Beautiful ski area view
A Photo of Remco Mensinck

Written by Remco Mensinck

How to Find the Right Ski Length for All-Mountain Skis for Beginners

Opt for skis that come up to about your chin. Think you'll get better quickly? Then a few cm longer is no disaster!

Height (cm)Height (feet/inches)Suggested Ski Length (cm)
< 152< 5'0"135 - 145
152 - 1635'0" - 5'4"145 - 155
163 - 1735'4" - 5'8"155 - 165
173 - 1835'8" - 6'0"165 - 175
183 - 1936'0" - 6'4"175 - 185
> 193> 6'4"185 - 195

Choosing the right length of skis, after selecting the right type of ski, is probably the most crucial choice you're going to make when picking a ski. In this article, I'm going to give you the tips you need to make the right choice for yourself.

view of a ski area

The Basics

Let's start with a few rules of thumb. The shorter the ski, the easier it is to steer. A longer ski is harder to steer but provides more stability. This is because the longer ski has more steel edge in the snow. An extreme example is skiing on bigfoots; anyone who has done it knows how easily they turn and how extremely unstable they are. The opposite is true for downhill racing skis, which are super stable in the snow, even at high speeds, but are almost impossible to turn for the average skier.

For a beginner skier, it is often wise to take a ski that is not too long. This way, you'll master the turns faster, which accelerates your learning process as a whole. For an all-mountain ski, you're looking for a ski that comes up to about your chin. Are you looking at a more freeride-oriented ski with a lot of rocker? Then it can be a bit longer (5-10 cm above your chin, depending on the amount of rocker) because the rocker profile effectively reduces the amount of steel edge in the snow.

view of a ski area

Expected Progress

It's also good to consider how quickly you think you'll develop in skiing. Are you 20 years old, fit, and only been once but now want to go for 3 weeks a year? Or are you retired and just started skiing? In the first case, you're likely to make progress faster than in the second. It would be a shame if you bought skis that become too easy and unstable after a few weeks. This depends on which model you pick, but length also plays a role here, especially if you're hesitating between two sizes. I usually recommend taking the longer one if you think you'll make reasonable progress quickly.

view of a ski area

Don't Overthink It

"Help, I'm exactly between the available lengths!" Don't panic; almost all models from all manufacturers have so many different lengths that you're often only a few cm from your perfect length. Do you want to get serious about skiing? Then take the longer one. Do you want to easily get everywhere on your holiday? Then take the shorter ski.

If you have a very extreme body length, the rule "Skis about up to your chin" doesn't entirely apply. If you're shorter than 160cm, you might want to go for a ski that is a bit larger. If you're taller than 190cm, it might be wise to take a ski that comes a few centimeters below your chin.

Experience shows that if you pick approximately the right length, it usually turns out well. Many people also think about it too long. I myself am 194cm tall, so many test skis that I test are actually not the length that I would want to ski. Yet, I almost always enjoy skiing these skis just as much, and enjoyment is, for 99% of us, the most important thing in skiing.