Top Seven Clues It’s Time To Buy New Skis
7. Your skis are older than your dog.
You might think your eight-year-old boards are “fine!,” after all, they look like modern skis, but while ski improvements haven’t exactly been revolutionary of late—with the possible exception of Peak’s KeyHole Technology™—each passing year yields incremental advancements that cumulatively make for a better experience. Today’s all-mountain skis are more versatile than they were five years ago. They make skiing more fun.
6. Like your pooch, skis age in dog years.
Four or five seasons of hard skiing (or less, depending on the model) with summers spent hanging in a garage take a toll on wood and fiberglass. The cores soften and dry out. This weathering and wear presents itself as a loss of stability at speeds and often a loss of edge hold on hard snow. If your skis don’t feel all that confidence inspiring anymore, it might be that you skied the life out of them. At Peak, we extend ski life by sandwiching our premium wood cores with titanal (an aluminum alloy with a trace of titanium in it) that not only adds damping and torsional strength for performance, but also slows that drying process by sealing the wood.
5. Your old skis are one trick ponies.
Only a few years ago you had to choose between hard-charging skis that could carve—or loose and playful fare. Today, skis like the Peak 104 offer what we at Peak call “accessible power.” They’re just as adept surfing in powder or sliding around with the kids on the bunny hill as they are arcing mach schnell GS turns on hardpack. Some ski designers call this concept “balance”—all the attributes of a modern ski working in concert. At Peak, it’s a core belief that stems from Bode’s World Cup days: Great skis aren’t tough to ski on. Great skis are fun to ski on.
4. Your skiing improved.
The broader ski industry carries baggage from the 1990s when experts bought race skis, intermediates bought softer race skis, and beginners bought injected foam core garbage. But just as anyone can ride a high-end bike and have a great time, today, any skier past the “never ever” snowplowing phase can pilot high-quality skis. (See the entry above about great skis being easy to ski on.) If you bought cheaper skis because you thought they lined up better with your ability—or you did so to save cash—you might now be out-skiing your gear. You’ll know this is true if you feel the skis squirreling when you’re chasing faster friends, or if you find that you can carve a clean turn on perfect corduroy but can’t get the skis to hook up on hardpack—even after a fresh tune.
3. Your skiing has mellowed.
At Peak Skis we get this question all the time: “I’m getting older. I’m not skiing as fast or as hard as I used to. Do you think I can drop down in length?” With rare exceptions—exceedingly tall people—the answer is almost always “yes, you can.” But think about that move before you commit. Longer skis offer a bit more stability at top speeds and, because there’s more surface area, they can give you a touch more flotation in deep snow in open country too. Shorter skis, meanwhile, are easier to turn on groomers at slower speeds and they’re also more maneuverable in trees and bumps. If that last bit sounds appealing, you might be ready for some new—shorter—skis.
2. You’ve discovered new terrain.
As amazing as they can be, there’s more to skiing than blower powder days or perfect groomers. The folks that rip, ski untracked snow when it’s available, but if it hasn’t snowed in a week, they’re out on the hill on their 88s arcing turns on corduroy. Contrariwise, the mountains are full of diehard groomed snow skiers that recently purchased a pair of 110s and now line up for first chair on the big days. Inside that continuum there are dozens of snow surfaces worth skiing. The beauty of the sport is that there’s always something new to master. “Even on days with ‘sub-optimal’ conditions,” says Peak’s director of skiing Chris Davenport, “I find myself profoundly satisfied that I made it out. I rode the lifts for only a few chalky turns in the alpine or hit the skin track only to find breakable crust in the backcountry. But I made my turns and I’m a better skier because of days like that.”
1. You owe it to yourself.
Do you really need a reason to treat yourself to a new pair of skis? At Peak, we’ve lived our lives saying “Hell no!” to that question. Besides, in personal economic terms, a family of four can drop the equivalent coin of a new pair of skis at Whole Foods in two weeks. Let ’em eat rice and beans and get some new skis coming!