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HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT SIZE SKI

Ready to drop some cold hard cash on a new pair of skis, but not sure what size is right for you? Chill, we got you.

Turns out finding the right size ski is way easier than finding the right pair of jeans because unlike the fashion industry which arbitrarily assigns random numbers that are supposed to indicate whether something is “small” or “large,” the snowsports industry stuck with the metric system, which is universal around the globe. Whew!

What you'll find in this blog are detailed size charts for our entire line of skis. Below that we've included some helpful answers to the most often asked questions about how to choose the right size ski.

    In the charts below, find your ability level, height range, weight range, and then get your size recommendation.

    All these recs are a great starting point but if you have any other questions, reach out to hello@coalitionsnow.com where we can offer more help to get you on the right ski length.

    SOS RECOMMENDATIONS

    Our SOS ski is the definition of an all mountain ski. It rips on groomers, will slash through crud, and will float on powder. It's stiff and responsive and a ski quiver killer. It has camber underfoot and rocker in the tip and tail which reduces it’s effective edge, meaning it skis around 6cm shorter than its actual length; just something to keep in mind. We do not recommend our SOS ski for beginners because of how stiff and wide it is. If you’re an intermediate skier, it will help you get better. If you are an advanced or expert skier, it will meet you where you are and put a big smile on your face.

    SOS Size Guide

    REBEL RECOMMENDATIONS

    Our Rebel ski is our badass carving ski. But it’s also important to consider your geographic location with this ski. If you’re on the east coast, it’s a great all mountain ski. This primarily has to do with the wider shovel, or tip. Because it’s bigger than most traditional carving skis, it will slash through crud and float on East Coast powder when you get it. And ice? Pfft. The Rebel ski carves on extreme hardpack like a hot knife through butter and is ultra stable at speed. You can say goodbye to chatter with the Rebel. 

    If you’re in the West skiing the Rockies, the Sierra, or up in the PNW, then it would primarily be your go-to ripper for groomer laps when the snow hasn’t been flying for weeks. It also has rocker in the tip and tail like our SOS, but not quite as much, so that effective edge length applies here as well. 

    Rebel Size Guide

    RAFIKI RECOMMENDATIONS

    Our Rafiki is our powder ski, but don’t let that nomenclature fool you. It may very well become your daily driver because it’s the friendliest ski in our lineup. Is it a surfy pow slayer? Yep. Is it also fun to rip on groomers? Yep. Why? Dual radius sidecut. The sidecut is a little shorter in the tips making turn initiation a breeze, while the longer radius in the tails helps maintain stability and control. It has camber underfoot giving you control on those groomer turns unlike a traditional full rocker powder ski which, as all of you know who ski on full rockered powder skis, when you hit that runout and initiate that first turn on the hardpack, all of the sudden the skis have flown out from underneath you and you find yourself sliding on your side instead of your skis. You won’t have that problem with these planks. Additionally, the Rafiki is a little softer than say our SOS, so it’s just a more forgiving ski.

    Rafiki Size Guide

    LA NIEVE RECOMMENDATIONS

    Our La Nieve is our backcountry specific ski. It’s lightweight and nimble, has a sidecut that’s great for medium length turns, and shines in negotiating trees and variable terrain. Because it is our backcountry specific ski, it will not perform well on hard-pack. Ski length for backcountry skis does come down to preference more so than any other type of ski. This is one exception where it is pretty common to actually size down for the extra maneuverability.

    La Nieve Size Guide

    BLISS RECOMMENDATIONS

    Our Bliss ski is technically a park ski but it also performs tremendously well as a groomer ripper. It strikes a real nice balance as it’s not too soft and not too stiff. It also has rocker in the tip and tail and a milder camber underfoot than the rest of our lineup, which means stomping those landings will feel real smooth. The Bliss is our only true twin-tip, so you can ski it backwards with ease, if that’s your thing. 

    Bliss Size Guide

    General rule of thumb

    The general rule of thumb is that beginner skiers should pick a ski that comes up to their chin, an intermediate skier will want a ski that comes up to their nose and an advanced skier will want a ski that comes up to the top of their head.

    This is generally a good place to start but weight is another, likely more important factor to consider when it comes to ski sizing. Typically the heavier you are the more comfortable you’ll be on a longer ski so someone who is 5’3” and 135 pounds might end up enjoying the same length ski as someone who is 5’5” and 115 pounds. And don't forget the rocker :)

    Let's talk about rocker

    Rocker (the amount that the skis turn up in the tip and tail) reduces the effective edge (the part of the ski that is in contact with the snow) length, meaning you may actually want to size up, not down. 

    What does a longer effective edge do for you? Well, the longer the effective edge, the greater the stability when skiing at higher speeds and/or taking a more aggressive approach. The rocker in the tip and tail helps keep the ski afloat in powder or charge through crud.  

    Should I size up or size down?

    There exists an outdated narrative that women should size down. This isn’t always the case and we wish it would go away forever. This is especially true with the Coalition Snow skis that have a lot of rocker in the tip and tail, like the SOS and Rafiki.

    • If you choose the shorter of the two recommendations you will get more maneuverability in the trees and off-piste (that’s a fancy way of saying skiing off the groomed runs) while still being stable on-piste.
    • If you go with the longer of the two recs, you will get more effective edge providing you with even greater stability when you’re waiting on the powder to arrive and you are ripping laps on groomers at higher speeds. 

    What is “effective edge” and how does it affect ski length?

    The effective edge is the part of the ski that is in contact with the snow - essentially it’s the the length of the ski between where the tips and tails curve up. A traditional camber ski has a longer effective edge than a hybrid camber ski which usually has more of an upward curve in the tip and tail (referred to as early rise or rocker). A fully rockered ski has the least amount of effective edge, usually just a short section under the boot.

    A fully rockered, or hybrid camber ski with a shorter effective edge is going to feel shorter than a traditional camber ski so you’ll typically want to opt for a longer ski to make up for the difference.

    What about terrain and style of riding?

    We can go on and on about height, weight, and effective edge but the most important factor is how you want the ski to feel. A shorter ski is going to feel more nimble and playful while a longer ski will feel stronger and more stable at high speeds.

    If you’re someone who prefers carving quick, short turns, skiing tight trees, and having a quick playful ski, pick a ski that is on the shorter end of the range. However, if you’re someone who prefers high speed straight lining, hitting cliffs and booters, and big turns in wide open bowls, go for something longer.

    A special note for beginner skiers

    Your first couple days on skis are going to be awkward, and a shorter ski (something around chin height) will be much easier to manage as you learn the basics of stopping and turning, but you’re going to quickly outgrow this length and as soon as you’re ready to ski something beyond the bunny slope, a shorter ski might actually start inhibiting your progress because it won’t provide the support and stability you need on a steeper run. We recommend renting a shorter ski for your first few days and purchasing something longer once you start to get more comfortable.

    Similarly for intermediate skiers, if you’ve been confidently skiing blue runs but can’t seem to find the same confidence on steeper black runs, it might be the skis that are holding you back. A shorter softer ski, while being easier to maneuver, doesn’t provide the same support. Try demoing a longer, stiffer ski for a few days and see if it makes the difference. 

    As always, if you have any additional questions about ski length or our skis in general, reach out to hello@coalitionsnow.com where we are happy to help.

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