Buying guide skis

skisSKI BUYER'S GUIDE

There are four simple factors in deciding what skis to buy

SKI LENGTH

HOW DO I PICK THE CORRECT SKI SIZE?
The general rule is to pick a ski length that is somewhere between your chin and the top of your head. Advanced and expert skiers may choose skis that are slightly longer than head height.
 
In reality it’s not as simple as that! Your height and weight provide an excellent starting point but there are other things to consider; Skiing category, snow type, terrain and personal preference all play a part.
SKI SIZING CHART
Skier height Ski length
ft/in cm cm
4'4" 132< 115-130
4'6" 137 125-140
4'8" 142 130-145
4'10" 147 135-150
5' 152 135-155
5'2" 158 145-165
5'4" 163 150-170
5'6" 168 155-175
5'8" 173 160-180
5'10" 178 165-185
6' 183 170-190
6'2" 188 175-195
6'4" 193 180-200

Within your suggested ski size range there are several reasons to choose a shorter or longer ski. A shorter ski will be easier to turn but not as stable as a longer ski. A carving ski with a skinnier waist and a smaller turn radius can be skied at a shorter length than an all-mountain or freeride ski with a larger turn radius and fatter waist width.

REASONS TO CHOOSE SHORTER SKIS , CLOSER TO YOUR CHIN:
  • You are a beginner or intermediate skier.
  • You weigh less than average for your height.
  • You like to make short, quick turns and seldom ski fast.
  • You want a carving ski with only camber, no rocker.
REASONS TO HAVE YOUR SKIS LONGER, NEARER TO THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD:
  • You are skiing fast and aggressively.
  • You weigh more than average for your height.
  • You plan to do the majority of your skiing off piste.
  • You plan to ski a twin-tip ski.
  • You want a ski that has a lot of rocker.
Please note: Not all ski brands measure length in the same way! One brand may be a slightly longer or shorteror wider than the same size in another brand.

 ABILITY LEVEL

Ability level has become somewhat less relevant as ski technology has made it possible for a beginner to ski a much wider variety of skis. Still, there are certainly features that differentiate skis for different ability levels.
BEGINNER/INTERMEDIATE
Someone who is new to skiing or a skier working on linking smoother turns falls into this ability level.
INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED
The majority of skiers and skis fall into this level, whether you like to carve on groomers or venture into the powder. These skis are generally somewhat wider than beginner-intermediate skis
ADVANCED/EXPERT
Regardless of terrain choice, advanced to expert level skis are for the more aggressive and skilled skier.


SKI PROFILE

Place your ski on a table or bench and you will see your skis profile. There are a couple of common types:
CAMBER
This is the traditional profile for skis and snowboards. Camber is a slight upward curve in the middle of a ski or board, with the contact points - where an unweighted ski or board contacts the snow - close to the ends.
ROCKER
Rocker (also called reverse-camber) is just as it sounds – camber turned upside down – with the middle of the ski flush to the surface tip ends of the skis being slightly elevated. As skis in general get wider, rocker helps keep the new shapes maneuverable for a wider range of skiers. Wide ski and board shapes designed primarily for powder are often rockered.
 All skis and snowboards, whether rockered or cambered, when put on edge and weighted into a turn achieve reverse-camber. Cambered skis and snowboards produce more pressure on the snow at the tip and tail since they have to flex further to achieve this curve.  Rocker skis and snowboards offer superior float in the soft snow and increased ease of turn initiation with less chance of "catching" an edge.
Add in a flat section to a ski and you can find all sort of variations of ski profile so keep an eye for them.
 

FAVOURITE TERRAIN

Where and how you ski also has an influence on what skis to buy:
  • ALL-MOUNTAIN SKIS  If you’re only going to own one pair of skis to do it all, this is what you need. As the name suggests, all mountain skis are for skiing anywhere on the mountain. They are designed to handle anything you throw at them including powder, ice, pisted slopes, steeps, heavy snow, and everything in between, but they aren’t necessarily a master of any one terrain or snow type.
  • POWDER SKIS  These skis are for the fresh snowfall days -  powder skis are what you need to stay afloat. Many powder skis today are versatile enough to handle mixed conditions and harder snow.
  • CARVING SKIS  Carving skis are what you want if you are to perform the perfect arcing turn - beginner-intermediate skis in this category are designed to make it easy for learning how to!
  • FREESTYLE SKIS  Freestyle skis, are for skiers who spend the majority of their time in the terrain park. If jumps, rails, and jibs of all kinds are your thing then check out this category.
  • ALPINE TOURING SKIS  Also known as backcountry skis, alpine touring skis are designed for going uphill as well as downhill. These skis are typically light for their width and many feature fittings that accept climbing skins.
  • WOMEN'S SPECIFIC SKIS   Of course there is no reason a female skier cannot ski well on a men’s ski, and vice versa. Women usually have a lower center of gravity and less body mass than men of the same height and therefore exert less leverage and force on their skis. Skis designed specifically for women are typically lighter, softer, and shorter.
 
Sign in
Username
Password
Forgot your password? Remind