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# When is long, too long?

Just out of curiosity, at what point does length become too long?
like...why would a 170cm ski be perfect for me, but a 174cm is too long? how do you go about doing that determination? 171 is only 1cm longer...172 is only 2cm longer....173 is only 3cm longer....

i don't know if i'm making sense. if you break the lengths down into centimeter increments, each increment doesn't increase that much...so how do guys exactly tell their customers or whatnot that 170 is the right size, 174 is too long? get the gist of the question?

Mello
My rule is I never get the longest version of any ski. Usually I will get the second or third longest. With the current skis, that puts me anywhere from 184 to 160cm, depending on the type of ski.

John
Quote:
 Originally posted by MelloBoy:Just out of curiosity, at what point does length become too long? like...why would a 170cm ski be perfect for me, but a 174cm is too long? how do you go about doing that determination? 171 is only 1cm longer...172 is only 2cm longer....173 is only 3cm longer.... i don't know if i'm making sense. if you break the lengths down into centimeter increments, each increment doesn't increase that much...so how do guys exactly tell their customers or whatnot that 170 is the right size, 174 is too long? get the gist of the question? Mello
Good Question.....Instead of relying on so called shop experts I'd say the best idea is prove it for yourself. On Demo day get a real long ski then switch to a real short ski and notice the difference. The big difference should be stability in high speeds. The shorter will not be as stable. The longer ski will be more stable but not as nimble in turns. Try other lengths until you find the best. If this is not possible ask around and see what other skiers of comparable ability are skiing on. Or check out the responses to my question posted the same day as yours. dj
Skis become too long when they become too difficult to control. It is a very personal thing, where demoing is the only way to determine the ideal length and model. There are recommendation guidelines from the manufacturers, but these are starting lengths, not always the ideal lengths.
A ski becomes too long when you've come to the conclusion that you could have gotten by with a shorter one. It's a comfort level thing. Unless you demo a ski in all different conditions and try a few different lengths, you'll never know if the 184 you bought, should have been a 177. The point being, if you have fun on the length you own, and you have no problems handeling the length, then you're probably on the right length. Even though you could have gone shorter.

( Did that make sense?)
Hummmm.....

My rule is that a ski is too long when it's too stiff. Almost all skis these days are built very stiff for their length. If a ski is 10 centemeters longer or shorter, are you really going to notice the difference in swing weight or stabilty? All things being equal, yes. But there are many other factors at work - stiffness, dampening, weight and sidecut.

I would ask, when is a ski too short? I would say when it has to be made very stiff, heavy and damp to support a heavier skier, something that doesn't make for a fun freeskiing ski.

Kevin
Ski length influences two characteristics about the ski, quickness (turning radius) and stability. People often confuse turn length with stability, but they are very different. Turning length refers to the radius of the turn that is cut into the side of the ski, while stability refers what speeds the ski will be able to perform at. Even a ski with a downhill side cut won't perform well in a downhill course if it won't hold the skiier at downhill speeds. Of course, stability is important for all skis, but more important for some. Slalom skis still need to be stable, but only to the speeds reached in the slalom course. Downhill skis need to be stable at the speeds in a downhill course. Why not make all skis stable enough for downhill? Then we would never have to worry about stability, right? If you make the ski too stable, i.e. able to be skied at 80 mph, then it will be so stiff that you can't flex the ski enough at normal speeds to effectively use the side cut. So, there has to be a balance. Because slalom racers don't go nearly as fast as downhill racers their skis need to be much less stiff in order to be used at the speeds they ski.

Between stability and quickness, to me the stability is more important. Here's why. You can always turn less/wider and still have fun(even though this might not be desirable for your skiing style), but a ski that won't let you ski as fast as you would like will never be fun. Even if it is the quickest slalom ski on the planet and you are a slalom racer, if it won't hold at the speed you like to ski you will always be out of control. But the ski can't be too quick, because you don't have to turn as fast as possible all of the time, as long as it is stable. The nice thing about having extra quickness is that you don't have to use it if the ski is stable at speed, but it is always there if you want it. The problem is that most quick turning/short skis are less stable at speed because they are optimized for slower skiing, so you have to give up some of this quickness in order to achieve your desired stability. Otherwise everybody would ski the shortest quickest skis and just not turn as hard when they wanted to make GS turns.

So, I try to find the length that will just be just stable enough for me at the speed I like to ski, and nothing more. Anything longer/more stable will be unnecessarily giving up turning radius/quickness. If at this length the ski doesn't turn quick enough for you then you should look for another ski. If you love to ski fast, and are looking at a slalom ski, then you should be looking at longer (if not the longest) length. If at the longest length the thing still washes out when you come down at speed then you need a different ski. But, if you are looking at a race GS ski, unless you are an expert skiier, you likely won't be able to get the thing to even bobble no matter how hard you turn. In this case you should be looking at the shorter end of the range unless you are heavy or ski very fast.

So, the only way to really determine what is the "right length" for you is to demo the ski. But, by knowing the ski you are looking at (what style it was made for, what skill level, etc.) and the skier that you are trying to size (turning preference, speed, ability, weight, etc.) you can usually narrow it down to choosing between two lengths. This means doing your homework and listening what the skier tells you. [img]smile.gif[/img]
hm...
i think my question might have been understood.

say 175cm is the "upper limit" of a good length for me...what differentiates that from say a 176cm? It's only 1cm different. Take that further...177cm...it's only 1cm different from 176. so when do you know when to go that extra 1cm in length?

mello
Your argument is a form of the "heap paradox", I think. Say you have a large heap of rocks. If you take one rock away, it is still a heap. If you take another away, again still a heap. However, if you keep taking rocks away, there are none left so it is definetly not a heap. See the paradox?

Say skis really were made in 1cm increments. If you started at a length (say, 177) and moved up in 1cm increments to another (say, 184) you probably wouldnt notice a big difference in any single step. However, if you then went directly back down to 177, youd notice a bigger difference.

In the real world, there arent 1cm increments to try, so you actually can tell the difference between lenghts, and where you should be.

Hope this helps!
Why dont u guys leave your height and weight when discussing ski length so others could get a better idea of how to compare...
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