Types of Snow Skis

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Skis, for snow skiing, can be made of wood, metal, and/or plastic and attach to one's ski boots with bindings. Here's information on the different types of snow skis, including alpine, telemark, reverse camber, twin tip, telemark and cross country skis.

Ski Design

While there are different types of skis, the general design is the same. The front of the ski, which is typically pointed or rounded, is called the "tip," the middle of the ski is called the "waist," and the rear is called the "tail." You can measure a ski by its length, width, camber (the shape of the ski's edge as viewed from the side) and sidecut (the shape of the ski's edge as viewed from the top or bottom).

Types of Skis

The type of skis you use depends on the type of skiing you do. Below are a few common types of skis:

Alpine Skis: In alpine skiing, the bindings attach at the toe and heel. Alpine skis are shorter and wider than cross country skis. They are wider at the tip and tail than at the waist.

Reverse Camber: Reverse camber skis are alpine skis that curve upwards at the tip and tail, whereas traditional skis have tips and tails that press into the snow. These skis are useful when skiing on very soft powder snow.

Twin Tip Skis: Twin Tip skis are alpine skis that turn up at both ends; their design makes it easier for skiers to ski backwards and perform various tricks.

Telemark: In telemark skiing, the bindings only attach at the toe. Telemark skis may be lighter and softer than alpine skis, but generally have a similar shape.

Cross-Country Skis: Cross-country skis are light and thin, with relatively straight edges. They are typically longer and narrower than alpine skis (in order to reduce drag).

Cross-country ski bindings attach only at the toe. The skis are usually coated in wax to decrease friction, but some cross-country skis also have patterns on the bottom to increase friction when sliding backwards
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