Rockered + Cambered Skis: Demystified
Posted January 9, 2013
If you look the side profile of a cambered ski sitting base down on a flat surface, say a shop bench, the waist will be elevated in the middle and gradually slope down until it reaches the tip and tail contact points. Apply downward pressure on the middle of a cambered ski and you will feel it flex to flat. Remove your weight and it springs back up. That is camber, and the recoil you feel is the reason positive camber is known for “pop”, whether launching out of the pipe or boosting a “Slow!” sign.
Rocker is prized for its prowess in powder, as well as the more casual carving style it offers due to your edges’ contact points being closer to your boots than the tip and tail. Essentially, rocker makes it easier to keep your tips up in soft snow, and also easier to smear turns rather than carving racer-style, up on edge all day. Here are a few rocker/camber combos worth knowing:
- Rockered tip with positive camber underfoot and through the tail. This shape keeps your tips above the snow but maintains the edgehold and pop of camber underfoot and off the tail.
- Rockered Tip and Tail, positive camber underfoot. For example, this is the shape pro model utilizes, and it provides stability and edgehold underfoot, and the flexy, surfy ride of rocker at the tip and tail. This is good for both park and pipe, because of the catch-free tip and tail, as well as powder since rocker prevents tip-and-tail dive.
- Full Rocker (Also called Reverse Camber). Fully rockered skis are typically powder specific and best for the deepest of days when the only hardpack you’ll see is in the lift line. They are typically flat beneath the bindings, and rocker rises dramatically from outside the bindings towards the tip and tail. These are big-wave surfers all the way, and do not offer much edgehold or bite on hard snow.
Camber isn’t dead and has its purpose, but with the infiltration of rocker into nearly every ski line, consumers have more options for more conditions than ever before.