How to Choose a Park Ski Setup


We have a one of the largest selections of ski equipment on the web, a super knowledgeable staff and expert guides to help you make an informed decision.


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!

Jibs


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:

Flex: Soft Flex Rating
This indicates a soft and ‘buttery’ core construction that allows the ski to bend easily, smearing turns, buttering knuckles, and pulling off style-heavy presses on boxes and rails.

Profile: Rockered Tips & Tails
A rockered profile allows for effortless maneuverability and lowers the risk of snagging an edge at the tip or tail.

Width: Average to Semi-Wide (85mm to 105mm)
Depending on your style, a semi-wide platform provides extra stability and delivers a more surf-like feel.

Length: Slightly Shorter Length
Relative to all-mountain skis, a slightly shorter ski length increases maneuverability, and lessens the swing weight through spins and flips.

Jumps



Going big usually means going fast, and hitting warp speed on a pair of soft and fully rockered noodles is less than ideal. While getting the right park skis may not have you hucking like Bobby Brown at Aspen during the X Games, it's a good start. 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: Stiff Flex Rating
A stiffer flex provides better edging and more stability off the lip of jumps and for big air, high speed landings.

Profile: Camber
On the groomed and compact snow of terrain parks, a fully cambered profile provides the most reliable ‘pop’ and precision as you load up for tricks and carve off jumps.

Width: Narrower to Average (80-95 mm)
A thinner waist width allows for more precise control carving into and off of jumps, while also offering stronger edgehold upon landing.

Length: Typical
It’s usually best to stick with a typical all-mountain ski length. Go too short and you’ll compromise stability at speed and on landings, but too long and you’ll experience excessive swing weight through in-air maneuvers.
"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

A Bit of Both


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:

Flex: Moderate Flex
The preference for stiffness (or lack thereof) varies from rider to rider, however most riders looking to get solid performance on jumps as well as rails/boxes opt for a moderate flex rating. This allows the ski to be forgiving without subjecting yourself to washing out on bigger landings.

Profile: Hybrid Rocker (Rocker/Camber/Rocker)
Rocker in the tip and tail allows for easy turn initiation and a lower likelihood of snagging a tip or tail on rails while camber underfoot provides pop and carving ability.

Width: Average to Semi-Wide (85-105 mm)
Wide enough to provide stability yet narrow enough to carve and edge.

Length: Average to Shorter Length
Depends on personal preference; shorter planks will spin more easily while longer skis will provide a bit more stability on jump landings.
"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.

This is evo. We are a ski, snowboard, wake, skate, bike, surf and clothing online retailer with physical stores in SeattlePortland and Denver. Our goal is to provide you with great information to make your purchase easy.

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.