Short vs. Long Skis – What Are The Advantages and Disadvantages?
Beginner, advanced or expert skier- there is a ski that’s right for everyone! Adapted to the skier’s style and the frequency of usage, the skis have to offer comfort and skiing enjoyment, while ensuring to stay safe as your competence improves.
While there is no magic formula for the perfect ski length as this depends on the riding style and preferred feel. The average recreational skier would go well to look for the ski length that will be between their chin and the top of their head. With the basic understanding of the different types of skis, how camber and rocker work, and how to choose the right length, the rider will be able to narrow the selection and get out on the snow.
Difference between Short Skis and Long Skis
Longer skis have more stability and they float better in the snow, but they have a larger turning radius.
Shorter skis sacrifice stability which is especially at speed but are quicker to respond and are also easier to make short sharp turns.
Short skis turn faster.
Long skis go faster.
The shorter skis have better control. Beginners need to use skis of 5-10 cm shorter than they are.
The longer skis offer better stability but are less maneuverable and therefore this ski is the best for professional and experienced skiers.
If you like to ski bumps, ski slowly and make a lot of turns, you can go for shorter skis.
If you like to go fast and make bigger turns go for long skis.
Advantages of Short Skis
The main advantages of short skis are the turning radius is naturally smaller that helps to make turning more sharply and also easier. This can be good or a bad thing that depends on the terrain.
Short skis are faster to react to your movement as your energy transfer has less of a distance to travel. Because shorter skis tend to be lighter and more manageable on hard snow, park skiers tend to go for slightly short skis.
Shorter skis are great for beginners and can experience greater control over the course of your run, whether or not you are going downhill or if you are cross-country skiing. If you are more interested in balance and speed control it is good to consider shorter skis.
The less aggressive you are the shorter your skis should be. The fewer number of days you ski every year the shorter your skis should be. If your favorite hill is dominated by narrow twisty trails, look for shorter skis.
Disadvantages of Short Skis
The short skis make it harder to longer S-shaped turns and turns can also be too sharp when traveling at speed. At the high speed, this ski can lead to more severe injuries to tendons or ligaments in case the skier loses his control.
Short skis sacrifice stability as there is less contact with the snow and also a smaller distribution of weight. Short skis do not float as well in the powder that can make skiing more challenging if you stray off-piste or if it is snowing heavily.
Shorter skis sink in the deep snow and you can’t move. Hence, in the deep snow, you will need longer skis. Short skis are only good for short-radius turns such as slalom race. A short ski tends to wiggle back and forth when skiing fast straight down the hill.
Advantages of Long Skis
Longer skis for a given width, have a greater surface area that gives more flotation when skiing powder or in the deeper snow. These skis are heavier but due to the longer edge, it has more contact with the ground and this makes the ski more stable at higher speeds.
Longer skis generally have a longer turning radius. This means the natural arc of the ski takes longer to turn. This is also dependent on the shape, weight, sidecut, and stiffness. Longer skis can still be turned at speed, but this takes a little longer for them to swing around. This isn’t the bad thing as in certain conditions like deep powder, a longer S shape turn is desirable for momentum and stability.
Long skis are generally heavier and this can be more stable at speed and can be more effective at plowing through the choppy snow but will be worth to skate.
Disadvantages of Long Skis
Long skis have a larger turning radius and this can make skiing steeper terrain hard for beginners. The ride requires more strength to turn the skis.
The long skis also depend on the number of factors, including your weight, height and the level of experience. There are, however, specific benefits to the shorter and the longer skis depending on the specific type of skiing the rider likes to do, as you develop preferences, you may also find yourself gravitating towards a specific type and length of the ski.
Take your time and get comfortable with the process and you will be able to tailor your skis to your specific desires over time. To purchase the skis that meet your needs you need to consider three criteria: your practice, your size and your level. You can later choose the skis depending on the graphics and your budget.
But do not forget, choosing the right pair of skis will help to have better control of your movements, perfect your technique and more than ever to maximize your enjoyment! The most important lesson to take away from this article is that no one can tell you what ski you ”should” be using. It is up to you to go out there and borrow, rent, or demo skis until you know what feels the best!