Ski Fit at Gear West – Get Your Requests In Now

FasterSkierMay 15, 2012
Store owner Brian Knutson - ski fit legend.

At its most basic level, “ski fit” can be defined as finding a ski that is of correct length and stiffness. This baseline is something you should be able to obtain at any reputable ski shop. But what does a Gear West ski fit entail that makes us so much different that the baseline? We use our hands, eyes, 3 flex benches, and a one-of-a kind ski flex test analyzer to distinguish us a leader and innovator. We have close to a hundred combined years of ski fitting experience and are never satisfied until we have found your new favorite pair of skis.

Matt Liebsch assembling his Fischer Carbonlite race fleet November, 2011.

Like many years in the past, we are currently working with our suppliers to obtain the very best quality skis for our customers. Our leadership in the industry allows us to make certain that only the highest quality skis are carried at Gear West. This summer we will be working with and travelling to national and international race departments to score the highest level of race quality skis.

So what is this “quality” that keeps getting mentioned?

Quality is a term that can be misleading when it comes to skis and ski fit. What are we talking about when it comes to quality?

  • The quality of materials that comprise a ski?
  • The quality of matched skis? The quality of base or base finish?
  • The quality of manufacturing or finish or graphics?

In my opinion, quality is how fast a ski is when gliding on snow, how well it kicks and how easy it is to ski on. I want the fastest ski possible when I am racing but stability and ease of use also play a part.

So back to our baseline length and flex.

  • When it comes to length we typically suggest longest ski possible that you can still ski on comfortably. All things equal, a longer ski is generally a faster ski. For example, just ask Tad Elliott why he is now on 192 cm skate skis vs 187 cm skis. The one caveat to this is, some ski manufacturers are better at building certain lengths of skis. A few years ago, Salomon produced some very high quality skis in 187cm skate and 201cm classic. Production batches and day to day (even hour to hour) quality at the factory can play a factor in this as well. We at Gear West know our inventory very well, and work with our ski manufacturers to ensure only the highest quality.
  • Flex – this is the fuzzy area. So, what’s with all the numbers on skis these days? Basically, they help determine if the skis are matched and give a baseline on how stiff the ski is. No flex number I have ever seen gives a quantitative value of flex. If they did, I wouldn’t have a job! Truth is, ski companies don’t want you to know there is a difference in quality of flex. They would like consumers to believe that one $600 ski is equivalent to the same $600 ski at another ski shop! That is not the case, and is it is also the reason Gear West spends considerable time and money maintaining the largest high quality ski selection in North America.

So what does this all mean to you, the skier? Well, if I were a consumer of Nordic racing skis, I would find a shop that not only has your baseline fit covered but also understands the “quality” involved in the ski fitting process.

Josh Doebbert - Gear West Flex Specialist using the one-of-a-kind Gear West Flex Tester to determine a perfect fit.


With that said, I invite you to be involved in the process! As mentioned earlier, I am working with national and international racing departments to find the best skis for Gear West’s inventory.

If you are in the market for a high level racing ski from Fischer, Rossignol, Salomon or Atomic, we encourage you to fill out a ski request form. Getting your name in the hat early on ensures that we will keep your personal needs in mind, putting the world’s inventory at your fingertips and therefore guaranteeing the absolute highest quality imaginable!

Click HERE to submit a ski request form.


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