This year I bought my own skis.
I’ve had my own boots for a long time (which are the most important piece of gear to own, in my opinion). I hadn’t bought my own skis for two main reasons: they are tricky to transport and the technology advances every year. As we would be skiing regularly this year, it made sense to buy skis to avoid the cost and time of hiring them every week.
I searched long and hard for the perfect ski for me, visiting stores and reading countless reviews. I first had to decide what type of skier I am. Am I an all-mountain or on-piste skier? Do I like a hard or soft ski? Do I want to go in the park? Do I attack the mountain, or want a ski that turns for me? Will I be mostly skiing on powder, slush or ice?
As usual, I wanted to be in the middle ground. I would describe myself as a skier who wants to ski everywhere on the mountain, who wants to attack the black runs and cruise down the blue ones. I like to explore in the trees and fly over jumps in the park. If there’s powder, I’ll be the first to make tracks on it, but realistically I’ll mostly be skiing on ice and slush.
I hit the web hard, finding On the Snow‘s YouTube reviews to be particularly useful. In my research I was surprised at a few things. I was particularly surprised at how wide skis have become underfoot. I thought 90mm underfoot was a powder ski, but this was placed across all categories. I also learnt about tip and tail rocker, which borrows technology from water sports to offer superior float in the soft snow and increased ease of turn initiation with less chance of catching an edge.
However, there is only so much you can learn about a ski from a shop or the internet. You need to get it on the snow and make some turns.
The first weekend we headed to the snow, I went via Jindabyne Sports and saw they had a beautiful new pair of last year’s Volkl Kenja skis on sale. I hired Kenjas for the day and got them on the snow. Although there wasn’t much to ski on, any opportunity I had to get a good turn in, the Kenjas never let me down. They really held onto a turn, flew over any jump, floated on the slush, glided over ice, and just felt great!
I was going to demo a range of skis – but when I found the one, I knew!
My 163cm Volkl Kenja skis have an 18.2m turning radius, and measure 127 – 87 – 106. They are a much wider ski than I have skied on before, but they feel anything but bulky.
Also, they are so light! The marker bindings barely add any weight and mean I am not too burdened for the dreaded trek to the car in the afternoon.