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Help with ski size

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I'm a fairly inexperienced skier, having skied 4 or 5 times in each of the past two seasons. I'd like to buy my own skis, preferably used ones for now. The ski resort nearest me is having an open house/swap meet this weekend, and I'd like to try to find equipment there. But what I am unclear on is the ski length I should look for. I am 5'10" tall, and weigh 220 - 230 lbs. Yeah, I'm certainly heavy for my height, though I really am in pretty good physical shape. I've searched online for help with ski size, and have found various charts which list recommended sizes, based mostly on weight. What I'm seeing is recommendations anywhere from 175cm to 195cm, with suggestions to knock off 5cm if you're short for your weight (obviously I am), and knock off 5 cm if you are a weaker than intermediate skier (I think I may still be on the low end of intermediate).
I'll be skiing mostly in Ohio and Pennsylvania, usually on groomed snow. My best guess based on all I've seen so far is maybe 175 to 180cm. The thing that is confusing me here is that I'm pretty sure the rental skis I've used were shorter than that. Yeah, I know, I should have paid more attention, but I never really had thoughts before of buying my own skis. I just took what they gave me, and went out and had fun. It seems to me that they were somewhere in the 160's (cm), but I really don't remember. So.... can somebody please help me? Give me some ideas, a place to start. Thanks so much for your help.

post #2 of 6
If you do by skis at your local mountain swap sale make sure you are buying a ski from the last two or three years. The ski will usually be in better condition and have more life left in it. I now at many ski sales people bring out 10, 15, 20 year old skis, what ever was in the garage or basement, and just try to get rid of them. As for length, my opinion is that you should be looking for a ski between 160cm and 175cm. I know it seems short but for your hieght, weight, and area this will probably work out fine for you. Here in the east too skiers are on shorter boards than out west. We don't need as much floatation as the western skiers and we are constantly skiing on ice or New England hard pac. The snow conditions are different thus calling for a different ski.

post #3 of 6
At your size I think you would be happy on a 180. It is still a short ski so don't worry.
post #4 of 6
Somewhere in the 165-180 range is fine (depending on the particular ski), but definitely aim for the stiffer end of the spectrum when it comes to flex.

Tom / PM
post #5 of 6
Nothing to add re length... But 2 other (unsolicited) points:

Length is only one variable. Another big factor is what shape/style ski are you looking for. General consensus is that the brand of ski (Atomic, K2, Rossi, etc.) is not nearly as important as the sidecut and stiffness of the skis you select. On EpicSki you'll see a lot of high-end instructors debating high-end recent equipment. If you want a broader overview of recent skis and "flavors" of skis, check out www.ts2003.com - Peter Keelty's site. It includes ski reviews going back 3 - 4 yrs, and columns that will help you figure out what you're looking for. This site charges $20 or so for content but it's well worth it.

Second, if you don't find something just right at the swap meet, there's always eBay. I've bought both new and used skis off eBay, no problems. If you're patient (and unfortunately we have to be be patient, it's October ... ) you'll get what you want, at the price you want.
post #6 of 6
This is a really tough call. If you are purchasing a ski that was designed in the past 2 years I think a 170 would be the right length for you. If it is a ski designed before that I think a 180 would be better. It just comes down to the way the skis are designed. The most modern constructions are designed to be skied shorter than previous designs.

For example Volkl redesigned their EnergY series skis for this season. I like the new EnergY 320 in approx 170 but preferred it's predecessor the EnergY V3 in approx 180+. Given that I am slightly taller and heavier than you I think you may find my feedback about skis in this range good for you.

As mentioned the big deal here is the model of the ski. The EnergY 320 and V3 that I mentioned before would be good skis for you to grow into as well as good today. They are much better on groomed and packed or even icy surfaces than in powder, crud and chop which is appropriate as you build your skillset.

Other skis to look at include Volkl Vertigo G2 or 7 24 AX2 both in about 175. These are still good in groomed conditions but are better than the EnergY skis in soft conditions. Look also at the K2 Escape 5500 or Axis (with no succeeding letters, just the plain old Axis) in 170-175.

Good luck and keep in mind that your boots are the most important part of your gear. Spend more time, effort and money on your boots than on all the rest of your equipment before the purchase. They determine your warmth, comfort and the amount of control you have over your skis.

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