Custom Ski Design Series Part 4: Ski length

Custom Ski Design Series Part 4: Ski length

It can be difficult to figure out how long your skis should be. As a general guideline start with a height somewhere between your chin and the top of your head. But it is not quite as easy as that, there are many factors that have an impact on ski length. Factors such as ability level, terrain choice, snow conditions as well as ski characteristics like how much rocker a ski will have influence of how we design ski for you.

Length can change the way a ski performs in general terms a shorter ski will feel more nimble and easier to turn at slower speeds but may feel unstable at high speed. Shorter, narrower skis may feel more nimble in bumps and trees but don’t float well in powder and may not feel stable to crud, crust or cut up snow.  But this is not to say that wider skis can’t turn quickly or don’t ski well in the trees or are not able to turn quickly. Generally speaking longer, wider ski can sometimes feel sluggish to turn at slower speeds but may feel more stable at higher skiing speeds. Longer, wider skis will also tend to float better in powder, corn, crust and cut up conditions. 

Rocker, Camber, Running Length

Some other important factors that influence ski length are rocker, camber and running length, all of which are, to some degree, interdependent. Running length is the measurement contact points of the ski if it were placed on a flat surface. Camber is the upward arch of the ski which gives the ski a spring like effect when pressed flat or bent into a de-cambered state. Within a given ski length, a fully cambered ski will will have a longer running length than the same length ski with a rocker tip and or tail. Rocker tip and or tail will significantly shorten the running length of a ski.

Demonstrates rocker, camber and running length of a ski

Putting it together

As some general rules of thumb size down if you are a beginner or intermediate skier, are designing a fully cambered ski or prefer a quicker shorter turn radius and will be skiing mostly on groomed surfaces. Size your ski up a little if you are designing ski with tip and or tail rocker due to the shorter running length of the ski, if you are an advanced or expert skier, prefer a longer faster turn and will be skiing mostly ungroomed/natural snow terrain.

 

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