In this article, we are going to investigate the different ski types. What ski is best for what terrain and purpose? Let’s have a look.

Why is it important to understand different ski types? In a nutshell, you need to know the different choices available when selecting the right ski for your needs. Please note that there are many different categorizations of ski types.

This ski-type categorization I present here is a basic one. We won’t go into detail this time, because for most skiers it is enough to understand the main differences between ski types.

Five Basic Ski Types

In short, there are five main categories of skis. I will here define each category in more detail.

All-mountain ski 

All-mountain ski is the biggest category of ski types. Most skis are all-mountain skis because most skiers prefer having one pair of skis that can be used on different terrain. All-mountain skis are general-purpose skis that can be used on different terrain with varying snow conditions. All-mountain skis are nice tools for beginners and intermediate skiers, but experienced skiers usually require higher performance. All-mountain skis are typically easier to handle than racing skis or special purpose skis.

Racing Skis

As the name indicates, racing skis are for races. Racing skis provide high performance, but they are typically harder to control. Racing skis can be great tools for race skiers and experienced skiers, but for beginners and intermediate skiers they can actually cause harm, because racing skis require very good skills from the skier.

Special purpose skis

Special purpose skis are designed for very special use, such as new school ski tricks or freestyle jumping. Probably the best known and most purchased special purpose ski is the twin tip ski, which can be recognized from its curved-up tail. Twin tip skis were originally invented to provide easier backwards landing. They quickly became very popular, and now all major ski brands provide twin tip skis in their lineup.

Powder ski 

Powder ski is a ski type designed purely for backcountry riding and powder skiing. One could consider powder ski as a special type of ski, but because powder hunting has become so popular, the powder ski has become its own main ski category. Powder skis are very wide, sometimes almost as wide as snowboards. Powder skis are designed to float atop powder snow. If you are heading to the backcountries of big mountains, the powder ski is definitely the right tool. Powder skis are sometimes called freeride skis.

Telemark ski

Telemark ski is a very special ski type, because with telemark skis your heels can be released. Telemark skiing was invented by Lappish people in Norway, but during the last 20 years it has become very popular in Europe and North America.

These are the five basic ski types. Which one(s) do you prefer?