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Ski Equipment Frequently Asked Questions

Skiing for beginners

Skiing can seem like an exclusive activity. If you’re new to the sport, but you have friends who are avid skiers, then you’ve probably been a part of many conversations where you feel like you’re on the outside looking in. It’s almost like skiers are all part of an invisible club. They have their own lingo, they get super hyped every time it snows, and they’re gone pretty much every weekend during the winter. The only way to gain access to this VIP club is to, well, ski.

If you’re ready to take the plunge, congrats! You’ve made a good decision. And you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got skis, boots, bindings, ski jackets, goggles, helmets, and poles -- virtually everything you need to get started on your skiing journey. So whether you’re looking for powder skis, or an all-mountain set up, look no further than SidelineSwap to get you ready to hit the slopes in any type of conditions.

How to choose a pair of skis

The first, most obvious thing to consider is ski length. The length of your skis is mainly determined by your height. A general rule of thumb for beginner/intermediate all-mountain skiers is that skis should land somewhere between your nose and the middle of your forehead when you hold them upright. That being said, different types of skiing will require you to use longer or shorter skis.

If you’re a park skier, for example, you should buy a pair of skis that are slightly on the short side. Cross country skis are exceptionally long, and will stand well over your head when you hold them upright. Powder skis should be slightly on the longer side, but generally speaking they shouldn’t be too much taller than you are. Powder skis are fatter and typically heavier compared to all-mountain skis, which helps you carve through heaps of ungroomed snow.

Most popular ski brands

Some of the most popular ski brands include Rossignol, K2, Line, Volkl, Armada and Salomon. Rossignol has recently introduced an innovative new Air Tip Technology that makes skis more lightweight, but also more durable. Line is known for making skis that can be used on various type of terrain, ranging from powder to all-mountain skis. Volkl is a German company with a long history, known for its lightweight, nimble skis. Armada's diverse line of skis offers both beginner and advanced skis for skiers of all skill levels. Salomon's QST skis are light but rigid, making them perfect for powder conditions.

How to size ski boots

Ski boot sizing is important to get right. There’s nothing worse than having boots that are too tight, painful and hard to put on and take off. Along those same lines, you also don’t want your ski boots to be too big. Having too much wiggle room in your ski boots will decrease the amount of control you have. Based on your skiing ability - beginner, intermediate, or expert - the type of boot you need varies. The flex of a ski boot refers to how easy or hard it is to “flex” the boot forward. The higher the flex of a ski boot, the stiffer it is. Ski racers, for example, need very stiff ski boots to provide them maximum control at high speeds. It’s important to note that flex ratings aren’t always universal between different brands of ski boots. In other words, an 85 flex may feel differently in a pair of Lange ski boots versus a pair of Atomic boots. As a general rule of thumb, beginner skiers will typically use a lower flex and advanced skiers -- who are taking on more intense terrain -- will need a higher flex. Another thing to note for ski boot sizing is that ski boots are measured on a Mondopoint scale. The idea behind the Mondopoint sizing system is to create a boot sizing system that is universal for skiers all around the world. To find your Mondopoint size, simply measure the length of your foot in centimeters. Be sure to measure each foot, and then size to your smaller foot. Ski boot fitters can always stretch a boot if you have one foot that’s bigger than the other, but it’s virtually impossible to “shrink” ski boots down to size.

Best ski boot brands

The best ski boot will be different for each individual, but some of the most popular ski boot brands include Salomon, Lange, Head and Atomic. Salomon ski boots are ideal for intermediate skiers who want to focus on their downhill technique. For advanced skiers, Lange ski boots offer great functionality without compromising comfort. Offering versatility, Atomic ski boots can take you from skiing to hiking up trails easily, with their lightweight flexing design. Head ski boots are ideal for all levels of skiers, as their skis can accommodate racers and beginners alike. Other great options include Tecnica ski boots and Nordica ski boots.

Ski jacket sizing

Depending on your preference, a range of fit options are available for ski jackets, including slim, regular and baggy fits. You can customize your ski jacket sizing further by selecting your desired length. A waist length offers a precise fit, suitable for skiers who wish to reduce bulk. The most common fit is hip length, as this length is versatile for a range of skiing activities and provides coverage without being too long. Thigh length is usually the longest fit available and offers the most coverage, perfect for keeping snow away from your body.

Most popular ski jacket brands

Once you have chosen your desired fit and length, the next choice you face is what brand to select. There are a number of popular brands including Columbia, Spyder, Salomon and Helly Hansen. Columbia ski jackets are rough and ready for action, with a number of insulation options available to suit your chosen climate. For windproof and waterproof jackets, Spyder jackets offer the ultimate protection while being breathable for a comfortable fit. Salomon ski jackets are designed based on simplicity and efficiency, creating jackets that are functional and dependable. Offering both junior and adult sizes, Helly Hansen ski jackets are available in a range of styles and colors so you're sure to find one that meets your needs.

Best ski goggle brands

There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to buying ski goggles, the biggest being lense type. There are two different types of ski goggle lenses: cylindrical or spherical. Beyond this, there are a number of different features available, depending on your requirements. Polarized lenses are better at cutting out glare than a standard mirrored lens, for example. While ski goggles are designed to prevent fogging, some goggles will have a more resilient anti-fog coating than others. If you’re someone who skis in snow or shine, you might consider buying a frame that allows you to interchange your lenses. That way, you can wear lowlights on foggy days when visibility is low, and polarized lenses during a bluebird day to keep the sun out of your eyes.

What are the best ski goggles available on the market today? Smith I/O ChromaPop goggles are definitely a solid choice. These offer skiers superb optics, a snug fit, comfortable ventilation and a frame that supports interchangeable lenses. Anon's M3 MFI goggles are also a great choice, boasting the most efficient lens-changing system currently available on the market. Other quality brands to check out include Oakley, Shred, Spy and Giro.