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Ladies vs Men's ski - differences?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I do remember reading somewhere that ladies skiis are in general a bit lighter, more flexible and also the binding is placed somewhat further forward. Is this really necessary or is this just a marketing gimmick?

As an example, Volkl AC2 - can a novice lady use this ski, assuming she has the right weight and height for it?
post #2 of 8
I can't speak to the ski you are asking about, but I've never skied a "female" ski. I think you have to pick the ski that is right for your weight, ability, skiing style, choice of terrain, height, and LASTLY your gender.

I did like the Volkl Aura I demo'd last weekend, though. However, before putting it on my short list, I need to take it out a few more times.
post #3 of 8
The differences typically include at least the topsheet.

They are usually softer and lighter, which go together because removing a layer of metal or other stiffener also lightens the ski. A similar approach is typically taken for telemark variants. The recommended mounting point is often further forward, although you can usually opt for a forward mount on a unisex ski, even if it has a hostage binding. I believe that K2 claims to use a different sidecut, even though the dimensions are the same.

But the upshot is that there is no reason why a novice or intermediate woman couldn't use the standard unisex AC2, rather than the Attiva AC2 (or is it now called the Luna or some such?).
post #4 of 8
What about the other way around? Is there a disadvantage (other than the obvious mocking by your friends and colleagues) to a man skiing a women's ski?

post #5 of 8
Its not necessary, but those features are designed to make skiing easier for a female.

A woman would be able to use any ski, but she might find it more pleasurable to ski in a woman specific model....though I would imagine this will be more or less of an issue depending on the woman's physical attributes abilities and the terrain she plans to ski on.
post #6 of 8
I will toss in my 2 cents.

In past seasons I have been racing on "mens" gear. Some of it was true race stock, some was off the shelf citizens stock. I am 5'6" and 140lbs, so getting the race stock stuff to work for me was always a challenge. I just did not have the weight to make it work, and struggled with trying shorter lengths and such.
I was at Mount Hood talking to the Atomic guys about this issue and they suggested the ST-11 and LT-11 for me. My initial impression was "Hey that is a WOMANS ski".. but I took the advice and demoed both. I skied them in and out of a race course and WOW... what a difference!! The ski's simply work for someone of my stature. I do take alot of friendly ribbing about my "chick skis" from the guys, but plain and simple they work- no matter what.
post #7 of 8
The best authority on this issue that I know is probably SierraJim, or possibly his staffer (Kathleen, I think). They both ski lots of skis, unisex and women's models, and compare them.

Oh, and I forgot to add one more difference -- the women's skis are, of course, ribbed.
post #8 of 8
also the binding is placed somewhat further forward
And the waist of the ski may be further forward.

I strongly prefer bindings the have adjustable positions...some of the Atomics and the Tyrolia Railflex, as well as some that can be adjusted in the shop without drilling. For both men and women, the sweet spot for binding position is not always the marked spot.

All this relates to demoing skis. The best women's skiers I know are not on "women's" skis. They're on the skis where the performance is best for them. The three rules about picking skis...demo, demo, demo.
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