Ski Buying Guide - Width and Camber

Posted on June 28, 2017 at 02:07 AM

Ski Width and Camber

Atomic Bent-Chetler

When choosing a pair of skis, it's important to consider what type of skiing you will be using them for and how you want them to perform. Skis are designed for different snow conditions and terrain. The width and camber of a ski are two of the major features that affect the performance of a ski. Once you have determined what type of skiing you will be doing, you can decide on a suitable width and camber type. This will lead you to your perfect ski design.


The most commonly used ski width measurement is taken at the waist of the ski, directly underfoot. This is usually the thinnest contact point of the ski. Ski width is measured in millimeters (mm).

Ski Waist Width

<95 mm - Skis with a waist width under 95 mm are meant to be skied on piste. These skis are quicker from edge to edge and great for carving, park skiing, and groomed runs.

95-110 mm - Waist widths in this range are generally used for all mountain skis. Their medium sized waist width makes them versatile, capable of taking the skier on and off piste effectively. They don't significantly compromise the skiers ability to turn on piste or venture into powder.

>110 mm - These wide skis are designed for skiing powder and big mountain terrain. Wide skis provide flotation and stability in big mountain terrain but compromise the skiers ability to turn on piste.

Width measurements are also taken at the fattest point at the front of the ski, as well as the fattest point at the tail of the ski. Width measurements are typically displayed by these three numbers. For example, the Salomon QST 106 in 188 length has width measurements of 142-106-127. The first number being the width at the fattest point of the tip, the middle number being the waist width, and the third number being the fattest part of the tail. Notice that the name of the ski (Salomon QST 106) includes the waist width. It is particularly common for ski companies to include the waist width in the name of their ski these days.


Camber refers to the profile of the ski in terms of it's curvature and contact with the snow. The two general camber categories are: Traditional Camber and Rocker

Traditional Camber - Skis with camber, when resting flat on the snow, curve up in the middle of the ski away from the snow. When pressure is applied downwards by the skier, the ski flexes resulting in a shorter turn radius, increased edge hold and better carving performance. Camber skis are designed to be skied on piste and excel on groomed runs.

Camber Skis

Rocker/Reverse Camber - Moving along the ski towards the nose and/or tail, rockered skis curve up away from the snow. This design helps the ski float over soft snow, powder, and variable snow conditions. Rocker also helps to prevent the tip and tail of the ski from hooking and dragging on soft snow. This increased swivel effect makes rockered skis easier to turn on off-piste conditions.

Ski Rocker

Combinations - Nowadays, ski manufacturers are using designs that combine camber profiles, giving way to shapes like Flat, Rocker-Camber-Rocker, and Rocker-Camber. It's common, especially for all mountain skis, to have rocker or early rise (another name for slight rocker) at just the tip, or tip and tail of the ski, with camber under the skiers foot. This design allows the ski to carve on piste while preserving it's off-piste abilities.

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