There are pretty big differences between on and off-piste skis. However, having said that, brands like Salomon, K2, Head and Atomic are creating skis that can be used for both disciplines. No longer do you have to take two pairs of skis on holiday with you.
These types of skis are great, you have a multi-purpose ski. Kind of like a Swiss army knife. The problem is, because the ski has the best of both worlds, it’s not the best it could be in each genre of skiing. You wouldn’t cut down a tree with a Swiss army knife, so you wouldn’t tackle the steepest, deepest, powder with piste skis.
Off-piste skis will tend to be a lot wider than piste skis, both in the waist and the shovel of the skis. The shape of the ski can be radically different as well. A lot off-piste skis will have a rocker. A rocker is the early rise of a ski tip, it allows the ski to lift up on to the snow and float, rather then the front catching and sinking like a cambered piste ski would. A traditional piste ski will be around 70mm to 90mm wide whilst an off-piste ski can be anything from 85mm to 130mm wide underfoot!by