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You’ve probably heard the term thrown around at the ski hills and at our shop, and just like the industry, there is a lot of terms to get used to, and one we will be talking about is Big Mountain skis. Hopefully, this post will explain more about these types of skis and whether or not they might be for you.
When it comes to some of the terms in snow sports, some people are often confused as to what they can mean, especially if they believe it affects them.
So, we want to debunk any issues surrounding this term, how Big Mountain skis differ from powder or all-mountain skis, and this could help determine if you would want to ride a pair.
What makes Big Mountain skis?
Let’s first break down the term. Big Mountain is commonly referred to as freeride or extreme skiing. This means the skis would have to handle the steep terrain, powder, and stability at high speeds.
The main traits of a Big Mountain ski are fairly identifiable when you take into account what they are used for as we stated just before. So, to make it easier, let’s explain a little further:
- Single Core Construction – Handles better on steep terrain, especially at higher speeds.
- Wider underfoot – Floats easier in powder
- Traditionally longer lengths (Rider height or taller) – Stability at higher speeds
- Dampening properties – Reduced vibrations from ride
Salomon Q-96 Lumen Ski 2016
Dampening is one of the most crucial characteristics in skis today, but when it comes to Big Mountain Skis it can be highly effective in the overall experience. The idea is to use certain materials and construction methods to help absorb and cancel vibrations. This can be as easy as making the ski more solid and heavy, or in some brands using different materials like Titanal, fibreglass and honeycomb structuring.
In recent years, new technology has played a big part in ski profiles, and you’ll find almost every ski on the market has tip rocker which helps increase maneuverability. The issue with Big mountain skiers is the need of stability which rocker lacks in comparison. You will still find 90% of the skis on the market for Big Mountain riding are slight rockered at the tip, a bit of camber underfoot for stability and control, a massive turn radius because it’s wider under foot and a flat tail to offer the best potential of control and power.
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Salomon QST 99 Ski 2017
We suggest that any novice skier should steer clear of this type of ski (for now) as most inexperienced skiers find the increased width and length hard to move.
What we want you to take away from this post is if any of this information is resonating to you and you feel your next ski should mimic some of these features, maybe a Big Mountain ski should be investigated.