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Ski length for kids


Certified Ski Diva
My son is 11 and my daughter is 8.

He's 4'10" (157 cm), 80 lbs.

She's 4'2"(127 cm), 52 lbs.

They are strong intermediate skiers. We ski at Sunday River, and they like to stick to the blue runs, but occasionally will get adventurous and do a black. They parallel turn. The biggest thing that held my daughter back in the last few years was being small and not confident on getting on the lift due to the chairs being high. I think that will improve as she is a good few inches taller this year.

When we went to get our seasonal rentals this year, the teen at the ski shop suggested that we have them keep the same skis. My daughter has 100 cm, and my son has 120 cm. They are sort of chest height on them.

Is this too short? He said that it would make them more confident, but now they are looking really short. Should I trade them up for the next size?


Angel Diva
Is this too short? He said that it would make them more confident, but now they are looking really short. Should I trade them up for the next size?
Size up.

A story . . .

By the time my daughter was an intermediate skier, I was ready to buy her skis at a swap or used. We bought boots from the local ski shop and could trade them in for credit as she grew. I would buy skis relatively long so they would be more likely to last two seasons. At the beginning of one season, I had her do a group lesson. She was over 7, skiing the black trails at our home hill, and had been doing ski school since age 4. She was a peanut and probably looked like a 6yo. The supervisor putting people into groups made a comment that her skis looked pretty long. They were at her forehead. I said she'd skied them fine the day before on the easier black trail on the upper mountain. He looked at me as if he was thinking "kid probably shouldn't have been there." He asked her to put on her skis and ski down to the instructor waiting at the bottom of the teaching area. She executed perfect round turns. By the time she was half-way down, what he said into his radio was "the little hot shot will be with E." She got a solo lesson with a very experience woman, who happened to be the wife of the supervisor.

I've done the same for my friend's son. He picked up skiing very fast and loved ski school. I had him on skis that were at his nose by the time he was 8. That was the season he was in a ski school class that learned how to ski bumps. Always had to insist on longer skis when renting gear.


Angel Diva
Chin to nose.
I agree. For kids who enjoy intermediate terrain I usually recommend roughly chin height. When the skis are short kids (everyone, really) can get in the habit of throwing the tails around instead of edging and carving.

If course, the shorter they are the less distance there is between chest and chin.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I’m a longer skis are fine but keep an open mind mom. My daughter is almost 12, and about sizewise similar to your son. She was hating her skis last year (turned out to be a concave base issue in the end 3 stone grind and tunes later those skis are becoming lawn furniture) but I was so frustrated at how miserable she was feeling I threw her on a pair of my older 158 cm DPS Nina 99 that had demo bindings (obviously within the appropriate din range, compatible boot lug etc). She skied them so happily for the rest of the season. Now of course she is hooked on super high end skis… but the length was not a problem at all. If they are miserable on the longer ski can they move back shorter or no swaps on the season rental allowed?


Certified Ski Diva
Thank you!

Here's where the skis hit on them these days.

I remembered I had a pair of skis that I got as hand-me-downs. They are the pink ones in the photos, 110cm. The blue ones are her rentals, 100 cm. I guess she can just try both and see what she likes best.

I think I can change out DS's 120cms for 130s without a charge (or even if I had to pay a bit that's not that big of a deal). I'd rather not have to go back and forth though, and he's growing like a weed these days so I am tempted to do it.



Staff member
Too short on both. A longer ski will be more stable for them too. The pink skis should be OK for this year for your daughter. Get DS long, even those 120's are too short.

Glad you are able to do a seasonal rental. When I was that age, it was a revolving door for skis and boots with family friends. I would get Ricky's, then they would go back for his sister. Then down to next sister. No ski swaps back then.


Angel Diva
I had my daughter who was similar stats to your son on 140s last year. They were on the longer side and it looks like she will use them again this year unless she has a super growth spurt, but definitely weren't crazy long.


Certified Ski Diva
Thank you! I will call the ski shop to exchange DS's for the 130s.

Jilly, I also grew up skiing in the 80s and 90s with hand-me-down equipment. Usually it went from family friend -> cousins -> family friend -> me -> my brother. So by the time my brother and I got the equipment, it was ~10 years old and had been used by 8 other kids. I'm glad they have this option of renting now!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
My kiddos are strong intermediates (Snowbasin blues/easy blacks).
6yo, 3'10", 42lbs, 110cm skis.
9yo, 4'3", 57lbs,130cm skis. They are sized a little long but the 9yo is fine and the 6yo will be once we shake off the early season rust ("how do I start?" she asked, yesterday.)


Certified Ski Diva
Just saw this thread as I had the same question. My daughter is 4'4'' and has been on 110cm for the 3rd year. I would like her to move up to the 120cm we got as a hand-me-down. But she prefers to stay on her 110cm. One of her reasons is the 110 is pink and the 120 is black(lol) and I think the other reason is that the 110 are lighter.

I just asked the instructor of her development team (they ski blues/blacks/bumps/trees but are not focused on speed) to see if he could help convince her to move up. Surprisingly he said she doesn't need to move up and he himself prefers to skiing on short skis (he is about 5'7" and skis on 163 skis). I guess it's also important to see how each skier feel with different sizes?

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