How to Choose Downhill Skis

Gearing up to make some turns? Drop into this infographic to get the inside line on the main categories of downhill skis: backcountry, all mountain, powder, and park and pipe. Plus find out why rocker is awesome and how to choose the right ski length.

How to Choose Downhill Skis


These boards let you escape the crowds and head off to find the untracked stashes that await skiers willing to hike a bit. Built lighter, and designed to allow attachment of climbing skins for traction. Many of these skis are fun, progressive designs featuring all the new tech.

All Mountain

Searching for one ski to rule them all? Start here. All-mountain skis are designed to work well in a wide range of conditions, and are at home nearly anywhere on the mountain. Typically they’re mid-fat, rockered, easy to turn and a blast to ski.


Powder boards have gotten beautifully fat over the last few years, and there’s good reason. Fat skis let you float on top of powder, effectively changing the whole game. Add some rocker, and skiing powder becomes a glorious, floaty experience that’ll paste a perma-grin firmly on your face.

Park and Pipe

Park skis are built with air in mind. Light constructions reduce swing weights, and damp tips and tails allow smooth, buttery landings. Most park-and-pipe skis are symmetrical, allowing seamless switch-stance riding. These skis will take on the whole mountain on a non-pow day, but they’re really happiest in the park.

Find more information on how to choose downhill skis from the REI experts.