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More Than A Pretty Face: How To Choose the Right Ski or Snowboard

More Than A Pretty Face: How To Choose the Right Ski or Snowboard

We realize that as the brand known for some of the best topsheet artwork in the entire industry, it might seem odd that we’d sound the alarms about buying skis or snowboards for their graphics. Since we’ve launched the Community Care Sale, we’ve seen too many offers that aren’t aligned–people are choosing gear that likely won’t feel great because it’s not matched with your skiing and riding ability and terrain preferences. It’s important to us that you have a positive experience on the mountain, so we want to help you choose the right ski or snowboard, even if that means that the artwork isn’t your favorite out of the bunch. 

Choosing the right model and length of skis and snowboards isn’t easy! Women in particular have never been engaged in how to choose the right gear in the same way that men have been. A quick Google gets you to heaps of articles written by men, who are speaking to men. When we walk into shops, we’re often times ignored or talked down to or misinformed by shop employees. It’s not easy for us to find information that makes sense and that we can trust, so we’re going to try to break down that barrier here.

Hot tip: Just because some dude works in a shop doesn’t mean that he knows what he’s talking about. They aren’t gods. They don’t know everything, and in fact, they are quite confused about women (in so many ways). Why we revere them so much is dissertation-worthy and requires a lot of unpacking of internalized misogyny. It’s a shame because none of this is fucking rocket science and could be solved by employing women. But we digress… 

The first step in choosing the right ski or snowboard is to identify your style–what kind of skier or snowboarder are you? Are you laid-back and easy-going? Are you aggressive? Do you like speed? While the answer to these questions might be in line with your ability, it might also be about your comfort level, age, injuries, disability, and/or mood. 

Then there’s your ability. This one seems easy until you consider how women consistently devalue themselves and hold themselves to a level of unattainable perfection. You know when you’re a beginner, but do you know when you’ve moved from intermediate to advanced? If you’re confidently skiing blacks at resorts, you’re not an intermediate skier anymore bb. Time to give yourself credit. In considering ability, it’s not whether or not you made it down, it’s whether you did it with confidence and did you feel comfortable.

Next, let’s talk about terrain. Do you like moguls? Trees? Big open slopes? Park? Pipe? Groomers? Powder-filled bowls? Backcountry? What is it that you will ski or ride most of the time?

Finally, where in the world are you skiing and riding? A powder ski in the Sierra is going to look really different than a powder ski on the East Coast. Snowpack matters. 

When you put all of those things together, you can start matching your unique profile to a pair of skis or a snowboard. You’ll be assessing length, width underfoot (for skis), camber, turning radius, and flex. 

You might be thinking to yourself, “SO WHAT LADY I STILL DON’T KNOW HOW TO CHOOSE” and that’s legit because not only does every brand make different products, we also all speak about them differently. Sometimes you’re drowning in the dude soup of cool bro mumbo jumbo marketing speak. 

That’s why at Coalition, we’ve created so many resources for you to choose the right ski or snowboard.

1. We have a super simple ski and snowboard quiz. By answering a few questions, we’ll be able to direct you to a pair of skis or a snowboard that is best suited for you. And we’ll even follow up with you after the quiz to answer any other questions you might have. 

2. You also can refer to our handy ski infographic and snowboard infographic that help you decide what is the right ski or snowboard for you. 

3. We wrote a few blogs about choosing the right length. Here’s the one for skis and the one for snowboards is here. Every ski and snowboard also has a size guide that you can find on the product listing if you scroll down just a bit. 

4. And each listing also includes an infographic about the terrain it’s best suited for. 

5. If all else fails and you still aren’t sure, EMAIL US at We are here to help!

Here’s what we want to leave you with: Never buy a pair of skis or snowboards for the graphics. We understand how our skis and snowboards are an extension of our personality. They represent us they help to tell our story on the mountain. They are an artistic expression of what it means to be outdoors. We get it the graphics do matter. But you can’t buy a ski or snowboard based on the graphics because they are more than just a pretty face. 


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