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What are camber and rocker in a ski?


Camber and rocker are two very distinct characteristics of a ski. The ideal combination of the two is designed to meet the expectations of skiers.

Camber

Camber is the natural arch of a ski without any pressure on it. Camber is important to consider when making your decision on which ski or snowboard is best for you.

Put a ski flat on the snow. The greater the space between the middle of the ski and the snow, the higher the camber. When skiing on hard snow and pressure is put on the ski, it’s the camber that gives the ski more grip.

There are three types of camber:

  • Classic camber is the most common. A medium camber of 3mm to 5mm is used on most skis, from on-piste to freeride, because it provides good grip on hard snow.
    Our women’s skis | Our men’s skis
     
  • Flat camber or no camber can be seen in a flat ski, without any arch. The result is a ski with average skiability, without much grip or maneuverability. This is why flat camber is not found in many skis these days.
     
  • Reverse camber is where only the section of the ski underfoot is in contact with the snow. This type of camber is often found in powder skis, especially fat skis that are very large width. Reverse camber is used less and less in favor of double rocker combined with classic camber because it is more versatile when transitioning to and from groomed slopes.
    Our women’s freeride skis | Our men’s freeride skis

 

flat skis

Rocker

Developed about 10 years ago, rocker revolutionized skiing in the same way parabolic skis did and has now become commonplace.

Rocker is the evolution of the shape of the tip and tail of a ski. With rocker, the rise of a ski starts earlier and is more progressive than traditional ski tips.

One big advantage of rocker is its increased float in powder snow and that’s the reason it was first introduced in freeride skis. In addition, piste skis also benefit from rocker because it enables them to turn more easily and makes them more maneuverable.

A specific rocker has been developed for each type of ski:

  • On-piste skis: a lightly rockered tip that’s 5 to 15% of the length of the front of the ski. Enables easier turn initiation without losing grip in the tip and tail.
    Our women’s piste skis | Our men’s piste skis
     
  • All-mountain: a more dramatic tip rocker of 10 to 25% as well as light rocker in the tail (5 to 10%). The main goal is to improve the ski’s performance off-piste and in powder without sacrificing grip on groomed slopes.
    Our women’s all-mountain skis | Our men’s all-mountain skis
     
  • Freeride: for skis designed specifically for powder skiing, rocker is quite pronounced in the tip as well as in the tail (15 to 30%). The objective is to provide as much float as possible in deep snow. This type of rocker also allows you to ski a larger ski that provides more lift in powder and more stability at high speed. When the tip and tail rocker are identical it’s called either Twin Rocker or Double Rocker.
    Our women’s freeride skis | Our men’s freeride skis
     
  • Freetouring and touring skis: moderate rocker in the tip and little or no rocker in the tail makes for a versatile ski that floats well in deep snow and provides good grip on hard snow and ice.
    Our women’s touring skis | Our men’s touring skis
     
  • Freestyle: twin-tip skis with little or no rocker.
    Our women’s freestyle skis | Our men’s freestyle skis


Depending on the ski, camber and rocker can be combined in different ways to meet different expectations in terms of grip, maneuverability and float.

And if you’re still not sure which is the ideal ski for you, check out our article: How to choose the right type of skis