If you’re curious about custom made skis and snowboards—i.e. you’re on this blog—you likely have some prior knowledge of ski/board lingo. However, it is important to review specific gear-related terms; if you don’t know exactly what you want, your custom ski and board experience will be relatively useless. Below are some important build terms you should know before going to consult your custom ski and board builder.
AFD (Anti-Friction Device)—This is often a Teflon pad or mechanical slider. It is attached to the top of the ski behind the binding toe unit, allowing the boot toe to rest on the piece. It reduces friction between the top of the ski and the boot sole so that the boot can release easily during a fall.
Camber—This is the slight arch you see in a non-weighted ski when resting on a flat surface. It contributes to the ski’s flexibility, resulting in a “springier” feel. Alpine skis have an alpine camber and lack the significant arch or wax pocket underfoot often found on XC-camber skis.
Cap Skis—These skis are composed of a seamless piece covering the top and sides, which means there is no separate sidewall. This is often called “monocoque” construction.
Damping—This is the ski’s resistance to sustained vibration. It is built into the ski with layers of shock-absorbing material.
Edge—This is the sharpened part on either side of a ski’s base that digs into the snow. Often made of carbon steel, it allows the ski to “cling” to the mountain.
Flex—This is, essentially, the amount of stiffness in a ski. A softer-flexed ski will perform better in soft, deep snow, whereas a stiff-flexed ski will handle better on hard-packed snow or crud.
Sidecut—The difference in millimeters between the ski’s waist (the narrowest part) and the tip/tail. The larger your sidecut, the more easily your skis will turn and carve.
Sidewall—The material along the side of the ski that covers all structural and core component.
Torsional Rigidity—This is the ski’s resistance to twisting. A ski’s torsional rigidity comes from its construction and core materials. The more rigid the ski, the better it will perform on hard snow. A less rigid ski will handle better in powder and softer conditions.