When it comes to ski sizes you have to consider height, weight, skill level, preferred type of riding, preferred camber, design and graphics, and even the core of your ski before you can make any decisions. Even if you’re just renting or demoing skis, you still need to know the answer to several of these factors if you want to enjoy your day on the mountain.
To help buying or renting skis a little less intimidating, the ASO Mammoth team has pooled what we’ve learned from our time renting ski and snowboard gear at Mammoth Mountain into a quick guide for you. Check it out below and get the right pair of skis on your feet faster!
The First Thing You’ll Figure Out is Length
Unlike snowboards, the length of a ski can vary greatly based on your skill and the kind of riding you want to do. For example, a snowboard’s length is generally going to be somewhere between the chin and nose of rider while a ski’s length will be somewhere between the chin and forehead or even higher. Here’s why.
Shorter skis take less effort and skill to turn making them ideal for beginners or anyone who wants to make quick turns. Short skis are also unstable at high speeds though, so longer skis are better for anyone who wants to ride at high speeds. That’s why the general rule is the longer your ski, the more skill you need. A beginner will want a ski that when stood up vertically reaches somewhere between their chin and nose, while an advanced skier will want something around the their forehead. This rule isn’t written in stone though, so you should think about what kind of riding you like to do before committing to a length.
Kid’s Ski Lengths Are Similar with One Big Difference
You can follow the same general rule about ski length for kids, but start lower for skiers under 5 years old. Any beginner skier between 3-5 years old is going to want a ski as short as their armpits up to as tall as their chin.
The big difference in kid’s skis is that if a young skier is over 5 feet tall or over 140 pounds they need to transition to adult skis. The reason is that kid’s skis have a foam core that makes them lighter and easier to maneuver, but once a young rider has reached over 5 feet tall or is over 140 pounds they need the wooden core of an adult ski to ride comfortably.
Next There is the Effective Edge
The effective edge is the part of the ski that contacts the ground. While that may sound simple, if you’re unfamiliar with cambers and ski profiles then it may be difficult to see why it matters.
Simply put, the longer your effective edge the more control you’ll have over your ski. This is why two sets of skis can be the same length but offer totally different riding experiences once they’re under you. Think about what you want from your ski and what kind of profile you’re interested in to come up with the best edge length for you.
And Lastly You Have the Width
The width of the ski is the measure of how wide it is at the middle, also known as the waist. A narrow waist is going to be easier to turn but a wider ski will offer more stability and even displace your weight more evenly, allowing you to ride through powder better.
To know what ski size you need you have to know yourself and your riding first, so get out there and ski! If you have any questions between now and when you’re ready to buy or rent a set of skis, call or stop by ASO Mammoth!