Determining the correct ski length involves converting height to centimeters and selecting a ski length 15 centimeters on either side of that number. This approximates to skis with tails resting on the ground, and tips reaching anywhere from the chin to the eyebrows, with inexperienced skiers at the shorter end and experienced skiers at the longer.
Retailers such as Powder7 and Backcountry provide ski length sizing charts on their websites. Powder7's table includes height and expertise, while Backcountry's includes height and weight. Typically, ski sizing charts focus on height and are based on straight-sided skis. Gender, terrain, ski type and intended use are other factors to consider when deciding on ski length.
Ski sizing selectors take other aspects into account. Level Nine Sports Inc. offers a ski selector on its website that provides a recommended ski length based upon skier ability, height and weight. The selector also allows entry of intended skier speed and the importance of four to five categories of snow conditions and terrain to hone selections to specific models.
Ski length impacts speed, stability and control on turns. A wider ski requires less span to perform well than a narrower ski. A cambered ski, shaped with its middle lifted from the ground, can be shorter. A rockered shape, with its tip or tail pointing up, allows a longer ski.