Choosing the right ski

Length Matters — How to select the right ski length for you 2024

Length Matters — How to select the right ski length for you 2024

Of all ski attributes, length is the most straightforward. Here’s how to pick the right length for you.

Start with your height

A good starting point for ski length is for your skis to come up to about nose-height.

More often than not, this is the ideal length for you, but there are a few scenarios when you should size up or size down.

Size up a few centimeters if:

  • You often ski in deep snow or steep terrain. “Steep” meaning that, if you fall, you won’t stop until the bottom. This is typically more relevant to those who ride at western resorts. 
  • Your skis have some rocker to them. The more rocker a ski has, the more you should size up. A powder ski, which has the most rocker of any ski type, should be 7-10cm longer. For skis with a minor amount of rocker (often called “early rise”), an additional 4-6cm will be just fine. 
  • If you like a longer ski. If you're not sure if you like a longer ski, then let me tell you — you probably don’t. 
  • You're on the heavier side for someone your height. 
  • You're an aggressive skier.

Size down a few centimeters if:

  • You’re picking a carving ski. No rocker or early rise here, meaning more of the ski will be in contact with the snow. This makes the skis feel longer so you don't need as much length.
  • 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. 
  • You're on the lighter side for someone your height. 
  • You're relatively new to skiing. Shorter skis are easier to handle.

In the end, it’s all about you

Remember, this is all personal preference. I have some friends who ride a ski that reaches 10cm above their head — but they’re 25 years old and ski 75 days a year. I also know people who ride a ski below their chin because they “just like a shorter ski.”

At the end of the day, a few centimeters one way or the other won't make a big difference. Your body will adapt.

Length is just the start

There’s more to picking the right ski than finding the right length. Check out our How to Pick the Right Ski blog series to get our take on what does and doesn’t matter when it comes to choosing skis. 

Had enough of the blogosphere and want to connect with a real live human for some advice? Shoot us an email.

 

 Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: How do you tell if your skis are too short?
  • A: If your skis are too short, they'll feel unstable at speed. You'll also feel like you're "going over your handlebars" when applying pressure to the front of your boot.
  • Q: How do you tell if your skis are too long? 
  • A: If your skis are too long, you will find it difficult to stay in control and turn. You'll also have lots of trouble navigating any tight terrain like mogul fields or glades. You'll find your body naturally shifting towards the back seat and will need to work hard to keep a proper stance.
  • Q: Can my skis be taller than me?
  • A: While a vast majority of skiers will find the right length between their chin and the top of their head, expert skiers will sometimes size up to a ski that is longer than their head. One example are racers who want a downhill ski to be as long as possible to maintain speed and stability. It is also super common with modern powder skis, which have more rocker profile. A rocker profile shortens causes tip and tail rise leading to a ski that effectively skis "shorter" than its listed length. Expert skiers will often size up in their powder ski to compensate for the rocker profile.

 

 

 

 

Why Trust Us?

Renoun Skis Reviews team has over a decade of ski design and manufacturing experience, and decades of combined ski-industry experience ranging from certified PSIA ski instructors to shop technicians, racers, and coaches. We also have a deep passion for and love of all things skiing. The team utilizes this experience to provide unparalleled reviews that dive deep to help guide your purchase for just about any ski-related item and help inform you of any ski-focused tips and tricks about maintenance, on-hill performance, and even the best places to enjoy your Après-Ski. Through written and video content, the Renoun Skis Reviews team is here to help inform you on all things ski-related.

Our team curates recommendations based on an intensive research and review process and leverages our unique expertise in the industry. A product must be exceptional in quality and have unique features to qualify for consideration in our review process. For all tips and tricks, all advice is based on on-hill and ski manufacturing knowledge, as well as intensive research to ensure accuracy and help skiers like you stay informed.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at info@renoun.com.

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