Ski Camber and Rocker Explained

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Shane drew inspiration from water skis and applied this to powder skiing, which resulted in a fully reverse camber and reverse sidecut ski. The reverse camber shape is the opposite to camber (as the name suggests), as when the skis are lying on a flat surface, the tips and tails rise up from the waist. This allows the tips and tails to rise higher in the soft snow creating better floatation and easier turn initiation.

Rocker or Early Rise

From the extreme shape of the Spatulas the rocker and camber profile of skis nowadays has generally mellowed out. The terms rocker and early rise have been adopted to describe the blend of shapes in between camber and reverse camber.

It can be confusing but these terms are often used interchangeably depending on manufacturer and the nature of the ski.  Broadly speaking piste skis still have full camber profiles (though some are starting to incorporate early rise at the tip), whereas almost all manufacturers are incorporating some form of early rise at the tip into the all-mountain ski category.

Most freeride, touring and powder skis will see early rise at both the tip and tail.

Picture this rocker-camber-rocker profile as a moustache shape. The ski retains camber underfoot for grip on hard snow while using early rise of the tip and tail to improve floatation and the ability to turn in soft snow.

It is this blend that will be unique to each shape and have a massive impact on the ski performance. If you have ever skied a rockered ski on piste and felt the tip flap you’ll understand why too much of this is not a great thing. On the other end of the spectrum if you’ve struggled to turn your skis in deeper snow you’ll be thankful for a rockered set on your next powder run.

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