How to Size Ski Equipment

There are a lot of theories out there about how to size cross country skis. Due to the different sizing formulas, equipment designs, and technology trends, sizing XC skis can get confusing pretty quickly. There are a number of variables that should be considered when sizing cross country skis, including weight, height, experience level, terrain, etc., and since each company builds their skis differently, brand knowledge is also required to make the best sizing choices. That is why speaking directly with a Cross Country Ski Headquarters staff member is the best way to ensure a perfect fit for all of your cross country ski equipment. Not only is our staff highly trained with the individual nuances of each brand and product, we also know the right questions to ask you to make sure you walk away with the equipment that is best for you.

Wondering what kind of cross country ski package to buy? TAKE THE QUIZ to find your ideal XC skis!


There are some general guidelines to sizing ski equipment. Here is the “quick and dirty” on how it’s done :

Classic skis: The biggest factor when sizing classic skis is body weight. Height is another factor, and experience level is another. Weight is the most important because you have to be heavy enough to get grip on the snow when you transfer your weight, but light enough for the grip area of the ski to stay mostly off the snow when you glide. For high performance recreational skiers and racers, the camber should be around half your body weight in kilograms, and a camber board should be used in most cases. For touring skis, each ski brand has a particular weight range suggested for each length/camber of ski they produce. When you are ready to get sized for skis, make sure you know your weight and height. Also think about whether traditional (longer) length skis are right for you, or whether the increasingly popular shorter length skis make more sense for your experience level and the terrain on which you’ll be skiing.

Skate skis: Skate skies are primarily sized based on weight, and generally speaking, the camber, or “flex” of a skate ski should be between 100% and 130% of a skier’s body weight, with the skier’s ability and experience as contributing factors. As far as length, it is easiest for beginners to use skis that are head high or a little taller. More experienced skiers typically go with longer skis. Typically longer skis are faster but more difficult to control.

Classic poles: Classic poles should come right up under your armpit for recreational and touring sking (approximately 82.5% of body height). For sporty skiers or racing, poles should come closer to the top of your shoulder (approximately 84% of body height).

Skate poles: Skate poles should come up to somewhere between your chin and your nose, depending on preference. Most racers prefer slightly longer poles, while shorter poles are easier to work with for beginners but also for hillier terrain. Many guides say 90% of body height.

Click here for Skate Pole Length Guide

Boots: Boots should fit snugly, but they shouldn’t be overly constricting. Many people use the size of their tennis shoes to pick the size of their ski boots. You should be able to wiggle your toes, but your heel shouldn’t slide when you walk or ski. Always knock your heel back before you lace up to ensure a good fit.

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