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Ski Buying Guide:

Looking for the perfect skis can be overwhelming, but fear not - we at Powder7 are here to help! How to buy skis to suit your style, terrain preferences, and ability, this ski buying guide will help explain some of the lingo you'll encounter when you research ski options. It will also help you to navigate our site options more easily. Like always, feel free to give us a call to talk about specific options - 303.237.7547.

Waist Width

Here at Powder7, we organize our skis based on their waist widths - the measurement of the narrowest part of ski, under your boot, in millimeters. Generally speaking, narrower skis are good for hard snow, and wider skis are good for powder, but we'll break it down in greater detail.

Hard Snow Skis - 84mm and narrower. These narrow skis are for skiers who like to spend the majority of their runs on frontside groomers or who participate in recreational racing. Their narrow waist widths provide great edge-hold at higher speeds on harder snow.
Mixed Snow East - 80mm-94mm. Skis in this category are generally good choices for East Coast skiers looking to explore the entire mountain.
Mixed Snow West - 88mm-102mm. These skis are generally good choices for Western skiers who want to take on every part of the mountain.
Soft Snow - 100mm-112mm. A few inches of fresh powder (or more) is where these skis shine. They can sometimes work as all-mountain options for western skiers as well.
Powder - 112mm and wider. These are your powder-specific skis. They make your powder turns a breeze and leave you feeling like you can ski the deep stuff like the pros. Chasing the big dumps? Be sure to bring something at least 112mm underfoot to keep you floating and smiling.


Now that you've narrowed it down to a ski that will suit your preferred terrain and conditions, let's talk about length. Our ski size chart is a good tool for deciding what lengths to consider. Here is our Ski Size Chart.


What's up with rocker? Glad you asked! Rocker refers to the profile of the ski as it lays on the snow. If the tip or tail is engineered to rise off the snow on its own, you've got a ski with rocker. There are different degrees of rocker, but the bottom line is that rocker in skis generally makes skiing easier. More here: Ski Rocker Guide.


The stiffness factor. Stiff skis are more powerful and stable at higher speeds and on harder snow, and they also demand more of the skier to flex the ski and initiate a turn. Softer skis are easier to turn and more forgiving, but lack the stability and power of stiffer skis. Most skis fall somewhere in the middle of the scale, but a good rule is that softer skis are best for beginners and intermediates, while stiffer skis are best left for the experts.


What about sidewalls? If you look at a ski from the side, you'll see that the topsheet graphic either wraps all the way from the top of the ski down to the metal edge, or you'll see a vertical wall between the graphics and the metal edge. Sometimes you'll see the vertical wall only on a partial section of the ski, usually underfoot and a little on either side of the bindings.
Cap - The topsheet graphic "caps" the ski and goes from turning edge to turning edge. Usually a less expensive way to manufacture skis. More forgiving, but not as stable at speed or on harder snow.
Full sidewall - A vertical sidewall running the entire length of the ski, like the bread on a sandwich, holding the rest of the construction together. Full sidewall construction holds the best edge with stability and power.
Partial sidewall - A hybrid combination of sidewall and cap construction, providing edge-hold underfoot while also remaining forgiving at the tips and tails.

A few of our most popular skis: