Explained: Three Key Specifications for Buying Skis

Explanation: Three main specifications for buying a skateboard | Welove2skiPhoto: © Melody Sky Buying a skateboard (or really any ski equipment) can be a daunting experience and is a topic we get asked often. No surprise: these are extremely technical devices and you can’t blame yourself if you don’t know the first thing about the manufacturer’s ‘all-new vibration performance system’. It is not if they also explain it to you; they just tell you how great it is. Anyway, fear not, help is at hand. The three main factors that will greatly affect your ride are width, length and stiffness.

Width size


You will often hear terms like ‘radius’ and ‘sidecut’ thrown around and it’s easy to get confused. All modern skateboards come in a set of sizes; three numbers determine their width. For example: 122-86-115. This means they have a width of 122mm towards the head (widest point), a waist width of 86mm (underfoot) and a tail width of 115mm. Retail ski sizes are usually printed on the back, although with the number of artistically designed freehand patterns available this is not always the case. If all else fails, any shop assistant or manufacturer’s brochure/website should be able to notify you. That’s great, I’m sure you agree, but how important is the width size? They determine two things: the radius and the average width. The radius measure, in meters, is the radius of the circle that would be drawn if you extended the edge infinitely outward (see figure below). It’s actually the spin, and hints at how long the skier will complete the spin as tight as possible.

What skiing | Welove2skiImage: An imaginary circle defining the turning radius. To give you a rough idea of ​​the metrics involved, slalom skates – designed for quick and short turns of slalom runs – have a corresponding short radius (FIS regulation is 13m for male). This travels up via giant slalom skateboard (FIS regulation is 27m), super G skateboard (FIS regulation is 33m) and downhill skateboard (FIS regulation is 45m). Typically, ‘cross’ skateboards and other retail models designed for on-piste performance will have a radius that falls somewhere between the slalom and the giant slalom, while other freeride boards get larger and larger. than when they’re geared toward powder and off-piste. It’s clear from those numbers that skis that are frequently required to make tight turns will need a shorter radius. This isn’t to say your large powder skis can’t do short turns – a good skier will always be able to do one turn on a ten pence piece – but carving them cleanly is beyond the reach. their ability. So why don’t all skateboards have a short radius? Because, as with all things in ski technology, there is a trade-off. The trade-off here is that a shorter radius ski track would have to be narrower under the soles of the feet to make a bigger difference in waist width and head/tail width (the larger shape, or ‘sidecut’) ‘). If the soles of the feet are narrower, the average width will also be narrower and this is not always beneficial. First, it takes longer to transfer a wider ski run from edge to edge. For performance in short turns on hard skates, the relatively narrow slide is quicker from edge to edge and this will allow you to get into the next turn faster and make sharp turns. than. In snowmobile racing – a sport where the latter is only a small part – having a ski that reacts quickly to changes in direction is especially important. Second, a ski track with a narrow average width will have a smaller surface area on the snow. The larger width (and therefore surface area) is commonly used for freestyle skiing as it allows the skier to stay on deeper snow rather than being submerged in it, and this allows the rider to float on top of the snow. snow surface, maintaining maneuverability and momentum (the last thing you want in a flatter part of your dough run is to get too submerged in heavy snow and the grind has to stop). This is why powder skis often have a larger radius than piste and skateboards – because they need more width to stay above deep snow.

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To summarize about the width size:

1. The large difference in head/tail width and waist width creates a short radius, allowing you to cut tight bends.
2. A slide with a short radius will also be a narrow slide.
3. The narrow slide will move from edge to edge faster than the wide slide and will feel more responsive on the piston.
4. A wide ski track will have a larger surface area on the snow than a narrow track and won’t sink into the snow as quickly, providing increased maneuverability and dynamics.
5. A slalom is required for short, fast links on the piste, which explains why it is narrow with a radius of about 13m.
6. A large alpine powder ski trail is required for large and open bends in deep snow, which explains why it is so wide with a radius that can exceed 45m.
What skiing? | Welove2skiNarrow skis are suitable for quick slalom ski runs. Photo: © Salomon Racing


With the width explained, the length is relatively straightforward. The longer length, like the width, increases the surface area of ​​the ski track. First, this has the same effect as wide skiing – more buoyancy in deep snow, which is why you have to think again about heli-skiing over 165cm, the usual length on the slopes snow. Second, the bonding effect is that with more surface area on the hill, more of your weight is dispersed (i.e. less weight per square meter), and so the friction between the sole and the snow is reduced. With less friction, you’ll accelerate faster and uphill faster. So why don’t slalom pros skate on narrow, short but long-radius skateboards? The trade-off on this occasion is that when you increase the length of the sled but keep the width dimensions the same, the radius increases (the head/tail difference and the waist width are the same but spread over one the distance is longer, so the sidecut will be less), and this will prevent the skier from carving tight turns. Simply, a longer slide will give greater straight-line acceleration and top speed, but will widen the revs. That’s why speed skiers and ski jumpers wear skis that sometimes approach 250cm (no turns required, just liners), skiers use about 215cm skis (some swingarm, still has plenty of straight liners), and the slalom skier tore through the top door about 165cm (more turns, less straight liners). 1. A long ski run will have a larger surface area on the snow than an identical, shorter ski run.
2. Skiing with a large surface area will not sink into deep snow as quickly as skiing with a small surface area, increasing maneuverability and momentum.
3. A ski track with a large surface area creates less friction on the snow, increasing its acceleration and top speed.
4. The long slide will have a large radius, and cannot rotate as closely as the short slide.
5. A slalom ski is required to do many turns and few straight runs, which explains why it is short with a length of about 1m65.
6. A downhill ski run requires fewer turns and more straight runs, which explains why it’s about 215cm long.

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This is an important concept but easy to follow; radius means nothing if you can’t flexibly ski. Put your skates together, and you’ll notice that they just touch each other at the head and tail, flexing away from each other at the waist. This is called the camber. The meniscus exists because an indentation is created from the force under the foot that pushes the waist of the skateboard away from itself, into the snow, and the outside of the turn. The flexible ski track creates a banana (inverted camber) shape in the snow and in this shape the ski track moves in a carved rotation. Forget anything you may have heard about reverse camber skateboards, a new innovation in powder skateboards.
What skiing? | Welove2skiInverted camber creates carvings. Photo: © skishoot / salomonracing.com The amount of pressure you need to apply to your skiwear to bend it from a normal meniscus shape to an inverted meniscus in turn depends on its stiffness. A stiffer ski track will require more strength to bend it into an inverted camber, and there will be less spasticity when traveling over bumpy roads and when landing in the air. This can be a bonus when the pressure on a skier is great (e.g. getting through a fast spin in a giant World Cup horse race) for two reasons. First, push a soft ski too hard and it will give in and slide away from you, while a hard ski will hold its edge and continue to track its turn even when it is pushed very hard. Second, a stiffer sled will return to its original shape more forcefully when the pressure is released, and this boom can help accelerate off the turn. As a rule, freestyle skates are softer, as they need to be more tolerant to absorb bumps and stomps when landing in a park, and won’t need as much pressure when hitting less stable terrain. Meanwhile, skis designed for performance on the slopes (especially racing skis) are stiffer, as the skier puts much more pressure to push out of his turn and thus accelerate off the track. carving, and all this done on a very steady, tough piste road, where the snow is unlikely to give way. This also explains why the dough is softer and park skis don’t perform well on the piste. Skateboards also vary in hardness according to ability and gender – beginner and female skateboards are softer than advanced models because people using them tend not to be as strong as pressure. they can apply in turn. While stiffness isn’t measured like radius and length, hard skates are aimed at professionals and as such they are at the top end of any line of skateboards a manufacturer makes. 1. The skateboard is made of a meniscus, so that it can be carved.
2. An inverted meniscus is created on the snow when the skier has pressure under his feet and this causes turn-based skiing.
3. Soft skateboard absorbs impact and makes landing easier, and requires less power to carve.
4. Hard skates will hold the edge more firmly during the turn when there is a lot of pressure, and will have more explosive power to accelerate out of the turn.
5. Slalom is required to make powerful, accelerated turns on stable piste, which explains why they are stiff.
6. Large mountain powder skis are needed to tackle the bumpy terrain and unstable deep snow, which explains why they’re soft.
7. Less capable skiers and female skiers tend to be weaker, and require relatively softer skis.

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