Tech Info

Jargon, Concepts, Buzzwords explained, sort of.

How do I pick the best ski for me?

Today there is a ski out there that is built just for you. There are a number of factors that come up when thinking of purchasing a new ski. Where do I ski? Where do I want to ski? What makes me happiest when l'm on skis? Where do I actually ski most of the time....?

Choosing a ski is a bit tough because there are so many varieties and so many "technologies". Tip rocker! Tail rocker! taper, spoon, camber...Flex! Sidecut! Scaled sizing....what does it all mean?

What it means is the right sized ski, with the right combination of these elements will allow you to ski faster, with more confidence through more terrain with less effort. Simple right!? Let's break it down a little.


Rocker, Powder Rocker, Early Rise, all refer to the ski curving upward at one end or the other. Tip rocker is widely used across the industry. All Instinct skis use Tip rocker. Tip rocker not surprisingly keeps your tips out of the snow and we believe it is key to a good ride. Our Big Fat Tip Technology (B.F.T.T.) sets us apart. The overall width helps sustain float in the pow and provides a "gas pedal" to step on if you want to go faster. The B.F.T.T. generally makes initiating the turn easier, in ALL conditions. It is magic in the pow, actually assisting the ski to plane and arc so nicely, that your cheeks will hurt after a long day from smiling so much. The strength and layering of the laminates bust through crud and crusts where one would normally seek a narrower ski. The best part though, is the stability; we have worked very hard to create a large tip without having increased chatter (the Seeker/Transcend in particular rail like world cup GS skis, quietly). Lastly, we’ve used a high tech honeycomb fabric to make already light skis feel even lighter with a very low swing weight. We are keen ski tourers and an unexpected benefit was how well they walk up, the wide tips have a nice balance and easily maintain tracking on top of the snow.


There are multiple forms of rocker in the industry, with many variations of names. Basically rocker, whether it is tip or tail, means that the ski curves upward from the snow. The general purpose of rocker especially in today’s wide platforms is to make the ski more forgiving, playful and generally easier to ski. Balanced with appropriate sidecut and camber, rocker can help create not only easy fast powder turns but hard charging carves leaving trenches in the groomed.


Camber is shaped into the ski at the time of pressing. If one were to put both skis together, base to base, the space in between them is the camber. We use camber because it generates energy in the turn. When combined with excellent materials (some ski technique doesn’t hurt) it creates that lift from one turn to the next that we all crave. In a park ski it helps to create pop off the lips. In addition to this prepackaged energy, it also acts like a shock absorber for your ski, managing contact with the snow and aiding in stability.


The all mountain skis of today have complicated sidecuts. It is not important for the general skier to understand all of the intricacies of every combination of arcs out there. What is important is the feel of of the skis on your feet and the general definition. Side cut is the hourglass shape created from the wide point at the tip narrow point at the waist with a slight taper to another wide point at the tail. Most often by ski manufactures it is the basis of the model of the ski, giving the widths of the ski from tip-waist- tail and then including the radius. eg.) 142mm-112mm -130mm 17.5m radius. The radius indicated by the manufacturer is an indication of how that ski will turn but is not the only factor. Let us use for example a 17.5m radius, this is not the only turn this ski can make. Think about it if a17.5m radius ski only made that type of turn, from initiation to completion the skier would have travelled some 115ft down the fall line in that one turn! This sometimes is exactly what you’II want to do because going fast is fun, but we all make short turns and we all make long ones, we slide some and carve most. It is important to know that the Sidecut+Rocker+Camber+Flex+Construction all come together to produce the feel and length of turn. We at Instinct skis generally go for a shorter engineered radius than other manufacturers because we feel it makes skiing easier, however we do pride ourselves at how stable and planted our skis feel at speed or in challenging ski conditions.


This is the holy grail of ski construction. Stiff enough to be stable at speed soft enough to just go and have fun without feeling like your skis are tossing you around. Our skis benefit from the scaled sizing we’ve adopted.  As the length gets longer the ski also gets stiffer.

Scaled Sizing

We have spent countless hours testing these products before we have had the opportunity to now, present them to the world. Our main objective is to have everyone who skis on our skis, skiing with a really friggin’ big smile.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to skis and sizing. Often ski manufacturers design a ski with given tip tail and waist dimension throughout the sizing levels. For example a 165cm ski will have the same Tip/Waist/Tail widths as the 190cm version.

Scaled Sizing Visual Graphic
This is not wrong and I’m sure it has its place, but what happens in those situations is that the shorter skis in particular become less like the original and don’t ski as intuitively or don’t match the skier. The radius, changes significantly, which affects all of the engineering in the design.
Scaled Length only Illustration
At Instinct we use what we call Scaled-Sizing, where all dimensions and characteristics of the ski are scaled proportionately to the size of the given ski. In our opinion the Radius/Rocker/Flex/Sidecut/Construction of the ski all come together to deliver a great product. If we build and design a ski that skis well at 183cm, it is possible to scale that ski for skiers of different sizes, weights and ability levels. This way everyone has the same excellent experience that the ski was designed for. Scaled sizing also offers the user the option to go up or down only one size to get the desired ski-ability. This allows the skier to get their most preferred performance while making the ski as easy to ski as possible.

Still Have Questions?

Ask AL!

Need help coming up with the right size or ski for you? Call us directly. We will help you make the best decision for you. (250) 231-5751