Choosing skis and poles

Shaped skis have changed the way one chooses the correct length ski to use. We used to employ charts that correlated a skier’s weight, height and skiing ability to determine a recommended ski length. Now skis come in so many different shapes, widths and sidecuts & there are specialty skis which are designed specifically for different types of skiing, such as powder, racing, snowpark & hybrid (combined piste and off-piste) that use of charts no longer applies. For anyone, it can be quite confusing when you need to choose a pair of skis to buy or hire.

Choosing skis and poles
Choosing skis


If you are just starting out I would recommend that you rent your skis at a reputable ski shop & I would suggest that you ask for a ski that is designed for piste (trail) skiing. My experience is that it is easiest to start off with skis that come up to your chest or chin. More experienced skiers may prefer skis that are somewhat longer. If you tell the shop personnel that you are a beginner (or if you an intermediate skier) they will choose the right length and type off ski for you.


Most ski shops will provide you with a free pair of ski poles when you rent skis and the shop personnel will choose the right size poles for you. The general rule is that you turn the pole upside down, bend your knees & grip the pole just below the basket. The correct size is when your forearms are horizontal, parallel to the ground.

Purchasing skis

If you are an intermediate or advanced skier and are interested in purchasing skis take advantage of the knowledge that ski shop personnel have. Discuss with them the type of skiing you plan to do and let them know your skiing level. Ask them for their recommendations. It’s also worthwhile searching information on the internet and in ski magazines.


  • If it’s possible, I would suggest renting a pair of the skis you’ve chosen and test them to see if you like them before you purchase them. Some ski shops have a policy allowing you to try out a rental set of the skis for free by taking the rental price off of the purchase price.
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