Tip: Gear Care
Q & A
Skis: How Wider Can Be Better
Gear is important. It can make or break your experience in the mountains. I have for many years believed that, even for free-skiing, traditional race construction skis could not be beat. Some might argue that a race ski would be too stiff, but I've needed that precision performance for the type of terrain I've skied. Race skis provided that dampness, or quietness with minimal vibration that keeps your skis as stable as possible.
Recently, I've slowly been making the transition toward a slightly wider/shorter ski, which has an advantage of ease in carving turns. I was sort of skeptical about this new movement and was one of the last to hold out. I would never ski anything shorter than a 204 because at fast speeds, the last thing you want is to worry about your skis getting nervous.
But last year I committed to shorter, wider skis, and I can't deny that their side cuts are powerful, lending themselves easily toward turning, while remaining stable at high speeds. They didn't feel that way when I first put them on and looked at them, but you still have about the same running surface, which keeps them nice and stable.
As far as sidecuts go, sometimes they can be overdone. In moderation, a little sidecut is good. If you're interested in a super-sidecut, it's good for laying carves on the groomers, but you can end up going over the handlebars on the steeps. Deeply sidecut skis don't skid either, so if you need to dump speed and skid, they don't work; they always want to rail you into something. The type of sidecut you choose depends on the type of skiing you're doing.
Scot Schmidt, Mountain Zone Pro