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Picking your all mountain skis? Think about the waist width!

We are talking about the ski waist width, of course! The trends within skiing, and especially all mountain, have been changing a lot during the recent years. One of the big shifts is in the millimetres around the waist.

When did you buy your last pair of skis?

During the last five years, the ski manufacturing has gone through some serious improvements like new materials, new construction methods, and better technologies. And all-mountain ski, well, they've become more all mountain.

So if you’ve bought your last pair some time ago, you might be in for a nice surprise and some confusion.


Photo credit: Blake Jorgensen

Waist width can show how off-piste you can go

Of course, many factors are of play when you need to pick up your skis but waist width is good to look into. For the rest, take a look at our '5 steps to choosing the right ski for you'.

Nowadays, you can see that both skis with a waist of, for example, 76mm and of 99mm are categorised as all-mountain. Take this season’s Rossignol 84 Experience and the new Völkl Mantra M5 (check the bottom for the video reviews). The difference is that the wider the waist, the more off-piste character the skis have and vice versa.

One of the ways to read this is considering what actually the waist width give you. The narrower waist will be easier to manoeuvre so you will be able to nail both short and long turns on the track. They will also keep you well afloat into tight powder conditions but in general, are meant for a ratio ca. 80% piste and 20% off-piste.

Skis with wider underfoot are also performing good on the track but will require a bit more push to go from edge to edge. At the same time, you will be able to take them out into a bit deeper and fresh powder. So the ratio here shifts towards 60% piste and 40% off-piste.

Your experience level matters...a lot!

It is all-mountain, all right but when it comes to carving turns it really matters how experienced you are and how wide the underfoot of the ski is.

As we said above, the wider the underfoot the more effort will it take you to go from edge to edge but easier to ride in the powder. So this wider waist will make you work a bit harder for them turns on the piste, which means a bit more skill as compared to a thin one.

Thinner waist makes the skis easier to manoeuvre, eases you into the turn, and is more forgiving on your legs on the piste. So this type of all-mountain will suit those of you who want to have a nice and chill ride primarily on the tracks - not much ‘off-road’ and ‘hard-core’.

So be clear what you want from your ski and check out our all-mountain ski section to get those that shout your name. Remember also to follow us and subscribe to our YouTube winter channel where you can find more ski reviews.