By Steve Cuff
TECHNOLOGY has come a long way in ski design this past decade, so much so that it actually makes it easier to ski now for the majority of people.
With the introduction of shaped skis most skiers found it easier to carve, and rightly so. It helped us all.
One trend that has been very noticeable in recent years is how many people are using wider skis. By that I don’t mean just fat skis, which might be classed at 100mm or more, but the all mountain skis that start from about 85mm under foot up to 95mm.
Yes, they are great, and I personally fell in love with a few pairs of those especially when I ventured off piste. While these skis are still great for off piste, this season I am looking to go skinny, and that does not mean losing umpteen kilos (although that would help).
What I mean is for those days where I am just cruising the groomers and carving up the corduroy, I want to revert to a ski that is under 80mm under foot.
Last season on a guided Thredbo backcountry trip to Kosciuszko I was supplied with some lightweight Volkl skis that were only 80mm. What I found when I came back into the resort was that they were a fun lively ski that I thought I skied better than a wider one.
So hence my thoughts for this season.
Fred Guyer from Stockli skis in Jindabyne summed it up beautifully last year when discussing.
“Fat skis of 100mm and carving skis under 80mm could be compared to riding a road bike or a mountain bike,” said Fred.
And when you think about that it makes great sense. You would not necessarily take a road bike onto the trails and while you can ride a mountain bike on the road, you know the road bike will make life easier on the bitumen.
So narrower skis it is and with Stockli having the super Laser AX 78mm, that is one I want to try for sure. The Stockli Laser SC 72mm has been a proven performer as well for on piste. The brand new Laser AR 83mm will also be tested if I need more width.
David Harrison from Harro’s Snowsports at Lake Crackenback Resort said people are coming back to skis that are more applicable to the conditions.
“Some people are having two or three sets of skis, but for Australian conditions that are more often hard pack and you just own one ski, a lot of people are coming back in width and instead of having to work harder on fatter skis they find it more enjoyable on something from about 74 in width up to the low 80’s,” said David.
Kastle have released a new DX line of ski that have one at 73mm under foot plus a brand new PX71 ski specifically for groomed runs. Sounds skinny yes but keen to try those also. The RX 12 slalom at 66mm is another great high end ski.
This winter if you are buying new skis, think about where you ski most and talk to your ski shop about what could be a few good choices. And then as always, you must try the ski before you buy, that is the most important part of choosing a ski.
Photo Above. Think about a ski that suits your skiing and where you ski. PHOTO: Kastle.