Sizing Guide for Powder Skis
By Steve Kopitz
Few activities compare to powder skiing! Having the right skis for the deep conditions can improve your enjoyment on the slopes. The more surface area that the ski has - by being wider and longer - the better flotation you will have. When you stay on top of the snow with a ski that has more flotation you can ski faster, easier, more efficiently and have more control. If you spend more time off-trail in the powder, the wider your skis should be.
A ski’s size should initially be based on your weight and how aggressive of a skier you are – your height won’t be a factor. The heavier you are the longer your skis should be. Traditionally most skiers jump up at least 10 centimeters when moving to a Powder ski. For example, if you generally ride a 175cm all-mountain ski then you’ll want to go to a 185cm powder ski. This will provide you with the stability and flotation that you need for the pow. The most aggressive skiers should consider jumping up to the 192cm.
Powder skis are typically Full Rocker or Tip Rocker with minimal camber underfoot and a tail rocker. Tail rocker or full rocker in deep powder will give you that smeary, surfy feeling. Rocker is that bent up or reverse camber shape that modern skis have. Rocker allows you to keep your weight forward instead of leaning back on your heels. This keeps your tips up and can prevent you from fatiguing faster.
When it comes to skiing in powder, a softer ski with lots of rocker will plane up to the top of the snow while narrower skis and stiff skis will tend to torpedo down into the snow making them harder to control.
Powder skis tend to have more rocker than your all-mountain skis because they are softer flexing which allow them to stay on top of the snow easier. Keep in mind that when skiing deep powder that speed is your friend - the faster you go the more you stay on top of the snow and the more control you’ll have.
When it comes to powder skiing big skis are king! The bigger the skis, the more you’ll be able to ski bigger lines, bigger pillows, and deeper snow packs. Now go get your snorkel and shop powder skis now!