Mountainair Verbier


Emma Skiing

Find the Best Pair of Downhill Skis for any Condition

Are you looking for a new pair of skis this season? 

Thinking of trying out something new or just time for an upgrade?

Whether you’re just discovering the joys of skiing, or are simply tired of hitting the slopes on the same old skis, it’s important to get the right equipment for the job. 

So what is the difference between ‘All-mountain’ skis, ‘Powder’ skis and ‘Carving’ skis?

And how do you know which ones are right for you?

Read on to find out what you need to consider when choosing your next pair of skis…

It’s All About the Terrain…

To get the best performance from your equipment, it’s important to choose a model that’s been built to handle the conditions you’ll be skiing in.

Each terrain listed below has a slightly different ski design associated with it. 

You’ll find that many skis cross-over these categories, and that’s a good thing for most people. 

If you’re ever unsure, don’t be afraid to ask an expert in-store, who will be more than happy to help you out. 


Piste skis are a good place to start for beginner to intermediate skiers, who are sticking to the well-groomed piste.

Designed with a narrow waist for maneuverability and tight turns, these skis tend to be a good balance between performance and ease-of-use.

Piste skiing


‘All-Mountain’ is probably the most misleading term used to describe skis, as it encompasses a wide range of ski designs suitable for many different terrains.

For simplicity, all-mountain skis can be whatever skis you like, as long as they fit your style and skill level, most of the time, in most conditions.

Although it might seem a little vague, these types of ski can be great ‘all-rounders’ for those that like to explore different terrains.

The best advice is to pay attention to the way you ski and think about where you spend most of your time on your slope, then pick the skis that are best tailored for your circumstances.


If you’re a beginner, these skis are not for you.

Usually the reserve of the experts with a penchant for flying, Big Mountain or Free-ride skis are designed for the high performance at top speeds.

If you’re an expert skier with a powerful physique, a true big mountain ski will allow you to take your skiing to the next level.

If you are going to grab yourself a pair of Big Mountain skis, then do be wary.

Many of the larger brands call all their widest skis ‘big-mountain’, but these will not deliver quite the same performance boost that a real big-mountain ski can.

Big mountain skiing


As the name implies, these skis are built for pounding through fresh off-piste powder.

The most obvious feature of powder skis is their ‘fat-waist’ (middle). 

This helps to boost flotation and increase lift in soft, deep snow.

This is where you’ll see the most innovative designs, with some going as far as making the waist wider than the tips.

Most also come with lots of ‘rocker’, which means that you’ll have lots of flex to help you manoeuvre in deep snow. 

It does also mean however, that turns on-piste will be harder, although many powder skis today are more than versatile enough to handle harder snow.

Freeride / powder skiing

All things considered…

The most important thing to remember when buying a new pair of skis is to go with what feels comfortable for you. 

There’s a wide range of variation and ‘grey-area’ when trying to categorise skis, and that’s without considering individual skier’s opinions!

Don’t let anyone tell you which skis are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, because it all comes down to your personal preference. 

The best advice we have is to do your research, and then go and spend some time on the snow on a few different sets, to see which works best for you.  

Ski selection