How To Buy the Right Size Skis

Sizing up skis is not an exact science, because every individual skier has a unique style and preferences. Not to mention skiers come in all different shapes and sizes. Manufacturers are quick to point out that their sizing charts, based primarily on skier weight, are recommendations and not mandates. Some will even develop sizing charts for each individual ski in their line. From there, a lot of subjectivity is involved in the decision-making process—beginners prefer shorter skis because they are easier to turn; so do pipe and park skiers, because they are easy to maneuver and lighter weight. Racers will also often pick a ski in the 150-160cm range, which is on the shorter side compared to the 175-185cm-plus lengths freeride/big mountain skiers prefer.

There are plenty of options when it comes to buying skis

Weight Factor

This is a general chart designed to give you an idea of the size-range you should be looking at.

Weight (lbs) Ski Length (cm)

<100                                                          140

110-125                                                      145

125-136                                                      150

136-150                                                      155

151-165                                                      160

165-180                                                      165

180-190                                                      175

190-200                                                      185

Waist Width + Terrain

Where will you do most of your skiing, and in what kind of conditions? If you’re a powder snob that only skis the steep and deep, you’ll want a “fat” ski with more waist width. The trend for big mountain/powder skis is 100mm+ underfoot, while freestyle skis are more in the 80-85mm waist range. Fat skis (110mm+) float great in powder, but don’t have as good edgehold as narrow-waist skis. Find something in the middle (90-100mm underfoot) if you’re looking for a pair of do-it-all sticks.

Most brands have sizing charts on their websites. Here’s a couple examples of recommended size charts from brands that The House Boardshop carries.

Line Ski’s size chart

K2 Ski’s size chart

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