Sizing Cross Country Skis

Cross country skis come in two basic size systems for classical style, traditional (or modified traditional) or compact. Skate skis are sized in a completely different way.

In traditional sizing a classical ski should be 110-120 % of your height, with an average around 115%. In other words, a skier about 5'8" will have a ski about 200 centimeters long for the best mix of glide length and striding. This relates mostly to leg length, so skiers with longer or shorter leg length for their height can adjust to one end or the other of the size range. A traditional back-country ski (seldom used anymore) should stick to the short end of the range.

Compact classical skis, only suited to touring and back-country use, usually come in small, medium and large sizes generally around 160, 175, and 190 centimeters. Select them based only on body weight. Width varies depending on where you will ski with them.

Skating skis are generally 106-110% of height. Skiers over six feet in height will end up below 106% just because most companies don't offer skating skis above 197 cm. This could change, but the companies are trying to simplify their lines. Really short skiers have to deal with skis above their optimal length or shop around to find a line that offers something in their range. Since sizing relates mostly to leg length, don't get too hung up on height.