Which ones should it be? Tips for buying your skis

10/14/2017 - Brandi Gulick

Race carvers, sports carvers, pleasure carvers, all-mountain, or maybe freeride skis? The variety of ski models is larger than ever before. But still: Which type of skis are the best ones for me?

Huge range of skiers.

If you haven’t thoroughly dealt with the latest technology and are unsure of the differences between various models, the large selection can easily be overwhelming. However, you’re in for a few good deals towards the end of the season. The experts at the German Ski Association (Deutscher Skiverband, DSV) will guide you through the jungle of ski models and can help you learn which factors should be taken into account when planning to buy skis.

One is the individual level of skills: Am I a beginner or racer? Do I ski for indulgence or athletically? Perhaps I‘m more of an all-rounder? Which speed do I prefer? And which level of difficulty on the piste? Further aspects are preferences, such as skiing off-piste or on the piste, or turns with a short or a long radius – skiers should definitely consider those questions. After all, if you know exactly what type of skier you are before you enter a ski shop, the specialist can best narrow down the potential ski models.

All in all, DSV describes the various ski models’ target groups as follows:

Slalom carvers

For experienced, sporty skiers who have a very good and precise skiing technique and prefer narrow turns drawn over the edge of the skis on hard pistes.

Race carvers

For sporty skiers and racers who enjoy carving on hard, well prepared pistes at a rapid pace and in wide turns. The skis are stable in their track, but still agile.

Sports carvers

For ambitious and very sporty skiers, the skiers are versatile, stable even at a high speed and forgive a few skiing errors.

Pleasure carvers

Suitable for the large group of beginners, returnees, pleasure skiers and all-rounders.  Most important in these skis is the high comfort (easy turns, little effort) at slow to high speed.

All-mountain skis

For pleasure skiers, all-rounders and sporty skiers who are looking for a large variety in skiing – on the piste, on ski tours, in fresh snow, and on mogul pistes.

Off-piste skis

For all-rounders, sporty skiers, and racers who mainly ski off-piste and in deep powder snow when the conditions allow.

Freeride skis

For sporty skiers and racers who need really broad skis off road and in deep powder snow.

Touring skis

For pleasure skiers, all-rounders and sporty skiers who like to climb up the mountain without a lift and with fur-like material under their skis.

Lady skis

All ski models from race carvers to touring skis also come in special ladies’ models, which, among other things, offer a more precise tuning.

Once the right model is chosen the next question is about the skis’ length. Long or short? The answer to this question is – at least when it comes to adults – the least dependant on the body height. What’s decisive are factors like personal skill, preferred type of piste or terrain, as well as the preferred speed and motivation for skiing. This always applies: the longer the skis, the better their running smoothness; the shorter the skis, the better they turn. DSV experts recommend very tall skiers to go one ski size up, and very short skiers to go one ski size down, respectively.

Children-sized skis, by the way, are different from adult-sized ones: their length depends on the child’s body height and stature, as well as their individual skills. Generally, a recommended length for beginners is between armpit and shoulder, for more experienced skiers the area between neck and mouth and for racers between between eye level and body size plus further 5 cm. For stronger kids it is recommendable to be oriented towards the upper limit, and for weaker kids to be oriented towards the lower limit in size. For safe skiing, the ski association’s experts recommend children’s skis that are less waisted and a little longer – this ensures a better control of speed and means less of a strain on leg and hip joints.

You’re still not sure what to look for? DSV experts, professional and leisure time skiers test between 75 and 125 types of ski models every year. Detailed results can be found online.


  • Saturday, 14. October 2017
  • author: Brandi Gulick
  • category: Equipment
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