Choosing the Right Hire Ski

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When you enter a ski hire shop, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of skis and options available. So where to start?

One piece of key advice we will always give if you are visiting a country where you don’t speak the language as well as you might like to admit, is to try and visit a shop with English speaking staff. This way you can easily set out your ability level and discuss which sort of ski might be best for you, as well as having good ease of communication when it comes to boot fitting.

The most important thing is to know your level and go for a ski that will be best suited for you. See below our guide to choosing the right ski for your level or browse hire ski options at

Images © C.Arnal /Skiset


As a beginner, you are going to want a ski that is forgiving and friendly. These skis tend to be shorter and narrower than others, with a flexibility that makes them less demanding on the legs than more rigid options. If you are very light, you will generally need a smaller length of ski and vice versa.

Don’t be distracted by the flashy graphics or fancy technology that your friends might be looking at, or fall into the trap of being sold a higher level package because the skis might be newer or more high-tech. You won’t need anything too flashy on your first few trips, it’s about having a ski that will support and stabilise you, rather than a ski that’s all about the speed. Trust the shop assistant as they are normally well versed in the best skis they stock for beginners.


As you begin to develop as a skier, you can branch out into different skis. Most recreational skiers will be happy to remain on piste skis (or carving skis as they may be called). With a distinctive narrow waist shape which widens at tip and tail, these are the skis you are most likely to get given by the hire shop as an intermediate skier. Longer lengths will give you more speed but you may feel uncomfortable making a sudden jump, so be sure to consider which length you would like. Carving skis will allow you to really make the most of groomed runs and work on your carving, but will be slightly less forgiving than others if you fancy taking them off into the powder.

If you do want to focus solely on your off piste technique and have the opportunity to ski some deep powder, a wider powder ski will be the best choice.

Other options include freestyle skis and twin tips, which will give you the opportunity to try skiing backwards or take on the park, whilst all mountain skis do what they say on the tin (intending to harness a bit of everything so that they can perform well both on and off piste).


As an advanced to expert skier, you have much more choice when it comes to hire skis. From wider freeride powder skis, to hard charging, rigid race skis, you can pick and choose according to preference or conditions. In hire shops, you will find the newest skis from this season, well serviced and raring to go. What could be better?!