Cover image from Return of the Turn
Over the past decade or so, we have seen the explosive popularity of wider skis. Look no further than Powder magazine’s Best Narrow All Mountain Skis of 2023-24 where the narrowest ski included is 99mm underfoot. While wider skis have gained popularity in recent years, there are still compelling arguments to be made in favor of narrow skis. Here are some points to consider:
- Quick and precise turns: Narrow skis offer better maneuverability, allowing skiers to make quicker and more precise turns on groomed slopes. This is especially advantageous for slalom skiing or skiing in areas with tight turns.
- Edge control: Narrow skis provide excellent edge control due to their narrower profile. Skiers can easily engage the edges and carve precise lines on hard-packed snow or icy conditions. This makes them suitable for skiing on steep slopes or in regions with predominantly firm snow.
- Lighter weight: Narrow skis tend to be lighter than their wider counterparts. This can be advantageous for skiers who prefer a more nimble and agile feel on the slopes. Lighter skis can make it easier to initiate turns, maintain control, and reduce fatigue during long days of skiing.
- Versatility on groomed runs: Narrow skis excel on groomed runs and hard-packed snow conditions. They offer stability and responsiveness, allowing skiers to confidently tackle a variety of groomed terrains, including moguls and icy slopes. If you primarily ski on well-maintained slopes, narrow skis can be a great choice.
- Classic skiing style: Narrow skis are often associated with the classic skiing style, which emphasizes technique, precision, and elegance. If you appreciate the traditional approach to skiing and enjoy the art of carving precise arcs on the snow, narrow skis can enhance your experience.
- Competitive advantage: In certain skiing disciplines such as slalom racing or ski mountaineering, narrow skis are the preferred choice. Their ability to quickly change direction and carve tight turns can give competitive skiers an edge, particularly in events that require agility and speed.
Remember, ski selection is a personal affair, and a range of factors comes into play. While narrow skis have their undeniable perks, wider planks have their own advantages—especially in the world of off-piste adventures and powder stashes. Ultimately, it’s all about finding the right tool for the job and the terrain you’re tearing up. So, choose wisely and carve your own path down the mountain!