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Anatomy of a Ski

We decode a ski’s inner workings—and what it means to you.

Ever wonder what's under that topsheet, or how a ski is actually made? With a few exceptions, most skis are put together using two or three basic construction techniques and incorporating the same basic ingredients. Here's how wood, plastic, foam, steel, and a dose of designer ingenuity come together to get you down the hill reliably.

Basic Construction Types

Mountain Hardwear Backcountry Recon


This shell has everything you need and nothing more.

Olin Apex NT


If you like the feel of a traditional laminate ski but you want high-tech features, the moderately shaped Apex NT, with its piezoelectric dampener, may be right for you.

Look Bindings 1998


Although Look had a low market profile in recent years, it's coming back as a player in the binding game.

Igneous Skis 2001-02


This small company, based out of Jackson Hole, Wyo., has put out 2,000 pairs of handmade, custom-ordered skis since Igneous' inception in 1996. How small is Igneous?

Rossignol Salto 10.2 Suspension


The test of a great cruising ski is its ability to stop cruising¿to shift rhythm mid-run and break into some fall-line fun.

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