Ski Length... Help!
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Katja Jackson
December 16, 2001
Member since 12/16/2001 🔗
1 posts
Hey. I was wondering exactly how tall my skis are supposed to be. I got a pair of Volkl P40s two years ago, with the hope that I would fit into them. But now I'm not so sure - they're 178cm and I am 5ft 5". Can anyone tell me what height mey skis should be? Thanks.
Scott - DCSki Editor
December 16, 2001
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,249 posts
Hi Katja,

The common advice is that with shaped skis, you should get shorter lengths than you would with traditional, non-parabolic skis. (I'm not sure if Volkl P40's are shaped or not, but if you got them two years ago, I'm guessing they probably are.)

The proper length also depends on your skiing ability level and weight. A good ski shop should be able to recommend the proper ski size - if you get the feeling that the person helping you doesn't quite know what they're talking about, ask to speak to someone else. I know both Ski Chalet and Ski Center have some pros that will patiently work with you to find the right size.

Without any additional information, my best guess is that you wouldn't want anything longer than 178cm, and 178 might be on the high end of what you want.

What is making you have second thoughts about your ski length? How often have you skied in them?

If you get shaped skis that are too long, you will have difficulty controlling them on the slopes - and that's a function of your weight and height more than skiing ability. It can drain the fun out of skiing. (My sister made that mistake; she bought skis that were too long because they were deeply discounted, and that's the only size they had - and she had a miserable time skiing for the next two years until she finally bought a brand new pair.)

Of course, boots and bindings can also affect the quality of the skiing, so if you're having problems, that's something to consider too.

So.. It's possible that 178 might be too long for you. I'd recommend stopping by a ski shop to get their advice. (If it is too long, they might be able to buy your old skis and give you some type of discount on new ones.)

- Scott

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
December 16, 2001
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,986 posts
My wife is 5 ft, 5 inches tall and she skis on 160s--Head Cyberlights. She's not an overly aggressive skier. I would classify her as a solid intermediate who enjoys groomed steeps--a Mid Atlantic groomed black diamond skier! The North Face of 7 Springs or White Lightning at Timberline is ideal territory for her, but she takes it slow and puts a lot of emphasis on carving rather than screaming down the mountain (like me).

I'd recommend a shorter ski than 178 for you, but your best bet may be to attend a demo day and try out lots and lots of skis. My wife rented all sorts of demo skis before finally settling on a pair of Head Cyberlights.

Another suggestion might be to take a lesson and see what the instructor recommends for your style of skiing.

December 17, 2001
Member since 11/30/2000 🔗
194 posts
The 178's would indeed be on the highest end for an upper intermed. or advanced skier your height. For an intermediate (anything at 7 Springs) K2 recommends 148-158 (5'2-5"7 >110lbs)!
December 21, 2001
Member since 11/19/1999 🔗
176 posts
Sorry to say this, but those skis are way too long for you, especially since they are P40s, which are pretty beefy skis.

BTW, your height matters, but your weight is a very important factor too.

March 18, 2002
Member since 03/18/2002 🔗
343 posts
The Volkl p40, especially in later years ('00, '01) was designed to be skied slightly long. I am 5'10" 185lbs and I ski a 188cm in fairly every condition, from frozen bumps at Mont Sainte Anne to deep tree powder at Snowbasin. Size them about like a classical ski, then take off about 3-5cm.
September 12, 2002
Member since 11/20/2001 🔗
218 posts
djop's statement is most true of the p40 Platinums which have softened tips and tails compared to the full bore p40 F1's.

My experience is that 188 Platinums ski more like a 184 or a 180, but that p40 F1's ski at their true length or even slightly longer (because of stiffness) compared to other modern shaped skis.

Tom / PM

PS (in edit) - Basically, I'm agreeing with djop with respect to one p40 model, but with Otto with respect to everything else in the p40 line (and his other advice).

[This message has been edited by PhysicsMan (edited 09-12-2002).]

PS (edit #2) - Whoops - for some reason this showed up in my browser as a new post and I didn't notice the date of the previous post until just now. Doh ... oh, well, might as well let it stand.

[This message has been edited by PhysicsMan (edited 09-13-2002).]

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