The profile shape of a ski is a primary determinant for how a ski will interact with the snow, making profile an important feature to consider when selecting a pair of skis. But with the seemingly inexhaustible supply of proprietary profile shapes that debut year after year, choosing the right profile can seem like a daunting task. Worry not, the Backcountry video crew caught up with gear guru Wally Phillips so he could cut through the fluff and break down the basic know-how you need to choose the perfect ski profile.
Hey everyone! Wally here from Backcountry.com at the beautiful Snowbridge Ski Resort. And I’m here to talk to you about the different camera profiles and skis. So what I’m talking about is camera profile or how some other people refer to it as “rocker.” What I’m talking about is when you lay a ski flat on the snow surface, you’ll see how it interacts. There are a bunch of different camera profiles out there, but we’ve broken them down into four different categories; traditional camber, directional rocker, hybrid rocker, and full rocker.
So with that, let’s move into traditional camber. This Nordica Fire Arrow right here is a traditional camber. You can see when I press it flat. The ski edge is flat from contact point all the way from here, all the way down to the tail. What that means is maximum edge control. This is awesome for any hard snow conditions and just ripping those sweet groomer turns.
Moving on to directional rocker, As you can see with the Dynastar Cham 107, you’re still going to have a bit of that traditional profile underfoot for that edge grip, but as you can see the shovel is splayed upward a little bit more. When I squeeze the ski flat, the contact point in the tip is going to move backward and then the shovel is going to be able to plane pretty well over any soft snow or variable conditions. You’ll usually see this type of camber profile in your wider all mountain skis or your narrow big mountain free ride skis.
So now, we’ll move on to the hybrid rocker which is shown here by the Folsom Kingpin. You have your traditional camber profile right in the middle here for your edge grip, but as you can see, the tip and tail is splayed upward a little bit more, hence the term, hybrid rocker. You want to squeeze the ski together like so. The middle of the ski engages with the snow while the tip and tail contact points come closer to the waist. Now, there are a ton of different hybrid rocker profiles made from each manufacturer, and they all differ in rocker length and upturn. So choose the best one for you in accordance with how much soft snow you see over the course of a season.
Finally, we come to the full rocker camber profile shown here through the 4FRNT Renegades. Now, with this particular profile there is no traditional camber underneath the foot. So when I squeeze the ski together in the middle, you’re going to see rocker from the tip and to the tail. You’re free to float and slarve over any type of fresh snow condition without any of the ski getting patchy or getting divey on you. Now, you want to be careful with this one. Since it’s full rocker, it’s a little bit nichey because it takes away from the versatility of the ski. So if you’re looking at this type of profile, be sure you’re more often than not getting into fresh snow conditions.
So that covers the four basic profile types. So if you have any questions on which ski has what profile or which profile would be best for you, please log on to Backcountry.com and call or chat in. Our knowledgeable Gearheads will be willing to help you with anything you need to know.