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Womens vs Mens Skis: Do Not Judge a Ski By Its Color

When a woman visits us to buy new equipment, the most common questions asked are, “What’s the difference between men’s and women’s skis?” “Why should I buy women’s skis?” “Are women’s skis just smaller, pink versions of the men’s model?”

When ski gear divided along gender lines over a decade ago, women’s specific gear was wimpy. While the pretty graphics and shorter lengths were appealing, the softened cores left many athletic ladies wanting more.

Luckily, ski companies realized how powerful a female skier can be if her gear compliments her frame. For example, our weight is distributed farther back when we are in an athletic stance. By widening the tip of the ski relative to the waist, the ski becomes more responsive to the muscle activation women naturally achieve. A shift forward of the mounting point allows for smoother turn initiation without compromising form. One pair of women’s specific ski that is sure to be a big hit is the Dynastar Legend 80W. This ski is built from the same materials and mold as its male counterpart, but is available in a narrower waist and with a more attractive top sheet.

Of course, any woman who has ever bought a pair of jeans realizes there is no such thing as one size fits all, and some women prefer or require lengths only available in traditionally “men’s” skis.

Our legs and feet are built differently from men’s, too. On average, women have lower and wider calves, narrower heals and wider forefeet. Men’s ski boots can squeeze our calves and limit blood flow to our feet, leaving us cold, cramped and with less carving power. Women’s ski boots feature a lower cuff, more padding and a more comfortable foot bed. One extremely popular ladies ski boot among performance oriented female skiers, is the Lange XT 90W. Fortunately, this performance boot does not sacrifice comfort.

If you were blessed with long, thin legs, you still may want to consider a men’s boot to optimize your leverage. There is no rule against mixing and matching women’s and men’s equipment. No matter which gear you ultimately choose, I think we can all agree it’s great to see ski companies finally offering options for a range of ski styles, body types and genders.

All images courtesy Rossignol Skis/Tristan Shu


Kayte Suslavich learned to ski before she could walk and has been a ski patroller for 10 years. Given the option, she would spend every waking minute hiking or backcountry skiing, but since that won’t fund her gear habit, she’s also working her way through medical school. If you have a few extra hours and need someone to talk your ear off about ski gear or tell you gruesome ski patrol stories aimed at getting you to wear a helmet, get in touch.

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Ann Barry - May 30, 2017

Informative, well-written article. She is so cool.

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