With the advent of Rocker Technology ski sizing has become more complicated. Rocker essentially reduces the contact point of the ski / board. This means that the more rocker it has the bigger size you will need.
Rocker and the effect on size
So when trying to decide what size to get remember to factor in the rocker profile, the more rocker it has, the smaller the contact point is, the bigger size you will need.
The Armada JJ in the example below is a great example of how rocker effects the choice of ski size. The widest point of the ski is set back where the rocker starts. This gives the 195cm ski a smaller contact point (the red lines) than a 144cm Dynastar Women's piste ski (the blue lines).
Also weight is more important than height when selecting your size. You turn by bending the ski or board and following the curve that is made. Someone that is heavier will be able to bend the ski or board easier and will need a larger size to account for this. Someone very light will have the opposite problem and will need a smaller size.
For a skier (assuming you are height / weight proportionate),
- All Mountain Piste Ski’s (65 - 80mm wide in the waist) – Between chin and nose height (Your height minus 10-15cm)
- All Mountain Ski’s (80 - 95mm wide in the waist) with Rocker Tip – Between nose and eyebrows (Your Height minus 7-12cm)
- All Mountain Ski’s (80 - 95mm wide in the waist) with Rocker Tip and Tail – (Your height minus 5-10cm)
- All Mountain / Freestyle Ski’s (80 - 95mm wide in the waist) Twin Tip Ski’s – Depends on what you want to do with them, smaller is better for spins and tricks, longer is better for big jumps / powder skiing (Equal to your height or down to your height minus 15cm)
- Freeride Ski’s (95 - 110mm wide in the waist) – Length depends on Rocker Profile, the more rocker it has the longer size you will need particularly if it has a soft flex (At least equal to your height or longer)
- Backcountry Ski’s (110mm+ wide in the waist) – As long as you feel comfortable with, these are for soft snow where surface area is king!
For a snowboarder,
Calculating board size based on height is very difficult. Weight is much more important than height.
Here is a rough guide to the average snowboard length required for a given rider’s weight, but it’s a good idea to read the individual product’s specifications because every board is designed for specific functions and each model can vary greatly. Size depends on what you want to do with them and their Rocker Profile, smaller is better for spins and tricks, longer is better for big jumps / powder. More Camber is better for grip on firm snow / bigger jumps, more Rocker is easier to turn, better for "buttering" and better float in soft snow.
Rider Weight (kg) Snowboard Size (cm)
If you are not height / weight proportionate you can either go up a size if you have some extra KG’s or down a size if you are on the lighter size. If you aren’t comfortable with a longer length you can go up a performance level instead, i.e. if you are an intermediate, get an advanced model. Generally, the biggest change in performance level of is the addition of different materials to make them stiffer (if it has the same rocker profile). A heavier person will bend a ski / board more easily than a lighter person.