Women’s skis aren’t just prettier than men’s skis, fortunately. A good women’s ski is usually a bit lighter and softer to accommodate a woman’s muscle mass. Other features of women’s snow skis include:
-Proper proportions. The tips of women’s skis are usually a bit shorter than men’s skis, and the waists of the skis are farther forward. These features recognize that women tend to have a lower center of gravity than men, and they can maximize their ski performance with skis that are designed for them.
-Try them on. Just like with clothes, women’s skis fit differently depending on the brand. When you are shopping for new skis, visit one our Sun & Ski store locations to speak with an expert on getting the right fit. Your sister’s or your best friend’s favorite women’s ski may not be the right fit for you.
-Know your needs. Are you craving moguls? Or deep powder? Make sure you ask questions about which types of women’s skis will meet your needs. Several brands, including K2 and Elan, offer women’s skis at a range of price points, and several models, such as Elan’s Women’s Black Magic skis, can be used by intermediate to advanced skiers for a variety of ski conditions.
Although the idea of having one set of skis that meet all your skiing needs is tantalizing, it may not be realistic for the experienced skier who skis in a range of locations. Both men’s skis and women’s snow skis are available for different snow conditions, and you can enhance your experience on the slopes if you have the right equipment.
Keep these points in mind when looking for men’s skis or women’s skis:
-Size matters. Wider skis will give you a great ride in the deep powder of a Colorado mountain, but they may frustrate you on a groomed slope in New York. But look for a narrower waist if you want to approach the elusive “one ski fits all” idea.
-Double up. If you’re an experienced skier in the Eastern U.S. and you are making a pilgrimage to the world of Western powder skiing, you may want to rent (and maybe buy) powder skis. If you get hooked on powder and think you’ll start making regular trips West, or if you are a powder skier with enough reasons to be in the Eastern U.S. during the winter, two sets of skis may be worth the money in terms of comfort and enjoyment.
After a long day on the slopes, treat your feet to some apres boots. Your apres-ski look can be both stylish and comfortable, and you can choose from a variety of boots.
Choose from classic styles such as UGGs, which wick moisture away from your feet and keep them comfortable whether you are inside or outside. Or for something a little showier, try the Spyder women’s topaz suede apres boots. And if you are walking to your favorite apres-ski spots, consider apres boots with some traction.
Also make sure you have comfortable socks to go with your apres ski boots—your feet will thank you. Some people go out for apres ski while wearing their ski gear, but that can get hot and uncomfortable quickly. Instead, dress for apres-ski outings similar to how you would dress for a winter evening out at home, but add a few pieces from your winter wardrobe such as a stylish scarf, and colorful earmuffs, hats, or gloves.
You’ve spent time and effort choosing the right winter sports equipment—skis, boots, snowboards—so get the most out of your gear by keeping it in top shape.
To help extend the life of your skis, boots, and snowboards, pay attention to the following:
-Transportation: To protect your skis and boards from the elements en route to the slopes, consider a box-style carrier such as the Thule Spirit Cargo Box, which has 16 cubic feet of storage in a shell-shaped case.
-Maintenance: At the end of the season, apply wax to your skis and ski edges and don’t scrape it off. The wax will help keep the edges from rusting during the off-season.
-Storage: Don’t store your skis and snowboards in the basement where they will be subject to heat and moisture over the summer. Ideally, store them in a dry closet at room temperature. The same goes for ski boots. Make sure they are dry, and then store them in boot bags in a cool, dry area.
For the real ski enthusiast, quality ski poles can make your runs more fun. When shopping for your next ski poles, remember that your pole brand need not match your ski brand. Keep these points in mind as you navigate the world of ski poles.
-Know your pole goals. Are you a racer? Leki poles, such as the Leki speed S, are designed for Alpine skiing and racing. Scott poles may be a bit less expensive, and they have models for a range of skill levels, from beginner through advanced. You can buy specialized freestyle ski poles, too.
-Know your pole size. There are adjustable ski poles, but it’s still important to get the right size.
To measure yourself for downhill ski poles, get a tape measure and a friend, and follow these steps:
Stand with your elbows at a 90-degree angle, with your upper arms along your sides and your forearms parallel to the floor.
Form a fist and hold your hands as if you were holding ski poles.
Have a friend measure the distance from the top of your thumb to the floor. This is the length your downhill ski poles should be.
No friend handy? Stand near a wall that you can mark, and mark the height of the top of your thumb, then measure the distance to the floor.
It’s important to have quality ski boot bags to protect your gear, whether you are traveling by car, plane, or other conveyance.
When shopping for ski boot bags, visit your one of our ski shops to check them out in person, and look for some of these features:
-Drainage. Some ski boot bags have grommet holes to drain the melting snow off your damp boots and out of your boot bag.
-Durability. For ski boot bags that will last more than one season, look for durable polyester, reinforced with piping along the seams. Handles with wrap-around Velcro add to durability, too.
-Compartmentalization. Some ski boot bags, such as the Dakine boot locker, feature a tarp-lined boot compartment that serves as a changing mat, and a separate section for your other accessories such as hats and goggles.
As for how you tote your boots, options include:
Be sure that your ski boot bag is labeled with your name, address, and phone number. To make your boot bag even easier to spot in a crowd, add a key ring, ribbon, or button that you’ll recognize instantly.
The correct setting is essential for snow ski bindings, so don’t blow off having your bindings checked. The best ski bindings for you depend on your size, skiing style, and type of conditions in which you usually ski. The best fitting ski bindings will respond properly to two types of releases:
-Twist release: When your ski or boot turns perpendicular to the direction you want to go, this release kicks in. When you have your snow ski bindings adjusted, be accurate about your weight and your skiing style. This is for your safety (or your kid’s safety), so be honest!
-Leaning release: When you are falling headfirst over the fronts of your skis, this is the release that gets you out of them. Remember to have the fit of your snow ski bindings checked periodically during the ski season. The more aggressive your skiing style, the more likely it is that you’ll need to have your bindings adjusted during the season.
When you are transporting your skis, make sure you have a padded ski bag to protect them. Other handy features on today’s ski bags include:
-Padding. Most ski bags have some padding to protect your skis, so be sure to look for one that is adequate to your skis and the amount of protection they require. If you intend to travel with them, and may be checking them on an airplane, upgarde the protection to a hard case.
-Handles. Some ski bags have hard handles for easier carrying, and some come with shoulder straps.
-Double size. Traveling with two pairs of skis? There are larger ski bags to meet your needs.
When you are preparing to store your skis, take a few steps before securing them for the off-season:
-Keep them comfy. Avoid storing your skis in areas of extreme hot or cold, such as an attic or basement.
-Avoid cement. Don’t store skis on a concrete floor, because it could cause the skis to delaminate at the tails.
-Keep the bindings. Don’t unload your ski bindings when you prepare your skis for storage—it’s best to maintain the tension in the bindings.
If you are planning a winter sports vacation and you’re traveling by car, you can make your journey smoother and maximize your space with the right ski and snowboard rack, such as a Thule roof rack. If you regularly travel with a group, you might prefer of the larger Yakima racks such as the Yakima Powderhound, which holds either four pairs of skis or two snowboards and features and universal mounting hardware. Visit one of our Sun & Ski Sports shops to check out more winter sports travel equipment.
Some other tips for winter sports trips:
-Tag your bags: Whether you’re on your own or with a group, you’ll save time at the slopes if your ski and boot bags are easy to spot.
-Get on a roll: To pack the most gear into a suitcase, roll up your ski and apres ski clothes. And remember that you can pack some accessories, such as extra foot warmer socks and gloves, into your ski or snowboard bag.
Ski bindings aren’t the sexiest items of ski equipment, but any avid skier knows that they are important, and the right ski bindings can help you get the maximum performance out of your skis.
Well-fitting ski bindings are particularly important for downhill skiing. As every experienced skier knows, downhill ski bindings are set to release with a certain amount of torque, based on the skier’s height and weight. But even after your ski bindings are set, be sure to have them checked again if any of these conditions apply:
-Weight change. If you gain or lose weight, even 5 or 10 pounds, it’s worth checking your bindings. If the setting is off and the skis don’t release when you fall, you increase your risk of injury.
-Boot change. If you buy new boots, don’t forget to have your ski bindings checked. Even if the boots fit in the skis, adjustments may be needed. And if not, better to be safe than to be sliding down the slopes without your skis because the bindings weren’t set right!