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How are Volkl RTM Jr skies for my 7 year old junior racer in training?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I participate in my local ski shop's (Ski Barn NJ) seasonal rental program for kids. This year they have Volkl RTM Jr skis and Nordica Fire Arrows. My son is 7, 48 inches tall and about 60 lbs. This season marks his 3rd in our local mountain's per race program. This year he gets to participate in the traing and 2 -3 races. He is pretty good for his age and carves greens and many blues. I was thinking he needs something between 110 and 120cm. How is the RTM Jr for this? I would prefer to still rent for now unless we really need to buy. Thanks.
post #2 of 10

Was reading your post and am in a similar situation: developing kid, have been at rental program at Ski Barn and am looking to upgrade.  1. why focus on the ski?  At 7 the boot is the most important.  If your son can't flex the boot the ski doesn't matter because he'll skid through his turns rather than carve.  I've seen the kids in the Campgaw development program.  Most are in equipment that is too advanced, thinking parents who don't know what they are doing and have deep pockets, and can't properly control the ski, while some are actually learning to become technically proficient. 2. Why not ask the staff at Ski Barn what size he needs?  They sell the Volkl Jr RTM.  3. Why are you focusing on 10cm?  4.  Did you buy or rent?  If buy, what did you purchase?

post #3 of 10
Well like he said ^ boots are the most important part, even for adult. But that's a known fact.

At age 7 I think the rental ski will be fine. Make sure he's having fun. Race skis can come later, in about 3 or 4 years.

Do you ever plan to put him ina race program at a big mountain like somewhere in VT ?

That's when the competition get tougher.

When my son was 9y/o and he won all the Hopeful races at Okemo except to final's he was on Dynastar G9 Jr. and wore ski pants, jacket and helmet. For the finals one of the race coachs sons came out in a GS suit, beat my son by like .010 of a second. That was the first time a hopefuls at Okemo had a GS suit, that was back around 1997.
post #4 of 10

I got my kids ski gear a couple of years ago (son was 11, daughter was 8 at the time), and I wanted boots that were flexible enough for their low weight, but supportive enough to give a snug fit with an overlap design. I wound up getting them 1-year-old Nordica GP TJ boots from a place that had an end-of-season trade-in program for juniors. This is pretty popular, good for new gear buyers, and also good for grabbing slightly used gear at a big discount. 

 

This is the boot:

 

We've had really good luck w/the boots. They are not warm, so if you're skiing in a freezing cold storm like we just did in Steamboat a couple weeks ago, prepare to get the kids into lodges for warming-up breaks a little more often than you'd like. For normal high 20's and 30's temp conditions, they are fine, just not so much if you dip down into the teens or single digit temps.

 

One suggestion to share. Kids' boots generally don't come with any significant footbed, some none at all. You may want to invest in the off-the-shelf Superfeet foam footbed (I like the green one), and that can not only help with stability of the foot inside the boot, it can also help prevent overbuckling the boot to keep the foot secure. With the foot stabilized, the buckles can be latched just snug, not tight, and the resulting better blood circulation means warmer feet. And, of course, the improvement in control and energy transmission doesn't hurt either, especially in the race course. ;-)

 

My son is on his second season with the Volkl RTM Jr, and it's been a great ski. Solid carver, pretty easy to turn, a little heavy for their size (he's on a 140), but they've been really great overall. I bought these used as well with rental/demo bindings. 

 

We've hit a few race courses, lots of ice and hard pack, powder, everything, and he's had a blast.

 

In terms of a racing ski, they appear to have a pretty aggressive sidecut and I would imagine for early racing/training for a junior, the would do well as long as you don't go too long. As I mentioned, they are not particularly light, so I'd keep them within 5cm of max recommended length. The manageable length combined with a moderate flex and easy turning should be just the ticket to get the little one learning race technique without struggling to put the power down into a hard core racing ski. Additionally, since the RTM is an all-mountain capable ski, he'll probably have a lot more fun in general when off the course as compared to running around on a true racing ski (which can be a chore depending on the snow conditions). 

 

I'm an ex-racer, and may get my son into racing a bit later. Right now, he just wants to cruise fast, jump off of things and go through the trees. I mix in a race course jaunt whenever I can, just to give him the bug. :)

post #5 of 10

A fine and poignant comment about the boots.   Simply the most important piece of equipment.  I posted in the "Ask the Boot Fitter" forum today about grinding out the back of a kids boot to increase the flexibility to both enhance and accelerate the development process.   Any thoughts?  BTW, love the low key attitude.  I've seen too many kids in equipment that is WAY beyond their skill level.

post #6 of 10

Thanks for the advice.  Was considering the Volkl RTM Jr for my daughter and based on your comments, believe that the Chica will be more that appropriate.  Question: did you make any modifications to the boots to maximize user experience for the Jr siker?

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by wallyk View Post
 

A fine and poignant comment about the boots.   Simply the most important piece of equipment.  I posted in the "Ask the Boot Fitter" forum today about grinding out the back of a kids boot to increase the flexibility to both enhance and accelerate the development process.   Any thoughts?  BTW, love the low key attitude.  I've seen too many kids in equipment that is WAY beyond their skill level.

 

Yes, being mindful of getting kids into gear that challenges their ability to have fun easily (fun/ease leads to faster learning) is definitely important to keep in mind. Unless the young one is a JO / serious and very experienced racer, going with dedicated racing gear IMO is a mistake. Versatile, sized well, flex pattern and sidecut that gets the job done decently on the race course and all over the mountain is really the most beneficial way to go for the child from what I've seen and experienced (not just with my own kids, I've taught kids and coached racers in a previous life). And, it saves you dollars, not having multiple pairs of specialized skis, always nice. You'll know when real, dedicated race skis are needed. The kiddo wants to train, talks about wanting to win a championship, maybe go after the Olympics in a few years, dreaming big, etc. If that type of conversation comes, well, you've got some spending to do. Not just on race skis, but all the goodies, gear, apparel and training that goes along with it. If you're going to go for it, pull out all the stops and see where it leads you. For now, have your child skiing for fun, learn to ski all over the mountain, get into race clinics, teams or club racing programs, and let him or her develop with a big smile, lots of versatility as a skier, not just a racer, and see if the competitive bug bites along the way.

 

In terms of grinding out boot shells in the rear to alter flexibility, I'd say that's introducing variables you may not be aware of. You could actually lead to an unexpected injury to your child, by moving the fulcrum point lower on the leg, concentrating forces in the narrower sections of the tib/fib area and ankle, and the result could be quite serious depending on the situation (jumping/landing, bumps, ruts, etc). Many boots change flex characteristics with temperature, so that's another variable to consider. If you soften the flex of the boot in 20-degree weather, what happens when temps climb above 30? My humble opinion is that engineering should be left to the engineers who design, prototype, test and refine the boots before they go into production.There are really no shortcuts, and if you take one and don't hurt someone, I'd count that as a lucky break (no pun intended). It may not be a good idea to experiment with your child's legs by altering select parts of boot shells in an uncontrolled environment with unpredictable results. If we were buddies and I knew your kids, I'd say flat out, don't do it. (Let's imagine we're buddies for now, even though we're just online buddies.) :)


Edited by Super D - 3/3/14 at 12:23pm
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by wallyk View Post
 

Thanks for the advice.  Was considering the Volkl RTM Jr for my daughter and based on your comments, believe that the Chica will be more that appropriate.  Question: did you make any modifications to the boots to maximize user experience for the Jr siker?

 

I got the Chica for my daughter, and she loves them. They are a terrific pair of skis for a developing skier. She's 10 now, been on them for 2 seasons, skis all over the mountain including intermediate-level parallel turns down steep, icy black diamond runs. No problems at all, very versatile skis just like the RTM Jr. I got her a 120 cm Chica and this is definitely the last season for her on these, they'll be too small for next year. 

 

As for boot mod's see my other missive. I'd vote a solid "no" on that. Better to get a different boot which has a more forgiving flex pattern and has been designed that way from the manufacturer.


Edited by Super D - 3/3/14 at 12:21pm
post #9 of 10

Thaks for the info about the boots and the ski.  You know I remember back about 17 years ago, YIKES!!!, when I worked in a shop and fit boots , making structural modifications to the shell was a norm.  But then so were 210 GS skis and Lange girls.  That said, the feedback about the potential risks affiliated with modifying the structural integrity of  Jr. boot.   Obviously health and safety is a primary concern for my daughter and want her to develop as rapidly as her body and mind allows.  Therefore, while she's not in high performance Jr boots, perhaps allowing for the natural development to occur is the best path.  Can always take the extra time to find the correct boot.

 

Also appreciate the advice about inserting a footbed into the boot.  How could I forget?  Such an easy yet effective solution.    

 

Also thanks for comments about the Chica vs. the RTM.  It seems more appropriate to have her in a lighter weight ski that she can continue to learn to flex and enjoy.  Clearly the Chica can accomplish this.  Plenty of time for higher performance gear.  No rush at all.  On Sunday I was standing on the side of the trail when she came flying by at a speed that seemed surreal.  She was just flying along and having a good old time.  Similar to the experiences you seem to having with your son and daughter, the objective is to have her enjoying the outdoors and learn/appreciate a new sport.     

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by wallyk View Post
 

Thaks for the info about the boots and the ski.  You know I remember back about 17 years ago, YIKES!!!, when I worked in a shop and fit boots , making structural modifications to the shell was a norm.  ...

 

...On Sunday I was standing on the side of the trail when she came flying by at a speed that seemed surreal.  She was just flying along and having a good old time.  Similar to the experiences you seem to having with your son and daughter, the objective is to have her enjoying the outdoors and learn/appreciate a new sport.     

 

Yep, I made structural mod's to boots as well, several years worked as a boot fitter. But the mod's were always focused on fit, not flex mechanics. That said, there are flex adjustments in many boots, mine included (Head boot with removable bolts in rear upper cuff). The thing is, those flex adjustments are engineered into the boot, and smart cookies as we may be, we don't have the gear to properly engineer that into boots ourselves, test them properly, and determine if we've created a solid solution. We might experiment and net a good result, we might break someone's leg, or our own. I prefer not to gamble with engineering. Perhaps because I'm the son of an aerospace engineer. :)

 

Yes, healthy approach! Enjoying the outdoors and snow sport, great goals for the kids. And, when they can get some racing time in, who knows, they might love it. It definitely forces one to tighten up carving technique, plus the rush of speed on a course is just fantastically smile producing. I'm going to get my kids into race clinics next year, but won't push them to get serious about racing. If they love it, they'll tell me. And then, I'll crap my pants, because I have no idea how I can financially support them in more sports than they participate in now! :D

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