Why do beginners need their own skis?
So you are new to the sport and you have rented a handful of times and now you are hooked! Now it’s time for you to make an investment into the sport. It doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or gal, owning a pair of your own skis has some pretty substantial benefits.
For starters you will no longer be waiting in long rental lines, especially on busy weekends. Now you can be one of those skiers who grabs their gear out of the car and head directly to the ticket window, getting you out on the mountain much faster.
Having your own skis as opposed to renting will also help you improve much faster. Rental skis typically have a much thicker topsheet that allow for seasons of use, withstanding the rigors of many different skiers using them. While that topsheet improves durability, it actually slows the learning curve for skiers by inhibiting the way the ski flexes. For this reason, switching from renting to owning skis is a game changer for skiers looking to progress further.
When you have your own skis, you become familiar with how they react and what it takes for you to control them, building your confidence up much faster. This also means that you are responsible for maintaining that ski. The large volume of rental skis a rental shop maintains makes it harder to provide routine maintenance on them, meaning your not getting the best performance out of your rental skis. A freshly waxed and tuned ski simply performs better, regardless of your ability. By taking the opportunity to care for your sticks, they’ll take care of you.
What characteristics make up a good beginner ski?
First and foremost, a beginner ski needs to be soft and forgiving. When a ski is soft and forgiving it does not require very much energy, skill or technique to make it react when and how you want it to. This forgiveness usually comes from a cap construction, composite core, a softer wood core or a combination of wood and composite material.
Cap Construction refers to the sides of the ski, just above the edges. You can see that the topsheet of the ski is wrapped around the sides of the ski. This style of construction is more economical and allows the ski to have a softer torsional flex for beginners. Skis can have both constructions together in one ski that provide the best of both worlds, edge grip and forgiveness together.
Each manufacturer has its own methods and materials that go into the core construction of the ski. All of these methods essentially do the same thing. These allow the ski to to have that perfect balance of easy ski-ability and stability once you start to challenge yourself by picking up some speed or diversifying the terrain you are on.
Another good trait of a beginner ski is that it has some type of rocker profile. Rocker started being incorporated in ski constructions about a decade ago. Rocker is the slightly bent up or reverse camber shape in the tip and sometimes the tail of the ski. This shape helps the skier initiate a turn easier and more efficiently. Rocker will also help you push out a snowplow with little effort giving you more control. Skis that have rocker in the tail help you skid or drift a turn. This means that the ski is releasing you from a turn easier. Once you grow and develop your skills you will find the art of carving a turn. Rocker profiles help you get there much sooner.
Beginner skis come in many varieties, but the best ones are capable of skiing at an intermediate level as well. Some true beginner skis are only able to go at slower speeds and are really only good for getting out on the mountain. On the other hand, all of the skis mentioned in this blog offer just as good of a ride whether you’re still getting your feet under you or have achieved intermediate status. You will not need to reinvest into new skis as quickly with these kinds of skis
Good beginner skis are typically produced as system skis. This means that the ski includes a binding that is designed to enhance the flex of the ski. System skis have a binding that is included in the price and attach to the ski via a binding plate. This binding plate adds a little bit of leverage to tip the ski on edge and allow it to flex naturally for easier control.
Naturally, beginner skis are much less expensive than advanced-level skis. It is not necessary for beginner skis to be loaded with many of the high-performance technologies and constructions that you’d find in skis for advanced skiers, and that helps keep costs to a minimum.
For more familiarity on these terms please consult our Anatomy of a Ski Blog.
How do you size a ski?
Sizing a ski is a simple but important process needed for you to have maximum enjoyment and the best learning experience on the mountain. One popular myth is that very short skis are easier to control. The fact is that if you have a ski that is too short for your weight, it can actually take control away from you and make the learning process much more difficult.
If you have questions on ski sizing, visit our Ski Sizing Chart.
Let’s take a look at the best beginner skis
For this list we are combining both the men’s and women’s models together.
K2 Secret Luv / K2 Konic 78 These K2 Skis offer the Bio-Konic women’s specific construction on the Secret Luv and the Konic Technology on the men’s Konic, which both use a heavier, denser wood around the perimeter of the core and a softer, lighter wood in the center of the core. By pulling heavier material towards the edges of the ski, it makes them easier to maneuver.
Catch Free Rocker in the Secret Luv has a rocker/camber/rocker profile. Speed Rocker in the Konic 78 has a tip rocker/camber profile. Both of these profiles allow for easy turn entry, and with the Secret Luv a little more forgiving as you exit a turn.
Atomic Vantage X 77 C W / Atomic Vantage X 77 C Both of these skis from Atomic this season feature the Exo Profile which has a slanted topsheet above the sidewalls that lower the amount of energy required to control the ski. The Carbon Tank Mesh is a reinforcement underneath the topsheet of the ski that is made from woven fibers of carbon that add strength to the ski without adding any extra weight.
Atomic’s All-Mountain Rocker will quickly help you learn how to carve a turn. The Vantage X 77 C W has two women’s specific technologies with a V-Shape Construction and added Heel Lift in the binding platform. These allow for the female anatomy to have more control over the skis and less fatigue on the mountain.
Rossignol Experience 76 CI W / Rossignol Experience 76 CI Both of these skis are debuting this season with brand new designs. The RossiTop Cap Construction does a fantastic job of keeping the skis lightweight, yet stable. The Air Tip VAS on the top of both skis has vibration reducing materials that absorb tip chatter and smooth out the ride for you.
The Carbon/Poplar Core has a very energetic feeling while keeping the weight to a minimum with a great combination of stability and forgiveness. The Progressive Sidecut enables you to engage the ski into any turn shape at any speed with little effort. All-Terrain Rocker will deliver smooth turn initiation and easy exit.
Elan Element W / Elan Element These skis are in their first season and are going to be revolutionary learning tools for years to come. Elan’s new Groove Technology improves your balance and control by allowing the ski to flex laterally as soon as the slightest amount of pressure is applied.
Ribs cut into the topsheet of the ski allow you to engage the entire edge of the ski for effortless control. The Parabolic Rocker helps you drift or skid in and out of turns with little effort. The Power Shell adds a lightweight but a supportive feeling to the ski.
With all of these great technologies being a beginner skier has never been so easy for you to progress rapidly and fall in love with the sport as you improve each time you hit the slopes. For more details on all of these skis and everything for your skiing needs, come visit us at Skis.com.