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Anything wrong with shorter skis?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

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.
post #2 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by SheepishP View Post

Hi all,

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.

post #3 of 7
As long as you have enough effective edge to support you at the speed you ski ski length isn't really important.
post #4 of 7

This really depends on what works for you.  You are 160 cm tall, so in my world, anything less than 150 cm isn't really a great idea, but qcanoe did make several really good points, having fun and taking some lessons being the best.  As you become a stronger skier you will appreciate a longer ski.

post #5 of 7

One possible reason you thought the 152cm length was hard to control is that by Rossi's description, the Temptation 75 is a "very soft" ski.  So, you probably didn't gain much over your previous skis.  A shorter version, 144cm, would feel somewhat stiffer just because it is shorter.  But it actually skis shorter than the stated length because it has rocker in the tip and tail.  The Temptation 77 is a slightly stiffer ski with basically the same geometry just 2mm wider.  The problem again is whether this is stiff enough to give you sufficient edge grip and I really doubt that it is.  I suggest you try to demo either the Volkl Aurena or Viola, which are stiffer skis designed for intermediate skiers and do not have tail rocker.  Fischer may also offer a stiffer ski designed for intermediates rather than beginning skiers.  You need a relatively stiff ski if you want good edge grip on ice.

post #6 of 7
I was about your size with 138 cm beginner skis. My first black diamond at Seven Springs, the tails wouldn't hold. Shopping for intermediate skis, I was advised not to upgrade too many aspects at once - go stiffer or longer, but not to go crazy on either. I bought Volkl Luna in 142 cm. Good choice of ski ... bad choice in length. I was on them 2 days and realized I could easily handle the 149. My advice then - if you're going to stay with shorter skis, don't overpay. I got a good deal so I lost little when I sold them a year later.

One benefit to a slightly longer ski is you will have a little more edge to grip the hardpack.

I am now on 154 cm Nordica Infinites. I saw in your other thread that you're taking lessons. Whatever length you get now, keep an open mind. Once you're on a ski that grips, you may find your technique and stability will allow you to easily ski something longer.
post #7 of 7

My significant other is 5'4", 144lbs and after many times renting low-end Salomon's (140cm), I purchased her K2 True Luv in 157cm once she mastered the basics.  She progressed nicely until it was time to ski the easier black diamonds...... her ability stopped improving and was actually falling down the mountain on icy days.  

 

I had her demo our son's Volkl RTM 75 in 159cm and walla!  She was skiing confidently down the same black diamond she was falling down on with her K2 skies.  The only thing that changed, was the skis, the snow conditions where exactly the same.

 

What's different between the K2 True Luv (157cm) vs Volkl RTM 75 (159cm)?  - Stiffness, the Volkl was significantly stiffer over the K2.  So we headed to the store and purchased Rossignol Temptation 80 in 153cm......and she feels very confident in them and her skiing ability has now finally continued to improve.  The store sales person did not recommend the Rossi 80 in 160cm since she was not an expert.  The Volkl's 159cm worked for her because the ski waist is 75 under foot, the Rossignol's having a wider waist of 80 combined with her ability, the store sales person moved her back to 153cm and she is happy with the overall product and ski experience.

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