Snow Skis

Hi Tempo ski shop carries the top snow skis from the top manufacturers. Our experts will listen carefully to you and understand the type of skier you are and get you on the right boards. You can learn more about the snow skis we carry by clicking on a product line below.

If you want to talk with a snow ski expert give us a call at 651-429-3333 or stop by the store.

What’s New In Down Hill Snow Skis

The most significant development in ski design in the last few years has been “Shape” skis. These skis have a pronounced hourglass shape and are easier to turn than more traditional designs. They hold better on ice and hard snow and are much easier to learn to ski on than straighter traditional skis. So much so that it’s now possible to ski at a low intermediate level in just a few hours rather than a few days.

These skis are awesome to ski on. The deeper sidecuts make it really easy make big, round carved turns. But you’ll find that turning them is different than with straight skis. With straight skis there was a bit of a skid at the beginning of the turn. The deeper side cut on shaped skis prevents the skid. To turn them you just put a little pressure on the front of the ski and roll them from edge to edge. If you’re new to shape skis consider taking a carving lesson. In one hour you’ll learn more about turning these critters than you’ll learn in several days on your own. Just about every ski made today is a shape ski so they’re not a fad. They’re here to stay and they’ve taken over the ski industry.

How to Pick a Ski

Sport, Performance and Hi Performance Skis one of the confusing things about shopping for equipment is the label the manufacturers give to their equipment. What is a Sport skier? What’s an All Terrain ski? What kind of skier am I?

These labels are attached to different performance levels of equipment to help differentiate it from one another. They’re not hard and fast descriptions and they differ from one manufacturer to the next. For the purpose of trying to simplify our discussion we’re going to break equipment down into three categories: Sport, Performance and Hi Performance.

More important than what the categories are called, is what kind of skier the categories are for. That’s where the manufacturer’s descriptions become a little fuzzy. If fairness to the manufacturers it is difficult to being precise with this because a particular ski may actually work quite well for a number of different types of skiers.

For our discussions we’re going to use the following skier descriptions;

Sport Skiers:

Sport skiers tend to more concerned about the skiing experience than the actual equipment. A good day for a sport skier means a sunny day, good food at the lodge, fun with their friends and family rather than having the correct base edge bevel, perfect wax and the latest in hi-end equipment. They may spend as much or more time in the lodge as they do on the snow. Their performance level can be anything from beginner through intermediate and they probably don’t ski enough to get any better than they are now. They usually ski on green or blue runs. If it’s not a sunny day with mild temperatures they probably won’t go skiing.

Performance Skiers:

Ability level doesn’t define the performance skier as much as their desire to improve. These skiers can be anywhere from beginners to the advanced skiers that people look at from the chair lifts. They’re concerned about their technique, they would like to ski better than they do now and they work at trying to improve. Skiing is the most important part of going skiing (as opposed to hanging out in the chalet). They’re the first skiers on the hill and the last off. They ski a variety of runs, at a variety of speeds. The performance category is the broadest of the categories.

Hi Performance Skiers:

What differentiates Performance from Hi Performance skiers is speed. These are faster and/or more aggressive skiers. They can be racers, extreme, powder, cruising, bump or all around skiers. The equipment needs these skiers have are much different from those of the performance skiers. In many cases function takes precedence over convenience and fit takes precedence over comfort. Hi Performance skiers can range from improving progressing intermediates to advanced and expert skiers that are not willing to let the limits of their equipment compromise their ability.

Sport Skis

Sport skis, particularly the new shape sport skis are skied at shorter lengths, somewhere from chin to nose height. The ski should be at the short range for slower speed, less aggressive or lighter weight skiers. The ski should be longer for average to higher speed, more aggressive or heavier skiers. Sport skis are sometimes wider, to support the skier’s weight over a shorter length, and softer flexing so that they’re more predictable and easier to start into a turn.

The difference between less expensive and more expensive sport skis may be in how much fiberglass the manufacturer used in making the ski, how complex the core construction is and in what type of top edge protection and base material the ski has. More fiberglass and a more complex core design makes for a firmer ski that is torsionally stiffer and will hold better on hard snow and feel more stable at higher speeds, which is important as you improve your skiing technique.

Torsional stiffness can be visualized by having one person hold the tip of the ski and another person holding the tail of a ski, twisting the tip and the tail in opposite directions would demonstrate torsional flex. If you try this you’ll notice that the torsional stiffness at the tip and tail is softer (twistier) than the middle of the ski. The softer tip and tail allows the ski to be easy to start into a turn, the firmer midsection helps the ski hold well on ice. As the performance level of the ski increases one thing that changes is that the torsional flex of the ski gets firmer. This makes the ski hold better on hard snow for more advanced skiers that ski at higher speeds. It also makes the ski “quicker” from edge to edge.

Good quality skis will have that perfect balance of a ski that’s easy to turn and holds well on ice. A good sport ski will also help the skier learn how to carve their turns. A ski that’s too soft (too cheap) will never carve; they’re just too soft. A sport skier with a ski that’s too soft will never develop good strong carved turns, the ski will hold them back.

Performance Skis

Just about any ski will carve on soft fluffy snow; the problem is when you get on hard snow or ice. The difference between less expensive and more expensive performance skis is how well they behave at higher speeds. The less expensive skis work well up to moderate speeds but don’t respond as quickly or hold as well at higher speeds. The more expensive skis carve and hold well for the performance skier at all speeds.

Some of the best values in skis are in this performance ski category. In many cases these were yesterday’s hi performance designs that have been “bumped” by the latest design or manufacturing change. In some cases though I’ve seen manufacturers take hi performance ski designs, take out some of the components or designs that made hi performance skis great and make a “detuned” version of the flagship skis that are absolutely awful. The trick for the manufacturer is to find the best compromise between an easy turning yet good holding ski. This is where it’s important to talk with someone that has tried the ski and knows that it performs well.

One neat feature that you start to see in performance skis (that all hi performance skis have) is vibration control. As a ski travels down the hill it doesn’t ride truly flat on the snow, it vibrates. A small amount of vibration is good because it helps break suction between the ski and the snow and helps the ski glide better. Too much vibration though and the ski is unstable. The faster you go the worse it gets. To counter this vibration the manufacturers put special materials or vibration damping systems into their skis to absorb or reduce vibration.

Hi Performance

These skis are the Porsche, Ferrari and Corvettes of the industry. They are the direct result of hundreds of thousands of dollars of research and development, World Cup racing experience and the finest engineering and design minds in the ski world. For a ski junky, skiing and testing these skis is like getting to take a few laps at Indy in a Penske car. One fascinating thing about high performance skis is how incredibly easy the are to ski on. There’s no squirreliness and no chatter. They turn as quick as you want and they go where you point them. Going fast on these skis is like riding in a Cadillac on fresh new pavement. They’re impressively smooth and quiet at high speeds.

Most of the skis in the high performance category can be skied by anyone from an intermediate level and above. The only reason someone at an intermediate level or above wouldn’t want to buy a high performance ski is the price. If you don’t ski that often it might be hard to justify spending more money. If you can afford it though, a high performance ski will be the quickest and easiest way to improve your skiing.