When you first learn to ski, simply getting down the mountain triggers a state of euphoria. After mastering the basics, the addictive nature of this high-adrenaline sport creates a craving for bigger and better thrills. The terrain park evokes a sense of "trick envy" as you watch the skiers and snowboarders perform their awe-inspiring maneuvers. Advanced skiers can join their ranks, but you'll need a pair of twin tips if you want to play in the park with the cool kids.
Shaped skis, the Marilyn Monroes of ski equipment, have small waists and wide tips and tails. The waistlines, measuring from 65 to 85 millimeters, make it easier for even the not-so-athletic to learn the sport, and their maneuverability shortens the learning curve from the wedge position to parallel carving. Twin-tip skis, designed for the terrain park and powder snow, have waist widths ranging from 80 to 122 millimeters. This type of terrain relies more on flotation and less on carved turns, which explains the wider waists. Carving novices, however, find it difficult to learn on twin tips.
Your regular skis have a turned up tip and a flat tail. This design works best during forward movement down the mountain. "Skiing switch" -- terrain park speak for backward skiing -- requires a different design. Twin tips, as their name implies, curve upward at the tip and the tail, thereby allowing forward and backward movement. This feature lets you perform the acrobatic and complex freestyle skiing maneuvers with ease and finesse.
The binding mount of a regular ski shifts your weight toward the front of the ski and allows you to initiate your turns from the tips. Of course, twin tips go both ways, so the binding mount keeps your weight at the center of the ski. This centered position opens up a world of new sliding playgrounds for advanced skiers, but they're a bad idea for newbies. Novices often struggle with the idea of staying forward on their skis. The centered position might cause confusion. Master the basic stance and forward movements before you try to ski switch.
It took a rise in the popularity of snowboarding for ski manufacturers to develop some creativity, as indicated by the boring, uninspired graphics of the skis of the 1980s. When the ski manufacturers finally caught on, they hired graphic artists, who created intricate and colorful top-sheet design. Twin tips graphic designers took things one step further. As products of a youth culture, the graphics of twin tips often feature flashy, outrageous comic book art, action heroes and psychedelia. Adults older than 30 might find this annoying, but others won't care.
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.