Ski Waist Width | Perfect Size For Enjoyable Skiing

When trying to figure out the perfect ski waist width for you, remember that you’re selecting based on the conditions you’ll be facing out on the slopes, not the dream scenarios you might wish for (those are reserved for powder skiing, of course).

I’ve come across people who swear by their 77mm skis even in powder, and then there are those adventurous souls cruising with 120mm underfoot as their everyday choice. It’s quite the spectrum. The rule of thumb is this: as you widen the ski, you enhance its ability to glide atop powder, but this might mean slightly more deliberate performance when transitioning through turns on compacted snow. Further, it can be related to the layout of snow bags in terms of the utility of bags that may help in skiing.

Let’s discuss this in detail.

Ski waist width

Ski Waist Width
Ski Waist Width

When we talk about the width, also known as the waist or underfoot size, of a ski, we’re referring to the measurement from edge to edge right at the midpoint. This waist is usually the ski’s most slender section. It’s the second most critical measurement to consider—right after ski length—when selecting the perfect ski.

What does waist width mean on skis?

How to measure ski waist width? Ski waist width is the measurement of how wide your ski is at a specific point. Imagine the “waist” of the ski as the slender segment near the bindings, where your foot finds its place.

This measurement is usually expressed in millimeters and can vary quite a bit depending on the different brands and types of skis you encounter. Generally, ski waist width spans the range of approximately 60 to 110 mm.

Different types of Skiing Style with Ski Waist Width

All-mountain (carving) – Under 90 mm

For those who crave the thrill of cruising down groomed slopes and sticking to the mountain’s front side, all-mountain (carving) or specialized carving skis are your go-to. These skis, designed for versatile on-piste performance, generally boast a waist under 90 mm. This width is a sweet spot for well-kept runs.

All-mountain wide – 90 to 99 mm

Ski Waist Width
Ski Waist Width

Now, let’s talk about all-mountain wides. These skis, a step broader than the traditional all-mountain variety, usually measure around 90-99 mm in width. Skiers opting for all-mountain wide are often high intermediate to expert level, ready to charge down slopes and carve sweeping arcs. That additional width provides the buoyancy they crave in powder and the power to master the turns. Skis in this range are tailor-made for adaptable skiers who savor versatility.

Park–85mm to 100mm

If your playground is a terrain park, then a narrow ski is your ticket. A classic park ski usually measures a waist ranging from 85mm to 95mm.

Why go narrow? That means heightened responsiveness on rails and when catching air off jumps. Park skis tend to be lightweight, so coupling that slim waist with minimal heft can translate to smoother trick execution.

 However, park skis that edge slightly wider offer more versatility, and some park enthusiasts even prefer them for the extra landing stability they provide.

Backcountry– 80mm to 120mm

Now, when it comes to the wild backcountry, the width is diverse. Backcountry skis typically measure from 80mm to 120mm in waist width. Why the broad spectrum? Well, the backcountry is an open canvas of terrain options. A narrow waist suits more complex snow conditions like a charm, while a broader ski thrives in the untouched powdery goodness of the backcountry.

Powder–110mm to 130

Powder skis, boasting widths over 110mm and sometimes even beyond 130mm, step up to the plate. These skis often have rocker, and some even sport zero or reverse camber, akin to water skis. Primarily made for powder, these skis have come a long way in terms of versatility. While they might not excel on hard snow, they’re not as helpless in challenging conditions as they once were. They’ll do the job until the next snowfall comes around.

What size ski waist do I need?- Ski waist width chart

Ski Waist Width
Ski Waist Width
Waist Width Range (mm)Recommended Skiing Style
Under 80On-Trail Skiing
Under 90All mountain (carving)
90-100All-Mountain wide
110 to 130Powder Skiing

Ski waist width for beginners

For beginners taking their first steps on the slopes, narrow skis are the name of the game. Optimal beginner skis usually fall within the 70mm to 80mm range in width. This slender waistline grants them agility and a swiffer response in turns.

Now, wider skis bring a “smeary” feel and require more finesse for pinpoint turns. The specific beginner range can fluctuate, influenced by factors like the skier’s size. 

What material is the ski base?

Flip the ski over, and you’ll encounter the base, usually crafted from polyethylene plastic, called P-Tex. Notice the base material is often accompanied by a number – that’s a way of indicating the plastic’s molecular weight.


The go-to measurement for ski width is usually at the ski’s waist, right under your foot. It’s often the skinniest part of the ski. This width is measured in millimeters (mm). Skis with a waist width under 95 mm are designed for on-piste skiing.

A ski’s width, also known as the waist or underfoot size, is just the measurement from one edge to the other right at the midpoint. The waist tends to be the slimmest part of the ski. After ski length, it’s the second most crucial measurement to consider when choosing your ideal ski.

The appropriate ski width for beginners depends on various factors, including the skier’s skill level and preferred skiing style.

Narrower skis (usually around 70mm to 80mm underfoot) can be advantageous for beginners because they are generally more responsive and easier to maneuver, especially on groomed runs.

Ski Waist Width
Ski Waist Width


The right ski waist width is your partner in adventure. If you love smooth slopes, pick skis under 90mm wide. For freestyling in the park, 85-100mm is cool. Exploring all terrains? 90-99 mm is your buddy. Backcountry adventurers, 80-120mm adapted. Powder enthusiasts, 110mm or wider will float your boat. For beginners, go for 70-80mm for easy moves. Ski waist width is your skiing key, so choose wisely to glide through the snow in your perfect style.

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