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Short Jr. Race skis

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Short Jr. Race skis

Postby Annmarief » Sat Aug 01, 2009 7:38 am

Any suggestions/opinions for Jr. Race skis in a 120 cm length? I am not finding much. Only Atomic & Elan. I would prefer a GS ski to a S for her. She is light weight, but very strong for her size and age. She will only be 6 this season and it will be her second year club racing.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Short Jr. Race skis

Postby EMSC » Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:37 am

Sorry, didn't notice this post till now.

At 6yrs old don't focus so much on having to have race level skis. Despite being aggressive, the vast majority of 6 yr olds (basically all) can't flex race skis of any length. You should be able to go with nearly any shaped kids ski for at least one more year (except beginner/learning models). Even if coach says otherwise. Much better to learn faster on the hill while having fun than to have the 'right' gear. There are other brand options out there for kids. I know Stockli used to have some of the best young kids race level skis just a year or two ago (much softer flex than most of the 'major' brands). Not sure they would be available in your area though. Oh, and always a GS ski at that age (if you go with race skis).

Focus much, much more on the boots. Basically all 6yr old 'race' boots are ridiculously too stiff and put the shins/legs into the wrong position and don't allow the kids to flex at all. If you do go the race boot route be prepared to have work done on them to soften them up so they can flex.
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Re: Short Jr. Race skis

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:43 am

JSpin needs to weigh in here, as he has the strongest skiing 6-year-old that we know.

Adam first showed advanced skills at the very end of his 6-year-old season. I agree with ESMC's comments. Adam did not have a problem of "overpowering" basic kids' equipment until age 9. Ski length was 120cm age 7, 140cm age 8. The 150cm 7SKjr skis came in the middle of the 9-year-old-season. The first high-end boots should have been that season, but not until the next summer. I wasn't so keen on spending $300 in 1994 for boots that would last 1-2 seasons until absolutely necessary. Adam was small for his age, only 65 pounds at age 10. And the emphasis was on freeskiing, not racing, though he would "collect' a couple of NASTAR golds each season age 7-9.
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Re: Short Jr. Race skis

Postby Annmarief » Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:57 pm

Thanks for the advice. I will look on-line for stockli's. I don't think anyone around here carries them. If that doesn't work, any suggestions for a really good Jr. ski? Again, she is small (48 pounds), but strong and still growing pretty fast.

As far as her ski ability, she is almost never in the backseat, and gets on her edges well for her age. Sometimes, she drops her inside shoulder....but, she was only in Kindergarden... She loves to ski and race. I don't know if she would be a racer if we lived in the mountains, the trees and bumps are her favorite. But, the terrain around here is much more limited. Their enjoyment of Nastar in the afternoons is what led them into Club Racing. They still enjoy Nastar also :-D

I would enjoy hearing Jspin's suggestions also. It sounds like his son may be a similar to my girls. My almost 10 year old TRIES to keep her weight up to 60 pounds. After skiing on 120's for 2 years, she is moving to 130 GS Rossignol's this year (I was told they would flex more than some of the others). I have kept her in a non-race boot because of the stiffness issue you discussed. So far, my younger daughter has been able to use her big sister's or big brother's boots. However, their skis get pretty beat up.

Although I can hold my own on skis, I have never raced a gate in my life. Any suggestions to a non-racer/non-coach mom, would be terrific. So far, I have learned to listen and ask a lot of questions.

Thanks!
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Re: Short Jr. Race skis

Postby J.Spin » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:49 am

Tony Crocker wrote:JSpin needs to weigh in here...

Unfortunately I may not be of much help on this one, since I think we may be coming from a different perspective with regard to gear at this point. For Ty and Dylan, we have dealt with the gear fairly simply so far (actually, extremely simply for Dylan in that as he is roughly two years younger than Ty, the gear he gets is what Ty skied on for the previous two seasons). Also, we’re not part of any race community, so we haven’t had any real interaction with coaches or folks that know about high-performance kids gear. I wasn’t even aware that there was much in the way of advanced/expert-oriented gear for kids at this age. However, based on Tony’s comments, it does sound like Ty is doing the same sort of skiing as Adam (“free skiing”) so I’ll provide some comments on how things have gone for us and it may be helpful for parents of kids that aren’t following the “ski racing track” at this point.

We’ve only had four pairs of skis between the boys so far, and for the first two pairs (KiD-SKi skis for seasons 1 & 2, 76 cm K2 Omni Jr. for seasons 3 & 4) there really weren’t too many options in a practical sense. Two years ago, when we were getting our third pair of kid’s skis for Ty (which wound up being for seasons 5 & 6 as we’d anticipated) we found that it was the first time we really had any options. The first thing we focus on is length. The general rule that we hear for sizing kid’s skis is to go with a length between the chin and nose, and since we hope to use them for a couple of seasons, we go with whatever 10 cm interval is near the nose height, erring on the high side so we’re still at a reasonable length at the end of the second season. So, two years ago, Ty’s nose was right around the 90 cm mark, and that made choosing the size pretty easy. At the first swap of the season, there were dozens of pairs of used/new skis (most mounted with bindings) available in that size range, so all we had to do was choose which pair we liked best. This is where our choice of skis might differ from folks who are into racing. Since I sought out skis that looked like they would be able to handle powder and crud well, I focused on the wider skis, although I still wanted something with plenty of side cut so that carving would be fairly easy on groomed runs. There was one pair of skis in that size range that really caught our attention (at least relative to the other available options). Based on the width and side cut, it looked like a good all-mountain ski for the typical conditions we find, and Ty was happy with the color and all that, so we got it. I never even looked up the specifics about the ski until now, but here’s what it is (I found a link describing it a bit):

Dynamic VR17 90 cm 100.0/64.5/83.5, 5.5 m radius

Anyway, they have served Ty well as far as we can tell. Last year, Ty was finally big enough for Garmont’s smallest Telemark boots, so we had to find him a pair of skis to mount with Telemark bindings. We decided to bump up to 100 cm, since he was ready for that length based on the usual rule and the skis were hopefully going to go two years again (seasons 6 and 7). It was actually somewhat tough to find un-mounted kids skis around here that I could actually hold in my hand and inspect, but ultimately I found two options at the Alpine Shop, one of our local stores. Of the two we found in the 100 cm size range, one clearly had a narrower waist and a built in rise/riser that gave it more the look of a racing ski. The other was this one, which we purchased:

Rossignol Radical X1 100 cm 98.0/66.0/85.0 7.0 m radius

It seemed more in the vein of what we were looking for based on width and side cut. As I look at the descriptions, both the Dynamic and the Atomic X1s that we’ve bought are for “beginner/intermediate” skiers, although I’m not sure that matters much at this level. If these are softer and easier to flex, that’s great, and I doubt Ty or Dylan will be overpowering any skis for quite a while. Both pairs of skis that we’ve bought for the kids seem to have similar dimensions, and have worked well enough for our snow conditions, so we’re happy with that. The boys aren’t skiing at high speeds on icy terrain, so they only need so much performance in that area as far as I’m concerned. We generally ask Ty about racing a few times during the ski season, but thus far he’s had no interest, and we don’t have any interest in going there unless he wants to. I think it builds great skiers, but it’s a big time commitment and potentially a lot of time away from the skiing we’d rather be doing.

With this thread sparking our interest, E and I just measured the boys’ heights in anticipation of ski swap season approaching along with the need for Ty to get new skis. As expected in the two-year cycle we’ve seen so far, Ty is ready for new skis. His chin is now at 96.5 cm, which is higher than his 90 cm Dynamics. His nose is now at 104 cm, so I suspect we’ll be checking out 110 cm skis for him. I don’t anticipate he’ll have any trouble with that length based on his abilities, and they may allow another two-year cycle. Dylan’s nose is now at 89 cm, so in theory he should be set to move on to the 90 cm Dynamics. Interestingly, Ty was really sent for a loop when he first went to the 90 cm skis from the 76 cm ones back in 2007. He couldn’t turn them well immediately, and got frustrated. Granted that was back in early November, out on a day of early-season un-groomed snow, but it will be interesting to see what Dylan does with them when he first starts. Ty quickly got control of those skis after that first outing, so I don’t think Dylan will have too much trouble.

In terms of boots, we’ve generally gone with what is available, which was just a Dalbello CX1 single buckle, rear-entry style boot for the first set of K2s. When we bought the Dynamics, there were a lot more options in that size range, and we were able to get Ty a much more substantial-looking (two-buckle for his size range) boot in the Tecnica RJ series. The Tecnicas certainly seem like a step up in performance from the first pair, in that they can be adjusted more with the multiple buckles and seem a bit stiffer.

I’m excited to see what options are out there for Ty this season in terms of both boots and skis. The bigger he gets, the more options there seem to be. Our first large-scale opportunity to check out gear will be in a couple of weeks (September 4th-7th) when Bolton Valley will be sponsoring a big ski/snowboard sale. It’s not a swap, but they are supposedly going to have lots of closeouts and kids stuff, so we will certainly check it out because we get an extra discount as season’s pass holders. At some point we may not be able to continue getting two years per child out of each set of skis if they have a growth spurt, but with the way things are going we don’t shy away from getting brand new equipment because we’re getting four years out of it. So if we see something at the upcoming sale that looks like it’s what we want, we’ll probably get it even before going to the swaps. I’ll certainly talk to the reps at the sale about what skis/boots will be good for Ty, but short of their advice tuning me in to other important things to consider, I’ll be getting skis based on the type of skiing that we usually do (soft/chopped/powder snow/side country) and focusing on the following three main criteria:

1) length
2) side cut
3) width

I wonder at what point (if ever) all the great new ski attributes like rocker/reverse camber/early rise/reverse side cut etc. are going to start making their way into kids skis, because while I wouldn’t get Ty and Dylan powder skiing-based skis for the main one in their quiver, I would definitely consider getting them powder skis with those features as an additional set if they started to become available for kids. I can’t wait to demo some of those features myself and see how they work.

Personally, I’ve generally gone with the higher-end skis for my equipment, since I haven’t wanted to worry about durability or the ski performing as needed, but I find (at least perhaps outside of hard-core racing) that performance is far more about the skier and time on snow than the gear. Adapting to the ski thrown on your feet and taking the time to make it work is often an excellent learning experience of its own that can be better than tons of drills - you are constantly being drilled to make the ski work the way you want it to, so you can’t slack off with regard to technique. With that said, I’m still going to shoot for the most appropriate high-performance gear for the boys, but I just don’t worry about it as much in powder and soft snow because the tolerances are a lot bigger than if they were on the race course.

-J
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Re: Short Jr. Race skis

Postby EMSC » Sun Aug 23, 2009 5:35 pm

Any suggestions to a non-racer/non-coach mom, would be terrific. So far, I have learned to listen and ask a lot of questions.


Exactly the way to go - ask lots of questions. Basic rule is to keep it fun for as long as possible for the athlete instead of focusing on all the equipment (in front of the athlete anyway). Having coached & run racing programs for a long time with many athletes (>100/yr) I can tell you it's rarely about high end gear - especially at the young ages. More like minimum requirements for gear (right length, can flex ski and shaped skis). I always get to watch certain brands be considered the 'cool' or right ones among parents and even kids sometimes which is too bad. A lot of good stuff tends to get overlooked that way and parents are always surprised to learn that the 'cool' brand is totally different in different areas of the country.

Anyway, attention to Boots, boots, boots is number 1 rule (lots of fit and function details if you want). I'm going to revise Jspins ski length suggestion a bit for racing - ideal ski length through about J4 is mid forehead for a GS ski (as opposed to the chin to nose rule for freeski). I stopped every-weekend coaching 2 years ago so I am a bit out of the loop on the past couple years specifics for currently good gear at the 6yr old level, but will talk to the new program director sometime this week and see what he says (he has 3 kids in the 4-8 year old range, 'older' two 2 in racing).
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Re: Short Jr. Race skis

Postby EMSC » Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:37 pm

So after talking to my friend; in addition to the Stockli, Fischer has a kids level RC4 out that is good and Rossi has a good entry multi-event kids ski, the RSX. He says there are a couple others but couldn't name them off the top of his head.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Short Jr. Race skis

Postby Annmarief » Thu Aug 27, 2009 5:20 am

Thank you to everyone who responded. I will keep my eyes open for some fun skis for her!
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Re: Short Jr. Race skis

Postby J.Spin » Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:42 pm

J.Spin wrote:I’m excited to see what options are out there for Ty this season in terms of both boots and skis. The bigger he gets, the more options there seem to be. Our first large-scale opportunity to check out gear will be in a couple of weeks (September 4th-7th) when Bolton Valley will be sponsoring a big ski/snowboard sale. It’s not a swap, but they are supposedly going to have lots of closeouts and kids stuff, so we will certainly check it out because we get an extra discount as season’s pass holders.

Unfortunately this still isn't about junior race skis, but it is about kid’s skis and a follow up to the text above, so I figured I would add some additional information. As I was hoping, there are more options in ski type now that Ty is on skis above 100 cm in length, and we found quite a selection when we visited the big Bolton Valley ski sale this evening. There were various kids’ models from many of the major brands like K2, Dynastar, Rossignol, etc., with most of the kids stuff appearing similar in ski width dimensions to the two pairs that Ty is currently using:

Dynamic VR17 90 cm 100.0/64.5/83.5, 5.5 m radius (alpine mount)
Rossignol Radical X1 100 cm 98.0/66.0/85.0 7.0 m radius (Telemark mount)

with waists in the mid 60 cm range. But, they also had a couple different versions (2008, 2009) of the Dynastar Team Trouble, which is a twin tip model with a notable increase in width (for the 105 cm model the dimensions appear to be 111/76/105, 6 m radius) over the typical skis in this size range. It's hard to tell exactly what the widths are for the various lengths off the web, since some websites have the waist as high as 80 mm, but there appeared to be roughly a cm difference when I compared one of the Team Troubles to some of the more traditional-width skis at the sale. While we were shooting for 110 cm length, the sizing on the Team Trouble is 105, 115, etc. The 105 cm seemed the best bet, as 115 cm is getting right around Ty's full height, and that would probably be pushing it on the length. Anyway, it looks like the Team Trouble will be a decent fit for Ty. I've read some great comments about it, usually starting with the park, but mentioning how it’s an all mountain ski useful for off piste, trees, backcountry, etc. Ty is only into the park a little, but he does enjoy riding switch, and the off piste attributes should be a perfect fit for his skiing. The plan is for this to be Ty's more powder-biased ski, and then at the upcoming swamps in the next few weeks we'll still probably pick up a more traditional-width ski in the 110 cm range that would be biased toward on piste skiing (supposedly twin tips aren't quite as good as flat tails for really carving). It would have been nice to get something in the fat/off-piste vein at a swap, but from experience I know that it's tough to find the more specialty kids skis there, and coupled with trying to get the correct length, I suspect it would be a tough endeavor. But, we'll get an idea if anything's available in that category when we make the rounds this season. Ty does know about the rooster tail effect of twin tip skis in powder, and E was amazed as he was explaining it to her this evening (she didn't even know about it). I think Ty learned a lot about it when we listened to a group of kids discussing the topic at Stowe. We also picked up some new alpine boots for Ty - there was the option between 2-buckle, or stiffer 4-buckle DalBellos in his size range. I really liked the ability to control fit with the 4-buckle, but Ty really couldn't flex them like the 2-buckle, so both E and I and the technician we worked with felt that the softer boot was the way to go. Hopefully he’ll have a lot of fun on the setup, I’m excited to see how the new skis work for Ty in powder.

-J
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