Welcome to Ski Hacks – a series of bite-sized videos with expert advice from pro ski instructor Darren Turner. Whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned pro, they’re designed to give you tips and tricks to help you make the most out of your time on the mountain.

Knowing what you want from a pair of skis can really maximise your enjoyment on the slopes. Learn what to look out for in the hire shop.


Choosing the right length of ski

[00:00:11] When you turn up in your hire shop and you’re getting your skis, there’s a few things to be aware of. Firstly, length. Now, rough idea, for a beginner you’re looking for around chin or nose kind of height. When you become a little bit more experienced, then maybe nose to eye. That also changes slightly depending on whether you’re looking at an all-mountain ski or a piste ski. Normally, if you’re getting an all-mountain ski you can go a little bit longer than that. 

[00:00:37] Now, to give you an idea about the length of the ski, if the ski’s longer, it will be more stable at speed. The shorter the ski, the easier it will be to turn. So if you feel like your skis are a little bit twitchy when you’re going fast, maybe go a little bit longer. If they’re feeling a bit awkward to turn, maybe come down a little bit. 

Understanding the numbers on skis

[00:01:08] The other thing to bear in mind is there’s normally quite a few numbers on a ski. But the three you’re really interested in are actually describing the width of the tail, the width in the middle – known as underfoot – and the width of the tip. Now, under the foot is really what we want to be interested in. Think of it roughly – a piste ski is going to be somewhere between 70-78 millimetres underfoot. This ski here is actually 88 underfoot and this is my all-mountain ski. So if I’m not sure if I’m going to do it a little bit of piste skiing, a little bit of off-piste – this is kind of a do-it-all ski. So generally speaking – softer the snow, deeper the snow, the wider the ski. 

[00:02:04] If you feel happy, keep the ski you’ve got. But don’t hesitate – a good ski shop should be able to change the skis no problem whatsoever. 

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