1) You ski on the bottoms, not the tops. Who cares what the tops look like? If your kid isn't happy, give them some stickers and coat the tops with them.
2) Most rental equipment is dreck, with bases that reflect the previous kid skiing into the blacktop of the parking lot 8 or 10 times. Sometimes you can get really, really lucky with used skis. I always did. Ebay is a great source as is Craig's List. If you can tune equipment your little Bode or Lindsey will have used skis as good as anything off the rack.
3) Models of skis don't change for toddlers and little kids, and if they do a beginning kid wouldn't notice. You can teach a beginner with straight skis as quickly as shaped skis. One of my kids found his edges early and liked the feeling of a carved turn. But then he had issues in powder. My point is that the smallest kids will figure it all out eventually regardless of the ski. Just make sure the bottoms are in good shape.
4) Some boots are good for thin feet and some are not.
5) Bindings are nothing special for the little kids, assuming they are in good condition. You can adjust them to almost any boot size with a flat head screwdriver.
6) As mentioned in the other thread, you should never have to pay more than 50% of retail for nice ski clothing. 25% is doable for used clothing. Sometimes I bought used and sold the stuff for the same amount after using it for two years. Here is a tip: Scotch Guard the ski jackets and pants before each season and then only wash them in cold water (line dried). Easy.
7) Little kids will always drop gloves and mittens, which sucks because any snow in the gloves will freeze their little fingers. Obermeyer has nifty clips coming out of the jacket sleeves that attach to the gloves. Hestra (not cheap) and others have the wrist cuffs that attach to the gloves so the kids can't drop them off the chairlift or onto the snow (you can sew your own).
8) If you are going to ski with really little kids, learn to ski with a backpack. You will need the space to hold that extra fleece layer mom put on them (but is too warm to wear) an extra pair of gloves, chap stick, snacks, water, and a camera.
9) Warm mittens will be a big issue for kids under 5 or 6. Pay up and buy something decent. The cheaper stuff is crap. I bought a flight (4 different sizes) of Hestra for cheap one summer and used them for my kids from ages 4 to 9/10.
Edited by quant2325 - 9/11/13 at 7:55pm