Do You Really Need a Quiver of Skis?

Peak’s Director of Skiing Chris Davenport has a clear view on how many skis to own. MORE! Photographer: Cooper Campisi.

We get this question all the time:

“Is there one model of ski that I can run in all conditions without ever longing for something plumper on slashy deep days or svelter and more muscular on white ice?”

The short answer is “nope.” The One-Ski Quiver is a ski in its platonic form; idealized; perfect.

In pursuit of such unattainable perfection, each Peak model could serve as a de facto one ski quiver. Paired to the right mountain and skier, the skis can serve your needs 80 percent of the time.

But that other 20 percent matters. Last winter, Alta witnessed a six week mid-winter dry spell that saw Wasatch powder skiers pulling their carving skis out of storage to arc turns on chalky snow. New England gets buried by Alberta Clippers that’ll drop a few feet of cold dust. Mount Baker once broke the snowfall world record with 1,140 inches, but they also have killer groomed snow skiing out there too. When weather happens, skiing is more fun when you have the right skis on your feet. 

So does every skier need to buy a quiver of skis and make an already expensive pastime spendier? Nope again, but there are upsides and downsides to that approach that are worth considering. Here’s our point/counterpoint on the one-ski quiver.

OSQ Upside: You’ll Save Some Cash

Kind of an obvious metric here. You’re only buying and tuning one set of skis so that saves you money. Later, they’ll become your rock skis. 

OSQ Downside: Actually, the Cash Savings is Muddy

Every time you buy a set of skis, you’re extending the life of each ski in your fleet by reducing its time on snow. This is really noticeable at the extremes. If you only take your fatties out five days a winter, they’ll be fresh for years. Ditto with your carving skis. 

OSQ Upside: You Can Turn Off Your Brain

The biggest upside in only owning one pair of skis is that you don’t fret about which skis to haul to the hill. We admit, this causes us angst a few times a winter. “Dang! I should have brought the 110s.”

OSQ Downside: Turning Off Your Brain is Overrated

It’s OK to obsess about skiing. Carefully calculating which gear to bring to the hill is a trait that you share with Bode Miller, Chris Davenport, and all the heroes of the sport. Skis have evolved like Darwin’s finches. Why not embrace that?  

Peak’s Cofounder Bode Miller has skied enough injected “snow” to really appreciate conditions like this. You can trust that Bode has a quiver. Photographer: Kelly Gorham.

OSQ Upside: Sticking with One Ski Improves Your Skiing

Remember the old mountain bikes that forced you to carefully pick your line? They taught us to read the terrain, and handle the bike accordingly. Skiing has its analog. On every hill there's that one ripper who skis her 88s in breakable crust and never gets bucked around. Skiing a skinny ski in fat snow forces you to find your balance point—and never let go.

OSQ Downside: Hmm. Owning a Quiver Makes You a Better Skier Too.

If all you do is surf and smear turns off trail in soft snow, your edging skills will suffer. On the flipside, if you’ve never experienced how fun it is to pivot and slash powder turns in jumbled terrain on a floaty pair of 110s you’re also missing out. Another great thing about skiing? There’s always a new skill to master. The right gear helps. 

OSQ Upside: On Most Days,You Win

If you carefully selected a model that serves you 80 percent of the time on your home hill, your one pair of skis is going to rip the vast majority of the time. In Montana, that’s our Peak 98 or 104. In New England that’s the 88 or 98. In the coast ranges that 80% ski could be the 104 or 110. Even for those who own a quiver, these are the skis they throw in the roof box.   

OSQ Downside: Isn’t Winning Every Day Better?

For us, the 80% Ski is just a starting point. No matter where you live, sometimes the only snow that’s worth skiing is machine groomed hardpack. We made the Peak 88 for that and more. And yeah, maybe we're dreamy optimistic fools, but the next big day is coming. That’s why our 110s are waxed, scraped, and brushed at all times. Hell, even two pairs of skis carefully selected will cover you for 90 percent of your skiing. Sadly, winter is getting shorter. Make every day count.