Short skis vs Long skis [ You Must Know ] Which one better for you ?

We’re reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. #CommissionsEarned Disclaimer

If you’re new to skiing or thinking about buying your ski, the length of your skis is an essential aspect to consider. Many individuals are perplexed about the variation between long and short skis.

The length of your skis will decide by your degree of skill, the circumstances and terrain you will most likely face, and the style of skiing you intend to accomplish. Skiing isn’t a sport that fits everyone. That’s why many experienced skiers keep a quiver of numerous skis on hand for various weather conditions and types of skiing days.

It’s just as vital to have the perfect ski length as it is to get the right ski boot. The quick answer is that your skis must be between your chin and nose while standing next to you. The lengthy answer is that ski length influences your talent level, terrain, and skiing style. Let’s look at why you’d want to ski on short vs long skis.

Is it necessary for my skis to be taller than I am?

This was true until the advent of parabolic skis with enormous side cuts. Your starting point for alpine ski size would be skis that are the same length as you are tall. Since the 1990s and early 2000s, this has not been the case. With modern skis, the starting position for ski length is between your noses and chin height. Only racers still wear skis of the same size and width or larger than their height. For any other reason, you would not use skis that are longer than your height. If you want to attempt cross-country skiing with cross-country skis, your optimal ski length can be longer than your height.

What ski size should I get?

A variety of variables determines the size of your skis. Your appropriate ski size is influenced by your ability, height, and weight. Men’s and women’s ski sizes are similar for people of the same height and weight. See the table below for a decent beginning point for ski length for the typical size moderate-skill adult skier. You’ll want shorter skis if this is your first time skiing. You’ll need longer skis if you’re an expert or higher intermediate skier.

Skier HeightSki Length
4’6’’ –  4’7’’  120 – 124 
4’8’’ –  4’9’’  125 – 129
4’10’’ – 4’11’’  130 – 134 
5’ –  5’1’’  135 – 139 
5’2’’ –  5’3’’  140 – 144 
5’4’’ –  5’5’’  145 – 149 
5’6’’ –  5’7’’  150 – 154 
5’8’’ –  5’9’’  155 – 159 
5’10’’ –  5’11’’  160 – 164 
6’ –  6’1’’  165 – 169 
6’2’’ –  6’3’’  170 – 174 
6’4” –  6’5’’  175 – 179 
6’6” –  6’7’’  180 + 
Skis size according to Skiers Height

What about the turning radius of a ski?

Several things influence a ski’s natural turning radius. The length, rigidity, and rocker/camber of the skis and their side cut or hourglass form. The ski turning radius is divided into short, medium, and long.

Short radius < 16: Carving ski, and all-mountain or freeride skis are available.

17m-22m is a medium radius. Park skis and all-mountain skis

>22m long radius: Skis for extensive mountain charging

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny from Pexels

What about the breadth of the skis?

The breadth of a ski’s waist in the center impacts handling diverse terrain and turn. Although a narrower ski is easier to turn, it will not float in snow. A wider ski will float over snow and crud better and be more stable, but it will turn slower.

Narrow carving skis (60mm-80mm) or front side skis (60mm-80mm) are easy to turn. Most slalom or racing skis will also fall here.

Skis with an 80mm to 110mm waist width—  All of these skis perform well on groomed paths and in the snow. The bulk of them has a hybrid rocker/cambered ski design to carve and hold an edge on the hardpack. These are your all-around swiss army knives for skiing.

 Fat skis >110mm These powder-specific skis float and spin well in deep snow. The majority are rockered skis that don’t grip well on hardpack. These are best saved for days when the snow is deep or you won’t spend much time on groomed slopes.

Different strength come with different lengths

It’s crucial to know what kind of skiing you’ll perform before talking about ski length. The decision between short and long skis becomes more of an assessment of which ski length is appropriate for your particular use. This depends on the circumstances you want to ski in and your skill level. Here’s a short rundown of the benefits and drawbacks of choosing one ski length over another: 

History of skiing: How skiing was invented

Advantages of Longer skis :

Skis that are longer provide you with more balance and stability. When you’re turning on a carve and your edges dig into the snow, you’ll find that they’re more stable at more incredible speeds. Longer skis will have more excellent grip in varied circumstances and a larger turning radius due to the increased length. Suppose you’re flying through chopped-up powder that has been semi-skied out. In that case, longer skis will allow you to ride out the unpredictability in the snow considerably more efficiently than shorter skis.

Longer skis are better for consistently skied resort courses on the mountain and changing snow in backcountry situations, where the terrain might change from hard snow to ice to powder in the same run. Longer skis also float better in powder than shorter skis because they have a more extensive surface area—the larger the ski’s surface area, the better the float. Something longer will float better in deeper snow.

Someone of higher height and weight should select something longer since these skis give better stability for people with more to hurl around. With their bigger turning radius, longer skis can give individuals more confidence if they want to charge. With a greater radius, people might feel more stable at faster speeds. Their side cut determines the turning radius of both skis; however, longer skis are often built for more incredible speeds and a more significant turn radius.

The Benefits of Shorter Skis :

Skis that are shorter in length are great for maneuverability. They’re lighter, easier to manage, and more pleasurable to ride. Skis that are sharper turn quicker than skis that are longer. Because of their shorter length, shorter skis have less interaction with the snow and hence less friction while pushing through a turn. Shorter skis have a lower turn radius than longer skis since they design to be fast and energetic.

Short skis are simpler to navigate over trees, moguls, and more tricky terrain since they are frequently light and lively with a tiny turn radius. Shorter skis outperform longer skis in tight conditions like glades. If you want to concentrate on tricks or just cruise about searching for exciting small leaps and pops, shorter skis are often more entertaining than longer skis.

A sometimes overlooked benefit of shorter skis is teaching people how to ski. Because of their shorter lengths, it will be simpler to operate at lower speeds, making them an excellent choice for teaching youngsters to ski.

What are the drawbacks of using longer skis?

Longer skis have the disadvantage of being heavier and having a larger turning radius. Depending on what you want to ski, a longer ski may not always be the best option. Due to their greater turning radius, more fantastic skis may not be the best choice if you prefer skiing terrain that requires fast turns and agility, like treed slopes and moguls. They are more difficult to turn and maybe less fun on terrain with many short, sharp turns.

A longer ski is harder to turn on higher terrain and might be daunting while tackling steep terrain where jump turns are required. Depending on your skill level, a shorter ski may be more suited for steep skiing and be the preferable choice. Longer skis might be heavier and more challenging to spin depending on your height and weight.

If you’re searching for skis for a kid or adult that are shorter and lighter in weight, this might be a significant aspect in deciding whether longer skis are the best option. These skis may also be unsuitable for someone starting to ski. Read our section on our suggestions for more information on what skis are ideal for beginners.

What are the disadvantages of shorter skis?

Shorter skis have the drawback of being less stable at high speeds and having less float on the snow. In thick snow, shorter skis have less float. Shorter skis sink into powder and become stuck instead of floating through deep snow. Skis that float in powder aren’t as important if you usually ski on groomed or tracked-out trails within the resort.

Shorter skis give less stability when traveling at fast speeds. At higher rates, shorter skis seem less stable and unstable. In fluctuating snow conditions, they may also feel less stable. If you want to ski violently and quickly, a longer ski is a better option since it is simpler to manage at high speeds.

3 Easy Steps : How to Adjust Ski Bindings

What size skis suit beginning skiers ?

It is critical to select a ski based on your skill level. Shorter skis are often easier to manage and turn than longer skis. For beginners, a shorter ski will be lightweight and easier to control. The emphasis while learning to ski is on getting acclimated to the feel of the skis, maintaining control downhill, and learning to turn down the mountain. As a result, a smaller ski could be the better choice. Shorter skis are thus more likely to have a smaller width.

This means you’ll have more control over the edges of your skis. As they learn to carve on groomers and establish good knowledge over their skis as they know to turn down the mountain, beginner skiers can benefit from edge control. A shorter ski length may be preferred for beginners since shorter skis have a lower turning radius than long skis. This means they spin quicker and turn more quickly than longer skis. Short skis might help you gain confidence before moving on to longer skis.

What ski length is best for the park?

In general, a light and easy-to-control ski might be an excellent choice for park skiing. Medium and shorter-length skis are typically the best choice for park skiing. Because shorter skis are lightweight and rotate more efficiently, this is the case. A longer ski is a terrific alternative if you want to ski large jumps because it is more stable while landing jumps.

Cambered skis are best for high-impact and high-speed situations. A regular-length twin tip ski might be lighter and more straightforward to jib. Skis with a rockered tip and tail (reverse camber) might be beneficial for both park and powder skiing. The ideal ski for the park depends on your skill level and the sort of park features you want to ski.

Is it real that skis with more length are faster?

A long ski is more secure when traveling at high speeds. You can ski faster on them. If you travel too fast on shorter skis, they will become twitchy and unstable. Other elements to consider are the ski profile and flex. At high speeds, wider-width skis may start to rattle and feel uncomfortable. A stiffer ski will be more stable than a soft ski at high rates. If you follow the Olympics downward event, you’ll see that most riders use a race ski that is extremely long, thin, and stiff.

What are ski blades, exactly?

Ski blades are small skis usually less than 100cm in length. They were first produced by Salomon under Snowblades but are currently produced by various companies. They’re lovely for playing games and doing stunts. They aren’t ideal for skiing at high speeds or in heavy snow. They need to be on edge the majority of the time. When skied straight and flat, they aren’t very stable. They’re a terrific alternative if you want to have a lot of fun executing lots of rapid carving turns.

Recommended to read : How to wax skis at home

What should you do if your skis are too short ?

If your skis are too short, you are at risk of losing speed and control. Skiing on powder or soft, sticky snow in the spring puts you in danger of sliding and becoming caught by anything faster. Choosing something longer will help you to float more efficiently and move through softer snow without losing all of your speed. Skis too short might cause you to lose control and stability when skiing in changeable snow conditions.

Choosing something lengthier will aid in cutting through various situations. However, if you want to test out super-short skis, you might want to look at ski blades, also known as snow blades. Ski blades may benefit novice and professional skiers wishing to improve techniques or attempt something new. While they may be helpful for a new skier, remember that skiing with ski blades will need you to use a lot of leg and core strength.

What is the ideal length for powder skis ?

A longer ski might help you stay afloat in varying circumstances if you want to enjoy the powder and steep slopes. It will also motivate you to keep your speed up and allow you to go through various events with minimal effort. Another appealing option for powder skiing is a ski with a rockered tip and tail. It keeps the information up while coming out of turns and better controls challenging or rough terrain.

Try something broader and more extended if you want to ski extensive features like pillows or pillow lines. This can assist you in maintaining your speed when turning and offer you more excellent float while exiting turns.

Short skis vs Long skis

What length is best for skiing trees?

When skiing trees, a shorter length with a broader breadth can assist you in traversing the tight bends and branches. It’s advisable to go for something with at least 90mm underfoot and a directional or twin-tip configuration. As a consequence, when traversing the trees, you will have better control.

A longer ski with a smaller tail is particularly useful for tree skiing since it allows you to move through tight spaces. It’s preferable to go with a thin waist so that it can fit easier between the trunks of the little evergreens along your route.

What is the perfect length for an all-mountain ski ?

A park ski will be longer and broader than an all-mountain ski. Choosing something with a 110mm or more excellent underfoot will help you float easier over powder snow while still allowing you to maneuver in tight locations. If you want a ski with a rockered tip and tail (which means it has reverse camber), you should search for one with at least a 95mm waist.

This will allow you to ride faster through varying snow conditions while preserving agility in tight locations. Choosing skis with a more muscular flex might help you retain stability and control on groomers. This is useful if you intend to ski the entire mountain or acquire confidence. If powder skiing is your primary aim, try choosing something with a softer flex that is longer and broader. This will help you keep your speed while also giving you more float when you exit corners.

Using a directional or dual-tip ski will allow you to get more out of the side cut while also providing greater control in turns. This is ideal if you intend to ski groomers and require the ability to move in tight spaces. If you want a ski with a softer flex that is easier to turn, go for one with a 115mm waist.

Choose a shorter ski if you want a simpler ski to turn and handle. Aim for a longer ski if you want quicker, harder-charging powder skis, off-piste skis, or racing skis. If you’re unsure what you want, test out some demo skis and experiment with different lengths and types. For everyone, there is a perfect ski or skis out there.