Kids Ski Size Chart: An Expert Guide

Published on 03/19/2024 · 9 min readFind the perfect fit for young skiers! Our Kids Ski Size Chart and Expert Guide help you choose the right length and type of skis for children!
Chase Lambert, Ski Expert
By Ski Expert Chase Lambert

Photo by Harrison Macourt

TL;DR: There are many important determinants when finding the right size skis for your child, including height, weight, age, and skill level. The general rule of thumb is to choose shorter skis for beginners, and longer skis for intermediate and advanced skiers. You should also identify what style or discipline your child enjoys skiing in, from all-mountain, to park, to racing, to freeride. A balanced approach, combining professional consultation, your child's preferences, and cost-effectiveness, is a great way to select your child’s skis.

My name is Chase, and I’m a passionate snow sports enthusiast with over two decades of experience navigating the snowy slopes of Colorado. When I was a kid, I was always involved in the process of sizing my own skis, and as an adult, I’ve helped many of my friends fit their kids into skis. In this article, we’ll examine the nuanced considerations of properly sizing children's skis, and discuss the factors that influence a child’s skiing experiences and development.

Why Does Ski Length Matter?

Selecting the right ski length is pivotal for children, as it influences their learning speed, control, and stability. The right ski length helps build confidence and skills on the slopes. Appropriately-sized skis can help them progress, as well as maintain safety. Children's bodies are also rapidly growing and developing, making their ski sizing a unique process.

Buying too-short skis for kids is a common mistake. When skis are too short, they can be quickly outgrown, leading to the need for frequent upgrades. Additionally, short skis, while easier to turn, can be an issue for new skiers because they can be too responsive, making it easier to catch edges and harder to learn how to control the skis.

On the flip side, a child may struggle with control and maneuverability if the skis are too long. This can lead to frustration, hinder skill development, and potentially pose safety risks. The right ski length strikes a balance, providing stability while allowing for optimal control and progression.

Factors That Determine Ski Sizing For Kids

Kids' ski sizing requires careful consideration of their height, weight, and skill level. Let's look at how each contributes to finding the optimal ski length for your child:

Height and Weight

Whether your child is tall or short has an influence over what length of ski is best for them. For kids on the taller end, a longer ski will offer them better stability and support, aiding in their balance on the slopes. For shorter children, a shorter ski will help them maintain balance and stability. Similarly to taller kids, heavier children will also benefit from additional length in skis, as longer skis will provide enhanced control, and prevent their skis from feeling too light or unstable. Height and weight are more accurate indicators for ski sizing than age, as children grow at different rates, and their physical development may not align precisely with their age.

Skill Level

Understanding the progression of your child's skiing level is essential to choosing the right ski length. Beginners are often more cautious skiers and therefore benefit from shorter skis, which are easier to control and maneuver. Intermediate skiers may lean towards longer skis, providing stability and accommodating improved skills. Advanced skiers may opt for even longer skis to match their confidence and handle more challenging terrains. Here are some basic guidelines for how to choose skis for beginner, intermediate, and advanced ability levels, to ensure your child’s skis align with their confidence and capabilities on the slopes:

Beginner Skier

Photo by Irina Balashova

For a beginner, the length of their skis, standing upright, should reach somewhere between the height of their chest and chin. Shorter skis have a shorter turning radius, and therefore are easier to control and maneuver. This allows for quicker, more controlled turns, and provides a stable foundation for learning the basics.

Intermediate Skier

Photo by Miaalthoff

An intermediate skier will have mastered the basics, and feel more confident on the slopes. The length of their skis, standing up right, should be about chin to nose height. This length will offer a good balance between control and agility, allowing them to progress their skills.

Advanced Skier

Photo by Pexels

An advanced skier is tackling more challenging slopes with ease. The length of their skis, standing upright, can be as tall as their forehead. This will provide speed and precision for more advanced maneuvers, bumps, and powder.

Understanding your child's ability level ensures their skis match their skill set, fostering a positive learning experience on the slopes.

Ski Construction

Several other attributes of the ski’s construction can influence a child’s ideal pick, alongside height, weight, and skill level. These include factors such as ski width, sidecut, and the camber/rocker profile.

  • Ski Width: Also referred to as the “waist,” ski width also affects performance. Wider skis offer better floatation in deep snow, allowing a more enjoyable experience in powder conditions. Ski width should be paired with skill level. If your child is getting into places with deeper snow, they’ll need a wider ski to stay afloat in powder.
  • Sidecut: Different sidecut dimensions also affect the active edge length. The term "active edge" in skiing typically refers to the portion of the ski's edge that is in direct contact with the snow during a turn. A deeper sidecut allows for quicker, sharper turns on groomed runs, influencing the skis' overall performance.
  • Camber/Rocker Profile: Different profiles of skis can also affect the active edge length. The camber profile influences edge grip, while the rocker profile affects maneuverability. Understanding these profiles helps you choose skis that align with your child's preferred skiing style.

Considering all of the above factors ensures a holistic approach to ski sizing, addressing the various aspects that contribute to overall performance and experience on the slopes.

Sizing Kids’ Skis for Various Disciplines

Finding what type of skiing your child likes is crucial for finding their corresponding appropriate fit. Almost all types of skis have options for youth. Here are some examples of skis that bridge various disciplines, and how you might start sizing them:

All-Mountain Skis

Versatile and forgiving, all-mountain skis are ideal starting points for young skiers seeking to experience snowy slopes. These skis accommodate developing skills on varied terrain. Size them from chin to nose, balancing control and adaptability across various terrains.

Powder Skis

Designed for deep snow conditions, powder skis benefit from a longer length to enhance floatation. Consider sizing these skis based on your child's weight, height, and the specific powder conditions they'll be encountering.

Carving and Groomer Skis

Carving and groomer skis prioritize quick, sharp turns on groomed runs. Opt for a slightly shorter length to ensure precision and agility on well-maintained slopes.

Park Skis

Park skis, tailored for terrain park enthusiasts, should maintain a size close to all-mountain skis. Focus on maneuverability to facilitate tricks, jumps, and freestyle movements.

Racing Skis

Racing skis are longer to provide stability at high speeds, which is essential for competitive skiing. Consider the specific requirements of the racing discipline, and choose a length that aligns with those needs.

Mogul Skis

Mogul skis should be shorter to enable quick turns, which is crucial for navigating the challenging terrain of moguls. Size them carefully according to your child's height, weight, and assessed skill set to best facilitate their athletic prowess.

Backcountry Skis

The length of backcountry skis depends on the specific terrain your child plans to explore, and their experience level. Consider the varying conditions of the backcountry, and choose a size that enhances performance and safety based on that terrain.

Freeride Skis

Freeride skis are designed for versatility, providing stability in various conditions and terrains. Opt for a longer length to ensure stability and confidence in varied skiing environments.

Cross-Country Skis

The length of cross-country skis is crucial for glide efficiency and control during extended journeys. In properly selecting the suitable length for a child's cross-country skis, consideration must be given to balancing their stature, mass, and the athletic exertions required. No single element should outweigh its counterparts in this balanced choice.

Understanding the nuances of each skiing discipline ensures that your child's skis are optimized for their chosen activity and the conditions they’ll encounter.

How to Choose the Right Kids’ Ski Length

While there’s no true perfect ski size, consider first the child’s skill level, their height and weight, and the type of skiing that they prefer. For reference, here is an easy go-to general ski sizing chart. Just remember this is to provide you with a general idea of where you should size your child’s skis. Once you know their general size range, opt to size up or down depending on the their skill level, their preferred skiing terrain, and the type of skis they choose to purchase:

Height (in.)Weight (lbs)Ski Length for Beginner/Intermediate (cm)Ski Length for Advanced (cm)
37347080
40378090
434290100
454695105
4750100110
5057110120
5363115125
5570120130
5779130140

Don’t worry if your child falls between sizes on the chart. You can size up or down accordingly based on their skill level and ski type to find the correct size range for your child. If your child is a beginner and falls between sizes, consider opting for the shorter length. Shorter skis provide enhanced control, which is crucial for those still learning the basics of skiing. For intermediate and advanced skiers between sizes, the decision depends on their preferred skiing style. If they lean towards more aggressive or advanced skiing, opting for the more extended size may provide better stability and performance.

Addressing the gray area between sizes requires a thoughtful approach, considering not only your child's physical attributes but also their skill level, skiing style, and preferences.

Find the Best Skis For Your Young Skier

Photo by iannaaa

Choosing the right skis for your child requires a thoughtful blend of technical considerations and personal preferences. Involving your child in the decision-making process will make a big difference. Their involvement ensures ownership and excitement about their chosen skis, contributing to a positive overall experience. Overall, consultation with professionals and involving your child in the decision-making process will make a big difference in ensuring a safe, comfortable, and fun skiing adventure. Their involvement generates ownership and excitement about their chosen skis, contributing to a positive overall experience.

Turn to a Curated Winter Sports Expert for free, personalized advice and tailored recommendations considering your child's distinctive traits and preferences. Remember, the right pair of skis is vital to unlocking your child's potential on the slopes, providing the foundation for a lifelong love of skiing. So, find the right ski and go make some memories they’ll cherish forever! Happy skiing!

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