Final Thoughts: So, here is the bottom line. How should I determine my ski length? In the fourth and final part of this discussion we tackle these questions.
What specific type of skis should I be looking at? If you prefer speed, consider yourself aggressive, have low anxiety, are a risk taker, are strong and durable with fast reflexes, ski a good number of days each season, have no history of orthopedic injuries or replaced body parts and prefer top-to-bottom groomed runs or like to run gates … these are all factors which would argue for a longer ski. Why? Because you will likely want to ski faster.
If you are older with slowing reflexes and fatigue easier than you used to, prefer skiing slowly, are not aggressive, have anxiety and want to avoid injury at all cost, have experienced a knee replacement, ski a small number of days per year, are not in as good a shape as you used to be and your intention is to primarily ski moguls and powder you want a shorter ski with a shorter turning radius. Why? Because you will likely want to turn easier and ski slower.
In a nutshell, our experience tells us that shorter skis are more appropriate for the majority of aging Baby Boomers.
Shorter skis have a smaller balance sweet spot that produces a more centered skier and facilitates better balance. Shorter skis turn easier, particularly in the moguls. A shorter ski typically has a smaller turning radius which means that you will spend less time in the fall line and that results in slower skiing and better speed control. The combination of better balance and better speed control will result in reduced anxiety, less fatigue, and the ability to ski more challenging off-piste terrain with more confidence.
Can We Be More Specific? For Boomers we are seeing great results with all-mountain mid-fat skis that have 82mm-89mm in width underfoot in a 150cm – 160cm length for men and 146cm – 156cm for women.
We have no skin in the game re one manufacturer or another. Our primary recommendation is to go all-mountain mid-fat in a “shorter” length.
In all cases, keep in mind that what matters most to good skiing is neither ski brand nor ski length but the ability of a skier to maintain balance and maintain speed control on whatever terrain they are skiing on.
Said another way, it is more about the skier (e.g. technique) than the ski.
So, in the end, achieving your skiing objectives is really 85% about ski technique and 15% about choosing the right ski length. However, choosing the best ski length, given your attributes and skiing goals, will either facilitate or inhibit achieving those goals.
A Final Thought On Choosing Ski length
The recommendations presented here are based upon the demographics, preferences, goals and the many years of on-snow experiences since 2002 of the people who ski in the BUMPS FOR BOOMERS mogul and powder ski lesson program. This profile includes skier’s age (Baby Boomer and older skiers), their skiing style (conservative … with a preference for balance and control over fast skiing … and a desire to avoid potential injury at all cost), their terrain preference (desire to ski moguls and powder inside the ski area boundary), their fitness level (not as physically fit as they used to be … and slowing reflexes) and skiing frequency (approximately 15 days per season).
If you are young, athletic, have lightening fast reflexes, love to ski fast, ski 60+ days a season and/or prefer out-of-bounds back country or helli-skiing in British Columbia then it would be appropriate for you to use a different set of guidelines for how to choose your ski length.