There’s been lately a more sensible approach that shows a better understanding of what should be a woman ski, but it doesn’t go far beyond the aesthetic changes. This is unfortunate for all, but specially for women.
The main and differential features of woman skis are:
- Lower height in relation to the unisex or male models
- Specific construction (less reactive skis)
- Forwarded binding position
- Decorations and external design
All these aspects have reasons behind them. If we take a look to the first two, we’ll see they are clearly related to women’s general morphology. Usually women are shorter and weaker than men. This has been considered by the FIS regulations. If we take a look to those FIS-compliant female skis, we’ll see sizes are between 7 and 10cm lower and sometimes even more in relation to the sizes found in the male category.
This doesn’t mean women should ski only with woman skis. There are quite tall women, taller than many men, and stronger too. Therefore, if we do not comply with the specific average woman characteristics, we can safely avoid dedicated woman skis. Women and men skis are just that, skis.
The scaling between the different women models is related to height and technical, physical skills. The same rules mentioned in the Skis Height Chapter apply here. No one should be surprised of a women dedicated range, but at the same time we should not give it too much importance. In fact, woman skis range from every brand have been recently widened and there are some powerful models specially designed for women.
The third characteristic of woman skis is the location of the bindings. Being it competition or not, it is very common mounting the bindings a bit forward compared to man’s models. The hips’ width, their shape (deeper) and the location of the gluteus muscle (further out in relation to men’s gluteus) are the determining factors.
This is a feature not only used with women but also with racers who are still growing. Mounting the bindings a bit forward has helped a lot of racers in their teens to relocate them on the skis and gain good postural habits to unleash and evolve their skiing abilities.
Regarding the aesthetics factor, the matter is very subjective and debatable. Being as objective as we can, we can safely state that there has always been a close relation between some aesthetic clichés and one or the other genre. In today’s world, some examples of this are rather ridiculous, but some others still seem natural and well accepted.
There are designs that are really attractive to the female market, while the same designs can be found ridiculous or even offensive to a part of the female public. I mean, sales rates don’t reflect that success has been achieved. There seems to be still some work to do, and probably this is the main reason why manufacturers have widened and improved their women ranges, making them more complete and less flourished in the literal sense of the word.
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