Rocker & Camber Technology Explained
What is Rocker Technology?
Rocker was introduced in 2002 when the late Shane McConkey designed the first commercial rockered ski and is the most substantial ski design advancement since shape skis were introduced in the 1990s. The idea was to create a downhill ski that would mimic the features of a water ski and allow a skier to skim over a surface with minimized risk of snagging an edge.
Rocker is essentially the opposite of camber. The side profile of a rockered ski resembles the upturned rails of your grandma's rocking chair. On a flat surface, the midsection of a rockered ski will rest on the ground while its tips and tails rise up. Rocker can benefit any skier, from a novice to a World Cup champion and is now incorporated into most skis on the market.
What is Camber Technology?
Camber describes the shape of a traditional ski. If you were to place one on a flat surface it will rest on the points near its tip and tail while its waist arcs up, the built-in arch is the camber of the ski.
Camber puts springiness and pop into a ski. It permits easy handling, responsive turning, powerful carving, stability and good griping power on icy terrain. Camber remains a popular choice when skiing on hardpack or groomed slopes.
What Does Rocker Do?
Rocker offers skiers many benefits including:
- Improved flotation in powder. Early-rising tips help you stay on top of soft snow.
- Greater maneuverability. Fully rockered skis are made to stay afloat and have a shorter effective edge. Less edge contact with the snow makes it easier to turn easier initiation of turns.
- Enhanced park experience. Not all park skis are rockered, but those that are tend to make sliding rails and buttering turns easier. There’s less risk of catching an edge when landing a trick, too.
Why Are There So Many Rocker Variations?
Ski manufacturers gradually realized rocker could be combined with camber to address specific performance needs and each company began putting their own spin on rocker technology.
Rocker can be located many places. It can be in the tip alone, in both the tip and the tail, or in the full length of the ski. Modified sidecuts (some wide, some not so wide) are often also part of a rockered ski’s design package. All of these approaches may be marketed as rockered skis. Each manufacturer selects its own marketing approach, and there is little consistency in how companies label their technologies. So if the steady flow of technical jargon involving rocker makes your head spin, you are not alone.
Rocker may be referred to by many terms including reverse camber, negative camber & early rise.
How do I match a rocker design with my skier or rider type & terrain preference?
All-mountain and all-mountain wide
A popular combination is a rockered tip (for easier turning and good flotation for skiing off-piste in powder), cambered or flat midsection (providing some edge control) and possibly a flat or low-rise tail (for skiers eager to hold speed). Also: Reverse sidecut at the tip is useful if you often visit powder; it maneuvers more easily and is less likely to snag an edge
This is the snow condition that rockered skis were originally created to conquer (or rock). Most powder models are cambered underfoot but their classic rockered tips and tails are best for taking on deep powder. These skis do a good job floating on the top layer of powder; they turn quickly (handy when in trees) and stop swiftly. Downside: Don’t count on them to hold an edge consistently.
A rockered ski offers more contact space in the ski’s midsection which makes sliding rails easier. It also creates a more stable landing platform and reduces the chance of catching an edge.
What's the better choice, Rocker or Camber?
Trick question! This is not necessarily an either or proposition. Many skis today use both camber underfoot and rocker tip and tail in their designs it's up to you to find your favorite combination! What's the best way to do this you ask? Take advantage of our demo rentals and play around with different designs!