Womens Ski Equipment FAQ
By Steve Kopitz
The following is a list of many of the frequently asked questions about women's skis. To obtain the answer to any question listed below, please click on the respective question in the list to jump to its answer.
A: There are six different skier levels:
Beginner: This is the level for skiers who are just begining thier ski career. The skier has typically either never skied before or has skied only a few times. Beginner skiers are characterized as making wedge turns (pizza) on groomed, mellow terrain.
Advanced Beginner: When a skier is comfortable on the green runs (beginner runs) and is beginning to ski on some blue runs (intermediate runs). Advanced beginners are starting to incorporate parallel positioning into the completion phase of thier turns. The advanced beginner may make wedge turns and traverse the fall line with their skis parallel.
Intermediate: An intermediate skier is comfortable skiing on groomed blue runs with relative ease. The intermediate skier is working toward making completely parallel turns. The intermediate skier may use a small wedge before the turn to control their speed, while the completion of the turn and traverse to the next turn is made in a parallel position. The intermediate skier often retreats to the wedge position when they are uncomfortable on steeper or variable terrain.
Advanced Intermediate: The skier is comfortable on all blues and is capable of skiing some black diamonds and varied terrain. The advanced intermediate skier is capable of making skidded parallel turns on most terrain at moderate to higher speeds. Advacned intermediate skiers are also using pole plants to help maintain proper timing and body positioning.
Advanced: Advanced skiers are comfortable skiing black diamonds and varied terrain. Advanced skiers are capable of making large and small radius carved turns at higher speeds on advanced terrain. Advanced skiers also use pole plants to help maintain proper timing and body positioning.
Expert: Expert skiers are comfortable skiing at high speeds on all terrain including groomers, tracked powder, powder, moguls, etc. Expert skiers are capable of making large and small radius carved turns at high speeds on advanced terrain in any snow conditions. Expert skiers also use pole plants to help maintain proper timing and body positioning.
A: Skis are measured in centimeters. Since skis are sized based on weight we highly recommend that you view our Skis Size Chart. Sizing skis isn't a exact science, so it is ok to pick a ski which is a few centimeters longer or shorter than what the chart recommends based on personal preference. Longer skis are typically more stable are higher skis, but require more power and skill to turn. Shorter skis are easier to turn, but may begin to chatter at higher speeds. So as a general rule of thumb, if you are a more confident skier, you can get a womens ski that measure slightly longer the recommended length on the size chart, if you are a timid skier, you may want to get womens skis which are a few centimeters shorter than the recommended length according to the size chart.
A: Ski Bindings need to be mounted by a certified technician. Never, ever attempt to mount your ski bindings yourself. This can be extremely dangerous. The ski technician takes into account your ability, weight, height, and boot size in order to make sure everything on the binding is adjusted properly. If your bindings are not adjusted properly, you could either come out of them to soon, or not come out at all. Neither of which are good.
A: We highly suggest that you do. It is important to understand the difference between men’s and women’s skis are more than just the difference in colors and graphics. Most womens skis are specifically designed for women’s body structure. They take into account women’s differences from men in weight position, foot size, and strength. As a result, women’s skis are basically designed to make skiing easier and more enjoyable for women. For more information about the differences between mens and womens ski equipment please read the article Ski Equipment | Mens vs Womens.
A: Skis that are sold with bindings have what are called integrated bindings. They are called womens skis with integrated bindings because the binding is actually built into the ski, rather than being drilled onto it like traditional flat skis. Skis with integrated bindings don’t use screws to mount the bindings, but rather attach the bindings on rails or other mechanisms, allowing them to float in the track on top of the ski. As a result the ski can flex underneath the binding, allowing it to make a more complete arch with less effort. This means the ski will turn smoother and easier.
A: Taking care of your skis will ensure that they last for seasons to come. You should take your skis to be tuned at least once a season, or every 12 to 15 times you use them. This is easy to do, just take them to your local ski shop and ask for a tune. A tune helps to remove the nicks and scraps from the bottom and adds a protective layer of way to help keep them protected and running smooth. Additionally, when you get your skis tuned, they will sharpen your edges. Just like a set of knives, the metal edges on your skis can get dull, making it more difficult to turn in icy conditions. Sharpening your edges makes them grip like new again.
A: Storing your skis properly can help them ski like new for years to come. First, be sure to wipe off all the moisture and dirt from them before packing them away, otherwise the edges could rust. If you can, take them to your local ski shop to get them tuned. Not only will this mean they are ready to go first thing next season, but the wax they will apply helps to protect the skis bases over the summer months. Finally, be sure to store them in a cool, dry place, like your closet or an extra bedroom. Try not to store them in the attic, basement, or garage, as these places often experience moisture and/or extreme temperatures.
A: Figuring out your proper ski pole length is simple. Check our Ski Poles Size Chart for the recommended length based on your height. Once your ski poles arrive it is highly recommended to check to make sure they are the correct length. To do so, stand upright and flip the ski poles over so the handle is on the ground. Grasp the shaft of the ski poles below the round basket. Your elbow should be bent at roughly a 90 degree angle. It is ok for your hand to be slightly closer to the ground than being completely level.
A: When someone refers to a skis turning radius, they are referring to how short or long of a turn a ski is designed to make. Turning radius is measured in meters. A skis turning radius is a result of it shape, length as well as its width. As a general rule of thumb, the more of a hour glass shape a ski has the shorter the turning radius will be.
A: Womens ski boots are designed specifically for women’s foot and leg shape. They are typically narrower in the forefoot and heel. Additional, the cuff of the boot is lower and wider to accommodate the fact that women’s calf’s are typically wider and come lower on the leg than men’s calf’s do. They are typically softer as well, but this is not always the case. As a result, all women, unless they are racing, should make sure they are purchasing a women’s specific ski boot. Not only will they be more comfortable and warmer, but they can enhance your ability as well by fitting better and performing better.
A: Womens ski boots can typically be classified into one of two categories: recreational or performance. Recreational ski boots tend to be designed for a more comfortable fit and casual use by beginner and intermediate skiers. Most advanced skiers will benefit from a performance ski boot. The higher performance ski boots are a little narrower, but have more features to provide a better fit and feel more comfortable. Typically womens ski boots aren't specifically designed for freestyle or racing, but some of the ski boot manufacturers are begining to produce womens specific models. For more info on the different types of women’s ski boots, see our women’s ski boot buying guide.
A: Mondo point sizing is a standard sizing system designed for ski boots. The easiest way to determine which mondo point size you will be is to check the Ski Boot Size Chart which converts mens, womens, and kids shoe sizes to mondo point sizing.
A: After you put the boot on your foot, check for fit. The most important thing to remember here (especially if you are a new skier) is that your toes are supposed to be touching the front of your boots. They shouldn’t be hurting, but they should be brushing the front. Now, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and lean forward bending your knees. As you do this, you should feel your toes pull slightly away from the front of the boot. Also, as you flex forward, check to make sure your heel is not lifting out of the back pocket of the boot (don’t pick your heels up on purpose by forcing them!). If you find your heel lifting off the bottom of the boot, the boot does not fit correctly and you will end up with blisters. If it feels good, leave the boot on for 10 minutes or so to make sure you don't develop any cramps or pressure points. For more info on how a womens ski boot should fit, see our womens ski boot buying guide.
A: Womens Ski Boots with a ski/walk feature allows for the cuff of the boot to unlock and float, making walking in ski boots much more comfortable. The lever or switch to lock and unlock the cuff is usually found on the back of the cuff.
A: Most womens ski boots range in flex from 50 to 100. If you are a beginner skier, look for a boot with a soft flex between 50 and 60. If you are an intermediate skier, look for a boot with a medium flex between 70 and 80. If you are an advanced to expert skier, look for a boot with a stiff flex between 90 and 110. Most boots with a rating of over 110 are either expert men’s boots or racing boots. For more info on womens ski boot flex, see our womens ski boot buying guide.
A: Yes they do. Since different people have different feet, womens ski boot manufactures have designed different boots with different widths. In general though, the more advanced the boot, the narrower it will be. This is because more advance skiers want and need a tighter fit in order to control their skis more precisely, and are willing to give up some comfort for that ability. Many beginner and intermediate ski boots tend to be a bit wider, because most entry level skiers want maximum comfort from their boots. Ski boot widths range from 98mm to 105mm. In general, narrow womens ski boots have a width from 95mm to 99mm. Medium width womens ski boots have a width of 100mm to 103mm. Wide womens ski boots have a width of more than 103mm.