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How does weight affect ski size?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Obviously there are lots of different opinions on what ski size to get, and it generally seems to come down to some combination of height, ability, and terrain.  Does weight come into play at all?


Whenever I read reviews, I'm always at least 20-30lbs heavier than the reviewer, and I'm wondering if I should take that into consideration, or if it doesn't matter.  I'm 6' 230lbs and in pretty good shape from wrestling in HS and college and playing rugby for the past 6 years.



I'm still skiing on my beginner skis that I bought 5 years ago when I picked the sport back up, 167cm Elan FlowXT, and I'm starting my research for a new pair of skis, probably looking to buy at the end of the season.  I'm looking at the magical "All Mountain" category, because buying multiple pairs just isn't an option.  These would be just for the East Coast, because if I ever do make it out West I'd just rent rather than ship.  The most difficult on map trails are right at the top of my ability, depending on conditions of course.


I know I'm going to need to go longer, but how much?  175?  180?  Then I've been told that twin tips and rockers make a ski feel shorter, so now I'm up to 185?  What about size underfoot, does weight come into play there at all?


I'm not expecting answers to every question, but I wanted to show how easy it is to think yourself in circles.

post #2 of 6

I'm about 6'6", 270, so I have the same issues.


One piece of advice I've seen is that length should correspond to height, and stiffness to weight.  Both should go up if you want to go faster.  Wider powder-oriented skis tend to be longer in general.


Getting something at least in the right ballpark does matter.  Overly soft skis (for your weight and/or the speed you're going) won't hold on very firm snow or ice.  Overly stiff skis are a handful, especially in ungroomed snow or bumps.  Or on a race course -- if you read any of the ski racing stuff here, sometimes you'll see suggestions that short/light guys should try women's race skis, which are often the same ski just softened up a bit.


For 'frontside' carving skis (anything less than, say, 80mm these days), I wouldn't advise getting skis taller than the top of your head, and for most people you probably want them between chin height and the top of your head (so maybe 10-20cm shorter than you are).  If you're a big guy, don't be afraid to step up to an 'advanced' or 'expert'-level ski, since you won't have to work as hard to bend them in a turn.


If you're looking for an Eastern one-ski quiver, I'd look in the 75-88mm range.  Go narrower if you rarely or never go on ungroomed trails.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

I've been looking at anything from 80-95.  Ideally, I'd spend 1/3 groomed, 1/3 trees, and 1/3 ungroomed/bumps, but being an Eastern skier, I don't always have those choices.

post #4 of 6

Line Prophet 90 in 179 (or 186). I demoed some in Breckenridge last month and will probably pick up a pair. I"m 6'0", 220 lb. and skied the 179 - they definitely skied short, so I will probably get the 186. Didn't get a chance to ski much soft snow (there wasn't much to go around), but they did well on blue and black groomers and bumps. Not too stiff, not too soft, not too much rocker - just right



post #5 of 6
Originally Posted by St Bear View Post

Does weight come into play at all?


Yes.  It is a component of choosing a ski which has to be long enough to support the skier's mass.

post #6 of 6

Op, I'm your size and weight, and I couldn't imagine skiing a set of 167's. I have several 175ish length skis that I take out for various permutations of rock skiing or other adverse conditions, and they are obviously too small, without enough ski in front of me to really ski forward and apply pressure to engage the tip. The shorter skis always make me ski backseat, which drives me crazy.


I'm an expert level skier, and in Colorado, so that makes a difference too. Shorter skis generally have tighter turning radii (many think this makes them more fun for limited verts-more turns), and are easier to ankle pivot if you aren't really a carving/full parallel skier.


Still, I ski a 189 K2 (and K2 measures base contact, rather than tip to tail, so they are really closer to a 195), and if I'm not on a ski at least 185ish, it feels small.

I would go at least 175-180, and try to demo something longer to see where your preferences lie.

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