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Choosing the optimum ski length

Wed, Dec  9, 2009 - By Andy Gerlach

Andy writes for

Most ski models offer at least two possible lengths for my height and weight. What criteria should guide my decision for choosing the optimum ski length?

Ski manufactures create size and flex runs of skis with a good amount of overlap in flexes.  They do this to allows skiers and ski shops options in fit.  One example would be a 165 lb skier could ski a 206 soft or a 201 medium in classic or a 192soft or a 186stiff in skate.

The snow knows how much you weigh but does not know how tall you are.

As a general guidance:

  • If you are tall for your weight you should go to the longer ski and vice-verse.
  • Most people who ski in steeper terrain with a lot of uphill and a lot of steeper downhill with turns will prefer the shorter skis for control. V1 and classical herringboning will be easier on shorter skis.
  • If you ski flatter terrain the longer skis will run smoother and be better for V2 long strides and double poling.