Tips for Choosing Your Ski Width

From your goggles fogging up to your ski boots hurting your feet on each turn, there’s nothing worse than being on the slope somewhere like Mammoth Mountain and having your gear hold you back. If your skis aren’t the right width for your skills or where you’re riding, then they could do exactly that.

That’s why the ASO Mammoth team has put together a basic list of tips for choosing the right ski width for you. Check them out below, then visit us here at ASO Mammoth for the best ski and snowboard rentals in Mammoth Lakes.

Know Your Type of Skiing

If you’re choosing your ski width, it likely means you’re advanced enough to specialize your gear for a certain type of skiing. To do so though, you need to know where you’ll be riding the most.

For example, if you’re skiing all over the mountain than you’ll want middle-width skis that can handle hard pack and groomers just as well as they handle powder stashes off-piste. No matter what you choose, you’ll need to decide what type of skiing you’ll be doing to make the right choice.

Ski widths typically come in an XXX-XX-XXX mm format. What does that mean? The first measurement is the width tip of the ski, the second is the waist width, and the third is the width of the tail.

Generally though, you’ll only see one width when you see a ski width listed. We’ve listed the three main categories below.

Go Wide for Powder and Freeride Skiing

When it comes to deep powder skiing, the wider your skis are the easier it will be to float on top of the snow.

Wide skis work the same way snowshoes do by spreading out the skier’s weight across the surface of the snow. Without wide skis, powder can be a slog as your skis constantly sink beneath the snow and it’s difficult to maintain any speed.

Powder skis generally begin above 100 mm and can go wider for heavier or taller people.

Narrow Works Best on Hardpack and Ice

On the other end of the spectrum, narrow skis are excellent at digging into hardpack snow and ice so you have an edge to make turns on.

Narrow skis will be incredibly difficult to ride through powder, and their lack of surface can make them difficult to ride off-piste in general. However, if you like hard turns, then a narrow ski will give you more stability at speed and control of your edges.

Narrow ski widths start around 80 mm.

In Between Goes Best for All Mountain and Groomers

For everything in between, an all-mountain ski with a width between 85 and 100 mm will give you the flexibility to have fun no matter where you ski.

All mountain skis combine the width and control you need to ski anywhere, so if you’re looking for the most bang for your buck then aim for an in between ski.