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What's the correct ski length?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am a relatively new poster here but from what i have read this seems to be the place to get some useful advice, so I was curious what anyone had to say about proper ski length for me. I am looking to buy some new skis, and I have never owned a "shaped" ski. I currently have a very old set of straight skis (K2 TRCs) at 190cm. I know with shaped skis I am supposed to go down in size but how far down should I go?

I am a male, 5'8" and weigh about 145 lbs. I am an 8/9 skier. I like to ski bumps and off piste when i am out west, but living in the midwest i am often stuck on groomed or more likely icy runs. I also ski aggresively and like to push so i do not want to overpower the ski.

Right now based on my reading of several reviews here and elsewhere and talking with the ski shops I am looking at the Volkl AC3 in either 170 or 163. The shop I have been talking with suggests a 163. After skiing a 190, the 163 seems a bit short to me but becasue i am short and light perhaps that is best. Not being familiar with skis of this type I am not sure how long (or short) to go. Anyone have any thoughts? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
post #2 of 13
I'd say 170, 163 sounds way short.
I'm about your size and ski 179s, but I spend most my time off the groomed.

Funny though, the TRCs @190 were my last straight skis too!
post #3 of 13
kdubs, your no different than most of us. We like off-pist, powder, moguls etc. but due to geographical location we are stuck with mostly small hills and groomers. To get the most out of your icy midwest conditions I would not hesitate to buy modern carving skis in the length of 163cm. Last year I was using 161cm SL skis and Im 6 foot 2. Bumps, groomers, Slalom tracks, GSlalom tracks, ice, crudd, powder.... you name it. Everything with one pair of skis.

Here is a description of the Völkl AC3:


Few skis span the gap between intermediate accessibility and expert expectations better than Volkl's award-winning Unlimited AC3 Ski with integrated Marker Motion AT P.C.O.S. binding. It's a versatile, smooth-running all-mountain platform with a moderate sidecut that makes quick work of groomed runs and broken crud. Read More...
Excellent for aggressive intermediates looking for an all-mountain performance ski
2006 Skiing Magazine Gear Guide Testers' Choice winner, All-Terrain Expert category
Sidecut (tip/waist/tail in mm.): 116-74-102
Turn radius: 18.1 m. in 177 cm. length
Sensorwood core
Volkl Double Grip XT construction
Includes integrated Marker Motion AT Binding with P.C.O.S.
Marker Motion AT Binding DIN setting range: 3-12


What strikes me here is that they are very expensive, 850usd. Also that they have a wide turn radius, 18m. That is quite large, Im using 12m myselfe. If those skis are your #1 choise I would second Tele-swede with the 170cm length.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info guys. These are the gut feelings i have had about a 163... too short. i definitely don't want to overski my ski. The store said if i ski a 163 and don't like it that i can bring it back for a 170. sounds like a good deal but who knows if they will remember they said that. anyone else have any feelings on the subject?
post #5 of 13
the shorter the better i say.
i'm 155lbs & 5' 10" & my salomon 3vs are 155 & my atomic r9s are 160s. i can go as fast as i want on both.
i love the new ski technology. these short skis are so much more fun than my old long straight ones!
just my take of course.
post #6 of 13
there is a dichotomy here.

all mountain skis should, generally, be a touch longer than a dedicated "carver". the extra length helps when you run these skis through those choppier conditions. also, with the generally medium to long radius-turn sidecut works better with a little extra length.

so...go 170 on the AC3.

if you were to buy a "carver" (dedicated front side carving oriented machine), i'd look at a 160-165 with no doubts.
post #7 of 13
My old skis are 208 SGs. I just bought 165 cm Fischer WC SC skis for my icy groomed runs in Ontario Canada. Somewhere between 165 and 170 works for me here. I would have gotten 170 in an RX8.
post #8 of 13
kdubs, you can certainly ski either at your size. The 170 will be a bit more stable at speed and in chop. The 162 more maneuverable and perhaps have a bit more hold on hardpack. I'd take them up on their offer--just make sure you get it in writing on the receipt!
post #9 of 13

ski length

I also resisted the short ski phenon and wish I hadn't, would have saved some money. If you're going to spend that much on ski's get the shop to let you demo l160's and l70's then you'll know for sure. Most shops will deduct the demo/rental cost from the new purchase price. I'm 5'11 190 and run l62's as my all around ski, since I skied 201's for 20 years even now I find this rather amazing - but true. Good luck - when in doubt get on them both then you'll know for sure.
post #10 of 13
As ssh says, from an equipment POV, stability vs. quickness. But since modern "longer" skis (over 165-70) are quicker than ever, and modern shorter skis have more stability than ever, devolves into a debate over personal skiing strategy: Go for the shortest length that gives you enough stability, or the longest length that'll still turn quickly enough? If you ski mostly groomed and light pow, and prefer lotsa turns, first choice wins. If you prefer backside and crud, and live for bigger radius sweepers, second choice. Bumps complicate things. If you like to dance down the zipper line, shorter for sure. If you like to steer, absorb and extend, longer will be smoother, more forgiving.
post #11 of 13
Originally Posted by beyond
Go for the shortest length that gives you enough stability, or the longest length that'll still turn quickly enough
Great way to say it!
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys for all of the input. That info helps a ton. I think I am leaning towards a 163 based on the insight. I definitely want a ski with a quick turning radius and i definitely want to "dance right down the zipper-line" (well put beyond) in the bumps. I have a feeling the skis will be stable enough... and besides since the ski shop will allow me to return the 163s for 170s if I find them too short I really have nothing to lose in that respect (and ssh, i will get that committment in writing... thanks!).

Thanks for helping out the newbie with some great info/advice... I appreciate it! Now all I need is some snow in the midwest or a trip out west!!!
post #13 of 13
Originally Posted by kdubs
...or a trip out west!!!
If you come to Colorado, drop a PM and we'll make some turns together!
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