As a beginner skier or simply a skier looking to buy your first pair of skis, you might come across a lot of different features your pair of skis may have which can affect your skiing ability. One such feature is ski waist width, which can vary considerably between ski types and brands.
You might therefore wonder which is the right ski waist width for you as a beginner skier, and exactly why this matters?
Ski waist width can affect your turning speed and technique, as well as your ability to overcome difficult terrain such as deep or un-groomed snow. Therefore, your ability and the terrain you are likely to be tackling, as well as where you are planning to ski, can all affect what ski waist width you might need!
If you want to find out more about what ski width is suited to you, keep reading for all the factors you are likely to need to take into account!
Ski Waist Width
Ski waist width is the measurement of the width of the ski at the narrowest point. Narrower width allows for quicker transfer between edges during turns but wider width may be better suited to difficult terrains.
What is Ski Waist Width?
If you are buying your first pair of skis, or just want to know what all the terminology you might come across as a skier, you might want to know exactly what is meant by ski waist width.
This is simply the measurement of the width of your ski at a specific point. This is done at the ‘waist’ of the ski which is usually the narrowest part near the bindings where your foot will be positioned.
This is usually measured in millimetres and can vary quite a lot between different brands of ski types you come across. Typically, ski waist width ranges between about 60 and 110 mm.
However, for your first pair of skis, it is unlikely that you will be looking as skis with the narrowest waist width as these are typically used for racing!
How does With affect how you Ski?
You might think that width of your skis will play only a small role in affecting how you ski. When you turn on your skis, their width will affect how quickly the edges of your skis encounter the snow.
For example, skis with very narrow waist width will mean that you can transfer quicker between both right and left edges of your skis, making sharper turns.
Wider skis, while having the ability to float over looser or more powdered snow, may be trickier to turn quickly, meaning that its important to make sure you are getting skis that you will be able to control sufficiently for the terrain you want to attempt.
Ability and Ski Waist Width
Your ability is likely to affect what sort of pistes and terrains you are comfortable tackling, which can therefore alter what waist width will be right for you!
For example, most beginner skiers tend to prefer learning on groomed pistes where the snow is generally flat and not too deep. Therefore, skis with narrower waists may help you to have greater control over your skis and mean that carving becomes easier.
As beginners are unlikely to be tackling deeper snow or un-groomed conditions, it is not necessarily a large priority to have wider skis to help with float.
However, as you advance as a skier and your technique improves, many skiers want to try out more difficult terrains, including un-groomed pistes.
This means that they require a greater ability to float over powder snow which is granted by wider skis, while not compromising their ability to turn quickly, meaning that, depending on the slopes skiers attempt, they may choose skis with medium or wide widths.
Always check in stores for professional advice on the skis you need for the slopes you want to attempt.
Snow Type and Ski Waist Width
In general, off-piste and un-groomed slopes will feature deeper, more powdered snow. This is because these slopes are not altered by piste bashers which are usually required to keep pistes smooth and the snow more compact.
On looser, deeper and more powdery snow, wider skis may help you to float with greater ease due to their large surface area which will spread the weight more evenly over the snow.
Ski waist width can be selected to not only suit the capabilities of the skier, but also the terrain they are likely to be tackling. This can greatly influence your ability to turn sharply or float over loose snow and can affect your technique and enjoyment on different terrains!
Don’t forget to check out our other blogs on what ski boot flex rating is best for all abilities, as well as pole basket suitability for different terrains!