Friday, 29 June 2007

Summer - time to think about skis, skiing kit, and good online bargains

This is a brief article about the selection of skis and ski boots for Alpine (or otherwise known as Nordic) skiing.

Skiing is a hugely popular sport and gets more and more popular every year. There are ski resorts in countries across the world, such as North America, France & the rest of Europe, Australia, New Zealand and even in India.

This article is directed more towards the users: the people who have been skiing several times before and are now starting to think about buying their own equipment.

I am assuming that you have items of clothing such as skiing trousers and a good quality ski jacket.

The first item of ski equipment any skier should buy is a pair of boots. Important the boot is hard to exaggerate -- it is the only thing keeping you attached to your skis, it is the most important aspect of your comfort during the day (everyone remembers having an experience e.g. cold or too tight or otherwise uncomfortable). These should be chosen carefully -- there are many on the market and, while they all look different, they have differing abilities.

10 years ago you would have had to buy your ski boots on the mountain, because you would have wanted to try out various types and shapes. These days, the choice is easier as most boot manufacturers now sell them with mouldable linings. These allow the manufacture to sell a high quality boot, designed to fit a wide range of feet. When you buy the boots, you insert your foot into the boot and by various means, the boot liner is heated up around your foot and moulds itself to the correct shape. This means that the proportion of badly fitting boots is much lower than in the past. So, I suggest buying goods from a reputable online source, to take advantage of the price benefits. There will also be a guarantee of some sort so you can be sure that if in the rare likelihood that the boot does not fit, you have some recourse.

Choosing skis is more sophisticated. These change every year -- you should only buy a pair of skis if you are skiing a great amount, such as more than twice a year. I know people who ski four times a year and still prefer to rent skis because then they are always up-to-date with the latest technology (even if it does not make all that much of a difference!).

Personally, I like to spend my time choosing skis and then enjoy the ones I have chosen for a season or two. But most skis are designed to last a full season which is around 12 weeks. This could correspond to six years worth of use if you go for a fortnight every year.

Most users will not be able to tell a great difference between the various types of skis on the market, so they also can be bought online for a good price. Just ensure that you choose ones which have good reviews and are well made from a reputable manufacturer such as Salomon or Rossignol. I would recommend the Salomon Crossmaxes, or the Rossignol 9X as excellent skis for most good skiers. These will not be perfect for everyone, but if you don't have a strong preference for e.g. slalom racing (in which case get the Rossie 9S) then you cannot go wrong with these skis.

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