Whether you’re walking into a ski shop for the first time or a seasoned skier in need of a quiver update, selecting the perfect pair of skis can be more formidable than navigating a steep, crusty mogul field on skis that are all wrong. With almost as many considerations as there are options out there, we went straight to the source—the ski manufacturers themselves, otherwise known as the most knowledgeable people in the industry who live to ski and vice versa—for tips on what to keep in mind when buying skis.
For each question, we picked a handful of our favorite answers across ski brands.
Q: In your opinion, what’s the number one most important consideration when buying skis?
A: Where do you ski MOST of the time? As in, where do you spend 80–90 percent of your time? This is where the average skier should focus their attention so that they are happy with their purchase. —Andrew Couperthwait, Senior Business Manager, HEAD/Tyrolia Wintersports
A: You should know going into a shop what your skiing personality is. Of course you should know your skill level, but the type of skier you are varies in how you ski the mountain. Do you like to charge fast and carve turns on groomers? Do you like to take a more surfy, bouncy approach to the terrain or do you simply just want to ski down and feel confident in any condition? Every model of ski has a certain personality and you need to find that ski that fits your skiing personality. —Josh Malczyk, Global Brand Director, Line Skis, Full Tilt Boots
A: Versatility. Snow conditions are unpredictable and will vary throughout the season. We encourage skiers to pick a ski that is versatile in any condition from groomer days at the resort, to moguls, tight trees, to making the most of leftover crud from a recent storm. Before the purchase, be in the mindset of where you ski the most and the conditions/terrain it provides on a regular basis. People will often buy a pair of skis for that one vacation over Christmas break, but when in reality they end up skiing at a different resort closer to home the majority of the winter. Regardless, you want a ski that your ability level can handle in any terrain and in all conditions. —Mike Gutt, Global Brand Director, K2 Skis (at original publication time)
A: Thinking about the primary location where you’ll be skiing, speaking both geographically (east/west) and in terms of preferred terrain (park, bumps, powder, hardpack) will help guide you to the correct ski category for your style and location. —Nick Castagnoli, Brand and Communications Manager, Group Rossignol North America