Equipment size chart
For those who desire a more definitive guide to ski equipment sizing, the table below should prove satisfactory for most circumstances. Naturally, individual preferences will always supersede any recommendations made in print, as one would expect. There is no such thing as a 'correct' ski or pole length, but there certainly is a most comfortable size boot - which incidentally should take priority over any other sizing considerations.
Those only involved in ski-racing (classical, freestyle, or telemarking) should have no need for this guide (see note below table). Remember that heavier skiers, or those always carrying a heavy pack, do not always need a longer ski as in the past - and may in fact prefer a slightly shorter ski to assist in turning and manœuvering!
Classical and freestyle (skating) skis are generally manufactured with a particular skiers mass in mind, and are marked accordingly. Therefore length is less important, as it is possible to find a number of different length skis suited to a small range of skier weights - personal preference will dictate the 'best' ski length in this case. Note also that a ski five centimetres longer (or shorter) makes less difference to most skiers than does a ski that is marginally wider (or marginally narrower).
Whilst there was a distinctive trend to use longer poles for all forms of skiing in the early-1990s, possibly due to the advent of significantly stiffer skating poles, it has been proven that longer poles are inefficient for all bar skating techniques - consequently Nordic skiers are tending to return to the lengths traditionally used.
As a matter of interest, the FIS has rules that are applied to all equipment used in all ski racing, to ensure fair competition. Here is a brief summary of the rules that were current at the last Olympic Winter Games:
Length no more than 230 cm, of equal length, and not less than skier's height.
Width no more than 47 mm, and not less than 43 mm in the whole mid-section of the ski.
Thickness in binding area, no more than 35 mm, and not less than 20 mm.
Mass no less than 750 grams per pair.
Sidewalls must be even, without protrusions. Strengthened edges are allowed, but must not extend beyond the width of the base. The base must not be wider than the top sheet.
Same construction and materials regulations as for skis, otherwise no design specifications.
No design specifications.
Length no longer than skier's height, measured with tip of pole resting on ski in front of binding. Two equally long poles must be used, one in each hand. 'Power thrusters' and other such skating aids are allowed.
Appendices: [ Instructor 1 course outline | Instructor 2 course outline | Instructor 3 course outline | APSI Nordic rules and regulations | equipment size charts | snow structure | waxing tips ]
©2013 Ivan Trundle
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