Length, of all ski attributes, length is the most straightforward. For a totally ‘normal’ ski, it’s should come up to the bridge 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.
- The skis you have some rocker to them. The more rocker, the more you should size up - a powder ski, for example, which has the most rocker of anything, should be 5-7cm longer. For most skis out there with 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!
- On the heavier side (20lbs+) for your weight
- 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.
- Ski in tight trees often (I’m talking “I just can’t enough of the trees!” kind of often)
- On the lighter side (20lbs-) for 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 though, 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).
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.