The great variety of available skis can be confusing for the beginner. Rather than buying a set of ski equipment, though, you always have the option of renting.
Buying or Renting
Beginner skiers are usually better off renting their ski equipment – at least for the first season. Buying a full set of skis, ski poles, and ski boots can be quite expensive, and the beginner skier doesn’t have the experience to allow him to choose the appropriate ski equipment.
The rental shop staff in most ski resorts and schools such as Escuela Aranesa de Esqui are very helpful in choosing the appropriate equipment for each skier. They will take into account your height, weight, skiing ability and skiing style, as well as the current snow conditions. They have no vested interest in pushing one brand over another – once you pay the rental fee you have your choice of any equipment in the shop.
They do have a vested interest in making your skiing experience as enjoyable as possible, because that means you are more likely to come back and rent from them again. So trust the advice they give you.
Renting allows you to try out various types of skis and boots to see what you prefer. If you start out with short skis, try a slightly longer pair the next time to see what the difference is. You can also try skis from various manufacturers and skis which are made of different materials. All of this will help when it comes to buying your own set of skis.
If you have one or two seasons of skiing under your belt and you’ve been bit by the ski bug you will probably want to buy your own ski equipment. Before heading down to the ski shop prepare yourself a little bit by learning about the terminology of the skiing world.
It helps to be familiar with the parts of the skis so that you are better able to explain the type of ski you are looking for. In particular, you should know about the sidecut radius and how it affects turning performance. In a nutshell – the larger the sidecut radius the broader the ski will turn.
Consider how the skis are going to be used. Are you going to use them off or on trail? Do you ski on groomed snow or powder? Are you more interested in speed or stability? Other variables to consider when choosing a pair of skis include type of skiing (alpine, carving, telemark etc.), your skiing ability, your height and weight, and the length of the skis. Women should buy women’s skis – women and men usually have a different center of gravity, so specialized women’s skis are made to compensate for this difference and the fact that women are lighter than men.
Just like in the rental shop, the staff in the ski shop will help you make a good choice in your purchase. They are usually seasoned skiers and probably have first-hand experience with many of the skis they are selling. By giving them as many details as possible about your skiing style and ability they will guide you toward a suitable pair.
The beauty of modern ski technology is that skis can now be designed so that one pair can suit a variety of styles and conditions. There are still specialized skis for specific purposes but the beginner to intermediate skier can benefit by getting a pair of skis that can be used almost anywhere.