The Modern Ski
Ski Construction – Putting It Together
Better understanding of chemistry and fabrication technologies has created the ability to make complex materials very thin and bind them with other layers of material. This is reflected in modern skis which are universally sandwiches: thin layers of materials bonded together.
These layers offer manufacturers a wide set of materials to create a wide set of performance characteristics. Softer materials for powder skis, harder ones for front side skis.
|Layers of your ski||The layers or slices that
make up your ski
|Top layer of ski||-A very thin protective layer
-Graphics generally printed
on this layer
|Composite materials (Aramid,
Fiberglass, Titanal, etc.)
generally used as wraps
to create a ski’s torsional’s
|-Core||Middle of the ski|
|The core as the name
implies is the center of the ski.
Manufacturers use the
core to create stiffness
and flex patterns.
|Various layers||Rubber or other materials
layered in strips or patterns
to dampen ski vibrations
|-Base||Bottom or base of ski||The sliding surface. This
base material combined with
wax creates the coefficient
|Sides & Tips|
|-Sidewalls||Edge of the ski above|
the metal edge.
Can be a true sidewall,
or a wrap.
techniques help create
torsional rigidity and
protection for the skis
|-Edge||Bottom edge of ski||The metal edge that
is skied on.
With this information, a ski buyer can better analyze how a manufacturer constructs their ski. If you’re looking for carving skis, make sure the manufacturer is using materials (see Ski Construction Materials section) that support torsional stiffness. If you’re a bit older and want to minimize vibrations, see if the manufacturer is using dampening layers.
As always, Michale and I recommend that you always test or demo a ski before buying one. Regardless of how much you know about a ski, your skiing ability is key to the performance you’ll get from that ski. I’ve skied Michael’s carving skis which tend to be narrower, have minimal rockers, and a riser plate. I cannot get these skis on edge and hold them across varying terrain. I like my rockers and get little performance benefit from the riser plate. I’m just not good enough to ski his skis.
It should be noted that others might say that I could learn or grow into these skis. There may be truth to this. However, if you’re taking a GNASA, do this a season or two before your trip. Trying to grow into a ski on a GNASA is not recommended.
Elan Ski Manufacturing Examples