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should I go up a size?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I'm a 6foot 1, lightweight 24year old, think I'm around 11stone

I currently ski a 163 ski, its what I learnt on, so its what I know, I'm currently looking to buy my first pair. K2 Photon's and was wondering if I should up to a 170cm ski? I've had roughly 4-5weeks skiing experience over the past 3 years. I can ski all pistes and I'd class myself as an intermediate. I want these skis to last a fair few years as I progress, so should I buy a size up?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
It would be nice if it was that simple but actually, the length of the ski you should use is as much about the type of ski as it is about the shape and size of you.

A slalom ski is designed to turn very tightly and so tends to be short. In fact the competition length for men's slalom is just 165cm. At the other end of the scale, downhill skis are meant to be more stable at speed and turn much wider turns so the 'correct' length will be over 2m!

In short, I'd say, "Yes it sounds like you should be looking at longer skis."
Skis that are widely sold as 'all mountain' have a longer turning radius than slalom skis so the ski should be longer for you. No less than 170, probably 175.
Some skis have twin tips which reduce the length of the edge of ski that is in touch with the snow, so you might go a few cm longer.

As a vague generalisation, the shorter the ski, the easier it turns; the longer the ski, the more stable it is.

While people tend to get pre-occupied with the length of their skis though, what is just as important is the stiffness of them. A softer ski is more forgiving of a beginner's mistakes but wont respond as well when a better skier tells it what to do. A stiffer ski will be more stable too.

Best thing to do IMHO is try out various pairs of ski to see what suits you best.
If you can't get to a specifically organised ski-test, find a shop that has a good range and tell them where you're at. Often they will offer to hire you skis with the option to come back and change models as you like, then, if you buy from them, they'll knock the hire fee off the price (or not charge you for the hire, depending how you look at it Smile).
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