Understanding Ski Flex and Demo Ski Performance

At VBSR, our demo ski rental fleet and rental ski and snowboard fleet showcase a variety of skis, each with different ski flex and performance applications. Such variety helps us customize a demo rental package to fit your needs and skill level. Do you like to fly down Vail’s frontside groomers? Or explore powder stashes in Vail’s famed back bowls? Or maybe both? We’ll work with you to optimize your demo ski rental choices for the best experience possible. Choosing the best ski includes understanding how skis and ski flex work. Read on to learn more about this aspect of ski technology, and then join us at VBSR to explore.

Partner, Sacha Gros utilizes the flex on Vail's Dealer's Choice run in Game Creek Bowl.

Partner, Sacha Gros utilizes the flex on Vail’s Dealer’s Choice run in Game Creek Bowl.

What is Ski Flex? And How Does Ski Flex Work?

Ski flex relates to how easy or how difficult it is to bend a ski. If a ski is difficult to bend, it is usually described as stiff. But if it is easy to bend, it’s considered soft. Ski flex can describe longitudinal (tip to tail) and torsional (side to side) bending. A ski’s materials and construction contribute to its flex. Different types of wood, for example, flex in different ways. And the addition of metal to a ski core can add stiffness and stability.

How to know whether you want a ski with a softer or stiffer ski flex? Begin by considering both your ability level and ideal performance applications. Beginner skiers can benefit from skis with a softer ski flex. A ski with a softer ski flex will absorb bumps and landings more easily, and it will take less power to carve. While a softer ski absorbs well and performs well at slower speeds, it’s not made for high-speed stability.

A ski with a stiffer ski flex, however, is made to hold an edge more firmly in a turn when a lot of pressure is applied. It will also have more power to accelerate out of a turn. For this reason, a stiffer ski is a better choice for skilled skiers or for those who want to ski more aggressively and at higher speeds.


  • Beginner skiers
  • Lighter skiers
  • Slower speeds
  • Non-aggressive ski style
  • Easy, cruiser runs
  • Absorbing bumps and landings
  • Terrain park and freestyle applications (depending on ski construction)


  • Intermediate and advanced skiers
  • Heavier skiers
  • Higher speeds
  • Aggressive ski style
  • High-speed groomers and ski racing (depending on ski construction)
  • Variable, powder, or choppy terrain (depending on ski construction)

VBSR Demo Fleet Ski Flex and Performance

We’ve asked the VBSR staff to offer an expert overview of three different skis two in our 2018-2019 demo ski rental fleet and one from our sports package fleet. In these brief videos, you’ll find out more about how ski flex, materials, and construction translate to on-mountain performance.

VBSR Staff Reviewer: Barclay Rabin

“This ski is designed with air tip technology, which dampens vibration and allows for an easy transfer of energy into the turn.” —Barclay

Applications: Groomer ski, good for beginners
Available: VBSR Sport Package
Materials: Poplar wood
Ski Flex: Soft
Online Review: ROSSIGNOL EXPERIENCE 74 at Skis.com

VBSR Staff Reviewer: Jake Dippy

“Great all-around ski. Good for groomers in the early morning and for skiing the back bowls in the afternoon.” —Jake

Applications: All-mountain ski, good for intermediate and advanced skiers
Available: VBSR Demo Rental Fleet
Materials: All wood core
Ski Flex: Stiff
Online Review: K2 PINNACLE 88 Ti at Skis.com

VBSR Staff Reviewer: Nick Charles

“Good for an intermediate or advanced skier. It’s an extremely stable ski but still playful.” —Nick

Applications: Powder ski, good for intermediate and advanced skiers
Available: VBSR Demo Rental Fleet
Materials: Metal core with wood tips and tail
Ski Flex: Stiff
Online Review: BLIZZARD RUSTLER 11 at Skis.com

These three skis are simply the beginning of what you’ll find at VBSR. Stop by our location just steps away from Gondola One in Vail Village to explore more! Beyond having the best Vail ski rentals and demos, we offer ski tuning and repair services. Plus, our overnight ski and gear storage lets you walk away hands-free toward other adventures at the end of the day.