Skiing is a really fun activity; it takes a lot of practice, grit, and gut to be a professional skier. If you are an older skier whether a professional or a casual skier, you would, first of all, need a ski. So, the question now is: what is the ski length for older skiers?
Shorter ski lengths that are easy to control are best for older skiers and when choosing they need to factor in their height, skiing style, skiing terrain, flex pattern, swing weight, as well as their experience level.
In the rest of this article, we will provide you with interesting and useful information about the ski length for older skier; let’s roll!
Factors to Consider When Choosing Ski Length
This is usually the only factor newbies look out for. As an older skier, you probably haven’t increased in height for a long time so it should be easy to recall your height. Height is a good factor to consider and you might also be wondering why weight isn’t here.
Well, weight isn’t a factor to consider when determining ski length but it is important when setting the skis’ binding.
Skiing style and terrain type
Skis with shorter lengths are good for making quick and short turns on terrains that are groomed. They also make turns easier to perform when your speed is low due to the lower snow resistance they offer.
Skis that are longer in length are more suited for deep snow and old skiers that are experienced.
Type of ski
Compared to the old days, there are now certain skis for almost any kind of area you can use it for. The different types of ski each have their own standards and ski length that should be considered.
The length of your ski should be shorter than you if you are planning to use it for freestyle, all-mountain, or touring skis.
An all-round ski should be around your height or should be between your chin and nose. A giant slalom ski length should be taller than you while a slalom race ski length should reach your chin.
The experience level of the skier
If you are an old skier who is new to the skiing business, you should go for a ski that is short in length, reaching up to your chin. The ski will be lighter and easier to control in turns. A longer ski will be better for a skier that has a lot of experience. The ski should be taller than your height to get the most out of it.
Now let’s first look at a term called an effective edge. This refers to the part that is in contact with the snow when you are standing on it. In a way, it is like the ski’s functional length compared to the “structural or material length” (the length from one end to the other).
The effective length is sometimes referred to as the running length, but in this article let’s call it an effective edge. Running length is the length between the widest point at the tail to the widest point at the tip.
The old ski with a traditional profile is different from the skis of today which have a rocker at the tip and tail thereby reducing the effective edge making the skis appear shorter. This is what makes the effective edge of the ski variable in modern times.
You should focus on the rocker and taper of ski here. If a ski has more rocker and taper, it will feel shorter compared to another that has less rocker and taper.
Let’s say you are used to using your old fully cambered ski which is 191cm and you are having difficulty choosing between two skis of 191cm and 198cm which are both rockered.
It is better to go for the minimally rockered ski in this case because the minimally rockered ski of 191cm will feel shorter than your fully cambered 191cm ski.
Always try to get an appropriate ski length by looking at the effective edge instead of the material length.
Stability is another factor you should consider when choosing your ski length. It is how planted and balanced your ski is on the snow. You should also consider the dampening effect. A ski that is shorter than the one you would have normally chosen will be better at a lower speed.
The heavier and stiffer your ski is, the more it will be able to handle terrains that are rough while moving at high speeds. The ski will be difficult to handle in moguls and tight areas. You should be aware that there are some exceptions to this factor.
If you are still planning to use a ski that is stiff, that can handle a lot of moguls, you should go for a ski that is shorter in length. As an older skier, you will be better off with it.
The sidecut radius contributes to the reactivity of your ski when you want to make turns in an arc. The longer the sidecut radius of your ski, the less it will respond on an edge and turn but if you select a ski with a shorter side cut, the ski will respond faster in edge and turn with increased stability at high speeds. So, as an older skier, you will need a ski with a shorter sidecut radius.
We all know that the lighter your ski is, the more control you will have and the higher the ski is, there will be increased difficulty in maneuvering it back and forth quickly.
So, if you know that your ski is quite heavy, it is better to size it down depending on where you want to use and whether you like it fast or slow. If you planning to get a light ski, you should make sure it is longer than what you will actually get to increase your stability and make it easy to maneuver quickly.
The mount point is related to your style of skiing and stance. The closer the mount point to the center of the ski (which is about 6cm backward from the true center), the more centered your stance will be.
The more rearward your mount point from the center of the ski, the more you will tend to use a forward stance. You don’t have to worry too much about this factor because most skis have their mount point at the center but try to consider this factor if the distance of the mount point for the center is significant.
Best skis for older skiers
As an older skier, before choosing a ski, make sure you are able to identify the best category that works for you. Work with a ski shop that has top-notch quality and if possible, the shop should have demo selections to make comparisons
The best skis for older skiers should have a moderately soft flex making its sidecut to be done without too much effort. This will make turning easier to perform regardless of your low stamina and strength.
The best skis for older skiers are grouped into 6 categories based on the location, skiing style, and snow condition:
- For Frontside
The skis within this category consist of a broad range of ski for skiers from the entry-level to professionals. The skis are also good generally on groomed terrains. The best brands include:
Volkl Deacon 76
This ski is considered one of the best in 2020. It is made using a 3D glass which is the new way of using fiberglass. A lot of fiberglasses is embedded in the tails and tips of this ski. There is also fiberglass in the sidewall and edges of the deacon 76 strengthening the edge grip and the body of the ski.
The Deacon 76 features a multilayer wood core at the speed wall with titanium laminates making strong and durable for any challenge you throw at it.
Older skiers don’t have to worry too much about its forgiveness especially if they haven’t practiced on a ski for a while. Older people will definitely love this ski for its playfulness, torsional stiffness, and forgiveness.
Volkl Yumi 84
The Yumi 84 is a versatile all-mountain for experienced women. Its wide waist makes it easy to ride off-piste. It has a multilayer wood core with a titanyl binding platform and a full sidewall.
The construction is designed to give quality results while still maintaining it lightweight. The Yumi 84 can also absorb vibration to make you ride less bumpy and stable.
- All Mountain East
This skis here perform well on both off-trail and on-trail conditions. They are good skis for those old-timers that haven’t skied on snow for a long time. They include:
Nordica Enforcer 93
The Nordica Enforcer 93 has one of the best builds with a good appeal to seniors. The profile, shape, and solid construction of the Enforcer 93 allows it to handle the most difficult terrains at incredible speeds.
Older skiers who are experts will get the best performance result from the ski while enjoying its amazing float, versatility, and powerful edge grip.
The Enforcer 93 features a wood core and 2 sheets of metal making the ski stable even at high speeds. Its dual metal laminate also adds to the ski’s stability. The rockered tail gives you the ability to change the shape and time for your turns making your ride smooth and clean.
The Nordica Enforcer is your best bet if you enjoy quick turns with control.
Liberty Genesis 90
The Liberty Genesis 90 is designed for female older skiers who want to ride the front-side groomers with style. They feature a slight rocker at the tip and tail making it easy to hold edges and make quick turns.
It has a German HRC 48 steel edges with large anchors giving it more durability. Its polyurethane bumper will give you a smooth ride and protect the top sheet from chipping.
They also have x ore construction made with strips of poplar, bamboo, and paulownia which are vertically arranged to give it a lightweight feeling on your feet.
- All-Mountain West
These skis are used in the west for older skiers with high performance. The skis in this category are well adapted for off-trail use and can also be skied on-tail by old skiers who are really skilled. Brands under this category include:
Blizzard Black Pearl 97
The Blizzard Black Pearl 97 is one the most highly-rated skis suitable for both young and old female skiers in all-mountain dominance. With the use of a women specific design, the Black Pearl 97 is made lightweight without reducing it top performance.
It also features a carbon layer that goes in both directions at the tips and tails of the construction to keep the ski stable, smooth and silent. They are available 153cm, 157cm, 165cm, 171cm and 177cm in size
The Blizzard Black Pearl 97 now has the true blend wood core which is a vertical lamination technique that makes adjustable wood stringers to be accurately positioned along the length of the ski. All these features make the ski to have a rounded and predictable flex.
The Black Pearl 97 can handle unpredictable snow conditions and blizzard as long as you, the queen continues to take charge.
Elan Ripstick 96
The Elan Ripstick 96 is the most versatile in the Ripstick model line. The ski still performs well with a single metal within its construction. It features a wood core that has a thick carbon tube of 5mm in length which runs along with the sidecut of the ski giving it suitable stiffness while making it light.
It also has an amphibious rocker and cambered inside edge which makes it float well on soft snow. They give a good floating experience on snow just like a much wider ski. You should get the lightweight Elan Ripstick 96 if you want an expert old skier looking for a new experience.
The skis in this group have more control of powder snow. They are not good on-trail. They include:
Head Kore 105
The Head Kore 105 skis are designed to perform well on a lot of deep snow and also on groomers. They feature karuba wood core and koroyd, graphene, and carbon inlays. The Kore 105 has a topless technology which allows the ski to work well without a separate top sheet.
Even without any metal construction, the lightweight ski can hold out well with other skis. The ski is a freeride-oriented ski with a lightweight guaranteed to give you a blast on the snow.
The Head Kore 105 also has a tip and tail rocker to give you more maneuverability on soft snow making your skiing experience more fun even at an old age.
Line Pandora 104
This award-winning ski is designed to work well for any woman of any age. It features a magic finger filament that fits perfectly with the aspen lite core to make your skiing stable and lightweight. It also has a 104mm waist constructed to give the best floating and handling experience.
The Pandora 104 has a tip with a huge rocker, a nearly flat tail, and an underfoot camber to provide a remarkable versatility and precision. This is a go-to ski for old skiers who like a freeride style on mountains.
The skis here are specialized for deep powder only. They include:
Salomon QST 118
This ski is the widest of Salomon’s skis. They are built to float in any deep snow. The tip and rocker are extended to make them float well while reducing the chances of hooking. The ski’s flex starts at tips and shovel and is stiff at the cambered portion with another soft flex at the tail.
This flex pattern allows the Salomon to respond suitably to your movement. Its inverted 3D wood allows the ski to have a good rebound and stability. It has a twin rocker that ensures maximum float in deep snow. Old skiers ski in deep powdered snow will love the Salomon QST for its floatiness and stability.
At the end of the day, as an older skier, the kind of ski you get depends on you. You can test out the ski you want to see if you would be able to handle it.