Ski Length: How Should I Size My Skis?

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Determining the length your skis should be is essential in order to ensure your safety.

Safety, however, isn’t the only concern: the length of your skis also impacts the things you can do while you ski.

The length is determined by your height and weight but also by your skiing ability.

how long should skis be

If you find yourself asking, “How long should my skis be?” consider some of the following factors (or, if you are renting your skis, communicate with your renter and discover for yourself which skis you should be making use of):

Using Ability Level to Determine How Long Your Skis Should Be

Experience with skiing in a variety of terrains – be it cross country or race or casual downhill – is part of what determines how long skis should be.


If you are a beginner, you will have extremely limited skiing experience; it’s likely that you’ve never skied before.

You should be working with shorter skis in order to ensure that you are moving at slower speeds and that you can turn with relative ease.

These skis should stand (vertically on the ground) at roughly nose height, possibly at eye height depending on how tall you are.

Additionally, the DMI (or binding force setting on your ski bindings) should be relatively low, so that if you fall on the slopes (or in the midst of a cross-country ski session), your skis will be easy to remove.


As an intermediate skier, you will have spent a significant amount of time skiing – perhaps all of your free time. You will be familiar with your chosen terrain or type of skiing.

You will be able to ski on longer skis than most beginners, and the DMI of your bindings will keep your skis secure in the midst of any tricks you perform or while you ski down any variety of mountainsides.

There will still be areas wherein you can improve your skiing, however; you may be familiar with Black Diamonds slopes, but there will still be mountains to ascend.


As an expert skier, you will want skis that let you go as fast as you please and conquer hills (or landscapes) that beginners could not dream of nearing.

Your skis can be roughly body length at a minimum and depending on your favorite form of skiing.

Likewise, your DMI will depend on your chosen discipline, but it will ensure that your ski bindings keep your boots firmly stuck to your skis.

how long should your skis be

How Long Should My Skis Be Based on Purpose?

Your chosen skiing discipline will also determine how long your skis should be.

When determining how to size skis, consider: will you be moving downhill at incredible speed, or will you be trekking across beautiful landscapes?

Cross-country skis are meant to be shorter than downhill skiing, and freestyle skis are meant to be body length at a minimum.

How Long Should Skis Be Based on Height and Weight

Your height and weight will also impact the length of the skis that will suit you best.

Those folks on the shorter end of the height scale should have equally short skis; likewise, taller individuals will have longer skis.

A person’s weight impacts the length of their skis in much the same way; the more a person weighs, the longer their skis will be, and the less they weigh, the shorter their skis will be.

Ski Length Pros and Cons

Regardless of these factors, there are certain benefits to having a shorter or longer ski.

Benefits of Shorter Skis

A shorter ski allows for a slower ride; these are great for beginners.

how long should my skis be

You will be able to make shorter turns and experience greater control over the course of your run, whether or not you are going downhill or if you are cross-country skiing.

Cross-country skis that are short will aid in the fight against strain while touring, but if you decide to spend more of your time free riding, you will find that you want longer skis as you grow more experienced.

Benefits of Longer Skis

Longer skis are fantastic for a fast, downhill ride. If you decide you want to race or perform tricks while freestyle skiing, longer ones are right for you; they are ideal for more aggressive skiing and wider turns.

Longer skis will also provide you the opportunity to work with twin tips while you ski as well as rockers, lending to the intensity of your experience.

Watch the video below for more details on ski sizes.

Overall Verdict

How long skis should depend on a number of factors, including your height, weight, and level of experience.

There are specific benefits, however, to longer or shorter skis depending on the specific type of skiing you like to do; as you develop preferences, you may find yourself gravitating towards a specific type and length of ski.

Take your time and get comfortable with the process, and you will be able to tailor your skis to your specific desires over time.


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