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Skis

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Just like cars, tennis rackets and other items that get an annual upgrade, skis change every single year. From the 1970s through the mid 1990s there was not a whole lot of difference from one year to the next. They were painted different colors and called different names but they were essentially the same--just two long and thin planks with a heavy coat of wax ready to bomb the downhills. Since 1995 or so, though, ski technology has advanced greatly and now those two former enemies can actually be your best friends as you come down the mountain.

Skis are now made in many different models depending on the type of skier you are, where you expect to ski and how you would like to ski. For most of us the “all-mountain” class of ski makes the most sense. Just as its name implies, this ski is the generalist of the group: it can handle moguls, help you in the fresh powder and bomb down the groomed blues. These skis are all adapted to the “new” parabolic design.

In this design, which came about 15 years ago, skis have flared tips and tails with a skinny middle. They are also much shorter. These improvement all add up to a much more maneuverable and fun ski experience--you can make turns you would not dream of before.

 

Skis

 

Skis also come in two important variants for specialties. If you want to race like an Olympian, then racing skis are for you. Thinner and longer, these skis are meant to go down steep groomers without giving up any speed. If you like bumps or powder then avoid these skis at all costs, these are designed to go straight downhill. On a big powder day, when the snow has just fallen onto the slopes, many skiers will turn to their ski quiver or rent “fat boys” designer specifically for fluffy days. The wide design lets the skis float above the snow so that you stay above the powder without sinking and stopping or worse. These can almost be as wide as snowboards when you look at them but you will need the width in order to navigate through the powder.

The other major ski improvement across all styles of skis is the enhancement to the boot position over the past few years. Ski manufacturers have lifted the boot binding section of the ski to give the skier greater leverage and a much easier time turning.

 

 
 
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