Buying Right: What Length Skis Should I Get?

02 August 2022

Having a hard time deciding on ski length? Trust us, we get it. Even pro skiers struggle to choose. Use what follows as a guide, but don’t discount what you already know: If you’re happy and feel confident on your current ski length, there’s not much reason to change. Need more help? Send us an email at support@peakskis.com. It’s in our interest to make sure you’re thrilled with the length you’re buying.  

I have no idea what length is right for me. Where to start?

If you’re new to the sport and don’t have much in the way of reference points, start with this chart. For everyone but experts with specific needs, all-mountain skis should be sized from the base of your neck to the top of your head. If you favor slower speeds or are just learning to ski, go with those neck-high lengths. If you favor higher speeds and more dynamic skiing go to the top of your head. This gets even easier if you have a metric tape measure handy. If not, use an online converter

Quick Tip: Don’t sweat the minutia. Variations in length of five centimeters or less don’t really matter that much. Just get close.

I think my current skis might be too long. How can I tell? 

At Peak, we design a more balanced feel with an emphasis on maneuverability and stability into each model and length, so it’s easy to downsize. But here’s how to know if that’s the right move. It comes down to mindset, skiing style, and terrain choices.

If you find yourself skiing slower than you used to (mindset), a shorter length might offer you all the stability that you need while making it easier to execute quick turns (style). And in tighter zones like bumps or trees (terrain), the reduced length makes for more manageable skiing. 

Before downsizing, analyze performance: If you feel like you’re consistently fighting the tip of the ski to get it into a turn—a characteristic that Peak solves with KeyHole Technology—going down a size might be in your future. 

Quick Tip: Don’t do anything drastic. If you’ve been skiing a 178 and think it’s just a bit long, drop down to the 168, not the 158.

Bode Miller Cruising

He was one of the best downhillers in history, but these days when he’s not charging, Bode cruises around with the kids on skis about 40 centimeters shorter than his DH skis. Skier: Bode Miller. Location: Big Sky, Montana.

I think my current skis might be too short. How can I tell? 

It sounds counterintuitive, but the same design elements that make it easier to downsize with Peak skis, also make it easier to upsize. Our reduced sidecuts and KeyHole Technology mean that you don’t fight the tip and tail in and out of every turn. With Peak skis, the goal is to ski from the feet up in a more athletic position—a Bode Miller hallmark. 

So when should you consider jumping up a size? If you find yourself skiing faster in more open terrain and feel like you need more stability, a slightly longer ski can help. There’s more to upsizing than additional stability at speed though, a slightly longer ski distributes your weight more and that can improve edging. In powder or crud, that extra length offers a bit more floatation. And in jumbled terrain, slightly longer skis give you more tip and tail to push off for micro adjustments in balance. 

Here too, you should analyze what you’re feeling on the hill before making a change. If your current skis get squirrely at high speeds, or you feel like you’re going to “go over the bars” every time you ski powder, your skis might be too short for your size and ability. 

Quick Tip: As with downsizing, find a reason for going up in length.   

Skier: Iris Deskins. Location: Jewel Basin Yurt, Montana

In powder, a little extra length gives you more floatation, but be prudent. Go too long and you’ll limit maneuverability. Skier: Iris Deskins. Location: Jewel Basin Yurt, Montana.

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