How Long Should The Powder Skis Be?

With so many options available, it’s difficult to find the right length of skis. The choice of length varies greatly from one manufacturer to another. There is no single formula that can determine the right length of given skis for you. Also, the size charts from manufacturers give a very wide huge range of sizes. For example, a size chart from suggests that at my height (5’10” / 178 cm), I should choose skis between the lengths of 165 cm and 185 cm, which is a huge range. So, in this article, I will explain the factors that affect the length of the powder skis rather than just throwing a size chart at you.

Ability Level

Your ability level is a key factor to determine the correct length of your skis. If you are a beginner to intermediate skier, you should choose skis more towards the lower spectrum. On the other hand, if you are an advanced or expert skier, you should choose skis more toward the upper spectrum of the size chart. Shorter skis will be easy to maneuver for beginners while longer skis will be more stable and faster. Regardless of your ability level, the length of your powder skis should always be slightly longer than your day-to-day all-mountain skis. That extra bit of length will provide great floatability on the powder snow.


Another factor that affects the length of your skis is your height. A good rule of thumb is to choose skis that measure somewhere between your chin and the top of your head. If you are a beginner and just starting out, you can choose a length slightly lower than this range because they will be easier to turn and maneuver. Expert skiers, on the other hand, can go a little longer than this range. If you are an advanced to expert skier, you can choose skis that are slightly above your head. For experts, these longer skis are going to provide more stability and speed.


Weight also plays an important factor when determining ski length. Longer skis better distribute weight – especially in powder snow. The extra length adds to the ski’s floatability. Heavier skiers can bend the ski more easily, so a longer length will still feel manageable. So, if you are a heavier skier, you can go a little longer than the recommended length. In contrast, if you are a normal or skinnier skier, you should stick to the recommended skis size.

Salomon QST Blank: Best Powder Skis

Salomon QST Blank
Ability level: Advanced
Dimensions: 138-112-127mm
Lengths: 178, 186, 194cm
Category: All-mountain powder

Salomon QST Blank skis are the jack of all and big mountain powder skis. These are powder-loving and fun skis that have a very energetic backbone to it. The skis have a poplar wood core as well as carbon and flax fibers in the forebody and through the tail. You also get a corked amplifier in the tips and tails, which keeps the ski quiet and stable at speeds. There are double sidewalls underfoot, which make the skis hold pretty well underfoot. As a result, you also get good torsional stiffness and a really good grip on firmer snow. This torsional stiffness combined with a shorter turn radius, makes these skis very turny. The 178 model gives a 15m turn radius, which is very short for a wide ski.

The skis have a rocker-camber-rocker profile, a 112mm waist, and a 138mm shovel. These features make these skis very poppy and fun in powder. Cork at the tip and a poplar core help dampen the ride and increase stability at speed, while carbon at the tip and tail help balance things out by offering excellent power transfer. These skis fall under the category of all-mountain powder skis. However, if you are looking for powder-only skis and are willing to sacrifice some performance in variable conditions, I’d suggest going for a more specialized option like the Atomic Bent Chetler 120. The Salomon’s versatility, however, is difficult to match if you don’t mind having a wide daily driver.

What I like: A versatile all-mountain ski that performs well in a variety of conditions.

What I don’t: Only targeted toward advanced and expert skiers.

See the Salomon QST Blank

The Bottom Line

There’s not going to be a magical ski length that’s perfect for you. You’re going to fall into a range of lengths. However, more aggressive skiers tend to gravitate towards longer skis. They’re putting more force into the ski so they can get more stability out of the skis.

Just because you’re heavy or light doesn’t mean you’re strong or weak; there will be a range that you fall into that will be ideal for you right now. For example, I’m 5’10” and weigh 170 pounds, so if I’m looking for an all-mountain ski, I want something between 160 and 185. Now, if I’m looking for a powder ski, I want something a little bit longer, preferably between 175 and 190, whatever size they have. You want longer powder skis because they will have a less effective edge and more surface area, which will give you more float on deeper snow.