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SKi length [third season, tall, NH/MA]

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

Let me start by saying I decided to learn how to ski 2 years ago and I'm 46. I love it and am pissed I didn't start sooner.

 

That being said, the first pair of rentals I used were 150cm.. I got used to them and that's pretty much the length I used the next 4 times, if only to keep things consistent. I then decided to picked up a used pair(152cm) locally for short money, which I've used twice and like them too.

 

I plan on doing way more skiing this year so I'm really wondering once I'm really good on them, should I continue to use them or move to something longer. 

 

On to my specifics that I'm sure you're wondering by now..

 

6' 2" and 245lbs - athletic and in shape, not round...

 

What do you think I should be using, or move to? The various charts I've seen say I should be in the 175-195 range but I wonder how old they are since it would appear people using the shaped or carving skis are using shorter ones...and that just seems to be too big to me.

 

I appreciate any input provided..

 

OldNewbie

post #2 of 20

Welcome,

 

Great to hear you picked it up at 46 and love it.  As others weigh in, pile the info up and average it out and you will likely end up with a great choice.

 

I would encourage you to keep what you have for this season and take several lessons. Look into a ski week lesson if possible, they bring excellent results.

 

During or after this season you will have a more clear understanding of what sort of skiing you like best and that will weigh heavily on what skis, at what lengths, would be ideal. 

 

For now, have fun with what you have.

post #3 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNewbie View Post
 

Hello,

 

Let me start by saying I decided to learn how to ski 2 years ago and I'm 46. I love it and am pissed I didn't start sooner.

 

That being said, the first pair of rentals I used were 150cm.. I got used to them and that's pretty much the length I used the next 4 times, if only to keep things consistent. I then decided to picked up a used pair(152cm) locally for short money, which I've used twice and like them too.

 

I plan on doing way more skiing this year so I'm really wondering once I'm really good on them, should I continue to use them or move to something longer. 

 

On to my specifics that I'm sure you're wondering by now..

 

6' 2" and 245lbs - athletic and in shape, not round...

 

What do you think I should be using, or move to? The various charts I've seen say I should be in the 175-195 range but I wonder how old they are since it would appear people using the shaped or carving skis are using shorter ones...and that just seems to be too big to me.

 

I appreciate any input provided..

 

OldNewbie


Welcome to EpicSki!  What region do you ski in?  Were you renting boots too?

 

Hate to break it to you, but 150cm seems short for 6'2" .  How high is your nose?  At 245 lbs, you might even be considered a Clyde.  Don't say that to be mean.  Have learned on EpicSki that the big men need to take their size into account when buying boots and skis.

 

I'm 5'0", 115 lbs, older, advanced . . . my skis for groomers are 149cm.  When I started skiing more regularly after retiring, I was an intermediate and I got skis that were in the mid-140s.  When I was a teen (long ago), my straight skis were 160s, meaning over my head.

 

Have you ever heard of Demo Days?  If you could make it to one during early season, you would learn a lot.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/142999/what-is-a-demo-day-for-skis-a-beginner-zone-thread

post #4 of 20

At 245 lbs and 6'2", whatever ski you choose, you should choose in the longest length available, except that you are new to skiing (relatively) and if you don't ski fast you should knock the length down one notch.   You need a ski that can turn your mass once you get moving, not a ski you can easily push around but won't turn you around when used properly.

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 

I'm skiing NH and Ma currently but will spread out soon enough... I was renting boots but recently bought a new pair that I need to heat mold my next trip.

 

 

I am not too good with speed yet.. I have been on a blue trail or two but right now the speed is what throws me, quite literally. The last time I went out I was actually just skiing the blue trail, over and over but the last hill, the steepest on the trail got me a few times. Maybe that's because I am missing some length for that 'mass control'.

 

I think I recall being called a Clyde, well they said Clydesdale..  and yeah, my first time I was a runaway Clydesdale for sure.

 

I think the next trip I will ski most of the day on the 152cm and then rent a pair a bit longer, maybe 165cm?

 

Thanks for all the input.

post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNewbie View Post
 

I'm skiing NH and Ma currently but will spread out soon enough... I was renting boots but recently bought a new pair that I need to heat mold my next trip.

 

 

I am not too good with speed yet.. I have been on a blue trail or two but right now the speed is what throws me, quite literally. The last time I went out I was actually just skiing the blue trail, over and over but the last hill, the steepest on the trail got me a few times. Maybe that's because I am missing some length for that 'mass control'.

 

I think I recall being called a Clyde, well they said Clydesdale..  and yeah, my first time I was a runaway Clydesdale for sure.

 

I think the next trip I will ski most of the day on the 152cm and then rent a pair a bit longer, maybe 165cm?

 

Thanks for all the input.


Yes, Clyde is short for Clydesdale.  Apparently the term is used in biking circles too.

 

Did you take a lesson before heading to the blues?  There is a concept of using turns to control speed that's worth learning.  Quickest way for most people is from an instructor.  During early season, can often get a solo or 2-person lesson for a group lesson price.

 

If you are going to pay for a rental, might as well do it for most of the day.  Then you can switch out once or twice.  That's what I call a "personal demo day."  I've actually learned a lot from skis that are too long or too short.

 

You might start paying attention to the ongoing northeast thread.  You can Subscribe by posting an introduction or click on Subscribe.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/147363/2016-17-northeast-region-weather-stoke-craic

post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNewbie View Post
 

I'm skiing NH and Ma currently but will spread out soon enough... I was renting boots but recently bought a new pair that I need to heat mold my next trip.

 

 

I am not too good with speed yet.. I have been on a blue trail or two but right now the speed is what throws me, quite literally. The last time I went out I was actually just skiing the blue trail, over and over but the last hill, the steepest on the trail got me a few times. Maybe that's because I am missing some length for that 'mass control'.

 

I think I recall being called a Clyde, well they said Clydesdale..  and yeah, my first time I was a runaway Clydesdale for sure.

 

I think the next trip I will ski most of the day on the 152cm and then rent a pair a bit longer, maybe 165cm?

 

Thanks for all the input.

 

For bicycles, the usual threshold I've seen for being labelled a Clydesdale is 200 lbs.  Hey, any sport where they can offer a wheelset with the annotation "not for use by riders over 160 lbs" is definitely biased to the small(er) among us....   (Note:  I also bike, and love doing it.  But my wheels have 36 spokes and fairly heavy rims.)

 

Anyway, back to skis.   I'm around 6 ft, 220.  I also started in my mid-to-late 40s and got seriously addicted.  The first ski I bought (on the recommendation of the shop) was a 161 cm intermediate carver.  A Volkl Tiger 3motion, if that means anything to you.  I think it was the right ski, but too short.  With any speed at all, they started wobbling if the surface was uneven.  And I couldn't get the skis to carve at anything much above a walking pace.  Sizing up just one length in the same ski to 168 (so, from the middle of the range to one from the longest) made a big difference.  All of a sudden those (still quite modest) speeds weren't so scary.   And the tails of the skis were much more willing to follow the tips around an arc, instead of the whole thing sliding sideways or the tails slipping out (pilot error on that last, but too short and too soft didn't help).

 

People on here will talk dismissively about "trying to buy a turn" by getting fancier skis, and they've got a point.  IME, most of the time it's not the skis' fault (the boots, on the other hand...). And even at our size, it's definitely possible to jump to something too stiff and too long for your skillset and skiing style.   Been there, done that, and it really gets in the way of getting better.

 

All of that said, I would definitely encourage you to trying sizing up, especially in the way you're talking about doing it:  gradually, and with an opportunity to compare performance for shorter and longer skis.   And take advice on ski choice from other folks around the same size, or from pros (in the shops).  Though I'm still a little suspicious that I ended up on too short a ski because the guy who sold it to me was a lot smaller...

post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yes I took a lesson my first trip. I can parallel turn now so I picked it up quick. No wobbling, I can turn pretty good and hockey stop with the best of them, though I can't on skates.

My only problem with speed is panicking when I shouldn't and I'm sure confidence will cure that and then when I get moving down the hill and the trail becomes crowded. I don't feel like running anyone over and again I get a little panicky, for a lack of better term.

I will definitely see what a longer ski does for me now that I am able to get down the trail without falling. The longer the ski the faster I ski so I've been hesitant.

I've been skiing maybe 8-10 times over the last two years and hope to go at least that many times this year.

I plan on taking snowboard lessons as well. Bring on the snow!
post #9 of 20

I am 6' and 250, the son is 6'2" and 230-40, Clyde be thy name, join the hitch. We are big and pretty.

 

Pic of me carving

 

 

 

I came back to skiing after 15 years off with straight skis and old boots. This new fangled stuff is pretty cool. Having your own boots is the first best step.

 

Our problem is the ski charts are for they guy who wrote them and all of his buddys who would blow away in a stiff wind. :D Those of us who use gravity to its fullest need a little more. Rent some 164's and your turning will improve, you are over driving those 150's in everything you do, there is just not enough surface area. My son has about the same time in as you do, and the 150 rentals they kept giving him were tearing him up. They turned easy, but kept turning so if he would make a decent turn they would wash out. We went back to the lodge and got him some 161"s (?) and he started skiing. For last season I got him some used 164s so that he has his own gear and he was running relaxed intermediates in the couple times we got out last season.

post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Awesome reply, thanks Clyde... I mean varmintmist..

I already spoke with the mountain I've spent the most time at and they have demos.. For 39.00 a day I can try 3 different skis, all day. I'm so glad I decided to check out a ski forum. You guys have all been a huge help.

As a side bonus, one of my friends who is quite a bit shorter than I, wants to buy my skis. Once I find a better length they're his!
post #11 of 20
Hey, OldNewbie, I'm more on the taller side of Clydesdale at 6'6" and 225 lb (thus my handle), and started skiing when I turned 50. Surprisingly or not, I was usually given 180 cm rentals until I bought some intermediate skis in 184 cm. I struggled a bit with the length at first, but wouldn't say for me that it really slowed down my progression because I kept taking lessons. The length helped to not be second guessing my edge grip and stability as I started skiing faster. But in two years I was out skiing those and moved on last season to some longer, stiffer skis. So keep in mind that your next ski purchase may only help you for a couple of years before you upgrade again. If you buy a "popular" model to learn on, you should have no trouble selling them at a local ski swap. I had bought a previous year's model of ski on discount and sold them two years later for not much less than I paid for them. I demoed skis before buying my new ones last year and think you should be able to do the same if you look a your local resort or shop websites for sponsored free demo days.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
I knew I was buying skis too soon but figured it was like having a child. New shoes frequently as he grows and it would apply here. So my next addition to the question, as I start browsing different ski sites is, all mountain skis? The mountains I've been on and plan to ski this year are all in New England and if this year is anything like last I'm skiing on mostly man made snow.. I don't recall floating on any powder but more like sliding on compacted snow and slush when I went in March... Which type of ski would you recommend?
post #13 of 20

@OldNewbie,  when you go online to look at a ski, you'll see that it comes in different lengths.  I'm looking at one right now that comes in these sizes: 156, 164, 172, 180, 188.

 

The longest length, in this case 188, is for the biggest, tallest, heaviest skiers who like to go fast.  The shortest length, in this case 156, is for the lightest weight skiers.  The other lengths are fore everyone in between.  You are a big guy who is not yet ready for very fast speeds.  So your length in this ski would be the second down from the longest made.  Manufacturers build their skis in different length intervals; who knows how these decisions are made.  Just go for the next to longest length once you choose a ski.  Someone upthread already suggested this; you'll hear it often.

 

Waist width is next.  That's the width under your boot.  Waist width is an indicator of how fast you can get the ski tipped onto its edge on hard snow.  Tipping is important for getting the ski to grip through the entire turn on hard snow.

 

You ski in New England, so this next year you'll be skiing on hard man-made groomed surfaces.  You've just started skiing blues, so you'll be working on your control of turns on greens and blues, and sometimes just for fun scaring yourself and everyone below you on some blacks.  In order to learn how to best get your skis to turn, you need a ski that wants to turn when you tip it.  You'll notice that rental skis for beginners have narrow waists; there's a reason for that.  

 

Waist widths below, at or near 70 want to turn as soon as you tip them, and that tipping is easy because you don't have to move very much to tip the narrow ski.  Waist widths at or near 80 want to turn if the skier knows how to tip them, but it takes a little more body english to get that to happen.  Waist widths at or near 90, on hard New England snow, don't want to be tipped and need a skilled skier to do that. But those skis will do well on soft natural snow.  Remember, this is the ice coast and you are learning.   It might be best to avoid those high 80s-90somethings.  Waist widths at or near 100 are really hard to tip on hard snow groomers.  So something with a waist under 85mm would be pretty good to learn on, and something with a width under 80 would be even easier.  I'd suggest you avoid buying race skis, even though some will suggest them.

 

With skis there are many things to think about.  Try to limit your first thoughts to length and waist width as you do your research.  That should narrow down the options somewhat.  


Have fun!


Edited by LiquidFeet - 9/20/16 at 11:55am
post #14 of 20
While LF has excellent suggestions, a 70-to-80 width intermediate ski still stout enough for you will likely be available in no more than the low 180's. Since you seem to like the shorter skis you have, the second longest length probably will be around 177, a good place for you to demo since it looks like you get to try only three pairs for the price you referenced. Not much point of us recommending skis if you have to choose from their stock, but come back with their offerings if you want folks here to guide you. Start there and see how they feel then size up and down accordingly. In fact, I knew it was time to buy my first set of skis when a local resort I only visited a couple times took one look at me and went to the back room to get a set of 177 cm Volkl performance rentals instead of the typical mass market planks. My best day of skiing up to that point! You're going to have a really fun season!
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
The first place I went had a questionaire on their website as you buy lift tickets and rentals. Based on my input they gave me 150s... The next place I went they did the same thing and the girl hands me 130s!! I said "wait, you do see me right? How about we go up to 150 please?"

I'm finding out its more confusing than I thought. I am actually not having any issues whatsoever with turning the 152s I have. I'm actually skiing quite well but really steep hills still cause some panic especially with a hill full of people in front of me.

I think I have a very solid idea on where to start and I'll definitely return with more input after I get a demo day in.

I don't see myself as a downhill racer. More of a leisurely ride down the mountain kind of guy. Don't get me wrong I do like some speed as well but if prefer to be on the trail awhile rather than top to bottom in the blink of an eye.

My issue is that when I do start flying down I want to have the confidence I'll be able to turn or stop and currently my panicking makes that harder. With time I'm sure it will all come but I'd rather not be the cause of it by using the wrong skis. Thanks!!
post #16 of 20

You won't find too many dump trucks running 13" wheels.  You need a ski that is stong enough to turn you.  Just say'n.

As to speed being scary on the skis you have been skiing, those skis were not built for speed.  Skiing them at speed is like riding a tricycle at 80 mph.  Don't do it!

post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNewbie View Post

The first place I went had a questionaire on their website as you buy lift tickets and rentals. Based on my input they gave me 150s... The next place I went they did the same thing and the girl hands me 130s!! I said "wait, you do see me right? How about we go up to 150 please?"

I'm finding out its more confusing than I thought. I am actually not having any issues whatsoever with turning the 152s I have. I'm actually skiing quite well but really steep hills still cause some panic especially with a hill full of people in front of me.

I think I have a very solid idea on where to start and I'll definitely return with more input after I get a demo day in.

I don't see myself as a downhill racer. More of a leisurely ride down the mountain kind of guy. Don't get me wrong I do like some speed as well but if prefer to be on the trail awhile rather than top to bottom in the blink of an eye.

My issue is that when I do start flying down I want to have the confidence I'll be able to turn or stop and currently my panicking makes that harder. With time I'm sure it will all come but I'd rather not be the cause of it by using the wrong skis. Thanks!!


Speed control comes from turn shape, not from the type of skis you buy.  That's worth putting on a refrigerator magnet.

 

However, you can buy the wrong skis.  If you buy very stiff skis, or if you buy skis without enough "shape" to them (waists are not narrow enough compared to tips and tails), then you'll really have difficulty getting the turn shape to work for you.  Linked hockey stops are not that effective on hard New England snow when the pitch gets steep.  

 

Turn uphill (make a U-Turn) to slow down or stop.  But you need your skis to grip the snow to do that effectively.  The ski needs to be gripping the snow at the top of the turn if it's going to keep gripping at the bottom of the turn when the uphill part does its speed-control magic.  This is called "completing your turn."   For you to learn to do that, you want to buy a ski that you can bend, and that has a narrow waist compared to its tip and tail.  

 

Then take lessons to learn how to start your turns so that you have grip through the entire turn.  Then learn to complete your turns uphill in a very short space while maintaining the ski's grip on our nice New England hard snow (it's an acquired taste, this snow we have).   Once you own this process on your new skis, you'll be ready to control your speed on the blacks with confidence and grace.  It takes time and deliberate practice, and can be very fulfilling as a recreational activity.  

 

How does one learn to maintain grip on steeper slopes and turn uphill-ish to control your speed instead of sliding out of control down the hill?  It's not intuitive.  You probably want to take the express route to expert skiing, right?  That means take lessons.

 

If you are on a budget, take a group lesson on a weekday; that will often end up being a one-person lesson here in NE.  If weekends are your only option, try to find an instructor you work well with at your favorite hill and take private lessons with that person on and off all season.  Privates are the fastest way to learn, as long as you and the instructor work well together.

post #18 of 20

I'm going to come in with my obligatory caveat on new ski purchases. 

 

Yup, its the boot post. Those of you who know what's coming, skip this bit. If this is new to you, read on...

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Okay, so above, you said you purchased new boots, and need to get them heat molded. Hold your horses (clydesdales). Where did you purchase said boots? From whom? Did you buy them in a shop, or online? If you bought them online, return them if you can. I guarantee they're the wrong size. If you bought them in a shop, what shop did you buy them in? There are precious few shops in the world that are good for buying boots in, so if you let us know the name of the shop, we can tell you if it's good or not. We can find someone in your area who knows the local shops. 

 

The reason I ask these questions is because in order to work their best for you, boots need to be properly fit to your feet. Now, that doesn't mean that they need to be correctly sized. It means that a trained guy or gal, typically with a fair amount of gray in his/her hair, needs to take a good look at your feet, and pull a half dozen boots down off the shelves and test and try them out on your feet. Then, when he/she picks the correct boot, he/she needs to make further adjustments to fit them perfectly for your feet. This means a lot of questions and answers, and then they're either going to bring the boot in the back of the shop repeatedly, or over to a series of machines in the workshop area. There the fitter will heat, bend, stretch and grind spots on the boots to match the exact contours of your feet. This goes beyond just the heat molding of a moldable boot liner. This is actually changing the shape of the shell itself. Also a highly likely step in this process is standing on this machine that maps the contours of your feet, and then having foot beds custom molded to the soles of your feet. The footbeds will cost extra, but if you buy the boots from the guy fitting you, everything else is typically included in the price of the boots. If you bring the guy the boots, you'll pay for any adjustments, and the session will probably start with "these boots are too big, but i'll do what I can." Which in all reality, is not much. 

 

Why is all this so important? Because boots are the most important piece of equipment you own. You want no slop or space within the boot. Any space will mean it's harder to steer your skis how you want them. A well fitted boot is like having the handling of a Ferrari. Poorly fitted boots are like having a 1982 Buick LeSabre. You turn the wheel, and the car turns... eventually. Maybe. Skiers date their skis, we have affairs with skis, we have one night stands with skis. But we marry our boots. If you're going to stick to demoing skis this season (which is an excellent idea, and the one I strongly recommend), then go ahead and purchase good boots now. 

post #19 of 20

I didn't want to be the one to bring up boots in yet another what-ski-do-I-need.  But now that freeski has done the deed, I'll add to it.

 

That post above is exactly correct.  Do answer freeski's questions, and we'll all pipe in with more information about boots. Boots aren't sexy like skis.  New skiers don't pay much attention to their boots.  But boot fit is complicated, and it matters more than any ski you buy, IF you want to be a good skier.

 

Yes, there are people out there in too-big boots, and they ski.  They complain about the trails they can't ski, and blame the groomers or the conditions du jour.

Or they end up always avoiding some trails and conditions.  They assume their balance or fitness is at fault for their inability to do what needs to be done to control their skis.

But it's the boots.  And they don't know it.  Or it's the boots and the lack of technical know-how, but the know-how isn't going to happen because there's slop in the boots.

 

So, where did you get those boots?  How did you choose them?  Did you have a knowledgeable bootfitter choosing the boots for you?

post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

I didn't want to be the one to bring up boots in yet another what-ski-do-I-need.

Ditto! If Vail ever gives us the "boot" and we have to "re-boot" the site with a new name, we should just call it "BootSki"!biggrin.gif
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