4 easy steps for sizing your perfect skis
Men’s Skis Sizing Chart
Women’s Atomic Skis Sizing Chart
Step 2- Select Your Ability
Step 3 – Select Your Terrain Preference
Step 4 – Type of Ski
About sizing skis- Getting the proper ski length is important. Get too long of ski and it’s hard to handle. Get a ski too short and you have stability, edge hold and response problems. You can not select a ski length first and then select a ski model. Instead, you must first select the ski model and then select the proper ski length.
A few additional things you should know-
- Intermediate skis are made longer than beginner skis. Performance skis are made longer than intermediate skis.
- If your weight puts you between ski lengths, go up in length if you’re taller than average. If you’re shorter than average, go down one length.
- There is no standardization between manufactures when it comes to ski length. Ski manufactures make any length they think is right for their model. You could be in a 151 cm in one model, a 157 cm in another model, and a 163 cm yet in another model.
- DO NOT choose a length first. Choose the model first, then the length.
Sizing Cross Country Skis
Fischer Nordic Ski Recommended Lengths
Sprint Crown Junior Skis
Some skis are designed to be easier to bend, both along their length and torsionally (twisting from side to side). Soft flexing models are easier to turn while stiffer ones offer more stability, especially at speed, and for heavier skiers.
This refers to how curvy or straight the sides of skis are. Old school skis were almost straight up and down; all types of modern skis tend to have narrower waists than tips, giving them curvier, hourglass shapes. In general, this makes them easier to turn, especially on piste, however a very deep sidecut means less stability at speed. On-piste skis have the narrowest waists for better grip, while skis with wider waists (and less difference between waist and tips) have extra float, making it easier to tackle variable, off-piste terrain.
In our ski reviews, sidecut is defined by ski width at tip, waist and tail, expressed in millimetres (eg 122/80/110), alongside the length of the skis it refers to in centimetres (eg 170).
This governs the size of turn skis would naturally make when tipped on edge without pressure. The radius of curvy-sidecut slalom skis might be 12m, and can be as big as 44m for straighter sided, fatter big-mountain skis. Some skis are multi-radius, meaning the natural turn size changes along their length (often big at the front for ease of starting turns, tight at the rear for ease of finishing them).
That’s why skis in our reviews may have two or more radius figures.
Traditionally, skis are raised off the ground in the middle (see ‘Traditional camber’ below). In its simplest terms, rocker means that if laid flat the centre of a ski touches the slope while the tip and tail curve up more than usual. This makes turning in powder easier, so most all-mountain, freeride and big mountain skis have some form of rocker. The downside of rocker is that it can detract from grip and stability on piste, so to make on-/off-piste performance more balanced, skis may have partial rocker – just at tip and tail for example, with a more traditional construction in the middle for improved grip. Even park & pipe skis may have some rocker, to help with pivoting and buttering.
• Freeride ski test winners
The opposite of rocker. Tips and tails make contact with the ground when skis are laid on a flat surface, and there’s a gap under their centre. This shape can make it easier to transfer weight to the tips and tails, helping with grip. A bigger gap under the centre also makes skis livelier. Most on-piste skis have traditional camber (sometimes with ‘Tip rocker’ – see below). Park & pipe skis tend to have traditional camber to maximise pop.
Some on-piste skis have a little rocker, usually at the tips only. Although rocker is generally used to help with float off piste, tip rocker can also help with starting turns on groomed snow.
Some powder skis with rocker get wider instead of narrower from the tips back towards the middle of the shovel, before narrowing again towards the waist, to help with float. The same may apply at the tail. Termed reverse sidecut, it’s intended to increase float in powder.
This can mean there are four or five width measurements for sidecut in our ski reviews, instead of three.
Skis have a recommended mounting point for bindings – most are mounted slightly back of centre. Generally, the further forward bindings are, the easier skis are to pivot (on snow and in the air) and the more playful they feel. The disadvantage is that the tips tend to submarine in deep snow, and the skis tend to be less stable in long, fast turns. When buying bindings separately from skis, sometimes there’s a choice of mounting points, so you can specify the one that suits your skiing style. Even with integrated bindings, there’s sometimes an option to move the binding toepiece forwards or backwards to adjust stance on the ski.
Best for: Long carves and quick turns in bumps
Fischer Motive 80 (including bindings)
Why buy Providing amazing edge grip, the Motive 80s turn easily and will nail longer carves, with plenty of rebound out of the turn. They’re also really quick edge to edge, and superb in moguls. Off piste, they do the job in tracked-out crud, but struggle in deep pow. They perform excellently for edge hold, long turns, high speed, liveliness/responsiveness and groomed piste.
Tech talk Rockered at the tips, these have a sidewall construction and Fischer’s Air Tec poplar wood core – hollowed-out channels help reduce weight.
+ Edge hold, long turns, high speed, liveliness/responsiveness, groomed piste.
– Off piste
Lengths 161, 168, 175, 182
Sidecut 122/80/110 (all lengths)
Radius 17m (175)
Best for: Smoothness in groomers and moguls
Head Rev 80 (including bindings)
Why buy Reliable and stable all over the mountain, they’re super smooth in short to medium turns, and also fun in long arcs, where they provide a reasonable amount of rebound. They’re better on piste than off, and perform well in moguls. The Rev 80s score outstandingly for smoothness.
Tech talk Partial cap construction and a wood core. The front 20 per cent of the ski is rockered and contains Head’s Intellifibres, which adapt to terrain by stiffening the skis electronically to reduce vibrations. So in rough conditions, the skis become stiffer and more stable, while on smoother snow, they’re more flexible and easier to turn.
+ Short turns, low speed, smoothness, groomed piste, moguls
Lengths 156, 163, 170, 177, 184
Sidecut 130/81/112 (177)
Radius 14.8m (177)
Best for: Arcing long turns on piste
Völkl RTM 80 (including bindings)
Why buy With fantastic grip and rock-solid edge hold, these are stable, confidence-building skis. They’re ideal for those who spend most of their time on piste – where the full rocker works very well – but fancy a crack at bumps and packed powder. They’re not quite so keen on slower, pivoted turns. Leading the group for edge hold and high speed, they also score extremely strongly for long turns, smoothness, liveliness/responsiveness and groomed piste.
Tech talk Rockered along their entire length, these have a cap construction and a wood core reinforced with steel.
+ Edge hold, long turns, high speed, smoothness, liveliness/responsiveness, groomed piste
Lengths 161, 166, 171, 176, 181
Sidecut 126/80/107 (all lengths)
Radius 17.8m (176)
Ski reviews: intermediate all mountain skis.
The best all-mountain skis for intermediate skiers, as tested and reviewed by team of experts; These models are for first-time buyers who want to be able to head off piste on occasion in addition to skiing the groomers.
Best for: Smooth turns in softer snow conditions
Atomic Nomad Smoke (including bindings)
Why buy Very easy to turn, on or off piste, the Smokes are good entry-level skis. They’re smooth and stable over a longer turn radius, and score strongly for smoothness and groomed piste.
Tech talk Partial cap construction with sidewalls underfoot and a synthetic core. The front 15 percent of the ski is rockered.
+ Smoothness, groomed piste
– Edge hold, moguls
Lengths 150, 157, 164, 171, 178
Sidecut 124/76/105 (171)
Radius 14.4m (171)
Best for: Ambitious, improving all-mountain riders
Fischer Motive 76 (including bindings)Why buy These provide a solid platform on piste and inspire confidence. They’re easy for initiating turns on or off the groomers. Fabulous for improvers, these skis will progress all the way with them. Deemed best in this category for edge hold, they also perform strongly for long turns, high speed and groomed piste.
Tech talk Rockered at the tips, the Motive 76s have a sidewall construction and a poplar wood core featuring hollow air channels, which are designed to reduce weight.
+ Edge hold, long turns, high speed, groomed piste
Lengths 154, 161, 168, 175
Sidecut 122/76/106 (all lengths)
Radius 17m (175)
Best for: A solid, dependable ride at pace in any terrain
Head Rev 78 (including bindings)
Why buy These hold well on the edge, and provide a stable and fun ride at pace. Solid and dependable on and off piste, the Rev 78s are strong across all areas, with a slight focus on chopped-up off-piste snow. They didn’t score quite as well for low speed.
Tech talk Sidewall construction and a synthetic core. The tips contain Head’s Intellifibres, which adapt to terrain by stiffening the skis electronically to reduce vibrations. So in rough conditions, the skis become stiffer and more stable, while on smoother snow, they’re more flexible and easier to turn. The front 20 per cent of the skis is rockered.
+ Long turns, smoothness, versatility
– Low speed
Lengths 142, 149, 156, 163, 170, 177
Sidecut 127/78/110 (170)
Radius 13.6m (170)
Völkl: less vibration, more edge control
“The Code range has dramatically changed,” says Völkl’s Dave Sawyer-Parker. The two models at the top end – Code Speedwall S and Code Speedwall L in the piste expert tests – are completely redesigned, and all four models now come with Völkl’s judder-absorbing UVO (Ultimate Vibration Object). “Most anti vibration systems only work up and down, but this works through 360 degrees, also reducing twisting vibrations,” says Dave. “It massively improves edge grip while allowing the ski to be more supple.” The skis also have the new iMotion2 bindings from Völkl’s sister company Marker. “A slow release piston mechanism in the heel piece means better energy absorption of quick hits – an ice cookie for example – which helps with ski control,” says Dave. Although the Codes are in the piste tests they still have some freeride spirit, he adds. “They’re wider than our race skis, and have tip and tail rocker, which also makes them super-easy to manoeuvre.”
Best for: Snappy short turns on groomers or in moguls
Völkl RTM 75 iS (including bindings)
Why buy These have a strong bias towards on piste, where they excel. They’re very lively in short turns and quick to react in moguls. Great for improvers – you can crank it up and they’ll still support you. Voted best of the category for edge hold and short turns, they’re also rated outstandingly for high speed, groomed piste and moguls.
Tech talk Cap construction with rockered tips and a wood/synthetic core.
+ Edge hold, short turns, high speed, groomed piste, moguls
– Off piste
Lengths 153, 159, 166, 173
Sidecut 120/75/105 (all lengths)
Radius 15.2m (166)
Best for: Quick, pivoted turns
Volkl RTM 73 (including bindings)
Why buy The RTM 73s are very lively in short, pivoted turns, and great in bumps. They also provide decent grip and stability in long, carved arcs. In fact, they’e superb all-round skis for a wide range of abilities, and would be perfect for progressing intermediates. Voted best of the category for short turns, low speed, liveliness/responsiveness and moguls, they also perform outstandingly for edge hold, smoothness and groomed piste.
Tech talk Rockered at the tips with a cap construction and a synthetic core.
+ Short turns, low speed, liveliness/responsiveness, groomed piste, moguls
Lengths 153, 159, 166, 173
Sidecut 120/73/105 (all lengths)
Radius 15.8m (173)
With slightly wider waist widths, these models can handle softer, deeper snow off piste. But they’re still designed for relatively modest speeds, making them ideal for ambitious intermediates.
Best for: Reliability at speed on piste
Atomic Affinity Sky (including bindings)
Why buy These reliable entry-level skis go most places but are happiest on piste and in light crud. They’re fun, easy and light. They score strongly for high speed and groomed piste.
Tech talk They’re 15 per cent rockered at the front and have a partial cap construction, with sidewalls underfoot, and a wood core.
+ High speed, groomed piste
– Versatility, off piste
Lengths 148, 154, 160
Sidecut 122/79/101 (154)
Radius 14m (154)
Best on test
Best for: Instilling confidence to progress
Atomic Cloud Eight (including bindings)
Why buy Nippy and stable, these have enough energy to carry you through the progression to faster, more responsive turns. Active, grippy and lively, even on steep icy sections, they’re fun and bouncy in bumps. They instil confidence and encourage you to greater things. They lead this group for edge hold, short turns, groomed piste and moguls, also scoring outstandingly for liveliness/responsiveness.
Tech talk The Cloud 8s are 10 per cent rockered at the front and have a partial cap construction, with sidewalls underfoot and a synthetic core. They feature Atomic’s Bend-X technology – a flexible zone in the binding area that helps you to bend the skis with less power. This makes it easier to initiate turns on piste.
+ Edge hold, short turns, liveliness/responsiveness, moguls
– Long turns, high speed, off piste
Lengths 141, 148, 156, 162
Sidecut 120/72/99 (156)
Radius 12.4m (156)
Best on test
Best for: Taking it to a higher level, on piste or off
Volkl Viola (including bindings)
Why buy Extremely versatile skis that are happy just cruising, doing easy turns. But if you want to take it to another level, they’ll also carve big fast arcs. On piste, they feel light underfoot, yet solid enough to provide power in the turns. Off piste, they’ll cut through most snow conditions. They lead this group for edge hold, short turns, long turns, high speed, low speed, liveliness/responsiveness, off piste, groomed piste and moguls.
Tech talk Rockered at the tips, the Violas have a cap construction and a wood core.
+ Long turns, liveliness/responsiveness, groomed piste
Lengths 141, 148, 155, 166
Sidecut 123/74/95 (all lengths)
Radius 14.8m (155)
Best for: Progressing to higher speeds and quicker turns
£300 (including bindings)
Why buy Very easy to man oeuvre, these are light, fun and bouncy in short turns on corduroy. They provide super grip on the steeps, and are relaxed and stable in long turns. They’re perfect for an active skier wanting to develop speed and agility. However, they do have their limits, and score better for low speed than high. They’re ranked best of the group for low speed, and also score strongly for edge hold, short turns, groomed piste and moguls.
Tech talk Rockered at the tips, the Adoras have a cap construction with a synthetic core.
+ Edge hold, short turns, low speed, groomed piste, moguls
– Smoothness, versatility, off piste
Lengths 141, 147, 153, 159, 16
Sidecut 120/73/105 (all lengths)
Radius 12.9m (159)
Piste advanced Best on test Best value
Fischer All Progressor (including bindings)
Best for: Grip and lively rebound
These top the group for edge hold, also performing well in low speed, liveliness/responsiveness, groomed piste and moguls. They’re light and easy to pivot, even at low speeds, but super stable once they’re on the edge, with plenty of rebound at the end of the turn. When you crank up the speed, they’re with you all the way – great for those wishing to improve. And a new sidewall profile, updated from last year’s version of the same model, has made their grip even better.
Partial cap construction, with lower sidewalls than last year’s Progressors (meaning a skinnier profile when viewed side on). Wood core strengthened with Fischer’s Air Carbon, a lightweight, high-tech material from the aerospace industry. Dual Radius means they have a curvier sidecut at the front of the ski for faster initiation. Rockered at the tips.
+ Edge hold, low speed, liveliness/responsiveness, groomed piste, moguls
– Off piste
Lengths: 153, 160, 167, 174
Sidecut: 122/74/103 (all lengths)
Radius: 12m/15m (167)
They’re designed with relatively narrow waists for good grip on hard snow and a quick response from edge to edge. Many of them, particularly at expert level, utilise technologies developed in the racing arena that help reduce excess vibrations to boost stability and improve edge hold while carving at high speed. Intermediate and advanced models are more forgiving at low speed.
Piste intermediate Best on test & Best value
Volkl RTM 75 (including bindings)
Best for: Rapidly improving intermediates
The RTM 75s achieve the highest scores of the piste intermediate skis for edge hold, long turns, high speed, low speed and groomed piste. They’re nice and grippy in all types of turn, but perform slightly better in longer turns. Very stable, their high level of performance is well suited to fast-improving intermediates.
Wood core incorporated into a cap construction, with tip rocker.
+ Edge hold, long turns, high speed, low speed, groomed piste
– Off piste
Lengths: 153, 159, 166, 173
Sidecut: 120/75/105 (all lengths)
Radius: 15.2m (166)
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