Originally Posted by SheepishP
I've been in search of new skis for some time, since my Head Light Thangs are probably not as stiff as I need to ice NE hardpack.
demoed a few skis in the 152 length. Loved the Rossignol Temptation 75 but found the 152 was too long for me. Sized down to a 144, which hits my chin, against the advice of the salesman. I'm 5'3", 145 lbs, stuck in the lower intermediate level. I'm a pretty cautious skier on ice and hardpack, which is all we get here. I ski predominately at night, when all the snow has been pushed to the side of the run.
My question is: why are shorter skis seen as such a bad thing? I have always found them easier to controland therefore more enjoyable to ski on.
Nothing "wrong" with short skis for you, if they make you smile. We do this for fun, presumably. Sometimes that concept gets forgotten around here.
There are good reasons why people like longer skis, and you could become one of those people. Or not. Either way it's good to know what some of the reasons are before making a big purchase.
Disclaimer: I am not a pro of any kind; just an interested gear-aware busybody.
Basically what more length gives you is more stability. Stability at higher speeds when your path is disturbed by uneven terrain, your own imperfect movements, whatever. Also stability in the face of difficult 3D snow conditions. You ever try to ski your 144cm skis in 18" of powder? Or - worse - what's left of that powder after hundreds of skiers have chopped it up and it's thawed and re-set a little bit?
If you are staying strictly on groomed trails, and are keeping your speed low - which, reading between the lines on your post, you are, on both counts - then the downsides to a shorter ski are fewer. That said, 144 does seem a little bit short, even for someone 5' 3". I think the clue may be your statement that you feel short skis are "easier to control." It's sounds like you think of your skis as two big dogs just let out of their kennel and determined to drag you around by their leashes. Or maybe you see them more as crazy-long brakes designed by someone who must not have thought very hard about what kind of implement would make a good brake.
My suggestion is that you take a couple lessons, if you're not doing that already. Eventually you will get to a place where you see will your skis as tools to help you get fine control over the exact path your body takes down the hill - as tools to extract the most swoopy thrill out of each turn. When you get there, all of a sudden you may find the shorter skis suddenly boring and ineffectual.
In any case, if you are going to be skiing on ice, you need your skis to be SHARP. That means frequent tuning. Frequent means every few ski days, or even every ski day, if you are anal and skiing on truly bulletproof snow with a lot of foreign matter in it, like dirt, gravel, or rocks. It also means a ski with some backbone to it, as you mention - a soft ski will not grip as well on ice.
For reference, I am 5'7", 135lbs 52yo. So, 4" taller but a little bit lighter. I ski a lot of ice and hardpack at night, too, so I know whereof you speak. In those conditions I ski a 155cm slalom ski designed for shorter turns, a 165cm in-between ski, or a 175cm GS ski designed for longer turns at higher speeds. That shows how there is a spectrum of appropriate lengths for a given skier, depending on a bunch of things, including personal preference.
There are quite a few women on the board who can make good suggestions for specific skis for your situation. I'm not one of them, so I'll stay out of that. Good luck.