How To Pick The Correct Ski Length?

by Robert Stanley | Updated: August 2nd, 2023 |  Skiing Articles

Choosing skis might be difficult, but you can find the ideal ski equipment for yourself with the right information by your side. The first step in selecting the perfect ski is determining the perfect length for yourself. There is no winning strategy for determining the appropriate ski length for each skier. However, some guidelines can help narrow down your choices and find the best one for you.

Using height and weight as a starting point and taking into account other criteria such as ability level, terrain, and personal taste is a great place to start selecting the right ski length. The conventional rule is to choose a ski length that falls between your chin and the crown of your head. Advanced and excellent skiers should select slightly longer skis than their head height. Let’s explore the process of choosing the right ski length in detail.

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Ski Length Chart

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How To Size Up or Down Your Skis?

There are various reasons why you might want to go with a shorter or longer ski within your size range. A shorter ski allows for better turn initiation. Nevertheless, it has less stability at more incredible speeds. Rockered skis are simpler to pivot between turns and can be skied for a longer distance than camber skis.

Reason for Choosing Shorter Skis

  • Beginner or intermediate skier level;
  • Lighter than the average weight for your height;
  • Sharp, fast and quick turns;
  • Carving ski with no rocker and only a camber.

Reasons for Choosing Longer Skis

  • Faster and fiercer skiing experience;
  • More weight than average for your height;
  • Off-trail skiing experience;
  • Twin-tip skiing requirements;
  • Skiing with a lot of rockers.

What Are the Topmost Ways to Choose a Ski?

Winter Skier

Choosing Ski by Ability Level

Ski technology has enabled a novice to ski a much more comprehensive range of skis, making one’s “ability level” less important when selecting skis. Nonetheless, several aspects distinguish skis, making them better suited to skiers of varying skill levels.

* Beginners/Intermediate

This competence level includes someone new to skiing or a skier working on connecting smoother turns. Softer flex, smaller widths, composite, foam, softer wood cores, and capped constructions are typical beginning ski characteristics. The goal is to choose a simple ski. Adding a rocker to the tip and tail makes it less "hooky" and aids initiation.

* Intermediate/Advanced

Most skiers and skis fall under this category, whether you want to carve on groomers or explore the powder. These skis are often more complete with a stronger wood core and sandwich sidewall construction than beginner-intermediate skis. Intermediate-advanced skis may feature-complete camber, rocker, or a mix of the two.

* Advanced/Expert

Advanced to expert-level skis are for the more aggressive and talented skier regardless of the terrain. Advanced-expert skis are stiffer longitudinally and latitudinally than intermediate-level skis and are more difficult to control at slower speeds. Expert-level carving, park, all-mountain, and powder skis with various rocker combinations are available.

Pro Tip: Check out our free Ski Length Calculator

Choosing Ski by Terrain Type


When selecting a pair of skis, keeping the terrain in mind is critical. Different ski styles will flourish in other regions of the mountain. To make things more tricky, not all skis fit into one neat category, but keeping in mind how you spend your days on the ski field will help narrow down the perfect ski for you.

* All-Mountain Skis

Comfortable, versatile, and practical. All-mountain skis are the most versatile type of ski that can fit into almost every style of skiing, hence its name! They are specifically designed to tackle any ski challenge, from powder, ice, steep inclines, heavy snow, and everything in between. Skis are an expensive piece of equipment and for many, having this an all-purpose ski makes practical and financial sense. Keep in mind though, it's the jack of all trades, but master of none.

* Powder Skis

These powder skis are for deep snow conditions. Powder skis are essential if you prefer to hunt powder stashes at your local resort, go on backcountry missions for the freshest powder, or go on heli-ski vacations. Powder skis are broad and frequently have some rocker or early rise and somewhat soft flex. Today, many powder skis are adaptable enough to handle mixed conditions and heavier snow.

* Big Mountain Skis

Huge mountain skis are built to charge huge runs at incredible speeds and land big airs. These skis range in breadth from wide, powder-oriented skis for skiing. Skis in this category are often stiffer and heavier, with more rocker in the tip and less in the tail. Read: what is big mountain skiing? (how to start).

* Carving Skis

Carving skis are ideal for individuals who enjoy the classic experience of laying a ski over on edge and arcing a flawless turn. These skis offer smaller waists and shorter turn radii for edge-to-edge quickness. These skies have sensitive turn initiation and departure on groomed runs and hard packs.

* Park, Pipe & Jib Skis

Park and pipe skis, often known as freestyle skis, are designed for skiers who spend most of their time in the terrain park. Though park and pipe skis often feature thinner waists with complete camber profiles, this category includes more rocker patterns and forms. These skis often have twin tips and other park-specific characteristics such as thicker, more durable edges, dense extruded bases, and butter zones. Read: what is jib skiing? (and why it's taken off)

* Alpine Touring Skis

Alpine touring skis, often known as backcountry skis, are built for uphill and downhill travel. These skis are usually light for their breadth, and several have attachments for climbing skins. Alpine Touring skis have a variety of widths and weights. The heavier, more thorough variants are often used for winter/deep snow traveling, whereas the skinnier, lighter versions are typically used for spring/summer/long-distance touring. Read: what is alpine skiing? (beginners guide)



The essential factor to consider when sizing ski length is your height. The taller you are, the longer the skis. Longer skis have a broader base to compensate for your more excellent center of gravity, providing more surface area to counteract your weight. Longer skis allow for faster speeds and broader turns. Therefore, expert skiers prefer them. On the other hand, shorter skis provide better control and are better suited to beginners or less aggressive skiers. Ski length is heavily determined by your skill level, riding style, and terrain selection.