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what are the benefits of shorter v longer skis?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
what are the benefits of shorter v longer skis?
I've heard that shorter is better for tighter turns and also read various guides that suggest the more advanced you are, the longer ski you should get. Why is this?

Just to add some background, I am 6ft and 80kg (12st) and would say intermediate to advanced. I am able to carve well on the groomed slopes and have ventured off piste slightly but not a great deal. Was thinking about buying Head Monster im72's or maybe the Fisher RX-8
post #2 of 12
Longer skis are better.
post #3 of 12
If you skiing in a turn and your tip catches on something it will have twice as much torque to spin you around if it's 4 feet in front of you than if its 2 feet in front of you. Also the more area of ski you have on the snow the greater the force you can apply.

Short skis will make it easier to recover from mistakes.

Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to check the oil level in your car with a short dipstick than a long dipstick?. Any errors are magnified by longer skis.

Longer skis make it easier to manage fore-aft balance changes going fast on uneven or changing terrain.

About head height is a good starting point imho.
post #4 of 12
It depends on what you're trying to do, where you ski, etc. If your preferred turn shape is on the shorter end of the spectrum, then you'll want to choose a shorter ski. If long turns are your preferred method for getting around, then go longer.

Many people advocate longer skis for off-piste use because, as Ghost said, it makes it a lot easier to manage fore-aft balance. And when you're in off-piste conditions, fore-aft balance can become an interesting challenge. However, if you're threading your way through tight Eastern trees then you're not going to want to have to fit big long skis through a tight little gap.

BTW, I'm pretty much your size. I ski a 168cm Elan S12 (which is pretty close to the RX8 in terms of intended purpose), and I've gone plenty fast on groomers. My "powder skis" are a K2 Apache Recon, which are all of 174cm, which have worked just fine in 2+ foot dumps. I'm more of a short-turn person -- I'd probably bump up a size if I was more of a long-turn fanatic.
post #5 of 12
Since you asked. Shorter skis are better in moguls and slalom gates. Shorter skis are easier for light weight people to handle. Another advantage of short skis is in transportation. Easier to stick into your car and not have them rest on the driver side arm rest. As you get more advanced as a skier, you tend to ski faster and longer skis offer more stability at higher speeds. Short skis are also good hand me downs to your kids and you save money thus allowing you to ski more often.
post #6 of 12

Short-Long Skis

If you are asking this question you need to actually feel/experience the difference not read about it. DEMO DEMO DEMO early this Falland then you will know what you want. There are a lot of differences in ski performance other than just lenght. You will save money most likely if you buy once instead of twice. Call your ski area or local Ski Merchants Assoc. and find out when their early season Demo Days are, all you have to do is show your drivers license and leave credit card to demo ski. Some good shops will let you demo their skis and deduct that amount from the purchase price at their shop - this can sometimes be ok. Good Luck. Its fun talking skiing etc. at this time of year BUT DEMO.
post #7 of 12
I advocate the longer ski. I at 6 foot and 155 lbs and growing ski a 178 elan ripstick. These skis perform so well and really help distribute weight, although they are a little tight in moguls.
post #8 of 12
The question, as framed, is only relevant if everything else is equal and even then, you can talk about what's different more clearly than you can what's better.

The same skier, the same model ski...different lengths...assuming it's the right model for you, why is it the right model? What is it being used for? All else being equal, what changes with length...leverage, surface area, turn radius, torsional rigidity, the ability to fit the ski into certain places, etc.

If this doesn't point you toward the answer you're looking for, it might be because the question is either improperly framed or it's the wrong question.

Assume that neither longer or shorter skis are inherently better. Assume a given skier, say...you. Now, what do you want the ski to do? In some scenarios a shorter ski will be better and in others, a longer one will be. In all cases, length will be just one factor in what makes a ski more or less appropriate.
post #9 of 12
Right on, jstraw!

As have many here, I've skied (in the past year!) everything from 155s to 194s. The short slaloms were great in the gates and fun for quick turns out of it. The 194s wouldn't have fit through a couple of those flushes. My every-day ski is a 162 because I like the short radius, but they are beefy and able to motor because I like to get a head of steam going. I'm likely to pick up a new pair this fall... perhaps in the 170-180 range with a more GS sidecut.

So, it's not "better". Any ski out there is almost infinitely better than the best skis of just a few years ago. The real question is, "What do you want your skis to do?" Coupled with your skills and physique, the answer to that question will get you much closer to the real answer. Which is, "Which ski for me?"
post #10 of 12
Ski length directly correlates to manhood. Duh.
post #11 of 12
Originally Posted by Takecontrol618 View Post
Ski length directly correlates to manhood. Duh.
Perhaps, inversely.
post #12 of 12
If you want a short radius ski, the overall length needs to be pretty short to keep the tips and tails from becoming too large. Some of the early shape were long, with narrow waists and very wide tips and tails. That put most of the surface area of the ski at the ends, which made for a ski that was unmanageable in soft snow.
Modern skis don't really need to be too long to be stable, which is why not many skis are longer than 180 anymore.
Short skis are not necessarily easier to operate, because for-aft balance becomes critical in real short lenghts.
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