMBER
Similar to a cambered ski, the rocker/camber combination will typically have the contact point set further back from the tip of the ski while the contact point in the tail remains close to the end of the ski. This early rise in the tip of the ski helps with floatation on powder while the camber gives it more edge grip and stability. You’ll find this profile in most all-mountain skis as it is quite versatile on hard pack and softer snow. However, bear in mind that because of the asymmetric profile, this style is not ideal for the park or riding backwards.

Rocker/Camber Ski Profile

ROCKER/CAMBER/ROCKER
Most closely resembling a cambered ski, the rocker/camber/rocker profile has its contact points closer to the middle of the ski while still not being underfoot. With a great combination of edge hold, float and easy release from turns, this profile is super playful and packs a punch in terms of versatility for park riders, powder lovers and even beginners as it offers enough forgiveness while initiating/releasing turns.

Rocker/Camber/Rocker Ski Profile

TURNING RADIUS
The turning radius of a ski is determined by the arc it creates when tipped on edge. Typically expressed in meters, the narrower a ski's waist width is in relation to its tip and tail, the shorter the turn will be. A shorter turn radius means quicker turns.

TURNING RADIUSTURN TYPESKIING STYLE
<14M Short Turns Carving and All-Mountain
14-22M Medium Turns All-Mountain, Park & Pipe
>22M Long Turns Powder and Big Mountain

 

TERRAIN & USE
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Skiing in deep powder? You might want to try a ski with a wider waist and a rockered tip. Terrain and style of ski will factor into the features you’ll want to consider for your next pair of skis, this is what we’ll break down in this section. 



  • ALL-MOUNTAIN
    As you can imagine, an all-mountain ski isn’t designed to master any one type of terrain but rather will handle just about anything you throw at them. If you’re looking for a ski that will do it all, an all-mountain ski is definitely a good place to start. These skis will typically have an average waist width of 85-100mm, neither narrow nor wide. These skis will still come in a wide range of shapes and sizes so you’ll be sure to find the right pair.

 



  • BIG MOUNTAIN
    Dreaming of big open spaces? Big Mountain skis have you covered. Designed for speed, air, and charging big lines, you’ll find that Big Mountain skis come in a variety of widths to accommodate different snow conditions. They also tend to be on the stiffer side with more rocker in the tip of the ski.

 



  • POWDER
    For the deep stuff you’ll want a ski that has a lot of surface underfoot, a powder ski will typically have upwards of a 110mm waist width. Expect a softer ski with some type of rocker or an early rise in the tip to ensure maximum floatation and stability in big powder.

 



  • CARVING
    A carving ski will be ideal for quick, responsive turns and getting on your edges. These skis will have a narrower waist underfoot and will be great on groomed and hard packed snow. Carving skis are available for all skill levels, in fact, a beginner carving ski will be great to help improve confidence in going edge to edge.

 



  • PARK & PIPE
    If catching big air is your thing, you’ll want to check out Park & Pipe skis, also known as Freestyle skis. To handle rails and boxes, most freestyle skis will have thicker edges and extruded bases. For extra pop, you’ll find most freestyle skis will have a cambered profile and a true twin shape that can be skied forwards or backwards.

 



  • ALPINE TOURING
    If you’re planning some backcountry excursions in fresh snow, Alpine Touring skis will be an invaluable tool. These skis are built mean and lean; although they range in waist width they are usually extremely lightweight. These guys are designed for going uphill as well as downhill and most include fittings for climbing skins.

 



  • RACE
    Race skis are built for speed, and are usually on the longer side for added stability.

 

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Still have some questions? We've got an extremely knowledgeable and friendly team at Corbetts. Visit us at our retail location or give us a call and we'll help you find the perfect skis to fit your needs.

Need help with more skiing gear? Check out our other Ski Buying & Sizing Guides.

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