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What size ski?

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 

 Newbie Here. Just joined the forum and just getting back into skiing. I took up skiing about 16 years ago on 193 Salomon straight skis. Skied for about 2 years out in California. Maybe reached low intermediate. Moved back to the Northeast about 5 years ago. Decided To get back into skiing again. Went skiing this year. Felt like an absolute beginner on the new shaped skis. Took a lesson. Did better. Part of the problem too was the rental skis were very soft and it was icy later on in the day. With some of the killer deals out there, felt it would be better to buy a decent pair of skis (just got boots). The problem is, I'm getting very different advise on what size ski I should get.


I'm 5'6", weigh around 170. 53 but quite athletic. I was advised to get a 152 (in an Elan mag 8) or a 155. The logic being that I would learn to carve faster and become a better technical skier (which is my goal). Another store said the smallest size I should get should be at least a 160 to 170. That I would outgrow a smaller ski in less than the season.  As I mentioned, my goal is to be a good technical skier.  Would like to hear your opinions on this. Confused. Thank you. 

post #2 of 43

I am 5'7" 165lbs and would agree with the second shop on this one. I wouldn't buy anything shorter than 170 and IMO you will be ditching that in a season or two. If you get something medium soft-stiff and decent sidecut (i.e. 16-19 or so) you will have no problems with the length and if the ski challenges you just a little you may just progress faster. I just came back to skiing 3 seasons ago after 11 yrs of snowboarding and went from 171 to 175 to now 180-188 depending on rocker or not.

post #3 of 43



It depends on the skis and your ski interest really. But for your current progression (meaning by using the benefits of the shaped skis), I think summerteeth and the second shop is dead on with the length. Something between 165 and 170cm. Definitely do not go shorter if you want to progress (unlike if you're skiing casually only couple of times a year). I assume that you're staying mostly on the groomers right now. So, a intermediate to advanced semi-stuff carver or all mountain carver in about 165cm would suit you well. That way you can stay with the same skis for at least a while if you choose not to upgrade.


I'm 5'6" as well and I run between 172 to 178lbs depending on the day. In my regular skiing, my skis range from 166cm to 176cm. Coming from a non-agressive but aspiring skier, you will outgrow anything softer and shorter than this range in no time. When you start picking up speed on steeps on edges and venturing into uneven/variable terrains, you'll know what I mean.


Where do you ski typically?

post #4 of 43

If your weight is reasonable for your height, some very good guidance is to go chin to nose height for carvers, and nose to head height for free-ride.  For all-mountain, I'd go right in the middle of the range.


You can adjust the length up if you are a powerful skier, weigh a lot for your height, or prefer a ski with a bigger sweet spot (longer skis accomodate more fore/aft balance range).  Myself, I am most comfortable in the nose to head to above head height range on my skis.  For whatever reason, shorter skis feel like toothpicks underfoot to me.


My wife is 5'7" 125lb and is on 150cm skis.  I'd rate her as a low-intermediate.  That data point makes me think a 152cm ski is *WAY* too short for you!



post #5 of 43
Thread Starter 

Thanks, guys. I ski groomed slopes. In California I skied mostly difficult greens (is that an oximoron?) and blues. Always had trouble with my skiis crossing, which was the norm back in the day of "lift the inside leg, turn the fully weighted outside leg". Did that on shaped skiis last month and one ski went right around, while the other stayed somewhat straight. Sixteen years later I'm still crossing skiis. Short ones no less.


I skied at Butternut in Western Mass. I met a friend halfway who was coming from NYC. I intend to take a lesson each time I go skiing. As mentioned earlier, I have know desire to bomb down the hill. My goal is to go as many times as I can next season and to be a "good" technical skier. First priority is to carving. That's the reason I want to buy skiis as opposed to renting. Just going down a Blue run towards the end of the day, the slope got pretty icy. The skiis I was on wouldn't hold an edge. Chattered like crazy and skidded downhill. I thought of demoing better skiis next time I go, but I'm probably not good enough to tell the difference, and what it would cost me for the season, I could get my own that would last me many seasons.    

post #6 of 43

Length 165 to 170 cm.

Suggestions are Dynastar Equipe, Head Supershape, Fischer Progressor.  Sorry I did not get to demo a lot of skies last year, so there may be a lot more.


If you just remember to tip the inside ski as much onto it's little toe edge as the outside ski is tipped onto it's big toe edge, the skis won't cross.



post #7 of 43
Thread Starter 

 SKIER219, that's where my confusion lies. A 152 is between my chin and nose which should be about right according to my level based on the "height" method. Weight wise, yes I should be on a longer ski. BTW, the skiis I'm looking at are either the Elan Mag 8 or the Fischer Heat series.

post #8 of 43

You will outgrow the Elan Mag 8 in five days. (edit: if it takes that long)

post #9 of 43
Thread Starter 


Originally Posted by Ghost View Post


You will outgrow the Elan Mag 8 in five days. (edit: if it takes that long)


Why is that, Ghost? Is it too soft?

post #10 of 43


Originally Posted by scoops71 View Post




Why is that, Ghost? Is it too soft?


Yes, too soft in both lateral flex and torsional flex.  It is designed to ignore our inputs and not grip too strongly should you make the wrong move.  It is also too weak to aid you in learning how to carve.  With refined carving skills you can carve on it just fine because you can feel its limits and not exceed them, so long as you don't want to carve any hard (as in fast for the tightness of the turn) turns.  However, if you don't have those skills yet, you could be making all the correct movements and the skis just won't hold on hard enough to let you carve.  You need a ski with some grip that still has some forgiveness.  The skis I listed are all capable skis you won't outgrow quickly, but are still forgiving.


I also think the mag 8 will steal your confidence away once it's past its fairly low speed limit, making you afraid to commit to your turns and instill defensive movements instead of good skiing.



post #11 of 43
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Ghost. Are you or anyone else familiar with the Head Heat range (Pure Heat), Which Head Progresessor (Will I outgrow the lower model too soon?) Thanks everyone for all your input. It's been extremely helpful. 

post #12 of 43
Thread Starter 

Sorry, meant Fischer  Progressor and Heat series.


post #13 of 43

I'm thinking progressor 8+.


I also think it is worth spending 20 bucks and subscribing to the reviews on epertsier.com.


post #14 of 43
Thread Starter 

Thanks, everyone for all your help. Just curious, though. It seems that sizing is all over the place with the newer skiis (or maybe it was the same for the older straight ones but my memory is going).

post #15 of 43

Or even the Progressor 7+ which is the intermediate ski in the Progressor lineup.  I have the 8+ and it's a high intermediate to advanced ski.  It might be just fine for the OP, but could be a bit too much ski.


Dawgcatching's shop had some 7+ for a very good price so you might want to check and see if he has any left.  Here's his sale thread:




I'd go 165 as far as length.  In my opinion skier weight is more of a factor on ski performance than skier height and you are 170lbs.  The ski doesn't know how tall you are, but it does know how much you weigh.

Originally Posted by Ghost View Post


I'm thinking progressor 8+.


I also think it is worth spending 20 bucks and subscribing to the reviews on epertsier.com.



post #16 of 43

In terms of ease of use I would say Salomon Equipe is easiest, then Head Supershape (not magnum and not speed), then the Fischer. 

post #17 of 43


Originally Posted by skier219 View Post



My wife is 5'7" 125lb and is on 150cm skis.  I'd rate her as a low-intermediate.

Better not let your wife see that!  Hah.

post #18 of 43

A 150 would make it very easy  to learn to carve; but you would quickly outgrow it. I would go with  the 165 length for a carving ski.


It sounds like you have a very well thought out plan. Start out by learning to carve well on groomers. Look for a ski that  does that well.   As you become more skilled and confident, and begin to explore a wider range of terrain and conditions, you might start to look for a wider ski that's more comfortable in the ungroomed snow. But there will always, particularly in the northeast, be plenty of days where you will be skiing on firm snow.


So don't think along the lines of a ski that you'll outgrow in a year or 2. The right ski will make it easy for you to build your skills on the groomers, and will then remain in your quiver for those days when you'll be skiing mostly hardpack.


One suggestion would be the Fisher RX-8. This ski is not as versatile as the newer Progressor series, but is a very forgiving, fun ski. Its narrow waist will make it easy for you to learn to carve short quick turns. It handles hard snow and ice very well, which will likely mean you'll find a place for it as your quiver (and skill) grows.






post #19 of 43
Thread Starter 

Thanks, DropKick. Wow, what a great forum. Thanks for all your constructive advice. That's why while doing why research, I decided to join this forum. Best advice I've gotten. One of the reasons I've been looking at the Fischer lines like you guys suggest is I can get great deals on some of their models, along with Salomon and some Elans, but the Fischers seems like a solid ski for back east, somewhat along the lines of Vokl. One thing that always bothered me about my Salomons (from back in the day) was they turned well but always seemed a little squirrely (if that makes sense). I completely agree with you Ghost on the type of ski I need. Something that's firm enough but forgiving since I still reatain that habit of putting most of my weight on the outside ski. The rentals that I used on ice just buckled. Has anyone ever skied on the Fischer Heat series. At the mountain, it was suggested to look at the Pure Heat. Slim enough waist (72mm) but versatile and forgiving enough. Plus it's still stiff enough without being overpowering for me (It seems that Fischers are slightly stiffer than the same skis as other manufacturers  at the same price point). Again, thanks for all your help. You guys are great. BTW, RX8 was another ski I was checking out. Again, thanks DKM.

post #20 of 43

Let me play devil's advocate-


I am 6'0" and weigh 210lbs and I have a pair of K2 public enemies that are 169 (!).  I'm an advanced intermediate skier, and find they turn better when I'm in the woods and on the moguls.  I've skiied longer skis, but found the shorter ones more comfortable.


You should demo skis and see which fits you best.

post #21 of 43
Thread Starter 


Originally Posted by Moose2121 View Post


Let me play devil's advocate-


I am 6'0" and weigh 210lbs and I have a pair of K2 public enemies that are 169 (!).  I'm an advanced intermediate skier, and find they turn better when I'm in the woods and on the moguls.  I've skiied longer skis, but found the shorter ones more comfortable.


You should demo skis and see which fits you best.


Agreed, and if I was back out west that's probably what I would do, but here's my reasoning (and maybe it's flawed). Coming back East and sking on icy hardpack, the rentals just didn't cut it. I'm going join a ski club and probably get a season pass this year. The money I would be using for lift tickets next year,  i'm going to be investing in lessons (I'm a believer that it's the person, not the skis that make a better skier). To rent skis, and then to demo, for the year that would be over $300.00, and at my level, I probably wouldn't notice much of a difference. I can get a great set of skis for 60% off (last years models 2007/08). Getting a solid intermediate ski to advanced ski, though it might be a little tough at first, I figure that I could progress faster and have a ski that I could both grow into and enjoy for a long time. When I'm then at the level most of you guys are (which will probably be a long while ((or maybe never), It would then make sense for me to really start demoing advanced skis.

post #22 of 43


Originally Posted by Moose2121 View Post


Let me play devil's advocate-


I am 6'0" and weigh 210lbs and I have a pair of K2 public enemies that are 169 (!).  I'm an advanced intermediate skier, and find they turn better when I'm in the woods and on the moguls.  I've skiied longer skis, but found the shorter ones more comfortable.


You should demo skis and see which fits you best.


what came first the chicken, or the egg?


I ll agree with you that short skis that have moderate sidecut are easier at lower speed in tree and bumps. if it works for you though it works for you.


but if continue to ski on ski that lets you muscle it around you stifle your improvement.


in someway the reason why I ski that ski 10 cm longer while being 40lb lighter is that its more forgiving for me. the added fore and aft balance is awesome in crud, powder, bumps, and going really fast down groomers.



post #23 of 43

Exactly, the longer ski offers more stability and a much larger sweet spot.  I am 6'1" 195lbs and actually find the 179cm PE too short in many instances.  The 169cm would be difficult to ski on for me.

post #24 of 43
Thread Starter 

Again, Thank you all for your insite. Three things.


1) I might start a new thread on this but I'm thinking about starting my sking earlier than planned. I may be vacationing either in New Zealand or South America this summer to ski (really to take lessons). Want to know if any of you have any thoughts (This is probably a question for a new thread) on which might be better or personel experiences.


2) Just curious, Does waist size of the ski make much of a difference for someone at my level (since I want to learn to carve well)? It seems like the wider the waist, the longer (GS type) the turning radius but it seems like the industry is heading that way.


3) This too is more of a curiousity question. Since I use to own Salomons, when I first started inquiring about skis and read about them (Salomons), I kept seeing that they were easy to turn but soft. it seemed that you had to move up to the higher end skis before you got a ski that was as stiff or solid feeling as most other companies mid level skis (at least according to reviews, for what that's worth)..  Salomons seem to be quite expensive and their "mid level" skis seem to be as much or more then a lot of companies higher end and expert skis. Are Salomons a good "East Coast" ski. Don't want to make rash judgements to those that own them, it was just an observation and was just curious about. For all I know, they could have better technology and that's what you're paying for. 

post #25 of 43

Turning radius is not a sole function of waist width.  The combination of tip, waist, tail widths and length all factor in to determine the radius.  It just happens that wider skis tend to be focused on powder, crud, and off-piste skiing, where you want a longer turning radius.  So you are likely to see that a lot of wide skis have a longer turning radius just because of their mission/focus.


In terms of carving, wider skis take more effort to put on edge, and will feel less carve-able at first.  So I would not recommend them to a beginner or intermediate trying to learn carving because it will be one more impediment.  But for someone that already knows how to carve, it is a minor adjustment.  I really don't even notice the difference anymore myself, and can carve my wide skis as well as my narrow ones.


Salomon makes a wide range of skis with various focuses to each ski.  They span the range of stiffness, price, etc, and I don't think they are any different than any other brand.  As always, shop around and you will find a wide range of prices/deals on any brand of ski.

post #26 of 43
Thread Starter 

Thanks, skier219 (that's why I love this forum).


On the Salomons, it happened to be the X wing series (8 and 10's).

post #27 of 43

My brother is a lot like you (height, weight, skill level) and he is on 166cm long skis. I like the "chin" method of measuring, but depending on the ski's flex, could be taller or shorter. 


Just keep in mind any beginner ski will piss you off pretty quickly. They are great for getting you to the "eureka!" moment, but don't get you much farther than that. 


If you want to buy a pair of skis that you will not hate after a week I would recommend the 08-09 Nordica Top Fuel in a 170cm length. They are an advanced ski, but if you are motivated (which it sounds like you are) you'll be fine. They are pretty soft, have a sweet tip that makes turn initation effortless, great edge grip, and as you get better they get better too. 

post #28 of 43

Hey Scoops71,


IMHO I would size based on having the ski length between nose to forehead height as a start.  I agree it depends on your level, as well as the flex in the ski.  Don't get too caught up on getting big skis for your height/weight/ability.  Personally if I were you, I would look at a 160 - 165 as a good starting point, 


As far as selections, the Fisher RX-8, Nordica Top Fuel, and the Volkl's AC30/Tigershark 10 are great groomer skis.  You want something to grow into, yet not break the bank on the ski.  I personally own the AC30's 170 (I'm 5'9", 185lb) and I love these skis.    Great hardpack, wide carver, with excellent stability. 


Last point - make sure you go th a boot fitter and get the right boots and fit.  For a beginner/intermediate, it is more important in my opinion to have a proper fitting boot.  Have a crappy boot or lousy fit, and you will suck with any ski, and not progress in your skill level (I know from personal experience).



post #29 of 43

Come on Bears, you're slacking off.    This thread has been around for 6 days, 28 posts, and no one has said something like:


It's not the size of the ski but what you do the sides of the pipe that matters. 

post #30 of 43

The competitors on the World Cup circuit are using slalom skis that are 155cm (women) or 167cm(men), give or take a couple centimeters (I'm not certain what the current FIS regs call for). They don't seem to have "outgrown" these lengths. I suspect the FIS limitations are there to prevent them from competing on skis that are  even shorter. If your skiing is going to be on eastern hardpack I would go for the shorter length. Why would you need anything longer? Not for edgehold certainly.

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