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length matters...what size ski do I need?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm buying new skiis after 13 years. Wow! have things changed!

My old straight skiis are 195cm. I've picked out new skiis and the dealer recommends 168cm which seems short.
Ski geometry: 112/67/100

Here's my vitals:
5'10"
190#
size 11 boot
intermediate-advanced, ski 10-12x per year
50% groomed/50% powder, all mountain skier, no hot-dog, agressive in morning, cruiser in afternoon

What length? Any advice?
post #2 of 14
The recommendation sounds good to me! I am 5'9" (forget the weight, I am a woman...but definatley not a lightweight or even average woman) and I just picked up 161cm skis. I too skied 195 CM straight skis before getting a 177cm ski 2 years ago (they were ok, but shorter is better IMO) If you are not sure, don't buy...demo first.
post #3 of 14
What brand / model is it? I thought so too when I was buyng my first shaped skis 3 years ago. I ended up with 170-cm skis for everything. (I am 5'9", 185 lbs). This year I am breaking in 160-cm skis - something everybody else around me has already done.

In modern ski sizing, your weight and temperament matter more than your height.

Considering the shape, you will likely get the same edge length with 168s as you did with 195s. Just listen to these new skis; don't try to overpower them first couple of days on the snow - and you will feel the good side of the difference
post #4 of 14
I am 5' 7" 180 and I just swapped my 170 R11s for 160s.

I'm sure I will have more fun on the shorter ones.
post #5 of 14
I would third the recommendation that 168cm is right where you would want to be. The ski you are considering has quite a bit of sidecut (probably an all-mountain carver/cross). That style of ski (Volkl 5-star, Atomic SX9, Elan S10/S12) is designed to be skied fairly short. Making an educated guess, I figure you are looking at an Elan S series (those dimensions match the S series, I know because I own a pair). Unless you ski exceptionally fast, the 168cm should be perfect.

Really the only thing you will gain with the longer ski is to feel more "grounded" fore to aft at top speed-not an issue at sub-race speeds (talking 35mph plus). With the longer length you lose quickness and add more work to your turns. For example, I run giant slalom on the Head i-GS in a 180cm (it is a real race GS and only comes alive at speed). I freeski on the Elan S12 Fusion in 168cm. At speed when freeskiing, I cannot tell a difference between the 168's and 180's without looking down. They are equally stable and powerful. In the course, the 180 will keep me more in control through course ruts and rough snow, and be a faster ski. These aren't issues with freeskiing, and a longer ski only becomes a hinderance. Even US Ski Team members who were training here last year were free skiing on their 155cm slaloms-at 40+mph.

If indeed you are looking at an Elan S series (the S10/S12 are the performance skis) then you have found a great ski [img]smile.gif[/img] . There are several people on this board who swear by that ski, myself included (although they can be hard to find, but the search is worth it!).
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by AlexG:
...Considering the shape, you will likely get the same edge length with 168s as you did with 195s...
Lots of good advice in this post, but the above is some sort of urban myth that has perpetuated itself for the last few years. Just take a tape measure and see for yourself. The difference in actual edge length is likely to be less than a couple of cm.

OTOH, the 168 skied with modern technique will likely feel as stable as the 195 straight ski skied with the technique of its day.

Tom / PM
post #7 of 14
A customer of mine checked with more than 5 different shops in our area. 1/2 disagreed with me: 1/2 agreed with me. ... and so goes the argument!

Many own a number of skis with different lengths. It depends on what they are going to do that day. If they are into tight turns and such... shorter ski. More speed and stability- a bit longer.

Volant had the right idea. They don't have the numbers on their skis- at least the metal ones. People are so number conscious. size 'em up... stick a fork in ya- you're done.

I have two pair. My Mod X's are slightly higher than my head. My Volkls are right at my hair line. Different ski- different situations. I love them both. Now.... Why is it I hanlde both lengths just fine? ..... Especially when I hear people tell me- Oh no! You HAVE to have skis down around your nose or so, or else you won't be able to turn! Hmmm!

Oh well... in the fifties I had skis which went all the way up to my first knuckle of my middle finger (you know the one.... the finger of defiance right? [img]smile.gif[/img] )- arm held straight up. I learned to ski in 2 weekends. Albeit- today we teach people to ski in one day with 2/3 less energy.

The shaped ski is the greatest evolution of the ski, I think. I just think many people are going way to short in many instances, but then they may be doing different things with them. I think it's more the Indian than the arrow. Some arrows do certain things better than other arrows and vs! Each has its purpose, but the Indian should remember which arrow is for what and not expect it to do what it wasn't designed to do. Bob
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by Scalce:
I am 5' 7" 180 and I just swapped my 170 R11s for 160s.

I'm sure I will have more fun on the shorter ones.
Wow , Scalce isn't that a little bit (Like 10cm)too short?

Why didn't you keep your 170's and buy a damn slalom ski.

What are you going to do in Pow? crud? I weigh 185 & just got a new pair of 180 R11's Puls and 180 SX11. Actually I was 180 last year & skied the same lengths. I must admit I also have a 164 SL11 & a 157 SL11 but it seems like a 170cm is the right length in the R11 for you.
post #9 of 14
I would have to go against going that short if that is your main ski and you ski the whole mountain. I am a little bigger than you at 6' and 200 lbs and have a quiver ranging form a 167 slalom ski, to a 182 pow/park ski, to a 195 pow ski. The short skis are a lot of fun on the groomers but I feel you loose a lot of stability off trail with going that short. My 182's feel great as an everyday ski but even those are to short for me what I get going fast in the crud. If I were you I would look into the 180 range in a solid midfat sik.
post #10 of 14
Bottom line: The 175ish length will gain you off-piste stability; but it won't be as good on the groomers as the 168's. The 168 will still be a way better deep snow ski than your old straight skis.

It all depends on what you are doing. Figure out where you are skiing-if you make 20 runs a day, are 10 off the backside, and 10 on groomers? Or is more like 16 on groomers and 4 in deeper snow? Be honest with yourself-I know plenty of people who ski say they ski 50%on/50%off, but when I ski with them, we MIGHT do 10% of the runs on the backside. I personally think of myself as a somewhat compentent all-mountain skier, but do I need a 50/50 ski? No way-I am mostly on the groomers, as we just don't get deep snow too much. Probably the biggest mistake I see people making is thinking that they need a midfat (75mm waist) for the 10% of the time they spend in deep snow. The rest of the time their ski is mediocre-they would have so much more fun on a shorter carver!

Think about your last season-how many runs approximately did you ski? How many were on groomers, and how many were in deep snow? In general, longer is better for deeper snow versatility, shorter is more fun and a better choice on the groomed. I ski both a 168 and a 175, but for different purposes. Any ski, any length, is going to be some sort of compromise. A longer ski won't be as fun of a carver. A shoter ski will lose stability in crud. A stiffer ski is harder to negotiate in deep snow and bumps, a softer ski not as stable or good edge hold on hard snow. Figure out where you ski, how you ski, and what you expect out of a ski. If you can't narrow it down, and you are super-serious or cash-laden, buy a quiver. Keep in mind that you are coming from 13 year old skis. Basically any ski you buy will be light-years ahead of what you were on previously, IN EVERY CONDITION! Better stability, carving, float in pow, crudbusting, bumps, you name it.

FWIW, you could go with the 168, or you could go up one size (probably around 175, whatever is offered). I would go shorter if it were me, unless I were spending ALOT of time in deep snow (talking 10 runs or more per day). My 168's perform very well in all conditions-I really only break out the longer 175's for those deep snow days. I have skied alot of those cross-style skis in both the 168ish and 175ish length-I just feel the shorter length is a better choice for most people. If I wasn't hooked up with pro-form pricing, I wouldn't own the 175 midfats, as the 12+ fresh days that they shine in are too rare. BTW, I was talking with a guy today who was demoing a pair of Fischer RX6's in 175-he looked to be about 6 foot 3 and a big guy. He was coming of a pair of 205 straight skis. He implied he would be going down to the shop and buying a pair that afternoon.....
post #11 of 14
I think it also has alot to do with the ski though.

I'm 5'7" 175

I can ski over a 170 in certain skis with no issues and my old Volkls were 168s.

But when I got my Atomic R11s in 170 they fealt big, heavy, stiff, and unweidly for my size.

I just got them replaced and I got 160s instead so hopefully I like them shorter on the groomers but they are still stiff and can handle crud and uneven conditions.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by PhysicsMan:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by AlexG:
...Considering the shape, you will likely get the same edge length with 168s as you did with 195s...
Lots of good advice in this post, but the above is some sort of urban myth that has perpetuated itself for the last few years. Just take a tape measure and see for yourself. The difference in actual edge length is likely to be less than a couple of cm.

OTOH, the 168 skied with modern technique will likely feel as stable as the 195 straight ski skied with the technique of its day.

Tom / PM
</font>[/quote]I think when people say they have more edge on a shape ski than on a straight ski, they are not referring to the actual length of the edge. With straight skis, even in carved turns, most of the carving was happening in the middle section of the ski. The ends of the ski were bouncing, vibrating, skidding and scrubbing. With a shape ski, the carving section of the ski is as least as long, if not longer, than it was on a straight ski, and the scrubbing sections at the ends are definitely shorter. The net result is a ski that feels as if it has a longer edge.

That's the reason that such short skis work so well at high speeds--as long as we keep them up on edge. The trade off for the shorter ski is that it my not have enough surface area for deep powder, and it will be knocked around more easily in crud, because its swing weight (or moment of inertia) is so much less than a long ski.

To answer the original question, you need a much shorter ski than you used 6 or 8 years ago. If you need a bigger ski for crud and powder, go wider but not necessarily too much longer.

Regards, John

[ November 25, 2003, 07:35 AM: Message edited by: John Dowling ]
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by pman:
I would have to go against going that short if that is your main ski and you ski the whole mountain. I am a little bigger than you at 6' and 200 lbs and have a quiver ranging form a 167 slalom ski, to a 182 pow/park ski, to a 195 pow ski. The short skis are a lot of fun on the groomers but I feel you loose a lot of stability off trail with going that short. My 182's feel great as an everyday ski but even those are to short for me what I get going fast in the crud. If I were you I would look into the 180 range in a solid midfat sik.
I agree. 180 is going to suit you well. 180 is still short and nimble. For all around groomers, park, and some pow 180 is where it is at. For pow and crud 185+. I think people have taken this whole shorter is better thing way too far. But whatever, either way you will have fun. Don't be afraid to go fat (85+).

[ November 25, 2003, 07:49 AM: Message edited by: descender ]
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by John Dowling:
...I think when people say they have more edge on a shape ski than on a straight ski, they are not referring to the actual length of the edge...
He did say, "more edge length", not "more edge", but in any case, I would certainly hope that your comment is true. Unfortunately, I have had quite a few in-person discussions about this with people (especially salesmen) where it was clear that they really thought the physical length was dramatically increased by the cm or two of sidecut. Laying out a 6 foot piece of string against a tape measure and then pushing in the center by a cm or two immediately clears it up the misconception.



Quote:
Originally posted by John Dowling:
...With straight skis, even in carved turns, most of the carving was happening in the middle section of the ski. The ends of the ski were bouncing, vibrating, skidding and scrubbing. With a shape ski, the carving section of the ski is as least as long, if not longer, than it was on a straight ski, and the scrubbing sections at the ends are definitely shorter. The net result is a ski that feels as if it has a longer edge. ...
Yup. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

Tom / PM
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