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Learning to Ski

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'm getting my wife a 3 day lesson this year. I was wondering if she could learn on a little wider ski say in the low to mid 80's, or does she need to stick with something in the 72-76 range?

post #2 of 10

Can't comment on ski widths, but I took my never-ever then-girlfriend to Killington last winter and got her a 3-day lesson package.


I'm now planning a wedding with my ski buddy for life.

post #3 of 10

Why do you want to go wider?

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

I just figured if you learned on a little wider ski it wouldn't be such a transition later. I've also heard it is easier to learn on a wider ski? Don't know if that is true or not, some of you experts might know betterth_dunno-1[1].gif

Edited by Malazan - 9/19/11 at 6:08am
post #5 of 10

Wider is only better when you get in soft conditions where a bit of float helps smooth things out and keeps things flowing. On groomers, nothing beats a narrower ski.


So, unless the instructor is going to take her into powder or choppy stuff, then there's no need to go wide at this point in time.

Edited by CerebralVortex - 9/20/11 at 3:22am
post #6 of 10

I'd go for something with a waist in the mid 80 mm area, that way you have stable skis that are also good for carving. Make sure they're no longer than up to her nose; skis that are longer than that can be good for advanced skiers but definitely are not for beginners. Good luck!

post #7 of 10

Wow, 80mm seems pointlessly wide for someone just starting to ski. Don't see any advantage whatsoever.


post #8 of 10

One thing to keep in mind is that wider skis are harder to tip onto edge than narrower skis are (at least at the beginner level, which appears to be the case here).  Your wife needs to learn to adjust ski angles with very fine movements, and "too wide" skis is just going to make that more difficult.


I'd get your wife on the narrowest things you can find (which these days is probably low / mid-70s underfoot).  Wide skis offer no benefits until you're venturing into un-groomed territory.

post #9 of 10
Originally Posted by Malazan View Post

I just figured if you learned on a little wider ski it wouldn't be such a transition later. I've also heard it is easier to learn on a wider ski? Don't know if that is true or not, some of you experts might know betterth_dunno-1[1].gif

You're getting good advice here, Malazan.

Short, narrow "learning skis" with deeper sidecut and traditional camber, along with that three day lesson (with an excellent instructor), will absolutely be the best way for her to pick up the movements, sensations, and tactics of great skiing. She'll learn about gliding, carving, and turning offensively for direction control, while using tactics for speed control. If she gets that, she'll be ahead in three days of 99% of the skiers on most public ski areas who have done little more than hammer bad habits into their skiing over the years, getting merely good at bad skiing.

You will, of course, hear a lot of things, especially these days when "everyone is an expert," at least in the bar and on the Internet. Wider skis, although they excel on the feet of experts in deep off-piste conditions, also forgive the errors of hacks off-piste. They do not make you ski better--they merely allow you to ski poorly and get away with it (sort of). And the only thing that they'll make learning easier for is bad habits.

On the other side of the coin, the movements and habits learned on narrower skis with good sidecut will transfer directly into great skiing in any condition, on any gear. With good technique, there will be no difficulty with the "transition" to wider skis later, when your wife chooses to venture off-piste. Indeed, the real beauty of wider skis and specialty powder skis is that they work and feel in the deep soft snow very much like narrower skis work and feel on the groomers. But wide skis, being harder to tip and usually offering less (or no) sidecut and camber, do not work the same as "traditional" skis on-piste. There, they encourage pivoting, twisting, braking techniques, movements that they also allow you to get away with off-piste.

So start her off on short, narrow learning skis. On the other hand, I would not recommend actually buying these skis for her. Rent for a few days--or even a season or two. Get her some excellent boots and have them fitted and set up by a master. But hold off on the skis until her preferences emerge a bit more clearly. Even then, many skiers prefer to rent the latest skis all the time, eliminating the need to schlepp heavy gear around through the airports and such. But that's something you can decide later.....

Best regards,
post #10 of 10

I would say, buy well fitting boots first and rent skis at first.


I see too many novice skiers that have too much equipment. There is no need for wider skis on gentle slopes that are generally hard-packed - where beginners will learn to ski.


Most good resorts have great beginner equipment that they keep tuned so renting skis is a good way to go at the start until she progresses.

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