Wondering what your ski size is? Here is my ski size calculator and the different factors that determine your specific ski size.
Table of Contents:
Ski Size Calculator
How to Choose the Right Size Skis
The best way to choose the right ski size is to reference a ski size chart.
The chart is based on data gathered by ski manufacturers and based on your height recommends a ski size range. The range will fall between the bottom of your chin and the top of your head.
The calculator above uses a ski size chart to give you an accurate recommendation.
However, these size charts are just a rule of thumb. To find your perfect size you need to account for your height, weight, ability level, type of ski, and terrain.
How Height Affects Ski Size
Height is the main variable that controls ski size because it is directly correlated to your center of mass.
Tall people typically have more mass than someone shorter than them. Their height also gives them more leverage to control their skis. Therefore, tall people need longer skis to keep themselves stable at speed.
Shorter people have less mass than someone taller than them. They also have less leverage over their skis, thus their skis need to be shorter so they can easily maneuver them.
How Weight Affects Ski Size
Your weight affects your center of mass.
If you weigh more than average for your height you need longer skis. Longer skis are more stable and will help you keep balance as you encounter changes in the snow.
If you weigh less than average for your height you will need smaller skis. Since you have less mass, shorter skis will be just as stable will be easier for you to turn.
How Ability Levels Affects Ski Size
Ability is another variable that determines ski size. With all factors being equal, beginner skiers should use shorter skis, while advanced skiers should use longer skis.
If you are a beginner, you are still learning the fundamentals of skiing. A shorter ski is easier to turn and will therefore be easier to learn on. You are also probably not skiing really fast so you do not need the extra stability a longer ski provides.
If you’re an advanced skier you already have a strong set of skills and it will be easier to turn longer skis. You are also probably skiing fast and/or off-piste. A longer skill is more stable and will float better in fresh snow and in chopped-up rough snow.
How the Type of Ski Affects Ski Size
Traditional skis were fully cambered underfoot and the majority of the ski touched the snow.
With these cambered skis, your ski size directly represented how much ski you had to turn.
But now skis have rocker in the tips and tails. This makes the effective edge (the portion of the ski that touches the snow) shorter than the overall length. Take a deep-dive into the 6 types of alpine skis here.
So if you want to buy a ski that has a lot of camber, like a racing, all-mountain, or park ski, go with a shorter ski. The effective edge on a fully cambered ski is very close to its actual size and it will ski true to size.
If you are buying a ski with a lot of rocker, like a freeride, powder, or some all-mountain skis, go bigger than you normally would. Rockered skis have shorter effective edges relative to their length. The rockered part of the ski doesn’t touch the snow, so that length doesn’t contribute to its effective edge. This is why a 190 cm powder ski may ski very similarly to a 175-180 cm cambered ski.
How Terrain Affects Skis Size
The terrain you ski also affects your ski size.
If you like to ski groomers and on-piste choose skis at your eye level or below. These skis have a lot of effective edge and do not need to be very long to get grip on the snow.
If you like to ski off-piste, powder, and big mountain terrain, get skis that are at eye-level or longer. This terrain requires you to ski fast so a longer ski will give you more stability. Also, skis in this category will have more rocker to float on top of fresh snow and blast over chop. So you can get away with a longer ski since the effective edge won’t be as long.
Finding the Right Size is an Art
Finding the right ski size takes time. I recommend you go out and demo different skis in different lengths and find what works for you. Also, don’t be afraid to ask shop employees and brands what size they recommend. These work with the product on a daily basis and will steer you in the right direction.
Lastly, if you have any questions or want me to help you find the right size, feel free to shoot me an email! I’m always happy to chat.