The hardest part about virtually shopping or renting snow gear is figuring out what size to get. Never fear, the snow experts from our snow departments are here to help you find your size.
SKI & SNOWBOARD SIZING
Ski technology has changed a ton in the past few years, and as such so have the norms for sizing skis. They're generally lighter and more nuanced than the narrow, pointed Titanic-scavenged planks I learned with on the Beast Coast.
With that, sizing isn't super cut and dry but generally for adults new to skiing we place one end of the ski on the floor by their feet and measure to around their chin. For more experienced skiers, we recommend a longer ski, measured to the nose or forehead for length, kindly nodding away your dad's pleas to measure an armslength above your head.
For children learning to ski, we might measure even shorter - somewhere between their chest and chin.
Remember, skis come in incremental sizes. If you're in between two of them, measure down for beginners and up for more advanced skiers.
Snowboarders are people, too! Sizing boards is similar to sizing skis but with more of an emphasis on the weight, as well as the height, of the rider.
For adults new to snowboarding we place one end of the board on the floor by their feet and measure to around their chin. For more experienced riders, we recommend a longer board, measured to the nose or even forehead for length. As I said before, more consideration should be placed on the weight of the rider for board selection. I.e., the heavier or more aggressive the rider, the bigger the board they will need.
For children learning to snowboard, we might measure even shorter - somewhere between their chest and chin.
Remember, boards come in incremental sizes. If you're in between two of them, measure down for beginners and up for more advanced snowboarders.
SKI & SNOWBOARD BOOT SIZING
If this is your first time skiing or you’re not used to the boots quite yet, you might want to choose a boot that is slightly longer than your Mondo size. By slightly we really only mean half to one size up. If your boots are too big they can also cause pain from foot cramps and loss of circulation when people try to compensate by ratcheting down on their shin buckles. Remember that while you’re breaking them in, the liner will compact down so you’re still looking for a snug fit even if you’re going slightly larger than your Mondopoint size.
If you’re a seasoned skier, you know that a tighter fit for your boot is key for responsive skiing and riding. If you’re in between two sizes, you may prefer the smaller size for more control. This’ll give you a tighter, locked-in feel that will help you progress your skills faster.
Helmets are the most important part of your kit and they're (thankfully) very easy to fit! At home, use a measuring tape to measure the circumference of your head (we're using centimeters below). Then choose a helmet based on the size guide below:
When you try on your helmet, make sure that it fits snugly (whether or not it's strapped to your chin). Most helmets have a bit of wiggle room for you to adjust it by spinning a dial or BOA on the back of the helmet. If when there's a lot of movement when you shake your head or if you can move it around a lot while it's on your head, it's too large. If you feel like it's slipping up or there are pain points it's likely too small! You want it to sit snugly and not be able to slide around at all.
SNOW PANT SIZING
As far as apparel goes, your pants are the most important part of your outfit that needs to be comfortable. Nothing's worse than feeling like your pants are cutting off your circulation at the waist or like they're about to expose your heart-patterned boxers baselayers.
While most ski pants run true to size, you might want to size up if you tend to be wider around the waist, or size down if you're narrower around your waist. You want a snug fit so they don't feel like they're slipping but not so tight that they're squeezing you - waterproof pants aren't exactly known for their stretch. If you're in between sizes we recommend sizing up and adding a belt to secure them. Our Columbia, The North Face, and Arc'teryx ski pants all come with belt-loops so you can always add a belt. They cinch around the ankle so you can pull them over your ski, snowboard, or snow boots to keep out snow.
The next part of your ski pants to look at is the length. Most pants (including our rental ski pants) come in three lengths: short, regular, and long. That refers to the inseam length (like how denim is often sized) and range an inch or two depending on the size. They usually fall in the following ranges:
Since pant sizing and lengths do run differently based on manufacturer, we recommend checking out the vendor's specific size-charts for accurate measurements. If you find you're in between sizes, we generally recommend sizing up in the waist
and adding a belt and sizing down in the length
to prevent your pants from dragging on the floor.
SNOW JACKET SIZING
The good news about snow jackets is that they all run pretty true to size and they're easier to adjust into a good fit. Most jackets have velcro on the sleeves that'll allow you to adjust at the wrist to make baggy sleeves a bit more snow-proof. They should be snug enough to keep you warm with out too many layers but roomy enough to add in a mid-layer (or two if you run cold).
Since jacket sizing does run differently based on manufacturer, we recommend checking out the vendor's specific size-charts for accurate measurements. If you find you're in between sizes, we generally recommend sizing up so you have room for a midlayer if needed (and for added steez).
BASELAYERS, SOCKS, & ACCESSORIES
Don't forget to get the right fit for your baselayers, socks, & gloves! The last thing you want to deal with is a sock slipping into your boot or gloves that won't let you bend your fingers enough to grip your ski poles.
Baselayers should fit snugly, almost like a second skin. They're usually true to size and we recommend wearing what your underwear sizing usually is!
There is a way to measure hands for glove sizing! Measure the circumference around the widest part of your palm, and the length from the heel of your hand to the tip of your middle finger.
The fabric between your fingers should slot in there against your skin, so you don't feel like a frog with little webs in between. You can either pull your sleeve over your glove and velcro at the wrist or vice versa, glove over sleeve to keep snow out (I personally prefer the second). P.S. Gloves are better for dexterity, mittens are warmer, generally.