Another take on ski length

‘What length ski should I get’ is one of the most asked questions. In ‘the old days’, when there was much less variety in ski width, shape, and profile, this may have been the most relevant question to ask, just because it was maybe the most determining factor (I am putting it very black and white here). 

How to view ski length

Nowadays, with the huge variety in shapes, rocker profiles, materials and techniques used, the question of ski length should not be the first question, but the last one. There are so many other factors that make a ski ski the way they ski that the length difference between two sizes of the same model is relatively small (compared to those other differences). 

The difference between ski categories or models may give as much as a 20% difference in terms of performance, speed, manageability, etc. The difference between two lengths of the same ski produces a 2% difference. These numbers are not objectively measured, though. I pick these two – 20% difference vs 2% difference – to make a point: what length to get a ski in is the least relevant, and therefore should be the very last question you ask yourself. 

An example

“I want a ski that handles tighter bumps well.” A reasonable requirement. But more than one answer is possible. You could go for a shorter ski with less swing weight and material to fling around, or you could go for a softer flex ski that may need a bit more length for stability in other areas than just the bumps. For those bumps are just one use case; mostly a ski has requirements for several use cases. 

So although the length of the ski – in this example – certainly affects the strategy and options available, it is definitely not the only or even determining factor. Other things are, such as flex pattern, rocker profile, build, weight maby, shape, and width… Once you have picked a set of features – a specific ski model – only then it becomes relevant in which length to get it. 

Conclusion

No one can answer the question ‘How long a ski should I get’ if you don’t specify which ski you’re talking about, and for what purpose. A slalom ski is quite different from a powder ski. What length to get either of them is directly connected to that ski type and use case (and the specifics of the skier, obviously). 

One final comment: your body length is not very relevant. Your body weight is.

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