When searching for new ski gear you will read about the ski’s rocker & camber profile and may wonder what both terms mean. Well when we outlined the different ski shapes, we mentioned that the shape of a ski’s tip and tail plays an important role in how a ski performs. Next to that it’s important to know the actual shape of the ski under your feet. Not just the shape of the tip and the tail. The shape of this part of a ski will fall into different categories of ski camber. Below we will discuss the most popular ski cambers on the market today. Many of the skis we review come in variations of these five profiles.
This is the most traditional ski shape. With the camber profile, skis are curved slightly upward under foot, which creates a contact point on either end of the ski. Placed slightly behind the tip and tail. When you step onto a camber ski, your weight will force the ski downward to contact the snow. This creates equal pressure across the entire length of the ski, which allows for more stability and control when you’re riding. Camber skis are known for being less forgiving than other types, however, they will keep you stable, provide increased edge hold and will give you ‘pop’ when jumping. Traditional camber skis are often chosen by skiers who prefer to ride on the groomed slopes. Park skiers will prefer a traditional camber ski to ride in a park because of its extra pop.
This ski camber type is actually the opposite of camber. A full rocker ski will have a bend downward underfoot. This creates an almost ‘U’ shape, whereby the contact point is directly under the skier. The rest of the ski is usually tapered upward. The main advantage of this particular set-up is that a full rocker ski is more playful and forgiving than a camber ski. However, because of it having less contact with the snow, a full rocker ski can also feel more unstable at high speeds. Since a full rocker ski offers more float and manoeuvrability there are often preferred by skiers who ride in deep powder.
This particular camber profile has a rocker in the tip and the tail of the ski and camber underfoot. You will notice that the early rise tip will give you better floatation in powder, while the ski’s camber underfoot will offer stability and better edge hold. The early rise tail will give you a better release at the end of turns. It will allow you to ride switch better in powder. Overall skis with this profile are quite manoeuvrable and playful in powder, while they are able to maintain some stability and edge hold when you’re skiing on hard snow. Many of the all-mountain skis have this profile and are bought by skiers who ski powder, by skiers who ride in the park and by beginners.
A ski with a flat camber will be in full contact with the snow from its tip to tail. These type of skis will give you some good stability and edge hold but aren’t as good as the skis that are cambered.