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  1. #1
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    All things being equal, what's the greater factor for ski length: height or weight?

    (This might be the post that gets me JONG'ed, but I'm truly vacillating between four choices and I'd like to see what the mags think.)

    So I'm trying to take advantage of some end-of-winter deals going on for some bona-fide touring skis to update/append-to the pair of inbounds skis (specifically, 176cm Volkl Gotamas at ~2kg per ski) that I've recently pressed into touring duty. I obviously don't have to do this, but man... those deals are tempting.

    So my confusion derives from the two very different answers I get depending on what a particular sizing chart focuses on: height or weight. I think both types of charts makes a big assumption, that is, that the user is of an average build.

    The problem, I realize, is that I'm short at 5'8", but unusually heavy for that height at 185lbs.

    (I guess it needs to be clarified that despite my 28.1 BMI... I'm not fat. I boulder at a V5/soft-V6 level, and one of my two weekday aerobic workouts is a 5-mile run. I guess I'm of average fitness, and maybe slightly-stronger-than-average on a strength-to-weight basis. I don't have a six-pack, but neither do I have a keg... the former probably owing to my less-than-optimal dietary/imbibing habits. But yes, my weight-to-height still seems a bit inexplicable.)

    It seems like my height suggests something ~170-175cm, but my weight suggests something ~185cm.

    I understand that ski sizing, at least from an on-piste perspective, is a function of both the height (the length of the lever arm) and weight (the force at the end of that lever arm). From a backcountry perspective, practical concerns such as skinning weight, kick turns and pack-strapping come into play.

    In the absence of a choice right down the middle, what would you choose for me for a 105mm-waist touring quiver-of-one for average Tahoe/Sierras conditions: 175cm or 185cm?

    Alternatively, what would you choose for me for a 95mm-waist spring touring ski (also Tahoe/Sierras) : 173cm or 183cm?

    (In case anybody cares or might possess esoteric knowledge of relevance... the cheap skis in question are the Black Diamond Route 95 and Route 105.)

  2. #2
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    Weight dude. The ski doesn't know how tall you are, but it does know how much you weigh.

    If you suck, go shorter. If you're good, go longer. If you have to ask, go shorter, unless you suck because you've chronically gone too short, in which case, go longer.

    You make a good point about height and the lever arm... do you have long legs? A big dick? These are all factors.

  3. #3
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    I don't think it's that simple.

    You've also got to consider skiing style, terrain, ski construction, etc.

    Someone who is 6' and 185 pounds is going to choose different ski lengths based on all the above. If that person prefers couloirs that require a lot of tight turns, a 175 is going to be a lot easier than a 185 in those situations.

    But if they prefer charging down Jeremy Heitz style a 185 is going to be better.

    Then you have to consider ski construction. A longer ski with a lot of rocker, little metal, and a lightweight core is going to ski very differently than a shorter ski with minimal rocker, metal, and a heavier core.

    I'd ask for reviews on those two skis from some mags and then go from there.

    It's hard to choose a ski for someone with little knowledge about the skis, the persons style, etc.

    If you were to hold a gun to my head and say I had to recommend a ski for you, I'd go the longer options looking at the construction of those BDs. Decent tip rocker, some tail rocker, seemingly light, a 180+ cm ski would do well for double duty.

  4. #4
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    What nyskirat said.

    Although if you're just touring on it, I'd maybe go shorter. Less weight, easier kick turns, and personally, I don't try to charge as hard while touring so a shorter ski isn't really holding me back.

  5. #5
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    Neither, the ability to bend a ski and personal preference. Too many fat dudes that can't ski on skis that are too long and stiff. The stiff boot, stiff ski, high din binding this is a crutch for people that need to work on there balance and technique. Plenty of 13 year old girls can generate for force to bend a ski than the average 200+ lb weekend warrior.

  6. #6
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    Weight. Your skis know how much you weigh, your boots know how tall you are. Heavier = greater ability to decamber a ski. Longer legs = greater lever on the boots.

    That being said, aside from total beginners, that rule of thumb isn't that useful because how fast you ski, how hard you ski, and how strong you are play a larger role than your static weight. If you like to make as few turns as possible, longer is better. If you make lots of turns but lay into every one with racer form, longer is better. If centered hippy dippy powder turns are your thing (my prefered backcountry style), then a shorter ski will be lighter on the up, easier to kick turn and less work to ski on the way down. I'm 5'11" 165lbs and ski a 190 in the resort and a 178 in the BC, and I'm actually heavier in the backcountry because of my pack. I would choose the length based on your intended usage more than your height/weight.

  7. #7
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    Agree with most of what's been said. The lever arm does matter. If you carry a 50 pound weight on your head it'll have a bigger impact than a 50 pound weight on your boots. However, the way you ski, what you ski and where you ski matters a huge amount.

    I'm 178lbs, 5'-11.5". I have about 4 perfect skis for different conditions.

    A 186 pair of 92 waisted skis for all mountain rippers - a little rocker, no twin tip, long enough to carve fast but still short enough and playful enough for bumps and trees
    A 179 pair of 110 waist skis with stiffer tails for soft resort days. Not a twin, shorter because it doesn't take long for inbounds to get cut up, and then the rest of the day is spent seeking stashes in trees and other tight spots, so turny is a little better
    A 188 pair of 115 waist skis for big powder days when I'll be able to rip
    A 192 pair of 85 waist skis for screaming

    So you kind of have to be honest about how you ski and where you'll be turning. I'm not ripping 60mph laps anymore, so that 192 pair isn't in my quiver at this point. I find the 186cm 92s are stable enough for fast days. 10 years ago I wouldn't have felt that way.

    For what it's worth, my brother is bike racer and a coach, and is hyper fit, but is almost exactly your size - 185lb, 5'-8.5". Just carries a lot of muscle. He has settled into touring skis that are about 178 or 179 - I forget which. He goes downhill pretty quick, but not ski movie fast. He's also strong enough that he can use his quads to get his tips up when charging and doesn't need a long ski to float himself.

    Hopefully some of this rambling helped.

  8. #8
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    Agree w/basically everything else said in the thread so far.

    I'm 5'10" 150lbs and prefer my touring skis in the 176-180 range, as a compromise between weight/kickturns/etc and skiability. I think at your size the 173/5 will be noticeably short on the down, and the 183/5 will be a little long on the up or in tight places (steep kickturns, hiking trail exits, etc). You married to those 2 skis? Seems like something on the stiffer end in the upper 170s would be a nice compromise.

    Like nyskirat said, if you put a gun to my head and said "choose", I'd choose the 183/5, because even for me the 173 would be annoyingly short, and you have 35lbs on me. But it depends a great deal, on a great deal of factors.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiingisfun69 View Post
    Weight dude. The ski doesn't know how tall you are, but it does know how much you weigh.

    If you suck, go shorter. If you're good, go longer. If you have to ask, go shorter, unless you suck because you've chronically gone too short, in which case, go longer.

    You make a good point about height and the lever arm... do you have long legs? A big dick? These are all factors.
    pretty much this ^^

    IME at 5'8" 165lb my sweet spot is always 185 but I do own a couple of 190's cuz i got em used with new skins for crazy cheap BUT they are both pretty soft skis I was very familiar with , I wouldnt go 190 with a hard charger type ski

    some one who is 185 + pack sounds like a solid 185 to me and if you were a hot skier 190 ... but then you wouldn't be asking
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyskirat View Post
    I don't think it's that simple.
    Generally, weight is more important, but skiing style (speed) generally trumps that. The fact that you want to tour on this ski can be the most important of all. The type of terrain you frequent can also factor in. With no other information, I'd say probably ~180 for touring, probably ~185-188 for downhill skiing.

    I'd also probably recommend the longer choices in both skis. (Me = 5'8" 173lbs this morning, touring skis 171, 178 and 180. Daily downhill skis 186 and 188)

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mall walker View Post
    Agree w/basically everything else said in the thread so far.

    I'm 5'10" 150lbs and prefer my touring skis in the 176-180 range, as a compromise between weight/kickturns/etc and skiability. I think at your size the 173/5 will be noticeably short on the down, and the 183/5 will be a little long on the up or in tight places (steep kickturns, hiking trail exits, etc). You married to those 2 skis? Seems like something on the stiffer end in the upper 170s would be a nice compromise.

    Like nyskirat said, if you put a gun to my head and said "choose", I'd choose the 183/5, because even for me the 173 would be annoyingly short, and you have 35lbs on me. But it depends a great deal, on a great deal of factors.
    There is (very) Good information in the previous responses to your post --
    you ask height or weight (?) and your post recognizes it is not that simple...

    like others have stated, a longer ski May descend with more performance, while
    a shorter ski will be easier to maneuver on the climb. . .

    late in your post, you emphasis the 105mm width. To me, that is good width --
    ( how important is downhill performance ? ) in that width, I Might go shorter for maneuverability - But at 6'2" (Heavy), 183 is short.

    a 173 is a short ski --
    If ,,, how important is maneuverability to You ?
    If you Like the got.s , I'd stay short ; IF You want 'more ski', stretch to 183 ( it will be ( a little ) more Work on the climb ).

    Good luck. good responses in this thread.

    And - for tgr : The Red ones : )

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    the situation strikes me as WAY too much drama at this point

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DtEW View Post
    ...In the absence of a choice right down the middle, what would you choose for me for a 105mm-waist touring quiver-of-one for average Tahoe/Sierras conditions: 175cm or 185cm?

    Alternatively, what would you choose for me for a 95mm-waist spring touring ski (also Tahoe/Sierras) : 173cm or 183cm?...
    I recommend you ignore the theory.
    Instead, just tell us what you like/dislike about the ski models you've skied (including your 176cm Volkl Gotamas), tell us the ways that you wish those skis performed differently, and from that we might be able to recommend how 1 ski in your set of 4 candidates might best achieve the performance differences that you want.

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  15. #15
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    Probably as good a source of information here as anywhere else. All things play into the decision as to what length but the general rule of thumb of between chin and top of head seems to make sense. But that's just a starting point. From this information, it would seem I'm almost on too long of a ski but my skis still seem short to me when I look at them on my feet. However, they're stable at speed and do what I want so, maybe it's just my own perception. Anyway, good info for reference.

    https://www.evo.com/guides/how-to-ch...kis-size-chart

    BTW: I'm 5-10 1/2 and 170-175 lbs, depending on the day. My skis are Dynastar Legend x96 in 178 and x106 in 182.

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldMember View Post
    Probably as good a source of information here as anywhere else. All things play into the decision as to what length but the general rule of thumb of between chin and top of head seems to make sense. But that's just a starting point. From this information, it would seem I'm almost on too long of a ski but my skis still seem short to me when I look at them on my feet. However, they're stable at speed and do what I want so, maybe it's just my own perception. Anyway, good info for reference.

    https://www.evo.com/guides/how-to-ch...kis-size-chart

    BTW: I'm 5-10 1/2 and 170-175 lbs, depending on the day. My skis are Dynastar Legend x96 in 178 and x106 in 182.
    That chart sucks, really. Gee, I've narrowed down to 170 - 190cm, awesome! I would say the Powder7 calculator is a better bet: https://www.powder7.com/downhill-ski...t/sizing-guide

    A much better approach is to find the ski you are interested in and then do some homework, keeping in mind your skiing style, purpose for ski etc.

  18. #18
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    This is a decent guide re: touring skis I thought https://mountainwagon.com/the-blog/2...-buzzword-math

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3PinGrin View Post
    That chart sucks, really. Gee, I've narrowed down to 170 - 190cm, awesome! I would say the Powder7 calculator is a better bet: https://www.powder7.com/downhill-ski...t/sizing-guide

    A much better approach is to find the ski you are interested in and then do some homework, keeping in mind your skiing style, purpose for ski etc.
    Well, there are other qualifiers below the chart that help dial it in but yeah, the calculator you located and linked actually is much better. I'll endorse that over the Evo sizing discussion. It actually chose my middle of the range length as 181 which, lo and behold is pretty much what I ski (178, 182). Good find.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldMember View Post
    Well, there are other qualifiers below the chart that help dial it in but yeah, the calculator you located and linked actually is much better. I'll endorse that over the Evo sizing discussion. It actually chose my middle of the range length as 181 which, lo and behold is pretty much what I ski (178, 182). Good find.
    I guess I'm of the opinion that your perfect length changes pretty dramatically based on the ski, how you are using it, the ski configuration (rocker, twin, etc.), stiffness, whether or not it's red, the type of terrain you are skiing, and the speed you want to ski at. So I find those charts kind of silly. While I have a ski sweet spot of about 5cm, I have skis that vary over a range of 13cm. I like it that way. This year I've been using a ski that's about 6cm shorter than I normally ski, and while it does feel too short sometimes, it mostly has been really fun - but it's because I'm chasing a 17 year old around through the most technical and tight shit he can find, and they have nice stiff tails that act as shock absorbers for old legs when landing after jumps. So it's about the ski and how you are using it.

    However, I know some people that try to keep their entire quiver within a few cm of each other. So YMMV.

  21. #21
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    ^^ I get that it varies by the ski but I typically like a ski with just a bit of rocker. When I was on Super 7's, I wanted longer since the tips and tails, other than in deep snow, were essentially useless flappers. But I really wasn't that fond of that ski and am less inclined to go with something that requires the added length. That said....red....yes. Add 5 cm for red skis.

  22. #22
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    1. Long skis truck and short skis suck

    2. The red ones are better in every way

    3. Skill and strength matter far more than 10cm of length.

    4. At one of the Gordycamps, Gordy asked me to get off my 190 explosivs try out a pair of 170 cm B3's. I am 6'3" and was ~225# at the time. I thought they were absurdly short and was a foolish thing of him to ask, but I did it. I was making better, more aggressive turns on the Rossi's and skied faster on them on the hardpack at Snowbird.

    5. Skis usually keep the same sidecut measurements across all lengths, so different lengths = different turning radius = different ski feeling. That will make a significant difference as you change length.

    6. At the end of the day, you're worrying about 3.9"

    7. Go demo the damn ski already. It's the only way to really know.
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  23. #23
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    I’d say ability to generate power is much more important than weight or height. Both weight and height will impact your ability to generate power, but so will your body composition, general physical preparedness, and sport specific strength and skill.

    There is a reason Marcus Caston skis 192 Cochise and many ‘average’ American male skiers are on 177s.

    I’m 5’10, and ski the same skis now (200-210lb) as I did when I was 180-190lb.

    Get the skis which feel right.

  24. #24
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    Mens skis are going to be somewhere between 170 and 190 which is < 8 inches for the metrically challenged,

    but its not just about the length its about the layers a ski mfgr uses, layers they add to stiffen a ski

    OR the wood they machine off or leave to alter flex
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by XavierD View Post
    I’d say ability to generate power is much more important than weight or height. Both weight and height will impact your ability to generate power, but so will your body composition, general physical preparedness, and sport specific strength and skill.

    There is a reason Marcus Caston skis 192 Cochise and many ‘average’ American male skiers are on 177s.

    I’m 5’10, and ski the same skis now (200-210lb) as I did when I was 180-190lb.

    Get the skis which feel right.
    Good point, but Marcus Caston gets to ski a lot more wide open powder runs than the average American male. When he goes to Squaw to ski bumps in this Blizzard video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBtN4gRtXOU it appears he's on 180 Bonafides, and even then he gets frequently bucked. Point is, ski selection is a compromise.

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