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How to Size Race Skis

Like most things, everyone has their own opinion on how to best size skis. The general rule for modern ski length is between the skier's chin to the top of the head, depending on the type of skiing and the ability of the user. The guidelines below are for race skis and start with the athlete's height, which you add or subtract length based on discipline, gender, weight, age, and ability of the racer. Remember that these are loose guides and you should consult your local coach or ski expert for more specific recommendations.

Race Ski Sizing Guidelines

Discipline CategoryFIS Minimum Ski Length (cm)Ski Length Adjustment (cm)
DownhillMen210N/A
Women205N/A
JuniorN/AN/A
Super-GMen200N/A
Women195N/A
Junior175N/A
Giant SlalomMen180-5/+8
Women175-5/+8
Junior130-5/+2
SlalomMen165-15/-25
Women155-10/-20
Junior130-10/-20

Junior (age 14 and under) skis typically have a 135 lbs weight limit. If you are over this limit, you should move up to an adult ski.

These are guidelines only and you should consult with your coach or local ski expert before making a final purchase.

Please see the current FIS Specifications for Competition Equipment and FIS Equipment Rules for specific age and circuit rules.

Non-FIS Race Ski Sizing Recommendations

Slalom (SL) skis are generally measured between the nose and the top of the head. Giant Slalom (GS) are generally a bit longer and are measured between the top of the head to 5cm above the head. Lighter weight and less experienced skiers may want to go with a ski that is a bit shorter than the chart below. The opposite is applied to heavier or more aggressive ski racers may want to go a bit longer. Again these are only loose recommendations and you should consult with your local ski expert for more specific advice.

NON-FIS Race Ski Sizing Guidelines

Racer Height
Inches
Racer Height
Centimeters
Approx. Ski Length (cm)
45 - 48114 - 122105 - 120
49 - 52125 - 132115 - 130
53 - 56135 - 142125 - 140
57 - 60145 - 152135 - 150
61 - 64155 - 163145 - 160
65 - 68165 - 173155 - 170
69 - 72175 - 183165 - 180
73 - 76185 - 193175 - 190

Sizing Considerations:

  1. Consult FIS, USSA, and other level appropriate regulations.
    Click here for FIS Equipment Rules
  2. Racer's height to weight ratio - a heavier racer may need a longer ski.
  3. Racer's ability level and preference - more advanced skiers can generally handle longer length skis which can be more stable at higher speeds.
  4. Growth of the athlete - you may want to consider sizing up a little if you want to get multiple years out of a younger racer's skis, although most coaches agree that skiing on a slightly shorter ski the second year is preferable to skiing on a ski that is too long.
  5. Coach's recommendations.