How to Choose the Perfect Pair of Skis
[Originally published in "The Week" in January 2019]
Choosing the perfect pair of skis can be a confusing process, with each winter bringing a bewildering array of new models and cutting edge technology, as well as a fresh wave of marketing jargon.
As ski designers there are several questions we put to our customers when they’re considering what’s right for them, and so we’ve distilled down the key information you should bear in mind before you buy.
When beginning your search, the most important thing to remember is to be realistic about the type of skiing you do, and to correctly assess your ability level. Are you a big fan of moguls, do you love cruising down groomers, or do you prefer heading off piste to find fresh powder, and crucially, how much of each of these do you actually do?
Ultimately a pair of skis is a tool with which to progress your riding, and so having the right one for the job is key - if you spend ninety percent of your time on groomed runs, then you’ll have far more fun on a carving ski than a pure backcountry pair, for example. Equally, opting for a pair that is either too basic or too advanced for your requirements will result in rapidly out-growing your equipment or not being able to realise its full potential.
Once you know what type of ski you’re looking for you need to look at the options out there – of which there are many. Gear reviews can be a great resource for getting an overview of what's out there, however it's worth mentioning that what's great for one person may not be right for all.
The most common way of buying skis is to pick up a pair from a shop, and if this is your approach do make sure you buy a pair that you can test first - spend at least an afternoon on real snow putting them through their paces. The downside to this approach is that with most of us only getting a week or two on the slopes each season, it can be hard to justify spending precious ski days trying out gear.
At Nix we approach the problem from a different angle; we focus on building bespoke and ‘made to measure’ skis which are tailored to you, the rider. By creating the skis around your individual requirements, we take the guesswork and need for testing out of the equation.
Custom-fitted gear is already commonplace in the ski industry; the majority of skiers who own their own kit will have their boots heat-moulded to their feet for added comfort and performance, and skis benefit in the same way.
As an added bonus, with skis that are made for you, you can also opt to create your own graphics for a truly unique and personal look.