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Making Sense of Rocker

ski-technology-timy-duttonSquaw skier Timy Dutton demonstrates how rocker works. Photo by Keoki Flagg. Click on either image to enlarge.                                                               ski-shapesTraditional cambered skis are great on hard snow (they glide well and distribute edge pressure), but problematic in softer conditions, where they dive beneath the surface. Reverse camber, or rocker, skis solve this problem by curving upward at the tip and tail, popping the ski to the surface. The technology turns tricky soft or crusted snow into smooth surfing. From tight trees to open runs filled with face shots, it makes skiing deep snow easier. Period.


Rocker. Camber. Elongated Low Profile. Auto Turn. CAMROCK. Early rise. Elf Shoe Technology. BS? No, not really, but muddling marketing jargon can confuse the hell out of all of us. Here’s a quick breakdown to help sort out the mess.


Traditional Camber. The middle of the ski arcs up under the boot. When traditionally cambered skis are weighted, pressure is distributed out towards the tip and tail. This creates the ultimate in hard snow grip and glide. Camber falters in soft snow, however, because it can cause tip dive.


Full Rocker. When set on a flat surface, the tip and tail of the ski are elevated. Full rocker provides the ultimate in ease of use in soft snow by keeping the tips and tails above the surface, allowing skiers to pivot turns. The downside? Loss of edgehold.


Early Rise/Tip Rocker. By moving the contact point in the tip of the ski closer to the binding, skiers gain the soft snow maneuverability and easy turn initiation of rocker with the hard snow grip of traditional camber.


Full Hybrid. Camber underfoot and rocker in the tip and tail of the ski. These skis offer the float and pivotability of full rocker in soft snow, but because there’s camber underfoot it also grips hard snow reasonably well.  —Gavin Gibson

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