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Could skiing too short of a ski impede learning?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I have a lot of interest in ski sizing. (im looking at buying 1st pair skis). 


I was wondering if choosing too short a ski could impede learning?


Im very new. Call last season my first, although id skiid years earlier. I think i had 9 days total on snow this year. Had several lessons, and worked on new things each day I ski'd. Every day was strictly trying to get better at skiing and not social at all.  I also rented every day. A variety of totally crappy 7 year old skis,  to AC20s. I never skid anything longer than the AC20 which were 170, and those were probably my favorites. I wish i could have tried the 177s. When renting you are always pointed to the shortest ski half way feasible 9because they are easier to turn). One pair i was rented were extremely chattery on green slopes with any kind of speed. 


I never seemed to be able to really edge my skis, never really carved a turn like i imagine what carving a turn is like.  I know a good skier is capable of carving any ski, but was wondering if a 215lb guy being on 170 or less length skis might actually be detrimental to carving instead of sliding/skidding?

Edited by WC68 - 5/2/11 at 9:12pm
post #2 of 8


Hi there, 


Congrats on joining the ski world! You didn't mention your height - but if you're around 6', 170cm is ok for a beginner of your weight. It takes time to learn carving technique. If you were actually carving at nine days, you should be dancing on the ceiling! As your technique improves, you will find yourself balancing more over your outside ski, which will resolve chattering. 


That said, based on how much you enjoyed the AC20, it sounds like you're a good candidate for intermediate skis. Beginner skis are very soft. And when people either weigh a bit more or ski at higher speeds (which generates increased force), they need a torsionally stiffer ski. Torsional stiffness describes how stiff the ski is if you were to twist it. A ski with low torsional stiffness deforms quite easily and breaks out of its track much easier than a more torsionally stiff ski. A stiffer ski will also feel less squirrelly at speeds. However, a stiffer ski also takes more skill to steer. So try stepping up to an intermediate ski. 


Lastly, before worrying too much about skis, make sure your boots are well fitted. Boots are less glamorous to the new skier, but a snug boot will allow you to keep improving. A pair of sloppy boots will stop your progression until they're replaced. 


To get a vague approximation of the carving feeling (depending on the turn shape), think of ice skating when you ride the edge of the skate. That's vaguely how it feels in the feet. 

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

thanks. i do have boots, and I am looking at intermediate skis.  The ice skating analogy, thats what i expect to feel, just havent truly gotten there yet. 

post #4 of 8

When I got back into skiing I started out with a ski just a bit above my chin and it wasn't long before I wished I had gone longer.  However, I don't really think that held me back in the re-learning process; in fact, in some ways I think it helped because by the time I did upgrade to a longer ski (head high) it felt so ridiculously stable at faster speeds compared to what I was accustomed to it was a huge confidence boost.


Agreed that a good-fitting boot is much more important than slight variations in the ski softness / length / width.

post #5 of 8

Since I was 4 years old, my father insisted on putting me 10 cm longer than my nose.  It forced me to be forward and be stronger in general.  I'm 5'11" / 175 lbs and ski a 189 k2 obSethed currently and I wish it was a 193 some days when I'm straightlining or ripping Mens Downhill top to bottom at Louise. 


Go longer and force yourself to adapt.  It will make you a far stronger skier.

post #6 of 8

Hi Granteezy,

Originally Posted by Granteezy View Post

Go longer and force yourself to adapt.  It will make you a far stronger skier.

A ski that's too long impedes the skier's ability to turn the ski. The end result is that the skier uses major rotation wrench the ski around. I'd rather see a new skier learn on something that allows the learner to develop their pivoting and edging skills than on something super stable and hard to turn. As the skier increases their speed, they'll outgrow the softer, shorter ski, but their solid technique stays with them.


Also, in your anecdotal situation you're presumably at least an upper intermediate on soft powder twintips attempting to ski groomers at high speeds. Your skis lack the stiffness of a carver, and twintips always need to be longer for equivalent stability. I can see that you'd want a longer ski in your situation. Alternately you could switch to a short, stiff frontside carver and get great performance. The OP's situation is quite different. 

post #7 of 8

WC68, I think if you've been out of skiing for a while and want to get your first pair of skis it is definitely better to go on the shorter side.  This will make your learning experience much better.


Now, there will come a point (presumably) when you'll get those carving skills and "outgrow" the shorter skis, but they definitely will make the initial learning experience better.


A ski that comes up to your chin would be a good place to start.




As far as boots, are your's snug fitting?  Many beginner/intermediate skiers have "comfy" boots that are actually WAY too big and wide.  Just something to think about going forward.  (I don't know what boots you have, but they may be too soft as well if they are beginner-type boots).

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi all.


I did get a ski. I got Prophet 90s. I know a lot of people on here recommended a narrower ski, but multiple local skiiers here said to get at least a 90mm wide ski. So, maybe it was a bad decision, maybe not. I guess Ill find out next season. Im not too worried as i got a really good deal.  I got them in a 179 length.  On end they come to my hairline/forehead. Looks like the actual running length would be closer to 170. Havent measured. 


Boots. I got "fitted" at a local store that is listed on the "Bootfitters of America" website.  Im pretty much happy with everything, but the flex. When i bought them, i wasnt very familiar with flex ratings, etc. One of the boot guys that posts here, said they were definitely not stiff enough for someone my size. This was pointed out to me, by another poster in another thread. Im going to visit Mike this summer some time to get bindings, and get fitted in another new pair of boots. 

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