When shopping for skis, you’re likely to encounter formulas and calculators for what size ski is perfect for you. In the end, most skiers end up with a ski that falls anywhere between their chin and the top of their head. But that rule isn’t hard and fast, regardless of the skier level. In reality, there isn’t one perfect size for any skier, but this guide will walk you through what goes into picking the right size range. Once these parts are understood, and how they impact the ride quality, the included size chart below will be easy to use.
While your height is the usual, or basic measurement for selecting skis, weight is also a significant factor. Each ski will have a weight range where it’s designed to perform at its best.
If you fall below the weight range, the skis will feel a bit stiffer, and if you’re above the weight range, they will be a bit softer than the manufacturer intended. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t select a ski outside of that range. If you’re looking for a certain amount of flex, keep this in mind while shopping.
If you’re lighter than average for your height, you’ll likely have a ski that’s closer to your chin. If you weigh more than average for your height, you’ll probably have a ski that’s closer to the top of your head.
What you plan to do on your skis will also factor into what size skis you select. If you plan to spend most of your time in the park or pipe, or want a ski that turns much more quickly, a shorter ski will be preferred. A shorter ski will also have a lower swing weight if you plan on going off jumps and spinning.
If you plan to spend most of your time carving down the hill or riding in powder, or you want to ski faster and more aggressively, a longer ski will be preferred. A longer ski will have more edge to hold higher speed turns. And longer skis will offer more float in powder.
Shorter skis will typically appeal to newer skiers as they’re easier to turn. More experienced skiers may go with skis that are shorter or longer than the norm based on what they want from that ski, whether it’s quick turns or longer turns that are more stable at higher speeds.
Determining your experience level and the way you will ski will also factor in to choosing a waist width range that you should be looking for.
The waist width is measured at the middle of the ski, the narrowest part of the ski. A narrower waist width will be easier and quicker to turn, and easier to maneuver overall, while a wider waist will offer more floatation in deep snow as well as provide extra stability. A wider waist is much harder to learn on, so if you're a beginner it is not recommended to start with a wide waisted ski.