How to Measure for Downhill Ski Length

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Buying downhill skis isn't as simple as walking into the store and asking for a couple of fiberglass planks for your feet. Skis vary in style, width and length. The length of ski you choose depends on your size, the kind of skier you are and even the shape of ski you want to purchase. And today's skis are much shorter than the planks of old. Wider, curved skis handle better if they're shorter. Ski length is always given in centimeters.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Measure your height in centimeters. One inch equals 2.54 centimeters, so multiply your height in inches by 2.54. Write down or remember this number.

  • Determine your skiing ability. You're considered a beginning skier if you stick to the bunny slope or green runs. Intermediates will ski blue runs and even some blacks. Advanced skiers ski blacks, double blacks and off-piste, and ski more aggressively.

  • Compute your ski length. For a beginning or intermediate skier, subtract 10 to 15 centimeters from your height. If you're an advanced skier, subtract five to 10 centimeters from your height. Look for skis within this range. Each model of ski may only be available in half a dozen lengths, so it's a good idea to shop for a range of lengths that would be appropriate for you.

  • Determine the length of the ski. Look for a number printed on the ski, either near the center of the ski or on the tip. This will be the length of the ski in centimeters. Alternately, measure the ski from tip to tail with a tape measure.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're unsure of the proper length for your height and weight, ask store personnel for assistance. Most specialty ski stores will have trained fitters to help you.

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