ski size
5 posts
4 users
3k+ views
September 10, 2002
need info. regarding correct parab. ski size for spouse. wt. is 160 / ht. is 5'10" and is an intermed. skier. Rented 185 last year to try parab. skis out. Too long? Should I get shorter for him as gift? They just seem long to me in the store. Help and thanks for everything.
September 11, 2002
Member since 11/30/2000 🔗
194 posts
You're right...those were huge for him! I'm 6' 190 and I'm replacing my K2 Merlin 188's with a Dynastar Autodrive Carve 178 ! In the old days with straight skis, I could have used 200/210's, but now with the carved - shorter !!! Of buying HIM skis is like him buying you new shoes. I'd do a gift certificate or such. He really should go in and discuss his specific needs with a professional. And when it comes to boot-fitting - that's a story in itself. Buying ski equipment "off-the-rack" is like bypassing your optometrist and fitting yourself with glasses at the drug store!
September 12, 2002
Member since 11/20/2001 🔗
218 posts
Great advice from Rich.

I'll add a few more comments:

1) Instead of skis, seriously consider getting him new boots, or at least an "alignment" done on his old boots first, and continuing to rent skis for another year. If, understandably, he really wants to have a set of skis of his own, then go ahead and buy some inexpensive used or demo skis right now, well before the season begins and prices go up, but make sure his boot situation takes top priority. I can not overemphasize the importance of correctly aligned boots. For most people, well-fitting, well-aligned boots improve their skiing MUCH more than a new pair of skis. Often, all the "A-framing" and sequential turn entry problems of intermediates pretty much vanish with good boots.

2) When you go into a store seeking advice on either boots or skis, avoid the younger salesmen like the plague. Most often they are part timers, with little depth of experience, and at best, are just parroting what the mfgr reps tell them and what they have heard from their equally inexperienced friends. Find out who the mgr is and talk to him, or grab the oldest salesman you can find.

If you are in the DC area, I highly recommend the Ski Center on Mass Ave (202-966-4474), especially if you talk to either of the Brians (Brian Eardley or Brian Beaumont). Both are excellent at ski boot alignment. Tell them that the guy with the 3X black helmet (grin) sent you.

3) If you are set on buying skis first, the question of ski length is a lot more complicated than one might at first think. For example, a ski with a soft tip and tail will usually ski a LOT shorter than one that is stiffer overall, but there is no way for an inexperienced buyer to know which is which.

His optimal length also depends on how fast he skis, and how open the terrain is that he skis on, in particular, big, uncrowded western bowls vs the usual crowded Eastern trails and slopes.

The optimal length also depends on his technique. With modern carving technique, world class racers, high level instructors and expert recreational skiers are skiing hardpack on 155-165's. OTOH, if your spouse is a typical intermediate level recreational with considerable experience on older skis, he will most likely be using a lot of old school skidding in his turns, and might very well feel that such short, deeply sidecut skis are ungodly twitchy, nervous, overturning, unstable horrors. So, there are reasons not to go too long, and reasons not to go too short, either.

4) Go over to the forums section of and do searchs on the words "length", and "canting" in the gear section. You will learn more there than you ever would from a salesperson. If you still have questions, ask away!

Tom / PM

PS - If he gets new sticks, a couple of private lessons on the differences between skiing on them vs on older skis is extremely useful, and would make another gift that is sure to be appreciated.

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

September 13, 2002
Member since 11/19/1999 🔗
176 posts
Bless you for considering buying skis for your significant other. Most of us have to buy for ourselves and lie about it (or at least about what we paid).

The right length is going to depend on the ski and where it is used. A good salesperson at a good shop can give you good enough advice to get you close and if the shop has other lengths in stock, you can probably exchange them if they haven't been mounted. My personal faves for local shops are Ski Center in D.C. and Pro-Fit in Leesburg. Visit both.

You know now that asking a simple question on any ski-related forum will not yield a simple answer. In the true spirit of all ski-related fora, I will now prolong the agony.

Boots are much more important than skis. I wince every time I see someone on brand new skis with 15 year old rear entry boots. So, one of you should focus on boots if there is a fit or other (rear-entry) problem with boots. A person with good boots (fit well, appropriate flex, properly adjusted) can ski on bad skis. A person in bad boots can't ski on anything.

Alignment - Bowlegged or knock-kneed people have trouble using their edges. They need to have shims put under their bindings to compensate for the the bowlegged or knock kneed condition.

I am glad PhysicsMan knows about this. Every skier should know about this. Every skier should get and read "The Athletic Skier" by Warren Witherell to learn about this and the importance of edging and carving in becoming a better skier.

However, IMHO, based on teaching skiing for a while and looking at lots of knees and ankles, not many people have such serious alignment problems that they need to worry about it. Those that do absolutely need to address the problem, but most people have more prosaic concerns. In my unofficial pantheon of such concerns, crappy or ill fitting boots are pretty close to the top.

Anyway, if your spouse has an alignment problem, a decent bootfitter (i.e. fitters mentioned on other posts or Derek at Pro-Fit)will spot it right away.

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

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

January 31, 2003
nettie by no means should you buy without him trying them out.would you buy shoes if you did now his size? i think not,so take him to the store before of on his birthday and let hime pick out his skis.

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

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