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Skis for skinny skier?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Whenever I read ski reviews on here, I get the impression I must be some kind of emaciated waif, because everybody anywhere near my height (5' 11") seems to be a good 40lb or so heavier than my meagre 142lb. Which obviously means that it's often difficult to determine whether the given well-reviewed skis would actually be good for me. Are there any rules of thumb I could use to determine things like appropriate length, given my weight/height ratio? I'm what would be called advanced level here in Europe, and, though light, am quite fit (I'm a serious long distance runner).
post #2 of 6
There are three things that cost you when buying skis and boots.
1.) How BIG you are. 
    a.) Weight primarily
    b.) Height secondarily.  A taller person has a higher center of mass (CM) which may effect your application of forces into a ski depending on technique and form.

2.) How GOOD you are and

3.)  How aggressive you are.

A 300 lb. beginner will need to spend more money when buying a ski so that when on the slopes there is a response of the ski to efforts to pressure it and some torsional integrity when put on edge.  Likewise a very good skier knows how to put pressure into a ski, to work it as it were, so that there is a response action to the input of energy.  While an aggressive skier is usually a pretty good skier, perhaps the most aggressive skier I've ever seen was a fellow who had been on skis only about 10 times and he slammed into bumps at speed on his first run of the season breaking his pole not 50 yards down the hill.  No form to speak of but jumping every chance he got!

So, to get the same response action out of a ski that your 40 lb. heavier cohort expects you simply do not need to purchase as expensive a ski.
For example, just a few seasons ago Volkl had skis for sale called Supersport FIVE STAR and SIX STARs.  The Six was particularly stiff and I used to ask potential customers if they were linebackers in the NFL (National Football League as I understand you are from Europe!).  Otherwise I'd steer most of them to the Five Star.  Much better for them and more money left over to purchase a lift ticket.

Now surface area comes into play in terms of holding you up on powder too.  A bigger skier will benefit from a wider ski.  Floatation will need to be wider to get one more float.  What I call extra-wide midfats range in width.  You might get a similar amount of float on a ski with a 74 mm. mid body as a heavier skier would with a 76 mm. ski.   In many models, though not all, usually a wider ski from a manufacturer is costlier as well.  This may parallel performance but also parallels energy into the ski.  This is usually a good thing but sometimes a particular ski, that is wider, presumes you are a good skier and therefore more likely to go off-piste.  That is not to say that an intermediate would not like to go there too but he'll have to buy a ski that is wider but hopefully not too stiff. 

There are so many fine products on the market now there is no doubt the right ski for you waiting for you to discover it.  Finding a salesman who is able to process the question you ask, that is the balance between weight and response characteristics of a ski, and help him to help you to buy a ski by profiling yourself you should get to the slopes with a ski ideal for most of your uses. 

So, in summary, weight is a very significant aspect of how a ski will perform for you. In the end you get to spend less money than your heavier cohorts to achieve the same responsiveness and performance out of a ski.

(Not sure why the system calls me PRIVATE USER but EJL has been my username.)
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the thoughtful response. I should perhaps have said that I'm not out to buy skis - this is to help with the choice when renting (I actually have my own skis already but it's not normally cost-effective for me to take them on flights from the UK to the European resorts I go to, as the carriage charge tends to be not far short of what I spend on hiring much newer skis in the resort). But perhaps I should be looking a little lower down the range if there's as much of a correlation between price and stiffness as you suggest.
post #4 of 6
Length is a consideration as well.  Usually (Always, as far as I know, but there's probably an exception somewhere) skis get stiffer as they get longer and your weight will have difficulty bending long stiff skis.  So you could size down a bit to get a softer ski, or you could just choose one by your weight and not your height.  As EJL said, weight is usually more important anyway.  

I'm not sure I would agree that price = stiffness.  There are plenty of expensive powder skis that are also soft.  Intermediate skis are usually soft and inexpensive, so that's probably what EJL was saying, but if you are an advanced skier, you should probably avoid those skis.

So I would tell you to pay attention to the length of ski you are getting and probably go shorter than your height would suggest.

Edit: By the way, I do the same thing since I'm 6'4 and 180lbs.  However, 180 usually enough weight (and my skill and strength is high enough) to bend most skis so I end up on the long side anyways.  But if I were contemplating a super stiff ski (which I'm not) I would probably stay away from the longest versions.
post #5 of 6

So, how I would interpret this advice, "buy K2s."  I could be wrong, but that's what that sounds like to me.  I'm sure there are plenty of other skis for you though.

post #6 of 6
Originally Posted by J2R View Post

 Are there any rules of thumb I could use to determine things like appropriate length, given my weight/height ratio? 

Yes, you should use 'skinny skis', these will be taller and skinnier. 

(this also explains America's love for 'fat skis')
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