Are you a rocker?
Black Diamond – How Rocker Affects Ski Length
“What length ski should I buy?” It’s a question we hear more than almost any other heading into each new ski season. Since the advent of fat skis and raised tails—two key factors that can dramatically alter a ski’s running length and surface area—the answer has been an ever-changing target. And over the past few years, yet another variable has entered the equation: rocker.
Before choosing a rockered ski size, an understanding of how this technology works is key. Rocker basically creates a pre-bent ski. BD skis use this technology in the forebody of the ski, where it sets the ski into an ideal shape for soft-snow flotation. The resulting early-rise tip allows you to float easily over powder and crud, and drive the ski more aggressively in soft snow conditions—much like you would on-piste—without worrying about over-flexing the tip. Rocker makes turn initiation smooth and effortless in soft snow, and allows the ski to change direction far more quickly than traditional camber designs.
The beauty of rocker is that it also can help on firm snow. Due to the early rise tip, the ski has a shorter contact length because the longer tip is raised off the ground. This gives you both the mobility and quickness of a shorter ski on hard snow and the soft snow stability of a longer ski. For example, the 188 Megawatt has a true contact length of 127.7 cm on hardpack—compared to a more traditional 170 cm Verdict that has even more contact length at 132 cm! This is what makes the longer Megawatt totally skiable by someone around 160 lb who normally wouldn’t ski anything longer than 180 cm.
Some things to consider:
• What length do I normally ski with traditionally shaped tips and tails? You can usually go 5-10 cm longer in a rockered ski.
• Am I counting grams of weight, or the size of the cliff? The more aggressively you ski, the longer you can go.
• When in doubt, size up!
Not all rocker is created equal. Each rockered Black Diamond ski has a different amount of tip and running length, which affects what size is best for you. See the chart below to get an idea of running length and tip rocker comparisons:
Note: The Justice has less rocker than the narrower Zealot because of its softer tip, which flexes more than the Zealot’s and effectively gives the Justice more rocker while skiing