Camber vs Rocker

Camber and rocker technology is an essential part of today’s skis & snowboards. These shapes can be combined in an infinite number of ways in order to give you the best ride possible under any snow conditions. In order to better understand this technology, we have put together a quick vocabulary lesson:


Camber

Snowboard Camber Camber is an upward curve in the middle of a ski or board with the contact points (i.e. where the board/ski touches the snow) close to the ends.

Pros:

  • Flexibility for easier carving.
  • Excellent power on groomed terrain and harder snow.

Con:

  • Hard to control in powder, and you will often find yourself “muscling” your way through the deep stashes.

Rocker

ski snowboard rocker

Rocker (also called reverse-camber) is the downward curve that can be found anywhere along the length of a ski or snowboard.

Pros:

  • Provides float in the soft snow and powder.
  • Loose and free nose and tail, giving you a more playful and fun ride in powder.
  • Easier turn initiation.
  • Effortless ride above hard-packed, or groomed, snow.

Cons:

  • Holding an edge on groomed terrain and harder snow is more difficult.
  • Riding the ski or board flat can feel unstable at times.

By combining these two technologies in a variety of ways, skis and snowboards can be used in a wide range of snow conditions. As an example, a ski with a rockered tip and cambered middle will hold on hardpack but float in the powder. Find out which combination of camber and rocker you like best by demoing some great gear with us.

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15 Comments

  1. I have Volki Mantra’s that have the combination rocker tip and camber. Maybe 3 or 4 years old. Like it a lot. Anything recent like this? I prefer Volkls.

    Thank you,

    Rich.

    • Jeremy Guilbeau

      Rossi soul 7! I’ve been on them for the last year and I absolutely love them! They can carve with the best of them but float effortlessly in the pow! It’s a true one ski quiver!

    • Lisa Sharkey

      Volkl still makes the mantra, and has improved it over the years! There are a lot of other comparable skis like the Blizzard Bonafide and K2 Shreditor our experts love.

    • The Volkl Kendo has a slightly rockered tip and tail and moderate camber with a 90mm waist. It is wonderful in soft and broken snow and still carves very well on groomed and hardpacked snow. It’s a “one” ski in the quiver for all conditions type of ski. The Mantra is a great ski for powder and crud and it carves well on hardpacked and groomed but the Kendo turns quicker and carves better with the narrower waist than the Mantra…….in my experience with both skis. The earlier Kendos had similar shape to the Mantras, but that changed to the current shape two years ago

    • Try the new Mantra with the full ELP rocker profile. It still carves like a fat race ski when tipped on edge but is a lot more playful and surfy in soft snow than the old version. Best of both worlds.

  2. Rocker Camber Rocker. Just like my Nordica Unleashed Hells However this ski is too wide for the front side groomed ,,,, too much work edge to edge. Need the exact profile in a narrower ski to still make an 18 Meter turn at 180-185 cm.

    • Nordica Enforcer 100 – voted best ski all mountain.
      Just got them and they rip a 2″ carve rail in groomers but tear through chop and float in fresh!

  3. For me cambered skis work fine in power. For me rocker skis are scary on hard pack.

  4. (somewhat similar to Mantra) – I ski the Bonafide at a 187 for 6’2″ 170. Great ride. I could have gotten a little shorter pair and been fine. It has camber and both tip & tail rocker. Good for Tahoe Front Side where conditions change every three turns and pow is seldom more than boot deep (lol some exceptions this year). Not great on a race course but that was 30 years ago 😉

  5. Recently bought Fischer Ranger 90 Ti in 172cm. Widest ski I have ever skied in over 50 years of skiing ( age 71) and find the new carbon and titanium materials to be very light weight ( good for old guys ) and pretty good on the Tahoe frontside runs, with nice feeling in light powder and moguls. The front rocker design takes some getting used to, but works fine to initiate turns. Good all round design and all conditions ski. Skis best when feet are a bit apart in the turn, due to width and cut. I think a rocker/camber/rocker design might be best for all mountain skiing.
    Doug M.

  6. I never appreciated skiing pow until I got rockered skis. Many faceplants as my skis would nosedive into the fresh stuff. I’ve skied on Solomon Quest 98s for 2 seasons now which are rocker camber rocker with honeycomb tips. I am now in love with powder skiing and feel like I’m floating on a cloud. However, Q98s do not hold their edge on hardpack and the tips slap and bounce on groomers. So, I just don’t ski unless it has snowed recently.

  7. Still ski my old Volkl SuperSport 5*, which are great carvers, but thinking of updating them. What’s the equivalent Volkl model these days?

  8. Elliot Paulsen

    Just switched to a Rossi Super 7, thats one bad ass ski, Instantly found the trees and poweder much easier and my confidence went through the roof. The Rocker in these skis truly removes the feeling of muscling the ski in powder

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