How To Choose The Correct Ski Waist Width


Investing in skis with the right waist width can make skiing fun and enjoyable. However, if you are just getting started with skiing, choosing the appropriate ski waist width can be a daunting task because you may be clueless about what to look for.

There are several factors you need to consider when deciding the best width for your skis such as weight dimensions and the type of terrain you plan to ski on. But fear not; this ski width guide will offer you valuable information on everything you need to know about ski waist and how to choose the correct ski waist width.

Weight Dimension

Waist weight is one of the most essential factors to consider when selecting skis. It is important to determine the weight dimensions of the ski you are going to use. Here are a few proportions to look out for.

1. Wide Width

Width is usually measured in millimeters. Wide skis are preferred in softer and powder snow since they contain a large surface area that makes it easier to float. The downside to using wide skis is that one must use a lot of strength when skiing on an edge or making a turn.

2. Narrow Width

Narrow skis are good for icy and groomed terrain. They make it easier to move from one edge to another. Narrow width is easy to maneuver especially on firm ice and snow conditions.

3. Mid-Range Width

Consider going for mid-range width when looking for a compromise between a tight terrain and icy soft snow. However, it is not the best for deep powder conditions. Wide skis will tend to stand better in such conditions.

Important Tip: If you are buying a retail ski, always look for the dimensions at the back of the ski or ask a shop attendant to assist you to find the dimension. Alternatively, check a manufacturer’s website.

Ski Width Sizing

Modern skis come with three-number dimensions that can be used to determine their width. For example, a ski labeled 122-86-115 would mean that it has a 122 mm tip (widest point), an 86mm waist, and a 115 mm tail. Here are the different types of width sizes.

  1. Under 85mm

Skis with a waist width under 85mm are good for flat trail skiing. They might be agile and easy to maneuver, but difficult to stabilize in rocky terrain or deep snow.

Novice skiers and those who love cross country skiing opt for this waist weight since it is lightweight and helps them to move around easily. It is advisable to go for ski training if you are still struggling to stabilize your skis to avoid ski injuries.

  1. 85 mm to 95mm

This type of waist weight works well with versatile trails. It can be used on deeper snow, but the person riding it needs to have good skiing skills.

It is recommended for intermediate skiers who love following both controlled and uncontrolled trails. Such skis offer more balance in comparison to those with a width under 85mm.

  1. 96 mm to 110 mm

These are recommended for people looking for mountain skis. They offer more maneuverability and balance, enabling skiers to get through slopes and hills easily.

Although they can work on flat trails, such trails are best left for people using an 85mm width. This type of weight width is recommended for the advanced or intermediate skier.

  1. Over 110mm

Skis that fall under this category are recommended for the toughest terrain. They are capable of swinging easily on heavy snow and getting through deep powder. They offer stability and balance, which is essential in rough mountains.

Determine the best ski waist width by looking at the measurement recommended for each condition. A ski width guide will usually highlight the different millimeters present such as under 85mm, 85 mm to 95mm, and over 110mm among others. The measurement you choose must align with the terrain that you plan to ski.

Terrain Type


The type of terrain you will be skiing on is also another factor to consider when selecting ski waist width. Here is how to choose the width of your ski based on terrain.

  1. All Mountain Skis

They are used to ski the mountains and can handle any snow conditions including heavy snow, groomed trails, or powder ice. All-mountain skis tend to come in different shapes and width to match the needs of the skiers. When selecting all-mountain skis, go for a waist weight that is between 80-10 mm.

  1. Big mountain skis

These are designed for high speeds. They come in different widths from wide to narrow. They will tend to be heavier, stiffer, and rocker in the tip than the tail.  Always ensure that you fasten your ski boots when skiing at a high speed.

  1. Powder Skis

They tend to be wide and most will have a waist weight of 115 mm or more. These skis are versatile and can be able to handle diverse conditions, and that’s what makes them perfect for powder skiing.

  1. Carving Skis

Carving skis have a narrower waist and short turn radii that makes it possible to achieve edge to edge quickness. A beginner can use this type of ski to learn kick turn skiing.

  1. Park And Pipe Skis

Also known as freestyle skis, park and pipe skis are used by people who love touring terrain parks. They come in narrower waists, different shapes, and rocker patterns. They tend to have extruded bases and dense butter zones.

Globo Surf Overview

Ski waist width is an essential factor to contemplate when buying a ski. Consider using a ski width guide to determine the best waist for yourself.

Remember you must be wary of various factors such as weight dimensions and the type of terrain you will be skiing on. Make sure the waist width you choose matches your terrain and if you are not sure which waist suits you, get assistance.

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!