Short Skis vs. Long Skis: Advantages & Disadvantages

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You may be a beginner, advanced, or pro skier—there is a ski that will suit you!

Yes, not every ski you see in the park is the same, and not all skis may work for you. 

There is no existing perfect ski length. It is adapted to the skier’s style and frequency of usage.

Some skiers verify their appropriate ski length by measuring their chin and the top of their heads. 

If you’re wondering about the difference between short skis vs. long skis, read the article to know what ski length you must use on your next ski trip!

Difference between Short Skis and Long Skis

short skis vs long skis

In short skis vs. long skis, the latter have more stability and float better in the snow, but they have a larger turning radius.

What I have realized is that shorter skis sacrifice stability, especially at speed, but are quick to respond and are also easier to make fast, sharp turns.

Short skis turn faster.

Long skis go faster.

The shorter skis have better control. Beginners need to use skis 5-10 cm shorter than they are.

The longer skis offer better stability but are less maneuverable; 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, then according to my experience, you should go for long skis.

Advantages of Short Skis

  1. The main advantages of short skis are that the turning radius is naturally smaller, which helps to make turning more sharply and easier. Depending on the terrain, this can be good or bad.
  2. Short skis react faster to your movement as your energy transfer has less distance to travel.
  3. Because shorter skis tend to be lighter and more manageable on hard snow, park skiers tend to go for slightly short skis.
  4. Between shorter and longer skis, shorter skis are better for beginners and can experience greater control throughout your run.
  5. This is irrespective of whether or not you are going downhill or cross-country skiing.
  6. If you are more interested in balance and speed control, it is good to consider shorter skis.
  7. The less aggressive you are, the shorter your skis should be. The fewer days you ski yearly, the faster your skis should be. If narrow twisty trails dominate your favorite hill, look for shorter skis.

Disadvantages of Short Skis

  1. The short skis make it harder to longer S-shaped turns, and turns can also be too sharp when traveling at speed.
  2. At high speed, this ski can lead to more severe injuries in case the skier loses control.
  3. Short skis sacrifice stability as there is less contact with the snow and smaller weight distribution.
  4. According to me, short skis do not float as well in the powder, which can make skiing more challenging if you stray off-piste or if it is snowing heavily.
  5. Shorter skis sink in the deep snow, and you can’t move. Hence, in the deep snow, you will need longer skis.
  6. Short skis are only good for short-radius turns such as slalom races. A short ski tends to wiggle back and forth when skiing fast straight down the hill.
difference between short skis and long skis

Advantages of Long Skis

  1. Between short vs. long ski, the latter one, for a given width, have a greater surface area that provides more flotation when skiing powder or in the deeper snow.
  2. These skis are heavier, but due to the longer edge, it has more contact with the ground, making the ski more stable at higher speeds.
  3. Longer skis generally have a longer turning radius. This means the natural arc of the ski takes longer to turn. This also depends on the shape, weight, sidecut, and stiffness.
  4. Longer skis can still be turned at speed, but this takes a little longer for them to swing around.
  5. In my own opinion, this isn’t bad, as, in certain conditions like deep powder, a longer S shape turn is desirable for momentum and stability with the help of your ski boots.
  6. Long skis are generally heavier, which can be more stable at speed and more effective at plowing through the choppy snow, but it will be worth skating.

Disadvantages of Long Skis

  1. Long skis have a larger turning radius, making skiing on steeper terrain hard for beginners. The ride requires more strength to turn the skis.

What is the Ideal Ski Size for Me?

The ski you choose should be the right size concerning your weight, height, skiing ability, and style.

Naturally, there is no right or wrong answer in trying to figure out the right ski for yourself.

The appropriate ski length is usually someplace between the top of your head and your chin.
The right size will largely depend on your skiing style and ability.

Of course, the weight and height are equally essential to determine the correct size of your ski, but apart from this, there are many other things you need to consider.

This is why I have the ski size calculator for you.

Trust me, for someone who swears by this, all you need to do is put in your details and find your ideal ski size in a click!

short skis or long skis for beginners

Conclusion

From my experience, I suggest you take your time and get comfortable with the process.

Then you’ll be able to tailor your skis to your specific desires over time.

The most important lesson from this short skis vs. long skis discussion is that no one can tell you what ski you ” should “be using.

You must go out there and borrow, rent, or demo skis until you know what feels best!

Moreover, regardless of your choice, don’t forget to wear your proper ski attire and full gear like anti-fog goggles and a sturdy helmet while on it.

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