April 30, 2010, Newsletter Issue #296: Female Ski Design: Core and Binding Position

Tip of the Week

If you ever get the chance to visit the history museums of Breckenridge Colorado, you might see some rather amusing pictures of female skiers in the 1800s. Back in those days, women skied in their long dresses. Needless to say, there were no female-specific skis, just as there was no female ski apparel. It took the ski industry some time to come a long way. Female specific skis and boots only became popular in 1999. Nonetheless, skis and boots designed for women are definitely here to stay. Let's take a look at their unique design.

Since women weigh less than men, for the most part, female-specific skis have a softer flex and a lighter weight than their male counterparts. In many cases, the core of these skis is made from lightweight wood or foam, which makes them easier to flex, and therefore easier to turn.

Because of women's wider hips, smaller feet and lower center of gravity, they often have difficulty putting pressure on the tips of their skis. Some manufacturers have rectified this problem by mounting bindings 1-2 centimeters in front of the center of the ski. This brings the female skier's center of mass closer to the tips, thereby allowing her to exert more pressure.

If you are a female skier whose bindings are not mounted in this forward position, you can speak to the ski shop about adjusting them. This can be helpful if you find yourself in the "backseat" while skiing. However, every female skier is different, so ask a ski instructor to evaluate your skills before changing the position of your bindings.

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