Manufacturers are building ski rocker into virtually all of their equipment usually through the tip or tail.
We could ski perfectly happy before ski rocker so why is it great? What is it? And how does it work?
Ski Rocker Banana Comparison
Simply speaking, look at this picture of a banana.
The ‘tip’ and ‘tail’ of this banana curve up into the air whilst the middle is in contact with the ground. This is rocker. Putting your weight onto a ski with tip and tail rocker has this effect, of course the banana slightly exaggerates. This happens when you stand on a ski that is flat on the snow, sitting on its base rather than an edge of a ski.
Advantages of Ski Rocker
Now the ski has weight upon it the tip and tail raise up slightly, reducing the length of base touching the snow. Less base in contact with the snow means you are controlling a shorter ski and remember a short ski is easier to control. The ski becomes increasingly nimble although you may find that stability slightly reduces skiing fast. You might notice this in the tails first as they start to wobble.
Having this shorter ski effect will now enable you to easily move the ski onto its edge therefore making turn initiation a piece of cake. As the ski gets on to this edge, the rocker will disengage and the full edge will take hold, allowing you to carve with the whole ski running length.
Manufacturers generally only build a small amount of ski rocker in the tip and the tail to enable the ski to turn more simply and nimbly.
Freeride and Off Piste Ski Rocker
Off-piste and freeride skis will have a very obvious amount of rocker and can look quite intimidating to some skiers who usually ride a frontside piste ski. These skis exaggerate rocker before you apply weight to them. This design is more similar to the banana comparison we started with. It enables the ski to stay above deeper soft snow rather than offer simple turning and manoeuvres. Off-piste skis will feel unstable on a flat base at high speed due to the enhanced rocker and width.