Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned skier, you’ve probably wondered if there’s a difference between a left and right ski. After all, they both look exactly the same.
Unfortunately the answer is not so straightforward. Ski manufacturers typically design skis with a left and right and some might even have it labeled, but the truth is you can put them on either way.
This guide will explore everything you need to know about right and left skis!
Is There a Left and Right Ski?
On most skis there is NO left and right ski. Because skis are made symmetrically, there is no such thing as a left or right ski. However some skis have the left and right labeled, but still it makes no difference which one you wear.
If the skis have bindings that are adjusted for left and right boots, then the left and right would matter.
There are also some skis which are asymmetrical. There is a left and right ski in these.
How Do You Tell Which Ski is Left and Right?
Skis typically have a left and right side labeled on them when they are manufactured, however, this is not always the case.
Alternatively, if you don’t have a specific left or right ski, you can ask your ski store owner to mount and test your bindings and identify which is right or left.
Skiers may require left and right markings on their skis if there is a possibility that they may need to adjust their stance in response to the incline of the slope.
If a ski has no label, then it could be either left or right. It is easier to just try one of them out and evaluate which one feels more comfortable!
Does it Matter What Ski Goes on Which Foot?
The short answer is NO. It makes no difference which foot goes into which.
The following are some examples of situations in which it would be relevant:
- You are a professional ski racer and have multiple specifications for the inner and outer edges of your skis to maximize your skiing technique and/or certain snow or terrain circumstances.
- You prefer that the graphic on your top sheet align, and both of your skis have a single picture graphic that runs across both top sheets.
- You fell for some stupid marketing scam that claims asymmetrical radii will make you a better skier, and now you’re stuck with skis that don’t perform as well as they should.
- You have a particular physical deformation that requires the use of very specific canting shims underneath your bindings. This is because you possess certain physical characteristics.
(Ex: If both of your feet are of different lengths, you will need to wear boots of different sizes and use bindings that are adjusted in different ways).
It is important to remember that offset or asymmetrical radius skis were almost exclusively marketed to skiers at one point in time. Because bindings are asymmetrical and cannot be switched between skis, skiers already have left and right skis that are tailored to their unique needs.
Is There a Left and Right Ski Binding?
Yes there is a left and right ski binding. The toe piece of the binding needs to have more of a flare outward than inwards facing outward.
Therefore, the left binding extends further to the left, and the right binding extends further to the right.
You may also put your snow or winter boots in the toe piece and check that the heel of the boot is sitting straight. If the heel of the boot is not exactly centered on the ski, you should try the other toe piece of the binding.
Unless your skis are asymmetrical, there is no left and right ski and it doesn’t matter which foot goes in what. You can always try them both ways and see if one is better than the other. If the ski has the left and right labeled, use it that way.
Anyway, if you’re a beginner skier, don’t worry too much about which foot goes into what. Just get out there and enjoy the slopes!