EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › What length ski for overweight 5'2" female (~210lbs)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

What length ski for overweight 5'2" female (~210lbs)

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Okay, I've searched the forum and can't find the answer, so....

 

I'm buying skis for my sister-in-law for her 50th birthday this year, and I need some advice. She is an avid skier who normally only gets to ski approximately 4 weekends a year (primarily East Coast with occasional trips to the West). She mostly skis groomers, but loves it when there's a bunch of fresh snow on top of of a previously groomed trail. She adores groomed blacks. She is a cautious skier who likes to stay in control and goes for perfect linked turns over speed.

 

She bought some great advanced/expert skis for an excellent price at skis.com last year, but when she took them to the shop at Sierra-at-Tahoe to have the bindings mounted, the guy (older guy who clearly knew his stuff) refused to do it because she had 170s and he said they were way too long for her. She was disappointed because she had spoken to several people at skis.com trying to decide on what length to purchase, and had decided on longer skies based on her weight and skill despite her short height. The ship guy was so sure about this that he comped her demos for the day and told her to try skis between 146 and 160. She demoed several, including the new K2 Superfree in 146 and 153, and she loved the 146s. 

 

So my question is, does the new ski technology now essentially make weight irrelevant? If so, I'm going to buy her the 2012 K2 Superfree 146 skis since that's what she fell in love with. It's just that this whole ski length thing is driving me crazy, and I really want to understand.

 

(Secondary question, not that important: can tell me if the 2011 K2 Free Luv is the same ski, in which case I might get her those, but I think they come in 142 and 149 so I don't know what I would get).

 

Thanks for your input!

post #2 of 20

I think she should demo the 170s that she already bought.  Could be she is comparing good short skis to bad long skis.  Could be she really doesn't have a clue how to ski and short skis are easier to ski IF you don't have a clue what to do with a ski. 

 

If she knows how to ski she will enjoy the 170s much more.

 

I would have suggested 175 cm.

post #3 of 20

For what it's worth, what I learned about K2 when I bought my first shaped skis is that K2 measures differently.  I'm a petite 5'0" woman, on the light side.  Found 146 in K2 okay and only a little short.  Since I was mainly skiing in the southeast on weekends with my young daughter at the time, it was fine.  Compared to the 154 Rossi I got next, the K2's are really not much shorter.  I still use my K2 at Massanutten.  For the demo skis I tried this winter out west, I was happy on 159 because I've improved a lot in the last few years (more time on the snow out west).

 

So a 170 K2 would ski really long.  I can't imagine someone who is 5'2" being happy on something that long, regardless of weight.

 

For the Free Luv, get the 149.

post #4 of 20

I'm an advanced skier, a woman, ski 50+ days per season (more than your sister's 8 or so days per year), and I instruct.  I'm on 171s, which I love, and I do certainly know what to do with them.  People keep telling me they are too long for me, but these people are wrong.  I can ski a shorter ski, but I just like these and they are what I have right now for my daily driver.  I weigh 50 lbs less than your sister, and I ski a lot more than she does, most likely with considerably more versatility.

 

People will continue to tell you the 170s are too long for her, and given your sister's experience, I agree.  

The 170s are probably too long for her.

post #5 of 20

Ski length is probably one of the most variable and personal elements once a person has decided to buy.  So many variables: ski construction/design/focus; skier height, weight, skill, style; terrain skied; etc., etc., etc.  I'm not sure you'll get anywhere other than "close" by discussing this with others. 
 

Being short but solid, I ski longer than I might. I like to be able to short-turn my way down steep terrain, so I ski shorter than I might.  I also like to turn 'em loose once I hit terrain I'm comfortable with, so I go longer again.  I ski in the east and sometimes in the trees, so I go shorter again.  I'm better than average, so I go longer.  I'm not as good as true experts, so I go shorter.  I ski a slalom-cut ski, but like to ski all over the mountain with it, so I go longer.  I like to carve rather than ride, so I go shorter....  get it?  My ski length is a choice driven by many variables AND my own personal tastes.   Too many variables for anyone here -- who is not the same skier with the same tastes -- to absolutely tell you what is right for your sister-in-law.  Hence, Ghost's recommendation she at least try the skis she bought.  And hence the recommendations you've received ranging from 146 to 175.

 

But.... I'd also suggest this: sometimes the ski that feels right in a short test when one hasn't skied a lot feels great -- but then ends up being a limiting dead end after you ski more and hit your stride.  The less you ski, the more you want an easy (often a softer and shorter) ski.  The more you ski, the more you want a ski to grow into (often stiffer/longer).  Personally, I'd think you might try to hit the extremes half-way.  But unfortunately, the very best way to determine what's right is for your sis-in-law to demo a bunch and then decide herself.  If that's not going to happen, you'll just have to help her close her eyes and just point at one ski/length and hope. 
 

This is one reason many of us keep buying skis -- the dream that one day we'll get EVERYTHING we want in one choice. 

post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by leilaz View PostShe is a cautious skier who likes to stay in control and goes for perfect linked turns over speed.

 

 

Explains why she likes short skis.
 

     Quote:

Originally Posted by leilaz View Post

So my question is, does the new ski technology now essentially make weight irrelevant? If so, I'm going to buy her the 2012 K2 Superfree 146 skis since that's what she fell in love with. It's just that this whole ski length thing is driving me crazy, and I really want to understand.

 


Weight, ability, aggressiveness, and fitness will trump height.  If any of those qualifiers get lower, ski size will drop down.

 

So,

Weight - 210 - This will err a length longer.

Ability - Your description does not tell us much.  How about something on a scale from 1-10.

Aggressiveness - Cautious - This will err a length shorter.

Fitness - We can make guesses based off her height and weight.  You tell us.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by leilaz View Post

 

(Secondary question, not that important: can tell me if the 2011 K2 Free Luv is the same ski, in which case I might get her those, but I think they come in 142 and 149 so I don't know what I would get).

 

 

Free Luv?  Go with the 149.

 

Dennis

post #7 of 20

I know a guy who's about 6'1" probably weighs 230 pounds, PSIA L2 who skis on 150 or 155cm Atomic SL11s, exclusively.  He's fast and a helluva carver but can't/won't ski anything but groomed runs.  My wife is unfortunately about the same weight as the OP's SIL although taller and skis on 155s, groomed runs only  I tend to agree with the shop guy that 170s might be too long for her, depending on what they are.  If they're a demanding ski that requires the operator to really be on top of their game at all times, they are too long but if they're just some intermediate level easy going ski, they might not be too long.  

post #8 of 20

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

 My wife is unfortunately about the same weight as the OP's SIL ...

Um... mtcyclist...you clearly meant to use another word here.... right?       wink.gif

post #9 of 20
I just hooked up my intermediate 5'- 4" 44 year old wife with a new set of sticks this week
As for weight there was no mention of this when choosing a ski
A rule to follow as it was explained to us....
To chin- beginner
To nose - intermediate
To forehead - advanced
Longer - expert
One responder is correct K2 skis are longer than most. Comparatively the Rossignals and the Elans we tested were shorter by about 4 inches (8cm) than the K2 don't let the extra length scare ya.
Look for a ski that has a decent side cut this will help with turn initiation
Have a look at the K2 missdemeanor in the 160 size the 2011 are still available at a great price and scored tops as a all mountain ski with 2 out of 3 top ski reviews
The k2 is what we chose in the end I am blown away at how these skis work for her for the fist time I can't loose her on the mountain
Just another ski on the list to confuse you choice smile.gif
I do feel that the 170 May be a little long for her
Cheers and happy skiing
HURK
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 

Wow, thanks everyone for the great feedback (I knew I could count on EpicSki)!

 

More info: She is Level 6-7 (as am I, we have often skied together). She takes several lessons every year. In group lessons, level 6 instructors tell her she needs level 7, and level 7 instructors tell her she needs level 6, so she usually takes private lessons. At her age and the amount she gets to ski, I don't think this will ever change, unless she hits the lottery and retires to a ski resort, which I'm sure she would love to do!

 

Despite her weight, she is actually incredibly fit. Depending on the time of year, she either plays tournament volleyball or tennis 5 days a week. She skis the entire day from first tracks to last lift.

 

I can't remember what the 170 skies were, but I had given her multiple recommendations last year and if I recall they were also K2s of a comparable ability level to the Superfrees.

 

5'2" equals 157.5cm, so the 153s were at her forehead and the 146s at her nose. The 170s were well over her height, and 160s were slightly over her height. I think I begin to understand why she likes the shorter skis.

 

She prefers K2 of all types to any other brands she has tried, and has liked every model of K2. She does not like any Volkls she has tried. She will not get to ski again this season, and does not want to spend any more time demoing, she trusts me to obsess and pick the best ski I can for her.  It seems everyone agrees the K2s run long, so I won't worry about picking something a bit shorter in them for her, though I really feel that 146 is too short. I refuse to cater to her being too conservative, but I also don't want to push her too far out of her comfort zone. I would rather put her on a shorter advanced/expert ski than a longer intermediate/advanced ski.

 

 

She demoed multiples skis over 3 days ranging from the aforementioned 146 and 153 K2 Superfrees up to 170s and various other skis. I took off to ski on my own, so I don't know what else she tried. I just spoke with her last night and she confessed that the 146 and 153s felt pretty much the same to her, so I now would be looking at getting her the K2 Superfrees in 153 (or K2 Free Luvs in 149). Now, I'm an inch taller than her, weight about 155lbs, and I like 160s, which is why I keep pushing her to try longer even though she likes shorter (but then, I'm an aggressive skier while she is not). I'm trying hard to pick a ski for her, not for myself (I prefer unisex/men's skis anyway, almost bought Nordica Helldivers last year).  I will say that when I did take a few runs with her while she was skiing the shorter Superfrees, I didn't have to wait for her to catch up, she could actually keep up with me, which she has never been able to do before.

 

I'll check out the reviews for the K2 missdemeanor.

 

Oh, and we were skiing in Tahoe the second week of February so there was not much snow and it was slushy, so she will have no idea how the Superfree will preform at her usual East Coast resorts.

 

Next year if I find good snow I'm going to demo and buy new skis--I can't wait!

 

 

 
post #11 of 20

Sounds like you've done a good job of crunching the various elements.  I'd have to say that from what you write, the 149 or 153 sound about right.  The SuperFree or Free Luv also seem right for an eastern groomer ski.  76 mm waist offers quickness and design offers carving capability.  Waist offers enough float for low crud and mixed snow.  MIssDemeanor will be a bit wide, soft, all-mountain for hardpack: I'd only go there if she were planning to spend a lot of time out west or in softer, deeper snow myself.

post #12 of 20

Most of the recreational women skiers I know ski are on 155ish (short) to low 160s (sort of standard length) skis.  I'm talking about narrow-waisted carvers (68-80 waist) with a turn radius around 14-16.  Somewhat longer lengths would work well for that type of ski if she likes to carve really fast on hard snow groomers, because the length usually adds stability at speed. Not sure about K2s at speed on hard snow, however.  

 

The rental skis for beginners and novices at my mountain are super short - in the 140s.  For a level  6-7 skier who is fit and strong, no matter what height and weight, buying skis in the 140s is going to leave her unstable on hard snow when she's booking it even at normal intermediate skier speeds.  I suspect the shop attendant took a quick look at her and decided she was a beginning skier, so handed her the shorties to try. I'd advise against buying them, no matter how they skied that day.

 

If you are looking at fat powder skis (90s+ waist), then the whole thing changes.

post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 

It was a slow day (mid-week mid-February after the first real snow of the year but before it finally started dumping) so the shop guy actually spoke with her for about 45 minutes. He asked all the right questions, listened to her answers--I was really impressed. He told her the reason 170s had been recommended previously was for her weight and level, but that for her height and style skies 10cm taller than she is would make her miserable. He did think she should try 160s, but it turned out they were also too long.

 

She will mostly be on the East Coast, so I'm glad to hear the SuperFrees will work there, too. I was a bit worried about that since she was testing them in the West on what were basically Spring conditions.  Think I'll skip the Missdemeanors since she will mostly be on the East Coast.

 

I'm now leaning toward the Superfree 153s, short but not ridiculously short. She never skis fast, though she was much faster this year on the shorter skis than I've ever seen her before. 

 

Not looking for powder skis for her since she probably won't have much change to use 'em.

 

Thanks again for all the fantastic input!

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by leilaz View Post

Wow, thanks everyone for the great feedback (I knew I could count on EpicSki)!

 

More info: She is Level 6-7 (as am I, we have often skied together). She takes several lessons every year. In group lessons, level 6 instructors tell her she needs level 7, and level 7 instructors tell her she needs level 6, so she usually takes private lessons. At her age and the amount she gets to ski, I don't think this will ever change, unless she hits the lottery and retires to a ski resort, which I'm sure she would love to do!

 

Despite her weight, she is actually incredibly fit. Depending on the time of year, she either plays tournament volleyball or tennis 5 days a week. She skis the entire day from first tracks to last lift.

 

I can't remember what the 170 skies were, but I had given her multiple recommendations last year and if I recall they were also K2s of a comparable ability level to the Superfrees.

 

5'2" equals 157.5cm, so the 153s were at her forehead and the 146s at her nose. The 170s were well over her height, and 160s were slightly over her height. I think I begin to understand why she likes the shorter skis.

 

She prefers K2 of all types to any other brands she has tried, and has liked every model of K2. She does not like any Volkls she has tried. She will not get to ski again this season, and does not want to spend any more time demoing, she trusts me to obsess and pick the best ski I can for her.  It seems everyone agrees the K2s run long, so I won't worry about picking something a bit shorter in them for her, though I really feel that 146 is too short. I refuse to cater to her being too conservative, but I also don't want to push her too far out of her comfort zone. I would rather put her on a shorter advanced/expert ski than a longer intermediate/advanced ski.

 

 

She demoed multiples skis over 3 days ranging from the aforementioned 146 and 153 K2 Superfrees up to 170s and various other skis. I took off to ski on my own, so I don't know what else she tried. I just spoke with her last night and she confessed that the 146 and 153s felt pretty much the same to her, so I now would be looking at getting her the K2 Superfrees in 153 (or K2 Free Luvs in 149). Now, I'm an inch taller than her, weight about 155lbs, and I like 160s, which is why I keep pushing her to try longer even though she likes shorter (but then, I'm an aggressive skier while she is not). I'm trying hard to pick a ski for her, not for myself (I prefer unisex/men's skis anyway, almost bought Nordica Helldivers last year).  I will say that when I did take a few runs with her while she was skiing the shorter Superfrees, I didn't have to wait for her to catch up, she could actually keep up with me, which she has never been able to do before.

 

I'll check out the reviews for the K2 missdemeanor.

 

Oh, and we were skiing in Tahoe the second week of February so there was not much snow and it was slushy, so she will have no idea how the Superfree will preform at her usual East Coast resorts.

 

Next year if I find good snow I'm going to demo and buy new skis--I can't wait!

 

 

 


Here's what it looks like from my admittedly biased point of view.

 

She is a strong 200 lb person who can easily over-power the short skis and make them do what she want's them to do, i.e. force them to a steering angle that will make her turn (even if  the skis can not deliver enough force to turn her not inconsequential mass in a hard turn, they can deliver enough force to call it a turn),  but is finding the longer skis offer enough resistance to being pushed around that she doesn't enjoy them as much.   If she is happy with her current ability and is just taking lessons for the social aspect, she will be happier with the short skis, which will allow her to ski as she does without kicking up a fuss.  And she will never improve beyond level 6-7. 

 

At 200 lbs it would take a stronger ski to accelerate her mass in anything approaching a decently tight turn at anything but a very slow speed.  No wonder she doesn't like to ski fast; her skis cannot turn her very well at speed (even though she can turn them) and they are also likely very scary feeling at speed anyway.  If she wants to improve, she should get a ski that, while letting her get away with a few mistakes, makes it easier for her to turn with good technique, than it is for her to ignore what the ski is trying to do and over power it with poor technique.  She can ski them slowly if she want's to (or not). Regardless of how fast she skis, she will learn what works easily to ski on them and start using that technique instead of her strength.

 

The ski shop employee she talked to, imho, correctly assessed that at her current ability, she would easily enjoy a ski that didn't argue with her and let her ski the way she wants too.  I think he was more concerned with her immediate after-purchase enjoyment of the ski than her long-term enjoyment of skiing.

 

Just my opinion, I've been wrong before and will be again.

 

 

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post


Here's what it looks like from my admittedly biased point of view.

 

She is a strong 200 lb person who can easily over-power the short skis and make them do what she want's them to do, i.e. force them to a steering angle that will make her turn (even if  the skis can not deliver enough force to turn her not inconsequential mass in a hard turn, they can deliver enough force to call it a turn),  but is finding the longer skis offer enough resistance to being pushed around that she doesn't enjoy them as much.   If she is happy with her current ability and is just taking lessons for the social aspect, she will be happier with the short skis, which will allow her to ski as she does without kicking up a fuss.  And she will never improve beyond level 6-7. 

 

At 200 lbs it would take a stronger ski to accelerate her mass in anything approaching a decently tight turn at anything but a very slow speed.  No wonder she doesn't like to ski fast; her skis cannot turn her very well at speed (even though she can turn them) and they are also likely very scary feeling at speed anyway.  If she wants to improve, she should get a ski that, while letting her get away with a few mistakes, makes it easier for her to turn with good technique, than it is for her to ignore what the ski is trying to do and over power it with poor technique.  She can ski them slowly if she want's to (or not). Regardless of how fast she skis, she will learn what works easily to ski on them and start using that technique instead of her strength.

 

The ski shop employee she talked to, imho, correctly assessed that at her current ability, she would easily enjoy a ski that didn't argue with her and let her ski the way she wants too.  I think he was more concerned with her immediate after-purchase enjoyment of the ski than her long-term enjoyment of skiing.

 

Just my opinion, I've been wrong before and will be again.

 

 


I like what Ghost just said.

 

post #16 of 20

 I think it is best to cheap out on the skis but not on the bindings. I would be more concerned with what bindings to get on the skis. I just recently bought knee bindings for next year for my skis even though the binding I have on my skis are in excellent condition they are not designed to protect the ACL.

post #17 of 20

My fiance is 5'6" and about 200 ish. She's an advanced skier, and her skis are in the 160 range.

 

She/s really hitting the point where she needs to move up to a 170 ski. Shes tip-dived and gone over the front on 100+ waist skis in even mild powder/slush days because they are short enough where she can exert a LOT of pressure into the tip, and she is not skiing what I would consider to be too far forward.

 

I would expect a 200 lb skier to sink like a rock on a 145ish ski in deeper snow. Sure, on a groomed run, a too-short ski feels plaful and easy to move, but its the variable terrin that will show the problems with the ski.

 

 

 

 

post #18 of 20

I have skied my wife's Free Luv's in 163-cm. I weigh 175-180 (wife weighs 165, but she's pregnant) and that ski folds up under both of us. She is not an aggressive skier and I can tell that she is over powering the ski when I watch her. I skied the ski on gentle un groomed but still relatively smooth snow and edge grip was really lacking, any time I tried to get the ski to turn the tips deflect and twist. I had the skis retuned to make sure it wasn't simply a bad factory tune and there is very little change. This ski is really geared toward a beginner or low intermediate, not somebody that is a) heavy and b) is regularly skiing blacks, regardless of speed and tempo.

 

If the OP can ski the skis she (SIL) likes, that will go a long way to helping figure out the best skis for her. The best option is to demo but if you understand what she likes from first hand experience it will certainly help if she cannot demo again before purchase. It might also help in the long run to get a more aggressive ski and detune them to make them easier for her speed and tempo but still support her weight and skill level appropriately.

post #19 of 20

Just a thought taking into account the last few posts.  If you get a ski that's somewhat stiff longitudinally, that may take care of the weight issue better than extra length.  I"m talking about a "performance" ski, not an "advancing skills" ski.  Aka, maybe get her an advanced/expert ski, not an intermediate ski.

 

Stiffer hard-snow skis are made for people who are more dynamic and aggressive in their skiing on the groomers, i.e. expert aggressive folks.  Her weight may duplicate the pressure those skis are designed to handle, although the pressure her skiing would put on them would not be applied in the same way as by a more experienced skier.  You could consider getting her a set of those skis in 160-165 length, and that might be just the thing.  I'm not talking about a race ski, but a beefy front side carver for recreational skiing.  Such a ski would do her well if she sincerely want to advance in her skiing skills.  

 

Others with more knowledge of different skis' behavior  may be able to make specific recommendations, if they agree with my thinking. 

post #20 of 20

http://www.kaestle-ski.com/en/product-line/hardgoods/ski/product-finder/

 

You might find this Kastle link helpful.  I put in her stats, with a Type II, Power 2 designation and medium terms, 20% powder and it recommends skis in the low 160's - even if you put her in the 175-209 weight, the recommendations don't change.  At a certain point, this tool looks more to skier type and turn length preference than it does height or even weight (it is also biased to what Kastle offers in lengths).  The fact that she is 6-7 would seem to mean Type II, so I would be looking at desired turn type and speed as much as anything.  If you put her in a Power 3, it says go up even to 172 (that power level seems a stretch for a L6-7 skier).

 

For example, it tells me (6'2", 175) to ski the LX82 172cm I already have if I like medium turns, but 180 if I like longer turns.  If I take this as a reasonable guide, it's telling me to go longer for speed/stability, not weight/height (I am right on the low end cut of the weight range and the recommendations don't change if I go down a weight category and I'm fairly heavy for me when at 175).  

 

This jives with my own experience - I like speed and don't really want a more burly ski, so a bit more length makes sense while keeping a preferred flex profile.  If you can demo Kastles, maybe try both the LX82 & 92 in a 164, and then the size down for each.

 

 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Gear Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › What length ski for overweight 5'2" female (~210lbs)