Ultimate Guide: How to Find Your Ideal Ski Size

Embarking on an exhilarating skiing adventure involves much more than merely choosing a location and booking a trip. As exciting as skiing can be, it’s crucial to have the right gear, particularly the perfect-sized skis. Understanding what size skis you need is an essential step towards enjoying the slopes to the fullest. This comprehensive guide will demystify the world of skis, providing insights into how to use a ski size chart and a ski length calculator to find the perfect match for your skiing style and ability. Let’s dive right in!

At a Glance

  • Ski size affects control, stability, and turning. Ski length is measured in inches, from tip to tail, and width affects performance in different snow conditions​.
  • A ski size chart provides a basic guideline using your height and skiing ability, but your specific needs might require adjustments. Factors such as your skill level, skiing style, and weight can influence the ideal ski size​​.
  • There are special ski categories to consider: Women’s skis (designed for lower body mass and center of gravity), System skis (come with bindings and skis as a package), and Alpine Touring skis (for both uphill and downhill skiing)​.

Ski Size Chart

A ski size chart is an invaluable tool for selecting the ideal pair of skis. It provides a general guideline, correlating your height and skiing ability to a range of suitable ski lengths. However, remember that the chart suggestions are not set in stone. Here’s a general ski size chart to get you started:

Skier Height (ft)Suggested Ski Lengths (in)
As a rule of thumb, your skis should reach somewhere between your chin and the top of your head when standing upright.

Snowboard Size Charts and Ski Boot Size Charts are here.

Understanding Ski Sizes

Ski sizes can be influenced by a number of factors including your height, weight, skill level, and the terrain you will be skiing on. In general, taller and heavier skiers require longer skis, while beginner skiers or those who prefer to make shorter turns may prefer shorter skis.

Factors Influencing Ski Size

Skill Level

Your skiing ability plays a crucial role in determining the ideal ski size.

  • Beginners: If you’re new to skiing, shorter skis can be easier to control and maneuver, making it simpler to learn the basics of turning and stopping.
  • Intermediate Skiers: Once you’re comfortable on the slopes and can make smooth, controlled turns, you might want to opt for slightly longer skis for greater speed and stability.
  • Advanced Skiers: Experienced skiers often prefer longer skis as they provide better stability at high speeds and perform well in varied snow conditions.

Skiing Style

The style of skiing you prefer can also influence your ski length choice:

  • All-Mountain Skiers: If you’re an all-mountain skier exploring the entire mountain, a medium-length ski is typically the most versatile.
  • Freestyle Skiers: For those who spend most of their time in the terrain park performing tricks, shorter skis are usually the best bet for easier maneuverability.
  • Powder Skiers: If you love deep snow, you might prefer longer, wider skis, which provide better flotation in deep powder.

Terrain Choice

The terrain you ski on most often can also impact your ski length decision. For example, if you mostly ski on groomed trails, you might opt for a shorter ski for quick, easy turns. If you’re off-piste skiing in deep snow, a longer ski can provide better flotation.

Impact of Ski Shape on Size

Changes in ski design over the years have also influenced the way ski sizes are determined. The introduction of parabolic or curved skis allowed skiers to use shorter lengths. The rule of thumb for this style of ski is that the tips should reach your chin if you’re a beginner, your nose if you’re intermediate, and your eyes or forehead if you’re advanced​​.

Early Rise and Rocker Skis

More recently, ‘early rise’ and ‘rocker’ skis have become popular. These skis begin to rise up from the snow before the tip of the ski, reducing the surface area in contact with the snow and making the ski feel shorter. As a result, you may need to choose a slightly longer ski if you opt for this style. How much longer can depend on the specific ski model, with increases ranging from 2 to 5 inches being common​.

Adjusting Ski Size: Sizing Up or Sizing Down

There are several reasons why you might choose a ski size slightly longer or shorter than suggested by the chart or calculator.

Reasons to Size Shorter:

  • You are a beginner or intermediate skier
  • You weigh less than average for your height
  • You prefer making short, quick turns and don’t often ski at high speeds
  • You want a carving ski with only camber, no rocker

Reasons to Size Longer:

  • You ski fast and aggressively
  • You weigh more than average for your height
  • You plan to do most of your skiing off the trail
  • You plan to ski a twin-tip ski or a ski with a lot of rocks

Ski Length Calculator: A Personalized Approach

A ski length calculator provides a more personalized ski length suggestion by considering other factors, such as your weight, skiing style, and skill level. By answering some simple questions, this tool can offer a more tailored ski length recommendation.

Remember, however, that a ski length calculator should be used as a guide, not a definitive answer. It’s always good to try out different ski lengths to find what feels most comfortable for you.

Special Ski Categories

Women’s Skis

Women’s skis are typically designed slightly differently, considering the average lower body mass and center of gravity. They are usually lighter, shorter, and softer, and the mounting position is often a bit more forward.

System Skis

System skis come as a package with bindings and skis. They are usually designed to work optimally together, making it a convenient choice for many skiers.

Alpine Touring Skis

Alpine touring (AT) skis are designed for both uphill and downhill skiing. They are typically lightweight and feature accommodations for climbing skins for uphill travel.

Ski Size Chart for Kids

When it comes to kids, ski sizing is a bit simpler. Kids’ skis should be sized at the chin or shorter, unless they are already fairly skilled. Avoid the temptation to get longer skis for kids to grow into; it’s always better to get the correct size for the current season, even if it ends up a little short the following year.


What Size Ski Do I need?

Choosing the right ski size depends on your weight, height, and skiing skill. Beginners should choose skis that reach from their chest to nose when standing. Advanced skiers may prefer skis reaching up to or above their head. It’s best to consult our ski size charts.


Ski Length Chart

Our ski length chart matches a skier’s weight and height to an ideal ski length. For example, a skier who is 5’6″ and weighs 150 lbs might aim for skis around 160-170 cm long. However, these are broad guidelines, and exact length can depend on skiing style and ability level, so it’s always beneficial to refer to a specific manufacturer’s size chart for precise sizing.