Sidecut Pub

On-piste skis have an hourglass shape, the sidecut: wider tips and tails and narrower in the middle, underfoot.

The reason is so that when we put them on edge to make a turn, the ski will bend and turn by itself - here is a ski on edge, with and without pressure on it:

Original photo courtesy of

This is what makes tipping the skis on edge the best technique for turning, on piste.

Sidecut turns

The sidecut has a radius - this is the "nominal" arc the ski will make when you put the ski on edge at a "nominal" angle, with a "nominal" pressure. If you put the ski on edge less, it will make a larger arc or skid the turn - this number, the radius, should be marked on the ski, in meters, and here are some categories that you'll find:

  • 10-13m - slalom ski, small turns on piste
  • 14-22m - all mountain skis, powder skis - can take on a little bit more speed and are likely fatter
  • 18-35m - GS skis, from low radius master's and Junior skis to World Cup
  • 40m and above: speed skis (SuperG, Downhill)

Bending the skis

If you, on the other hand, put the ski on edge more, with higher speed and bend it more as a result, it will make a tighter turn. The name of the game in performance skiing is bending the skis more.

Original photo courtesy of

One estimate is that the ski will turn at 70% of the sidecut radius when carved at 45 degrees to the snow and 50% of the sidecut radius when carved at 60 degrees1.

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Talks and sessions:

References and more reading:

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By: Razie | 2015-08-18 .. 2016-08-29 | Tags: wiki , equipment , carving

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