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All Mountain Skis - length re height/weight/gender?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi All,

After seeing me on my new Scott Missions on our last trip MrsS is thinking that she would like some new skis more suited to off-piste. We are hoping to do an off-piste course or similar next season, so it could be justified as an end of season sale purchase.

My questions really are around what length to look at? She is 5' 6" (168cm), but of "above average weight" (over 85kgs - but quite strong with it). Given this should she be looking at skis based on her height - 166-168cm, or something longer based on her weight?

Also, should she be looking for women specific skis (eg; Scott Rosa), or at her weight would unsex skis be better? If unisex would a different (more female specific) binding position be better?

Any views most welcome please - and suggestions of skis.

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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
My View as instructor is this: Her skill level is the most important factor. Is she a fast slope skier capable of competant turns in powder and the moguls or a competant slope skier who can get by in bumps in the afternoon.

Her weight will effect how much the negative camber of the ski will flex. For piste you want virtually minimal flex, so that the carving edge will hold like a railway track. And for moguls and powder maximum flex so that the skis float with thier tips up.
Her height will effect the length or turnability of the ski, short skis no higher than the chin equal shorter easy turns on piste less speed picked up in the turn. Longer length, upto eyebrow or at most the forhead (unless she wants to race) equals quicker larger radius turns which will take more energy to hold the edges and she will be going faster. In other words beautiful groomed slopes are more fun with an RC/GS (Race Carver/Giant Slalom) longer length type ski and afternoon crud/bumps are much easier with a shorter SC type ski.

You should really find shop you have confidence in and let her explain her skill level and what she wants the skis to do. Interestingly more and more of the continental instructors are using shorter and more shaped SC (slalom Carve) as do I as these are simply more fun for less effort. ie a good pair of stiff slalom skis turns blacks into reds and reds into blues for most people. When the powder comes down, thats when I will take my fat powder skis up on the hill and blast as this type of ski floats so much easier in powder but you do need to work them hard on the piste compared to SC skis.

Hope this helps.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Ski Nut, She has 155 slalom carvers with a 9.5m radius that she currently uses 3 times a week on plastic (one general coaching session, one race carving, and one open practice) that would be available for a "piste carving" day, so she is really looking for a ski for the powder days, and days when we will be going off piste, hence looking at something longer, and with 80-90mm underfoot. She is definitely not after a fast piste ski.
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RobinS, here are some suggestions for you. I hasten to add I am not an expert skier; I have done 17 weeks in total, spread over a 29 year period and consider myself to be a good intermediate to advanced skier.

Weight is much more important than height and probably even more so for off-piste skis, on which MrsS will want adequate flotation in deeper snow. But thankfully nowadays she can get extra ski surface area/flotation with wider skis if she doesn't want to go for extra long ones.

Based on her weight of "over 85kg" MrsS might be happy on a unisex ski, but it might also depend on how experienced she is. I ski with my 30-something female cousins, who are advanced skiers weighing way less than 85 kg, and they are perfectly content on hired expert-level unisex skis - one is an old school, feet together slider/slarver, the other mainly a carving skier and I never hear any complaints from them about the unisex hire skis, whether on piste or off. However, they have both been skiing since they were about 5 years old.

Scott Mission - if you like them, perhaps MrsS will too; apparently many people do.
Movement Black Rose (women specific):
Movement Spicy (women specific):
Fischer Koa 84 My Style (women specific):
K2 Lotta Luv (women specific):

Dave at (the UK Movement distributor) gave me some personal advice about ski length so you could try asking him about the most appropriate ski length for MrsS.

These ski finders might also be worth a look:

Good luck.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
just beware of a ski seller trying to sell length based on height. This happened to me before i new better and i ended up with the same length of ski my friend has. OK shes only 2 cm taller, but she is 62kg when I am 53kg, so in terms of ability to flex - my friend can manage it a heck of a lot easier than me and my skiing has taken a step back, so beware ski seller are just that - sales people! soory anyone reading this that works in a gear shop, but they dont always have the greatest grip on wheta they are selling. maybe get advice on sales people in local shops from other snowHead round your way?
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At 85kg, and strong with it, I would probably avoid a womens specific ski. Perhaps the Volkl Aura, which is pretty stiff (relatively), it's the womens version of the Mantra (highly praised as a 'go anywhere' all mountain ski).

If she already has the 'piste' side of things covered why not go for something a little more aimed at powder? My gf went this winter from skiing the Rossignol SC 87 to an S7 (115mm underfoot). She honestly prefers to ski the S7 on piste than the SC 87 and off piste in all kinds of snow and terrain the S7 just trucks, even really heavy, cut up snow the slightly rockered tip just planes.

She should get a Salomon Shogun, no question. 164cm gives 97mm underfoot and some nice rocker. Do it.
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