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How to determine ski length.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have been reading for a long time over various ski size for all kinds of people. Let me give you an example. I'm 5'7, weight = 180lb. I have mentioned my skiing ability (upper intermediate/lower advance) to several
sales people and online. Some say I should go 162mm, others mention 170. I don't know which size to get. Or, does it come down to the type of ski? The ski I'm looking at is the Salomon XW Blast. In general how do determine the ski length for yourself?
post #2 of 12
The BEST way? Demo both sizes and buy the one YOU like more.

Some skies ski “long” others “short” ie they feel like they are longer or shorter than they actually are. Some types of skis need to be skied longer or shorter too.

How you ski, and how strong you are make large differences too.

If it were me, I'd get the 170's though, not due to the height, but as an advancing skier weighing 180 I would feel better on them, but that's me, not you or anyone else.
post #3 of 12
post #4 of 12
Since you are 180, and are pretty good, and the ski you are choosing is quite turny/soft, I would consider a length about the 170, because the shorter length will just make it more turny and yeah...no good.
post #5 of 12
Originally Posted by Mithras View Post
The BEST way? Demo both sizes and buy the one YOU like more.
Demo other skis too. You may find you hate the very one you think you're gonna buy. If you demo, though, don't just get 1 pair of skis and ski the whole day - that's not demoing, that's renting. Take the skis, ski one slow run, one fast run, one steep run, find some bumps and crud. Then take those back and get a different pair. Ski the exact same runs. Repeat often. When you find the ski you like, try it in a size larger, and a size smaller. Then you'll know for sure exactly what ski and length works best for you. (Oh, and take a note pad with you....make lots of notes on skis, sizes, and impressions!)

ps: there is no 'right' ski length for any one person. It depends on each ski and their application. (My current skis range from 155 to 180)
post #6 of 12
In your situation, I'd say 165-170.
post #7 of 12
First of all, you would like to get much more than 162 mm skis under your boots... It is cm not mm.

The ski you are looking for seems to be designed to be skied short as length goes from 142 cm to only 178 cm.

Volkgirl is right (even if the way she presents demoing would be too painfull for me) and you should try before you buy.

BTW, in 162 cm and a waist of only 74 mm, it is not going to be a great powder ski for a 180 lbs person. But don't know if it also something you are looking for.
post #8 of 12
I guess that the old saying "100 lawyers, 100 opinions" applys to skiers as well. I think it's a matter of preference and comfort...after buying a new pair of Rossi Z5s in 162 length this year (after having Rossi in 170 length my first two years skiing), I became concerned after seeing widely ranging conversation on ski length. After consulting with a few ski shop people and others in industry, I determined that I'm going to be perfectly fine on them. I'm 5-11, 200 btw.

I'm not going into powder at all, etc. so the extra length for that wasn't an issue. So I'd ask around, demo a few, and just do what feels best for you.
post #9 of 12
Pretty much the only thing a ski recognizes is how much energy you put into it, which is a function of your weight and how fast you are skiing. Your ability to stay centered on the ski and the conditions you will use it in also figure into it. A light guy skiing fast equals a heavy guy going slow. Trying to guess what length of patricular ski you would excell on is pretty much voodoo without a whole lot of personal experience and figuring. The only thing you can count on is that the manufactuer charts tend to error on the short side to protect you from buying too much ski. You will have an easier time skiing one that is too short than one that is too long.

You wouldn't buy a car without test driving it, so see if you can demo a pair. It should only take a few runs to know if the ski length is wrong for you. If you visit this site you will know that the mantra here is "demo, demo, demo." You can make an educated quess, but it will still be an expensive gamble on a guess without trying them.
post #10 of 12
There's a ton of "rules of thumbs" one being that the ski should come to the mid-point of your forehead (dead even with the top of your head or longer if you're a speed fiend expert charger).

You can also use this chart as a guideline:


and then there's Realskiers.com's guidelines:

post #11 of 12
alright im a beginner skier. I have rented skies before and i dont know what size to get. I weigh 170 and im about 6 feet tall. I dont understand why some skies online are really short like 149 150. And then some are like in the 160s. The guy who  i rent from always gives me 163s. I need help finding me a good ski to buy and the size could anyone help me? Remember im 16 so i want something that looks pretty cool to.thanks. I like volkl and k2.but any brand will work.
post #12 of 12

Given the post date of your question, I'm sure you have already bought a pair of skis. For further reference, the main thing to ask yourself is, "What type of skiing will I be doing the most?" Though every manufacturer has their own, "one ski quiver," skis are at the point now where they are specialized to a specific type of terrain and snow. For instance, a slalom skier of your size will race on a ski in the low 160s, whereas on a GS course you'll find them on a pair of 180s. You'll find charts online that will tell you what size ski to purchase according to your height, but nowadays IMO it really depends on your weight, ability level, and intent. I'm mostly a lurker on the forums, but there is a ton of knowledgable people willing to share their thoughts. Just be as specific as possible. Keep riding. 

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