In Gear, Skiing Tips

In the second of this four part discussion we propose the top 5 major decision factors that you should consider when making your ski length decision.

The traditional way of determining the appropriate length of your skis has always been an approximate judgment based mostly upon the skier’s height and weight. As ski technology has changed over the years the ski length answer has changed. In yesteryear when skis were straight the desired length was up to the wrist of an extended arm. With shaped skis and new construction materials proper” ski length is still considered to be based upon height and weight but the equation has changed and the “new” answer is judged to be somewhere between the chin and the top of the head.

We would like to offer an alternative perspective on how to choose ski length. It is not an approach as simplistic as height and weight but rather an approach based upon the uniqueness of the following five attributes of the skier:

Top 5 Factors to Consider When Making Your Ski Length Decision

  1. Age: the age of the skier is a relevant factor because older skiers generally have a different level of strength, durability and reflex speed than younger skiers.
  2. Skiing Style: the skier’s style of skiing is also a relevant factor. What is your preferred style of skiing? Do you seek and enjoy the thrill of speed or do you prefer slower skiing with an emphasis on balance and speed control? Would you describe yourself as an aggressive or a conservative skier? Do you have a high or low level of anxiety when skiing? Are you a risk taker or is your goal to avoid potential injury at all cost?
  3. Terrain Preference: a skier’s terrain preference is also an important factor in choosing ski length. What terrain do you currently ski and what terrain would you like to ski (groomed runs, moguls, powder or gates in a race course)? Is your goal to ski groomers, off-piste or some combination of the two. Do you want to ski easy or moderate runs or is steep and deep your thing? Will you be skiing in-bounds at a ski area or out-of-bounds in the back country?
  4. Fitness Level: Are you young, athletic, strong, durable and have fast reflexes? Or are you older, not in as good as shape as you used to be, fatigue sooner that you used to and have noticed that your reflexes are slowing? How well do you adjust to high altitude? Have you have had any orthopedic injuries (e.g. knee surgery or knee replacement or hip replacement or any other broken bones). Do you have any medical condition that may impact durability or fatigue and/or any other disability (either physical or cognitive)?
  5. Frequency Of Skiing: How often you ski is another important variable. How many days do you ski each year? And, do you ski for a full or half-day? Do you live in a mountain town and ski 100+ days a year or do you live in a big city and consider it fortunate if you can find time to ski 7 – 10 days a season?

Continue reading the next segment on choosing ski length: Choosing Ski Length – Making The Decision

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