These days, there's something for every taste and colour, but above all there's something for every level and every style of skiing! To make the most of Val Thorens and the 3 Valleys, there are 3 steps to choosing the right skis:
Step 1: Define your level:
We're going to define 4 broad categories of skier level here, so it's up to you to decide which one you fall into most:
- Beginner : Your skiing experience is limited to a few runs several years ago, or you've never set foot on skis in your life.
- Type of ski : An easy, forgiving ski for quick enjoyment.
- Intermediate : You're an occasional skier, spending one or two weeks a year, and you're capable of skiing all the slopes in the area at your own pace.
- Type of ski : A comfortable ski that allows you to progress and gain confidence.
- Advanced skiers : You're not afraid of black runs, and you're at ease in all types of snow: hard, transformed, trafolle...
- Type of ski : A high-performance ski that is not too technically or physically demanding, so you can make the most of every day.
- Expert : Do you spend all winter with your skis on and no secrets to carving or switch?
- Type of ski : You'll probably need several pairs of skis to allow you to express yourself fully in each sport.
Step 2: Define your practice:
Technology has seen skis evolve in leaps and bounds, with manufacturers now offering products designed for different styles of skiing. From off-piste to ski-cross, leisure skiing, slalom racing, freestyle or freeride skiing, there's a ski for every discipline! Among the many possibilities, here are the main ones:
Piste: Groomed pistes accessible to all levels.
From a leisurely day out to a quest for thrills on groomed slopes, the type of ski you're looking for will be rather short, with a narrow runner (the width of the ski under the boot will be less than 80 mm), which will provide greater responsiveness and precision in turns.
These skis are suitable for all levels of skier, the main difference being their rigidity: the higher the level, the stiffer the ski needs to be to take hard turns. If for you, a ski holiday is all about peace and quiet and skiing for pleasure, choose a ski for the slopes that's softer and lighter, that you'll be able to enjoy it with ease.
All Mountain: All-in-one skiing for explorers.
Are you a 'jack of all trades' who doesn't want to limit yourself to the well-groomed pistes and fresh snow of January? Do you want to try out the pleasures of powder snow, enjoy the spring sunshine or the cold days of February, all with the same skis? With their 80 mm runner and fairly large tip, all-mountain skis will give you the comfort you need whatever the snow or terrain, and the lift you need to go off-piste or ski spring snow.
These are all-purpose skis, perfect for intermediate and advanced skiers who want to experience the varied pleasures of an area whatever the conditions.
Freeride : The pleasures of freedom
This range of skis is aimed at experienced skiers who will be able to adapt to all powder situations. To promote lift in fresh, ungroomed snow, the skis need to be fairly large, with a base width of at least 90mm, so you can enjoy yourself in this type of snow. As with piste skis, you'll need to choose a ski with varying degrees of rigidity, depending on your level of ability, physical condition and personal preferences. Manufacturers are vying with each other to offer a variety of products, almost tailor-made for each type of skier. Rigid freeride skis with normal camber and flat heels are designed for expert skiers, ready to pick up speed and go "dré dans l'pentu" (straight down the slope in Savoyard dialect). Softer skis, or skis with inverted camber, are more playful, and perfectly suited to those who want to have fun with beautiful curves in pristine areas.
If your thing is to be able to go just about anywhere and get away from the crowds whenever you feel like it, then touring skis are a good option. Once again, there are many models to choose from: from race skis with a set of skis + bindings with very light inserts for quick ascents without looking for big thrills on the descent, to wide skis with heavier, almost alpine bindings (like Salomon's Shift) so you can kick like you would with alpine skis, there's something for everyone, and it's up to you to adapt the equipment to your needs!
Stage 3: Adapt your equipment to your body shape.
Now that you know your level and have targeted your skiing, it's time to choose your pair of skis based on your body type.
Ski size :
You choose the size of your ski according to your own height, but also according to your level.
A beginner skier will take a rather short ski, about 10 to 15cm shorter than the person's height for a piste ski. To give you a guide, hold your skis straight out in front of you: the top of the tip should be level with your nose.
On the other hand, skiers who are already at ease will be happy with a ski that is the same size as theirs, or even slightly bigger if they're going freeride.
Ski rigidity :
This characteristic is directly linked to the skier's weight: the lighter the skier, the more difficult it will be to turn a ski that is too rigid, and he won't be able to take advantage of the ski's relaunch qualities.
Similarly, a heavier skier will quickly get bored of a ski that is too soft.
Stiffness is also linked to the level of skiing: very good skiers, with a high level of physical fitness, can afford to choose skis that are much stiffer than their weight would suggest in order to enjoy more committed skiing.
To really appreciate the sensations that a ski can give you, the best thing is to try them out! In Val Thorens, we are offering you two opportunities to try out the very best the ski market has to offer:
- Every year during the Grand Première weekendWith over 60 brands on show, you'll be able to try out all the latest innovations! And if you're curious about trying out new snow sports, you'll find that almost every discipline is available: alpine, telemark, snowboard, rando, snowscoot...
Now that you know (almost) everything there is to know about choosing skis to suit your skiing profile, you're all set to hit the slopes at Val Thorens! But ... wait a minute! What about your bindings? Have you checked that they're properly adjusted?