Ski Guide

Ski Guide

LENGTH

When buying skis, it is important to make sure that the size matches your personal preference in skiing as well as your own height and body weight. A general rule of skis is to pick one that fits between your chin and the top of your head. Advanced skiers may go higher than this.

While this is a good starting point, there are many other factors in getting you the best skis possible.

The basic rule for picking ski lengths is as follows:

 

 

Reason for shorter skis

  • You are a beginner or intermediate skier.
  • You are lighter than average.
  • You ski within a short radius making short fast turns.

Reasons for longer skis

 

  • You are an advanced skier.
  • You ride more backcountry runs and off the trail.
  • You are heavier than people of your height.
  • You prefer to ski fast and aggressive.

 

 

All Mountain
These are the ‘go anywhere’ skis, designed to handle anything that they come across, but this means there can be a tradeoff of not having one specific specialty. These are usually wider than standard skis and therefore they are able to handle deeper snow and off-piste skiing. When buying these skis it is best to read further into what the specific model is designed to do so you can get a ski that best suits you.
Powder
Powder skis are for…. you guessed it, powder. These skis are wider than standard skis with a rocker shape and a soft flex to provide better float in the deep snow with the tradeoff being their run carving ability. These skis are not best suited for Australia and instead are best in places like Japan and Canada where there is more snow and more backcountry areas. However, modern powder skis are becoming better at carving the runs.
Big Mountain
These skis are designed for those who want to hit everything on the mountain hard. They are often heavier and stiffer than standard skis and come in varying shapes and sizes depending on the conditions that they are designed for. These are designed for the more advanced skier who is trying to get more out of their skiing.
Carving
Carving skis are the ones that most people will be familiar with as they are the most common in ski hire shops. They are usually designed with the standard hourglass shape so the ski will naturally want to turn when dug into the snow. This means that they are great for the Australian slopes where there isn’t much off-piste area available and snow conditions on the runs can be variable. These skis are a great choice for beginners to intermediates or if you just want to work on your carving ability and want to be able go fast down the runs.
Park/Freestyle
Freestyle skis are built for those who prefer to spend their time at the park and in the pipe. These are made to allow you to enjoy yourself and muck around with more forgiveness than other skis. These skis are almost always seen with twin tips and a more durable base and edge to last and handle more. If you enjoy the park, hitting jumps and buttering on the slopes than these skis are for you.
Alpine Touring
Alpine touring or backcountry skis are built to go anywhere. These skis allow for both going uphill and downhill and can accept climbing skins to help with going up hill. These skis aren’t built for everyday use and vary in sizes and shapes depending of the model; however, they are usually lighter and often wider than regular skis.
Racing
These skis are designed for exactly what they say… racing. They are usually longer than other skis and are built to perform best at high speeds and have responsive nimble turns. However, they are not very versatile and are mainly for high-speed carving.
Traditional Camber
Traditional camber is the most common shape of ski on the market. Camber skis feature an upwards sloping curve with the contact points of the ski being at the tips. This allows for a precise controlling ski with all the power being put through the contact points providing better hold through carving. As well as this, the camber allows for the ski to be constantly under tension meaning that there is better pop.
Reverse Camber
Reverse camber is also called rocker due to its curve across the shape of the ski. Reverse camber starts in the middle of the ski with the curve pulling the tips of the ski up, and is commonly called a banana ski because of its shape. This design allows for great float in deeper snow, more maneuverability when in the powder as well providing a playful, loose feel. The tradeoff is that it has less edge hold and feels looser when carving on runs. It is also not as fast as many other skis, however, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and depends of your preferred riding style. Therefore, this ski is great for overseas and backcountry trips, but when skiing groomed Australian snow, reverse cambered skis may fall behind other models.
Camber with Front Rocker
This design is a solution to many of the problem that camber skis face. This ski features a standard camber design with rocker at the tip placing the front contact point further back. This allows the skis to be able to handle more of the deeper snow while still maintaining the carving ability of camber skis on the runs. This is a great ski for those who want to be able to enjoy every kind of snow with only one set of skis.
Camber with Front and Tail Rocker
These skis are a great all-rounder if you love to ski everywhere. They are an improvement on the rocker idea as they allow for plenty of control and float in the deep snow while still having plenty of edge control for the runs. This profile provides plenty of playfulness for those who enjoy the park due to the pop of the camber and the reduced risk of catching an edge with the rocker. Ultimately, this camber with front rocker is a very versatile ski and great if you are planning on having only one ski.
Full Rocker
Full rocker is much like reverse camber, but it does not contain the bend in the centre and is instead flat with rockered tips. This provides a little more hard snow edge hold while maintaining good float and turn initiation.
WIDTH
Skis come in varying widths depending on the intended design.  A narrower ski means quicker turn initiation and provides a better carving size. Wider skis allow for better float in deep snow as well as in thick choppy snow.
Snowboard Bindings SIZE
Snowboard bindings are usually highly adjustable, but it is still best to go with a size that fits your foot so you have more adjustability. Check the manufacturers binding size chart to get the best-sized fit.

The golden rule with snowboard bindings is that you want a bit of foot overhang, but it should not be excessive. Likewise, you should not have to over-tighten your straps or have any slack. You want to have your feet fit snug and have no movement both side-to-side and forward and back.

TYPE
Much like snowboards, bindings come in various different shapes and designs, each for a specific type of riding. However, much like snowboards, choosing one certain design it doesn’t mean that it can’t handle other types of riding.

Below is a brief description of each type of binding.

Freestyle/Park
These bindings are for those who enjoy park, hitting jumps and laying down tricks across the mountains.  These bindings are usually less bulky and have a softer flex to allow for more forgiveness in landing tricks, support and maneuverability.
All-Mountain
These are designed for all types of terrain across from groomed runs, parks and the backcountry. What they lack in the flexibility of a park binding, they make up for in their ability to go anywhere and handle anything.
Beginner
The name says it all. These bindings are made to be everything the beginner rider could ever want. Although they may not be the most high tech bindings going around they are not to be overlooked. These bindings usually feature a soft-medium flex, which allows for plenty of control while providing a level of forgiveness and shock absorption in cases of crashes. They are also highly robust and can take whatever beating you throw their way and don’t forget the best part – they are cheaper than the rest so you don’t have to break the bank.
Freeride
These bindings are for the more serious rider who wants no compromise when it comes to riding fast and hard. These bindings are designed for more advanced riders who want a stiffer ride with more feedback and energy response through their bindings.
FLEX
Flex can be measured in 2 different ways. Firstly, with a 1–10 scale, 1 being most flexible and 10 being the stiffest, secondly, by a soft, medium and stiff rating.  Most manufactures rate their flex with a 1–10 scale, but the actual level differs from brand to brand so instead we will rate them on a soft, medium stiff rank for consistency

Below is a brief description on each of the flex levels.

Soft
Soft bindings aren’t just designed for beginners. These bindings are fantastic for those who want a better park and freestyle experience. The increase in flex allows for more freedom in your movements, enabling you to perform tricks and giving you a more forgiving ride when landing jumps and in crashes. However, the tradeoff can be that there is less hold and support at higher speeds so sometimes a medium can bring the best of both worlds if you would like to be able to spend time out of the park as well.
Medium
A medium flex has the benefits of a stiffer binding with a better level of support and hold while still maintaining the benefits of a soft binding. These bindings are usually the ‘go to’ for those who want to do everything on the mountain. If you enjoy riding park but still want to be able to carve the rest of the slopes than these bindings are for you. The drawback of these is decreased support at high speeds and in fast carves compared to stiff bindings, and less forgiveness and flex than a soft binding.
Stiff
Although stiff bindings are not solely designed for advanced level riders, it is an important thing to keep in mind as these bindings require a more experienced level of riding ability to get the best riding out of them. These bindings allow for more controlled and precise riding that other flex levels cannot achieve. Stiff bindings are designed to provide you with complete feedback between your board and your body, to give you a feeling of being one with your snowboard. This means that you have lots of support and control while riding at high speeds as well as having maximum responsiveness. The trade-off is that you will have less forgiveness in cases of crashing and ultimately less freedom in your riding.
ENTRY METHOD
There are 3 main types of entry systems currently on the market for snowboard bindings.  Below is a basic rundown to help you decide what will best suit your riding.
Strap In
These bindings are the most universally used entry method on the mountain. The basic idea of these bindings is to put your foot in your binding and then use ratchet strap over your foot to hold them into the binding. These bindings provide a great level of hold, support and reliability and they have plenty of variations so you can always find one that best suits you. The problem with these bindings however is that they take a longer amount of time to strap in at the beginning of each run.
Rear-entry
These are designed for those who hate having to sit down at the top of the run to strap in. The idea for these bindings is to have the high back drop down for you to just slide your foot in to the pre-strapped bindings. This means that the time it takes to strap in and out is cut down making riding less of a chore. The trade-off with these is a decreased level of support and hold  than traditional bindings, so they are mainly recommended for riders who care more about comfort and ease of riding.
Burton Step On®
These bindings answer the question every single snowboarder has asked at least once: “Why can’t you just make them like ski bindings?”. The way these work is by having the rider stand on the binding while the boot just clicks in to place and when you want to take your foot out you flick a switch and they release. The trade-off with these bindings is that they are only compatible with the Burton Step On boot and both need to be bought together.
HIGH BACK
High backs are the supporting back plate on the binding, which controls the heel side edge of your snowboard.  A high and stiff high back allows for more controlled riding at high speeds with greater feedback, while a shorter and softer high back is for those who prefer the park and cruising as it provides them with a more loose and playful feel.
STRAPS
Binding straps come in many different variations and combinations, but they follow three main designs.
Traditional
This is the standard ‘go to’ with binding straps. These bindings feature standard straps where both buckles strap over the top of your foot, one over your toe area and the other over your ankle area. These bindings are very helpful for beginner riders as they are easy to use and have a very low price point.
Toe Cap
Toe Cap bindings are very similar to traditional bindings, however, instead of the front strap going ‘over’ your toe area, the front strap goes ‘around’ the front of your toes on the boot. This not only holds your foot down but also holds them tightly against the high back to prevent your feet from sliding.
One Piece
These straps are more commonly seen on youth and children’s bindings as well as rear entry bindings as they provide an easy and simple hold across your whole boot. These bindings feature one whole strap that goes over your foot instead of two separate straps. While simple to use, they often lack the hold on the areas that need it most like the toe box and therefore are seen more on mid-level bindings.
BINDING INSERTS
Binding inserts come in 4 different designs that differ across brands so it is important to check what type of board will match your bindings. The standard universal binding insert is a 4×4 or 2×4 pattern. These are used across most brands except Burton, so if you are not using Burton bindings or a Burton board you will have no problem using these inserts. Burton uses their own two designs:  a 3D insert pattern and a channel insert. If you are using Burton bindings then they will usually work for all 4 patterns, but bindings from other brands may not be compatible with Burton boards unless you use an adaptor system to connect the two.
SPLITBOARD
Splitboard bindings are designed to be rotated and re-attached when splitboards are put together and taken apart for touring. Splitboard bindings are only designed for splitboards and therefore should not be used with standard snowboards.
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