How to choose the correct LENGTH and TYPE of skis?
TYPES OF ALPINE SKIS
All mountain / All around skis
Universal skis meant for general downhill skiing including mild off-track skiing for beginners and advanced skiers. These skis are designed to work in all types of snowy terrain including groomed slopes, powdery snow, ice and heavy/wet snow. Radius of these skis is around 12-18m. Standard ski length is 5-15cm less than the height of the skier.
Slalom skis – Short turn
Skis designed specifically for short to medium slalom lengths with a medium to high course speed and groomed terrain. Ski radius averages 10-14m. Recommended standard ski length is 10-20cm less than the height of the skier.
Carving skis - Racing
Skis designed specifically for medium to long course lengths with a medium to high course speed and groomed terrain. Ski radius averages between 15-25m. Recommended ski length is between 5-10cm less than the height of the skier.
A hot category for young, modern skiers; these skies are designed for ungroomed terrain, specifically deep/heavy snow. They feature a uniquely wide construction with ski width at the halfway point exceeding 80mm.
Freestyle / snowblade skis
Skis designed for young, adventurous thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies; these skis are designed for fast descents, jumps and various other acrobatic and aerial stunts performed in snowparks.
Skis designed specifically for ladies, they tend to be lighter, softer and shorter. Women, on average, tend to have a lower center of gravity while also being lighter than men of comparable size, therefore they have less efficient force transfer from skier and ski. To get around this, skis with softer cores and less laminated construction are used to improve efficiency and provide optimal force transfer.
Childrens skis are designed for the smallest, junior skiers at the beginning of their skiing career. Childrens skis are very light and therefore significantly easier to control. All childrens skis feature a composite core, which means that the differences between childrens skis are purely cosmetic.
CHOOSING THE APPROPRIATE SKI LENGTH
This depends on the type of ski, but a good rule of thumb is that skis should 5-15cm shorter than the height of the skier:
Allmountain skis – Recommended length 0-15 cm less than height of skier
Slalom skis / Short turn – Recommended lengt 10-20 cm less than height of skier
Carving skis / Racing – Recommended length less than 10 cm to greater than 5cm than height of skier
Freeride skis – Recommended length greater than 5-15 cm than height of skier
Freestyle skis – Recommended length less than 5-20 cm than height of skier
Children / Junior skis – Recommended length less than 5-25 cm than height of skier
Another good general rule is that less experienced skiers should choose shorter skis and vice versa.
Why choose shorter skis?
You are a beginner or a more cautious skier
You weigh less than the average person of your height
You enjoy shorter, faster courses and rarely do you ski for maximum speed
Why pick longer skis?
Your skiing style is fast and aggressive
Your weight is greater than the average person of your height
You plan to do back-country or off-track skiing
A typical beginners pair of skis features composite materials, softer foam or wood cores and cap construction. These skis are easier to control and are more forgiving to errors. Likewise, they tend to be cheaper but they provide poor stability at higher speeds
Intermediate / advanced
Most skiers fall into this category. Skis tend to be wider than a beginner ski, with a firm wooden core and sandwich type construction.
Advanced / Expert
These skis typically feature layers of titanium, carbon, bamboo or other materials which provide stability at high speeds and better performance in difficult terrain. Skis are on average much more firm and rigid.
If you happen to weigh more in relation to an average person of your height, we recommend skis made from more rigid materials that fall into the advanced/expert category.
CHOOSING SKIS BY TURN RADIUS
What style of skiing do you prefer? A dynamic style with short, sharp turns or a style that features long, gentle turns with increased stability and speed?
Up to 13m turn radius – Suited for skiers that prefer short and sharp turns
14-16m turn radius – For skiers who prefer medium and slightly gentle turns
Greater than 16m turn radius – For skiers that prefer higher speeds and long turns
The length of the skis also affects the turn radius, skis with a shorter length will have a shorter turn radius than a comparable model with greater ski length.
CHOOSING SKIS BY SKI WIDTH AT THE MIDDLE (WAIST)
Thinner skis are better for downhill skiing (faster turning and transitions), while wider skis are better for off-track skiing (larger surface area means skis will not get trapped in deep snow)
Ski width suitable for on-piste skiing:
up to 65mm – skis suitable for fast transitions on groomed slopes
up to 70mm – sport skis for groomed slopes, downhill skiing
up to 75mm – Sport and recreational skis featuring better stability for groomed slopes and soft snow.
Ski width suitable for off-piste/freeride skiing:
up to 80mm – downhill skis suitable for off-track skiing. 70% downhill and 30% off-track
up to 85mm – All mountain skis, 50% downhill, 50% off-track
up to 90mm – All mountain skis with a preference for off-track skiing. 70% off-track and 30% downhill
up to 100mm – Freeride skis