Valuable hints for helping you pick the right length of skis

December 16, 2014

The correct ski length can be the difference between a day of fun or fail. Here are some valuable hints for helping you pick the right length of skis for success on the slopes.

Valuable hints for helping you pick the right length of skis

While there is no precise ski measurement that a person of any given height should take, there are guidelines to ensure your choice in ski lengths suits your size, ability, and preferred method of skiing.

The rule of thumb when fitting skis

As a general starting point, skis (when held upright) should reach between the base of the neck and the top of a skier's head.

  • This can vary between age groups as children have a different length-to-height ratio than adults.

For example:

  • People between 132 cm and 152 cm tall should have a ski measurement of between 115 cm to 155 cm in range.
  • Anyone between 152 cm and 183 cm tall should use a length between 155 cm and 190 cm.
  • Those taller than 183 cm should be using skis upwards of 170 cm in length.

Other factors when determining ski length

There are a variety of factors that make this slightly more complicated. It's important to allow for variation in length for such variables as:

  • Skier height.
  • Ability level.
  • Weight in relation to height.
  • Snow conditions.
  • Type of skiing planned.

Shorter skis:

Are a better fit for beginner and intermediate skiers who will be riding on green circle (easy difficulty) and blue square (intermediate difficulty) trails or slopes. In general, shorter skis are:

  • Good for people who weigh less than average for their height, allowing for greater control.
  • The perfect choice for those who don’t intend to go fast, or prefer to carve quickly with shorter turns.
  • Well-suited for skiers who prefer to stay on marked, well-groomed trails as they are more responsive on a groomed or packed surface.

Longer skis:

Skis that are longer (closer to the top of the skier’s head) have a similar set of guidelines for use.

  • Longer skis are usually for advanced or expert skiers, hitting the black diamond (expert difficulty) and double black diamond slopes.
  • For those who are above average weight for their height, longer skis are also recommended.
  • Aggressive skiers who love speed as well as off-trail skiing should also consider longer skis as an option—especially anyone anticipating loosely-packed snow who would prefer to "float" with a set of rocker skis.

Whether you are a beginner or an expert in the exciting sport of skiing, choosing the correct ski length can greatly impact your performance and enjoyment of your time on the snow. While there are other variables to consider, knowing the ski length for your height is a great place to start, especially when taking the plunge and buying a pair that will be yours for many ski trips to come!

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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