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There is no golden rule to purchasing the correct size ski. The length of a ski has a lot of variable factors including; height, weight, skier ability, ski type, what terrain you plan on skiing, camber/rocker ratio and personal preference.

A good starting point is that a beginner skier usually uses a ski from shoulder to chin height, an intermediate generally uses from chin to eyebrow and an advanced skier is usually anywhere from nose up to wherever the skier feels comfortable.

It’s also worth noting that every ski brand measures their ski length differently. So even if the ski states it’s a 170cm it may be slightly shorter or longer than its description.
This is where our variable factors come into play. There are multiple reasons why some people chose a shorter or longer, narrow or wider skis. As a general rule a shorter narrower ski will be easier to turn because it will have a naturally shorter turn radius - this is compared to a longer ski which will be more stable at higher speeds and wider skis which will provide flotation and control in deeper snow or variable terrain.

Reasons you might prefer a shorter ski

• If you are at a lower ability level and aren’t too confident with your skiing.
• Your weight is below average for your height range.
• You have a preference for short, tight, quick turns.
• You prefer slow to moderate speeds and manoeuvrability over high speed stability.
• After a more traditional carving ski with little to no rocker.


• Classify yourself as an upper intermediate to aggressive skier.
• If you are carrying a couple more kg’s than most in your height range.
• Have a preference for faster, long, open turns.
• If venturing from the groomers is more your style or you’re after a powder specific ski.
• Planning on skiing twin tips, or skis with lots of rocker.


Carving skills

For those that enjoy sticking to groomers, carving skis use narrow widths underfoot to allow skis to roll in and out of turns easily and quickly with fast, strong edge engagement and release. Skis come in a variety of different levels of stiffness. The correct choice is dependent on the ability level of the skier; softer skis are aimed at beginners through to intermediates for their ease of use, while more aggressive skis prefer stiffer skis re-inforced with metal laminates to provide torsional and longtitutional rigidity for control at higher speeds. Lower profile tip rockers are now common in these skis to aid turn initation.


All mountain skis

As the name suggests these skis are designed for skiing the entire mountain. Wider in widths than carving skis, generally between 80-100mm underfoot. These skis are narrow enough for turning on piste but have enough width to plow through chopped out or variable snow. Like carvers all mountain skis will come in a variety of stiffness to match the skiers ability level as well as different rocker set-ups for the ratio of time spent on and off piste. All mountain skis also come in a variety of shapes that give an indication of their handling characteristics - heavily rockered and tapered designs are likely to be more playful feeling, with easier manoeuvrability and increased flotation off-piste, where more traditionally shaped and cambered designs will feel more powerful, generally have a higher 'top speed' and are more suited to busting through crud rather than floating over the top.




The addition of rocker in a ski can also affect the choice of length. Most groomer specific skis have a small tip rocker designer to aid turn initiation which doesn’t greatly affect the length of the ski compared to a powder ski which will have extended tip and/or tail rockers or even a completely reverse camber or full rockered design. Because surface area and flotation are the key in this range of skis almost all skiers prefer a longer powder ski; top of the head and above.


The traditional profile for skis can be shown by placing a ski on a flat surface and leaving the tip and tail unweighted. The ends of the ski will touch while the middle of the ski won't come into contact with the surface. Once weighted the ski will provide superior edge control on groomed and hard packed snow because there will be even pressure on the edge of the ski from tip to tail. Cambered skis will generally also have increased rebound and pop out of turns.