Of all ski attributes, length is the most straightforward.
For a totally ‘normal’ ski, it should come up to the tip of your nose.
Size up a few centimeters if:
- You ski in 1ft+ of snow often or ski in steep (i.e. if you fall you won’t stop until the bottom) terrain often. This is more indicative of Western resorts typically.
- Your skis have some rocker to them. The more rocker a ski has, the more you should size up - a powder ski, for example, has the most rocker of any ski type, should be 5-7cm longer. For most skis out there with a "minor" amount of rocker, an additional 3-4cm will be just fine.
- If you like a longer ski! If you don’t know if you like a longer ski, then let me tell you: you don’t!
- Your are on the heavier side for someone your height.
- You ski every other weekend or more during the winter (i.e. you ski often).
Size down a few centimeters if:
- You’re picking a carving specific ski - i.e. doesn't have rocker or early-rise to it. This means more of the ski will be in contact with the snow, making it "feel" longer.
- You ski in tight trees often (I’m talking “I just can’t get enough of the trees!” kind of often) Less ski length will make the ski more nimble and easier to articulate in tight situations.
- On the lighter side for someone your weight.
- Ski a few times a year, but not almost every weekend.
Now, remember this is all personal preference. I have some friends who ski a ski 5cm above their head - but they are 25 years old and ski more days than I do. I also know people who ride a ski below their chin because “they just like a shorter ski”. At the end of the day, remember a few cm one way or the other won't make a big difference. Your body will adapt - if you talked to someone who said this isn’t true, they are probably 3 times older than me and remember when skis didn’t have edges. Times are different - they need to move on (and so do you).
Did I miss something? Email me and I'll add it!
FACTORS TO CONSIDER: There are 5 things you need to consider when picking out a ski. Remember, these are aspects you need to decide - not your buddy who tells you stuff. Sure, take it into consideration, but remember you are buying for you, not them.
FACTORS TO NOT CONSIDER: Just as important are the things you SHOULD NOT consider when picking a ski. In my experience, with all the things to think about, I would worry about these the least.