The Difference Between a Good Ski Day and a Bad One? Two Inches.

WHEN THE first recreational skiers began to fly downhill in the mid-19th century, they had one choice for skis: skinny, straight, wood boards. Two or 3 inches wide, they could get you down the mountain, but it wasn’t always pretty. As the sport began to evolve in earnest in the next century and resorts opened around the world, ski design also changed. Soon, you could get a ski for any type of skiing. By the early 2000s, when euphoric descents of fresh, fluffy snow dominated ski media and advertising, the most glamorous releases from ski manufacturers ballooned in width to almost 5 inches underfoot. These skis, with carbon fiber or titanal metal bases, short cambers and long, shovel-like tips, float over these perfect conditions with ease.

Unfortunately these days, power is elusive. As the climate changes, today’s skiers are more likely to encounter long pauses between snow storms. When flakes do come, the snow itself tends to be warmer and denser.

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