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A Guide to the Different Types of Skis



A Guide to the Different Types of Skis

Have you been sitting around looking for the perfect skiing opportunity, but have no idea which type of ski is going to be the best for you?

Whether you’re an experienced skier or looking to learn, choosing the right type of ski and pair that you need can make the difference between having a good session or a bad one. So, what should you look for when you’re trying to choose the perfect pair of new skis?

Keep reading to learn about all the different types of skis and what each one offers.

Nordic Skis

Nordic skis are the original type of ski and have been in use since the 1800s. These skis are light, thin, and long, designed for trekking over different types of terrain and snow. They can be used for several outdoor activities such as cross-country skiing, ski touring, and ski racing.

The main feature of Nordic skis is their narrow shape which provides excellent grip on the snow during acceleration. Its thinner width compared to other ski types makes it easier to maneuver and also more easily stored. Its weight helps with absorbing shock when going over bumps or rough terrain.

They are built to keep the skier in control the entire time. Nordic skis are usually available in different lengths depending on the skier’s:

  • weight
  • desired speed
  • purpose

These skis are a great choice for skiers who plan to take on different types of terrain.

Alpine Touring Skis

Alpine Touring Skis are a modern way for skiers to explore the backcountry and mountain terrain. They offer increased maneuverability and the option to travel long distances due to their lighter and stronger construction.

Because of these attributes, Alpine Touring skis serve as a great choice for the intrepid ski tourer looking for the perfect combination of uphill and downhill performance. These skis are designed to provide maximum control while allowing for exploration of successive mountaintops and travel to untouched areas.

They have a wider waist width for added flotation in powder snow and camber for increased edge control in hardpack conditions. The generous sidecut allows for full access to the ski’s center of gravity, allowing for extremely responsive turning on the slopes.

All-mountain Skis

All-mountain skis are a great choice for those looking to do a variety of mountain activities. They are designed to be versatile and can navigate different terrains, making them a great fit for an all-around ski experience. All-mountain skis are typically wider than the traditional ski since their primary purpose is to allow the user to transition from powder to groomed runs easily.

Additionally, all-mountain skis are designed to provide a good combination of speed, control, and maneuverability. Depending on which all-mountain skis you choose, the features can vary from:

  • width
  • rocker profile
  • camber shape

The wide variety of all-mountain skis available allows you to find the perfect fit for your style and body type, ensuring you get the most out of your mountain experience.


Snowblades are the shortest type of ski made and are generally between 80 and 110 cm long. They are popular with people who want to maneuver quickly and easily around the slopes. It’s also best for anyone just starting skiing without having to sacrifice maneuverability.

Snowblades are short enough to be easily handled while freeing up the feet and ankles. This helps to adjust quickly to whatever snow surface you happen to find yourself on. They are designed for quick and concise movements. They also come with a shorter turning radius and the shortest length of any ski.

They are popular among younger skiers, terrain park skiers, and professional athletes who thrive on short bursts of speed and rapid movements. The wide surface area of snowblades is also advantageous for those skiing in powder, as it allows for fewer sink-ins.

Freestyle Skis

Freestyle skis are generally shorter in length, wider in the waist, and come with rockered tips. These types of skis are best suited for the park and pipe. This is where riders hit rails and jumps.

When turning, the wider waist prevents unwanted edge catches on the rails, while also providing a stable platform for landings. The rockered tips also enable easier turning, while damping impacts and reducing the chance of catching an edge. Freestyle skis have a versatility that makes them useful in many terrain parks and on mogul runs, where riders need to jib around trees and rocks.

With more flex compared to all-mountain and freeride skis, freestyle skis can take bigger impacts and land smoothly after jumps. Freestyle skis are ideal for anyone looking to progress their park and pipe skills, from beginner to expert.

Powder Skis

Powder skis are an essential tool for any skier looking to explore the outdoors and brave some of the best-untouched snow. They’re designed to provide maximum float in fresh snow and make sure you don’t sink into the snow while carving. They’re wider and shorter than traditional skis, making them easier to maneuver in the powder.

They generally come with rockered tips, which allow the ski to lift and not be dragged down by the weight of the powder. With sidecuts, powder skis are designed to provide maximum control and maneuverability in difficult terrain and reduce the risk of sliding out or catching an edge.

Big Mountain Skis

Big mountain skis are designed for skiing in backcountry areas, off-piste, or in more extreme terrain. These skis usually range from 95mm to 130mm and are stiffer and longer than other types of skis. Although big mountain skis can be used for all types of skiing, they are mainly meant for skiing in:

  • deep snow
  • groomed slopes
  • off-piste
  • in powdery conditions

The longer length helps to maintain control while the stiffness helps you power through the turns. The wider surface area also helps to stay afloat in powdery snow. Usually, more heavily built than other skis, big mountain skis have a more tapered sidecut which helps with carving.

No matter which ski options you pick, or which is suitable for you when skiing in backcountry areas, it’s always best to look into the right weight. Taking a look at these backcountry ski weights would be beneficial if you’re a beginner.

Explore Different Types of Skis

Whether you are a novice skier or a seasoned expert, there are different types of skis best suited to your skiing needs. Be sure to do research and consult a professional to make the best selection for you. Come down the slopes this winter with the confidence that you have the right type of skis!

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