Racers may loathe it and mothers fear it, but in recent years park and pipe skiing has overhauled the general perception of the sport, reclaiming a growing percentage of today’s youth from the sideways-sliding ranks. To recognize the fun of freestyle skiing is relatively easy, but deciphering the seemingly endless array of park and pipe ski offerings in order to find the right setup can often prove difficult.
Picking out your ideal park ski, first and foremost, is dependent on the style of riding you’re most keen on. While the overarching characteristic of a twin tipped profile is exhibited on most freestyle skis these days, there are a number of variables that best accommodate more specific riding styles and demands. For simplicity’s sake, we’ve generalized park and pipe skiing into three categories:
Remember, these recommendations are not set in stone. Everyone has their own unique riding style and gear preferences!
If you’re looking for a super playful ski that you can smear through turns, spin easily, and butter across the mountain’s natural and man-made features, then this is the category for you. Jibby skis allow you to have a ton of fun without having to break the sound barrier. If this sounds like your cup of tea, here’s what to look for:
Going big usually means going fast, and hitting warp speed on a pair of soft and fully rockered noodles is less than ideal. Skiers who find themselves migrating towards the halfpipe or the proline jumps, as well as those who ski with the mantra of “go big or go home” tend to favor setups with these traits:
"Flex is one of the most important parts of a park ski. I ski two different flex skis depending on what I am doing: For jumping I prefer a stiffer ski that feels more solid on landings and at high speeds (Candide 1.0). For rails and just messing around having fun on smaller features I ski a little wider, softer ski (Candide 2.0). Depending on the day those are my go to everyday skis."
- evoCollective skier Tim McChesney
If both jumps AND jibs are in your repertoire — or if you’re merely looking to try your hand at all facets park skiing has to offer -- you’ll want a ski that offers a blend of the aforementioned characteristics. Here’s what to look for:
"My favorite park ski profile is camber under the foot with a little bit of rocker in the tip and tail. The camber under the foot is so important for the ski to feel snappy and have good pop. The little bit of rocker in the tip and tail helps with take offs on slushy jumps and makes the ski a little more fun without it feeling to soft on both ends."
- evoCollective skier Tim McChesney
*A note on selecting Park & Pipe ski boots: When deciding on a pair of ski boots, it’s worth noting that preference varies dramatically from skier to skier. Slightly softer boots tend to be more forgiving, and thus ideal for the not-always-perfect landings that are inherently involved with progression in the park. Ex-racers and skiers that prefer an ultra-precise feel with quick ski reaction will prefer a stiff ski boot. Remember, a softer flexing boot does not mean it should fit loosely. evo recommends you work with a bootfitter in order to achieve the perfect snug fit.
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Still have questions? Please give our customer care team a call at 866-386-1590, Customer Care Hours. They can help you find the right skis to fit your needs.