Overview The first step
in construction is determining
the ski's dimensions. Each parameter is specified and then assembled
together to form a complete profile of the ski.
Ski length (cm) The ski length is the distance between the tip
Running length (cm) Running length is measured from the tips
and tails at the points where they begin to leave the snow, or contact points. A
shorter running length can provide for more maneuverability whereas a longer running
length allows for greater edge contact during a turn.
Turning radius (m) Turning radius, or side cut, helps a ski to
carve. A larger turning radius gives less side
cut to a ski, making turns more difficult to execute. On the
contrary a smaller turning radius, or larger side cut, enhances carving ability. Most of the skis on the market have a turning radius of 20m to 30m.
However, side cut can have some negative consequences. In deep, heavy
snow the center of the ski tends to sink much lower than tips and tails.
This creates a situation where the ski wants to turn on its own. Any
slight change in the ski's axis can result in a sudden unwanted carving of the
ski, or hooking. This can provide for a painful day of skiing
especially if the top layer of snow is a thick crust. To counteract
this affect some skis have a zero or reverse side cut. This eliminates the
ski's tendency to hook but also makes the ski perform sloppily on firmer snow.
Waist width (mm) Waist width is the distance between edges at
the point of mounting. Oftentimes the waist is located at the apex, or
highest point, of the side cut arc.
Tip and tail width (mm) These measurements are taken at
the widest points of the tip and tails, which usually corresponds to
the tip and tail contact point. The tip and tail width are function of the
turning radius of a ski. Given the same waist width, a larger
turning radius will provide for smaller tip and tail widths than those resulting from
using a smaller turning radius.
Tip/tail radius (cm) Tip and tail radius refers to the curvature
of the tips and tails. Tips and tails tend to have radii ranging
15-20cm. Although not as important as other parameters, the curvatures can
enhance the float of a ski in soft snow. By reducing the curvature
and increasing the tip length, a ski can increase its surface area to improve
buoyancy in powder. The running length is not affected, however, and the
ski maintains its original maneuverability. This same concept can be
reversed for the rear to allow the tail to sink more in powder.
Camber (mm) Camber refers to the arch of a ski. It is
determined by measuring the maximum distance from the ground to the bottom of an unweighted ski. Camber is a unique property that affects
of ski performance, which include: exerting tip and tail pressure, providing pop (or rebound) for a ski, and also helping the ski
to carve. Typical amber measurements range from 10mm to 20mm.
However, some powder specific skis have zero or negative camber to prevent hooking.