Fitting alpine skis can be a somewhat tricky process for some people. This is because the ideal length of alpine skis is determined by a number of important factors, including your height, weight, skill level, the difficulty of the terrain that you ski and your terrain preference. To complicate matters, within the past decade and with the advent of shaped, or parabolic skis, the length of alpines have become shorter. While those who are new to the sport can easily accept the shorter lengths, veteran skiers, who are used to 204 cm lengths, often have a hard time buying into the idea of short skis.
The efficiency of the new shaped skis is based on a combination of length and side cuts. The deeper side cuts serves a purpose that is similar to the camber of downhill skis. They create a curve that directs pressure towards both the tip and tail of the skis. Skis with more curve can exert more pressure on their extremities, making them more stable. In fact, shaped skis with a deeper side cuts exert pressure over more ski length than longer skis with minimal side cuts.
Short or long, choosing the correct length is extremely important. If the skis are too long, you might end up shifting your weight to the tails, in an attempt to even out the pressure. This will put you in an alignment known as the "backseat." Not only is this an inefficient alignment for most ski skills, it can also set you up for serious knee injuries.
Tips & Warnings
It is a good idea to demo more than one pair of skis in a day. It makes it easier to make a comparison.
Never borrow another person's skis without making a binding adjustment.
Article Written By Lisa Mercer
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.