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Ski lengths trending upwards?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

This is a trend that seems to have been moving upwards for a while now. No doubt some of this is due to the infusion of rocker technology. With less snow contact on the tips and tails, the running length of the ski has to be increased underfoot, that just makes sense. Also, wider skis have typically been skied somewhat longer than carving skis, the traditional idea being that a wider ski was going to be skied more off piste, where the additional length was desirable to give the ski more float. And while the wider skis are becoming much more common on groomed slopes these days (for better or worse, but that's another topic open for debate) the length on these these skis has not come down. Now, it seems as though more traditional fully or mostly cambered skis are following the same trend. It wasn't that long ago that most manufacturers didn't make anything longer than 178, but now, it's not uncommon to see lengths being offered in the upper 180's. Stockli and Blizzard are ones that comes to mind. Head is another. Not so long ago, Head didn't make anything longer that a 177 in anything short of a powder ski, but now a lot of their everyday lineup are now being offered in 184's again. One of the more notable ones are the Kastle MX series. Despite the fact that their MX line has no rocker at all, the lengths continue to go upwards. When the new MX 83 came out this year, I was disappointed with the length they were offered in. For someone my size (6'1", 215lbs) I felt like the 173 was going to be too short, and the 183 was going to be too long. Kastle's web site recommended a 183, so I took one out for a demo, expecting not to like it much, especially with the rather large advertised turn radius. And that wasn't the case at all. Didn't feel like a long ski, was very quick edge to edge, very nimble, easy to maneuver, would make any turn shape I wanted, didn't appear to be any downside to it. I came into it thinking I wasn't going to buy one because the longer length was just overkill, and now I'm seriously thinking about getting a pair. The MX 88 is also offered in a 188, haven't skied that yet. If I did, I would typically grab the 178, but now, who knows? Another trend I see going on is that the sidecut is not as radical on most of these newer skis designs. It seems like Kastle, for one, has been able to make a longer ski with a more versatile turn radius. Yet these subtle changes in ski design kind of seem to have flown under the radar for the most part. So what's going on? Is this a step back to the future, or is this just the natural progression of ski evolution that results in a better product? Or am I just reading this all wrong?

post #2 of 5

What goes around...  Maybe soon I'll go back to skiing 205's roflmao.gif

post #3 of 5

Could be, could reflect changing design objectives, a maturing of the sidecut. Or could reflect the well known TGR correlation between length and well, length. wink.gif Or could reflect a move to fatter skis, which tend to be longer and flexier. If there's demand, manufacturers will fill it. If there isn't, they'll create it.


But that doesn't mean that FIS Sl's are going to be 175 anytime soon. Or that I'm mooning for my 207 9S's in the basement...

post #4 of 5

I've not experienced this creep.  I'm the same dimensions as you are and the shortest ski I've ever owned is 186.  My first adult skis were 210 and I've worked downward from there.  I've skied 186 within one cm for quite a few years now and they have reacted for me as you described.  It's been there all the time.

post #5 of 5

The wider, off piste oriented skis tend to be softer, which allows them to be longer for float while still being maneuverable, and requires them to be longer for stability, and of course the rocker shortens the effective length on piste (but not off piste).  The idea that there is one length of ski for each skier based on their height, weight and ability is, or should be, dead. Different models of skis have different size ranges, depending on their construction and intended use.

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