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Parents: What do you do for kids ski gear?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Fellow parents -

I am the porud papa of what I hope will be a future skier. She's 2 1/2 right now, so not skiing yet, but I'm trying to figure out what we will do for gear. I'm looking for your suggestions of what you have done for your kids based on what it simportant to our family.

I cringe at the prices of new gear. They look a lot better than old gear but kids only use it for one season. Used is my preference if I can find stylish gear.

My spouse is particular that she wants her daughter to look good while on the slopes.

Did you buy new or used? If used, is there any good place to buy stylish used gear?

We will be checking out the ski swaps this year.


Edit: Moved to Family Skiing with permission of OP
post #2 of 34

There is a butt ton of excellent new season old and used kids ski gear on the market. Check local ski clubs for swaps and swap pages on their sites. Locally, we have several shops that do seasonal rentals. Cloths? See first sentence. :)

post #3 of 34

Get her a cheap(?) used pair of skis to stomp around the yard in at the very least.  Learning how to walk in boots and step around with skis on is 90% of the first few days for the itty bitty ones.  You can let her play at home in the yard even with no snow.   Learning how to fall, how to get up, turn around, etc..  Pus, beginner skis need not be sharp or exquisitely tuned.  But, if you want to have better gear for actual ski hill skiing that is OK.  Seasonal rentals or day rentals work depending on how many times you plan to get out.  Probem is you don't know how she will take to it or not.  My son and daughter had identical experiences for the first few seasons.  Daughter didn't enjoy it much and quit.  Son LOVES it and is now my ski buddy every chance we get.

 

Regardless, try not to force it on her.  She'll likely love it, but if she doesn't give her time to come back around again.

post #4 of 34
Thread Starter 
Mark, you and I are in the same area. Any particular clubs that you know of that have ski gear for kids?
post #5 of 34

Check web sites like Sierra Trading Post for closeouts...new clothes at great prices. As for equipment, look at a seasonal rental from a reputable shop. If you do plan to ski with her rather than in a lesson, I highly recommend the Lucky Bums Ski Trainer Harness. It has a pouch to store the lines while on the lift and a handle to help with the pick-up from the snow. This worked great with my niece, almost 5, when she was 3 and the younger one will start this winter on the harness.

post #6 of 34

Here's an idea - look into the Spyder Mini Journey suits with harness.  They're not the cheapest, but easily the best investment ever for us, we bought big and got two years out of each one.  There's a harness inside and a handle on the back, and the suit is the warmest and most waterproof suit we could find (with or without the harness).  Wet, cold kids quickly decide they want to go home, so your odds of success improve greatly with a quality suit.  The handle is absolutely wonderful for holding them up until they figure it out and for picking them up after a fall. My son skiied about 40 days in in his first Journey suit and it still looks new, so I wouldn't hesitate to buy a used one if you can find it. 

 

The other thing I wouldn't skimp on is gloves/mittens.  Cold wet hands usually make my kid want to quit for the day, and those hands are in the snow a lot.

 

You can actually save money on gear pretty easily.  A company named ROCES makes adjustable ski boots.  We paid about $100, got three years out of them.  Not one complaint of cold feet (we ski mostly in Colorado).  I've been told that skis are all pretty much the same in small sizes, performance and quality-wise, too.

post #7 of 34

Level Nine sports is good to keep an eye on. I bought my daughter skis last year for the first time because I did the math and figured out I could buy the skis for less than 8 days of renting. She'll use the skis again this year, too. I also bought her boots because I get heebed out by rental footwear. ;) Helmets and goggles really need to be tried on so I recommend watching for sales at local retailers on those.

 

I will be selling my daughter's Nordica Nordy boots as well as a Columbia jacket and bib and a GREAT REI jacket if you are interested. The boots I believe are a 14.5 (the smallest you can buy, I think.) I haven't tried them on yet this year, but I also have a darling pair of i-grow pants from Obermeyer I'll be selling at some point. PM me if interested in any of it. I'll sell the stuff for cheap!

post #8 of 34

I second the recommendation for STP, they have everything you will need from merino base layers, gloves, socks, beanies, and outerwear! Using coupons will make it much cheaper... wait for 45% coupons and buy whatever is included! That's what I would do! 

post #9 of 34

Don't cheap out on warm, comfortable clothing. As long as they are warm and comfy, they will be happy on the slopes and want to keep doing it. If they are cold, the whole thing goes down the drain real quick.

 

I don't know in your area, but several shops locally offer half-back on equipment if you buy it from them new, and trade it in at the end of the season.

post #10 of 34
post #11 of 34

Go to ski swaps and/or ask around to other parents. Especially at the really young stages, kids outgrow gear in a season, so many parents are left with unusable gear they're willing to part with for free/cheap. And if you're doing lessons, talk to the other parents and see if anyone has leftover gear sitting around in their garages. I've seen a lot of people hold onto things just because they don't know how to or can't be bothered to pass it on.

 

Skis are a pretty minor concern, you can rent or try to find a pair (cheapest you can). Remember that while they may have the topsheets of the nicer skis, they're probably going to be cap construction with a foam core and worth about $50 tops. Boots are another matter, many can be adjusted for growth and getting away from those horrible rear entry boots actually makes a noticeable difference in how quickly kids pick up skiing and how much they enjoy it. Pro-tip: get something that she likes the look of so she's excited to wear them and not focusing on how awkward or uncomfortable they are.

 

Label everything, kids love to take everything off when they come in for lessons/checkout and tend to launch belongings in a whirlwind throughout the facility. Also, it makes retrieval an assured/easy deal if the school has to dry equipment during lunch on those sopping wet days (or at least, we do in the PNWet)

 

Also, ebay.

post #12 of 34
We always did seasonal rentals, starting at the age of three. If the boots get too tight or turn out to be otherwise wrong, you just swap them mid season. We normally got just-in, unused stuff right at the beginning of the season that went into the "normal" rental pool the next season, i.e., the seasonal rentals got the new deliveries. The cost was no more expensive than constantly buying and selling used gear. Once her growth rate slowed down, around 11-ish maybe, we moved to the buying column and usually got two seasons out of it. I was lucky. She turned out short and still, at 26, fits in her sixth grade clothes.
Edited by sibhusky - 9/11/13 at 7:56pm
post #13 of 34

I've bought kids skis on eBay, but they usually arrived looking more "used" than I expected.  Lately, I've had better luck buying new-old-stock in the off-season from various places, including skis.com, levelnine.com, etc.  Don't forget ski swaps and local word-of-mouth.  A lot of people who ski have a comfortable income and don't want the hassle of trying to recoup $50 for the skis they bought for $100 last year; they'll just give them away to a good home.

 

If there will be multiple children, the economics tend to favor buying over renting.  Just make sure the colors and styles are mutually agreeable.

 

The main goal is to keep the kid warm, comfortable and happy.  If things go badly on the slopes and the gummy bears have run out, many parents would gladly pay $100 on the spot to "fix it".  My advice is to pay that extra $100 up-front to avoid problems.

post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post
 

Here is an entire thread for you: http://www.epicski.com/t/92869/money-time-saving-tips-for-parents-with-small-children-who-ski

 

Note that this thread is in Family Skiing.  There may be some other useful threads there too.

post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Skier View Post

Fellow parents -

I am the porud papa of what I hope will be a future skier. She's 2 1/2 right now, so not skiing yet, but I'm trying to figure out what we will do for gear. I'm looking for your suggestions of what you have done for your kids based on what it simportant to our family.

I cringe at the prices of new gear. They look a lot better than old gear but kids only use it for one season. Used is my preference if I can find stylish gear.

My spouse is particular that she wants her daughter to look good while on the slopes.

Did you buy new or used? If used, is there any good place to buy stylish used gear?

We will be checking out the ski swaps this year.

Does the idea of looking good extend to ski and boots too?  I was willing to buy jackets and pants on sale based somewhat on looks, but my daughter learned early on that we weren't buying boots based on color.

post #16 of 34

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
post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

We always did seasonal rentals, starting at the age of three. If the boots get too tight or turn out to be otherwise wrong, you just swap them mid season. We normally got just-in, unused stuff right at the beginning of the season that went into the "normal" rental pool the next season, i.e., the seasonal rentals got the new deliveries. The cost was no more expensive than constantly buying and selling used gear. Once her growth rate slowed down, around 11-ish maybe, we moved to the buying column and usually got two seasons out of it. I was lucky. She turned out short and still, at 26, fits in her sixth grade clothes.

 

This.

 

Rent equipment.  Once kids approach the teen years you might be able to buy skis and use them for a season or 2. With my son there were at least 3 seasons where we swapped out his boots midseason before he turned 13. With my daughter (who has been skiing for 4 years) we have swapped boots once midseason already. The skis we rent from the local shop are always tuned and in great shape. The rentals come with a whole load of local ski area coupons that end up paying for the rental.

post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post
 

+1 on all above,

 

At 2 1/2 are you expecting a whole day?   Really on equipment, most basic works and is avail as a rental if signed up for a class lesson.   if your teaching, then the harness stuff is great but as noted, it's the comfort of your child and i'd say like most formal classes, plan of regular breaks.    We've always had lots of gloves and ones that can handle warmers .. hand warmers (and boot) are great if you're planning a bit longer stay out.  one pc suits which may not be to your wife's liking were what we found to be great.  Didn't have to worry about lost heat mid body as everything is sealed.   I've seen very cute Salomon one pc suits especially for girls ..

 

If near a good store, many have trade up programs where for $100 (or so) a yr you can exchange to the needed size.  nice for those hitting slopes on a very regular basis.

post #19 of 34

Love the advice given above.  I would like to add a couple minor additions:

  • find like minded and similarly aged ski families.  The kids will be growing at different rates even if they are near the same age...then the clothes and equipment can be passed "around the neighborhood".
  • make SURE the helmet (properly fitted) is brought with the child on the goggle buying day.  it is amazing how different head/face shapes are and how much that impacts how the goggle fits with the helmet.  To echo previous entries, it of paramount importance that your daughter is warm; having the "gaper gap" above the goggle or around the nose is neither "stylish" or conducive to long days on the slopes.  The cold air on the forehead or whipping around inside the goggle is a day killer.
  • while i agree that most kids skis are all about the same...i have to say that we had great success with the Atomic Race series...my kids still talk about their love for their Atomic race 5's and race 6's.   They grew into the Race 12's before fat/phat skis lured them away.  Pretty cool topsheets and i think the construction and shape was perfect for showing the kids how to edge and employ shaped skis.  They just seemed to be born to carve and a lot of that was the skis.
  • best tip of the day....ADJUSTABLE POLES!   I bought my oldest daughter Black Diamond adjustable poles when she was nine and she used them until she was 15.   My wife stole them and now everyone is happy...including me since that is a lot of years of quality poles and no, "shit, the ski poles are too short" first days of the year.

 

good luck and don't worry about how she looks....its about having fun with Dad outdoors!

post #20 of 34

We have two kids of the same gender, so we always favored buying for their gear.  Of course take advantage of the sales prices you can get off-season.  Once they started skiing well, boots became a major expense, but a 2.5 year old is a few years out for that.  If you look for used Craigslist is your friend.  

 

Clothing: If you look for used clothing, make sure you get very good quality gear, most of the kids' stuff is cheap crap that barely lasts a season.  The Patagonia and Spyder that we tend to get for our kids have lasted amazingly well, and we are heavy users- my kids started to kill a pair of boots (and skis) in a season.  Their teams ski in most weather conditions, so its important that their gear holds.     If you buy new, get it on sale and pay attention to the technical features.  Kids fall a lot, so they will get wet in any weather (at least here in warm CA), so their clothing needs to be somewhat waterproof.  5,000 waterproof rating is not waterproof, it's a joke.10,000 is decent, but won't last a couple of years or won't take a serious storm.   

 

Gloves/Mittens:  Mittens all the way.  If you ever ski in poor weather, make sure the mittens are GoreTex- nothing kills a ski day as effectively as wet cold hands, and no matter what the labels say, only GoreTex or equivalent laminates will stand to the weather.  I think Burton makes a true Goretex kid mitten.  Its more expensive but the difference is usually less than a day's ticket for a kid.

 

One overlooked item is goggles, cheap goggles with badly sealed double lenses will fog easily and ruin the day.  Again, try to get good stuff but buy it on sale.   Good luck.  Its a ton of fun and the rewards are worth it.     

post #21 of 34

I can't recommend any shops or sites, since I live in Europe. But I do have some experience with kids' gear, have two young skiers myself:

-We rented skis by the season for both of my kids until the older one was 9. It's very economical at our hill, especially if you show up before lifts start running. You can change gear during year if kids grow or boots hurt or whatever, really like that.
-We've gotten lots of great stuff from parents of older kids: skis, gloves, goggles, helmets, whatever. Lots of time it's come to us from kids a few years older, and we've wondered whether it's worth holding onto it (we have limited space) while waiting for ours to grow. It is.
-We bought our older son his first pair of new skis this summer on a good German website: EU125 with bindings, good deal. Shop in summer, just like you would for yourself.
-I couldn't agree more with the "don't skimp on gloves" comments above (true for adults too), though it's hard to find quality gloves/mittens in small sizes. If you do find them, and they fit, buy them; consider buying two pairs, as kids are always getting their hands wet.

-If someone offers you a pair of kids' goggles, take them, even if your kid already has some. Kids are always losing or breaking or scratching goggles. 

-We use back protectors for our kids, and helmets are mandatory here. I like helmets with dial-in sizing. 
-I'm not so sold on bibs for kids, you're always taking all their crap off so they can pee. Would be even worse for a girl, I imagine.

-Kids have no idea what fits when they try it on, don't ask them, learn to do sizing yourself (I'm a gear shop veteran, so I have some experience). This is one reason I prefer renting boots, frankly. They hurt, you bring 'em back and try another pair.

-It does matter if your kid likes his gear, you want them to be excited about what they're skiing/wearing. Within reason, let them choose. 

post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
 

 

-If someone offers you a pair of kids' goggles, take them, even if your kid already has some. Kids are always losing or breaking or scratching goggles.

 

yes, i'd even recommend a second pair of goggles in addition to the gloves.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slushking View Post
 

say that we had great success with the Atomic Race series...my kids still talk about their love for their Atomic race 5's and race 6's.

 

+1 on Atomic, my daughters all loved the one set we had, the top sheet keeps em looking good

 

 

One more important pc of equipment .... Sunscreen and Lip Balm, especially some that can be carried with em and re-applied throughout the day.  Make sure you apply it well especially just under the goggles on the checks and nose!   I missed a spot only once as it was enough for me never to forget, my daughter nearly had a blister and this just along the goggle line, sun reflects well off of snow.

post #23 of 34

Chemical handwarmers are widely sold around here. I open a packet or two of these early in the morning on cold days and stick them in kids gloves before they get up. Then put them between glove liner and glove for walk to the lifts. Kids usually ski first few runs that way, hands nice and toasty. 

post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
 

Chemical handwarmers are widely sold around here. I open a packet or two of these early in the morning on cold days and stick them in kids gloves before they get up. Then put them between glove liner and glove for walk to the lifts. Kids usually ski first few runs that way, hands nice and toasty. 

+1 on this.  I buy them at discount club stores.  You can get a box of 40 or more for less than $20.  Crazy prices at the mountain or sport stores.

 

Also, I throw the glove warmer in their boots on the way to the mountain.  When they get there, they put on toasty warm boots and the hand warmers go in the gloved.  Toe warmers are good to but some times it us difficult to get them in the boots without them causing a pinch point.

 

Boot gloves too.  Some think the $30 (or whatever they cost now) is crazy for what they are, but they will keep you from wasting a $70 lift ticket because your little one has cold toes.

 

Kids aren't good at telling you what fits and will tell you it doesn't fit when they don't like the color.  On boots the way to get around this is take the insole out and have them stand on that.  Easy to see if it is too big or small.

 

For toddlers, most of the warm clothing isn't conducive to movement (remember the little brother from "A Christmas Story").  Keep that in mind when you're trying to get them to move.

 

I'm not a big fan of harnesses for teaching how to ski, but I love them for picking kids up to get them on the lift or just off the snow.  I also used to love it when one of the locals brought their 4 y/o little girl to race nastar and I was the Starter.  Since she didn't have poles, I would hold her harness handle and just let her go after the count down.  She brightened my day every time. 

 

For buying kids gear, I buy it whenever there is a good deal.  Almost always used.  I've gotten ski boots for less than $20.  I would buy got my daughter and then saved them for my grandson.  Just found out I'll be saving them for the next grand kid too :D

 

Get all the sizes you can and if they change sizes mid season, no biggy.  Little thought seems to go into the manufacturing of kids ski boots.  Fit is more to the cuff than foot.  Make sure they don't hurt and are warm.  Enough room for a toe warmer helps.  Put it on top of the toes over the sock, btw.

 

Bring lots of tissues.  Kids noses always run.

 

Have fun,

 

Ken

post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post
 

+1 on this.  I buy them at discount club stores.  You can get a box of 40 or more for less than $20.  Crazy prices at the mountain or sport stores.

 

Kids aren't good at telling you what fits and will tell you it doesn't fit when they don't like the color.  On boots the way to get around this is take the insole out and have them stand on that.  Easy to see if it is too big or small.

 

 

Get all the sizes you can and if they change sizes mid season, no biggy.  Little thought seems to go into the manufacturing of kids ski boots.  Fit is more to the cuff than foot.  Make sure they don't hurt and are warm.  Enough room for a toe warmer helps.  Put it on top of the toes over the sock, btw.

 

 

agree on all, we've got skis in 10cm increments from 60 to 160cm for my 3 girls, mittens, boots, etc .. simply means you need to make more children to get the return on investment.  :)

 

true with glove/boot warmers.   well worth it as I'll carry extras and have handed out warmers to the poor parent with a child crumbled onto the run crying of being cold ....

 

oh, on the kid melt down side, Ski patrol and mountain will always be willing to snowmobile you and child down a hill in such instances, least that was my experience with daughter.  Ski patrol said it's much more favorable to run um down verses having a bad experience.

 

Boot Gloves .. wife and eldest love em, not sure if they have em for really young kids but agree they should help.  If you get em, look for ones with foil wrap for the toes ... On can use furnace (foil) tape but the boot gloves I picked up had small cuts to let moisture pass.  (don't really know where it passes too as boots are plastic but ... maybe to allow em to dry)    oh, make sure between days to either use boot driers or tear em down and make sure liners, gloves, etc are nice and dry.

post #26 of 34

Also balaclavas. My kids wear them almost the whole season. 

post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
 

Also balaclavas. My kids wear them almost the whole season. 


+1 for balaclavas, my favorite piece of clothing for my daughter.

 

Great notes here! Last year was my daughter's first season skiing (she was 3.5), and the first couple of times we only spent an hour or so on the slopes (after packing, driving, dressing, getting lift tickets, getting to life) including the time riding the rope tow up.

 

Some of the gear (like extras of things) not as important when they are young and you're only going to be on the slope for a short time. Weather matters too. We only went up when it was a nice day (e.g. not stormy). Can't wait for this year!!!

post #28 of 34

We've done neck gators for years and just now came across a backlava that covers the head and neck and converts to just a neck gator.  Slim enough to fit comfortably under the helmet too.  Wasn't cold enough to need it last time out, but glad to have it in his boot bag ready to go for the next cold, guns blazing, ski day.

post #29 of 34

Mmmm backlava.. ;)

 

Back when I was a kid no one wore helmets and so we all had hats and some with neck gators. I do miss those days. Will I ever ski without a helmet again? Not if I'm trying to model "good behavior" for my children, and thus has been born the need for balaclava.

 

Which one are you using that converts to neck gator?

 

Do people really listen to music while they're skiing? I see headphone jacks in the helmets... I must be getting old.

post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
 

Also balaclavas. My kids wear them almost the whole season. 


Buy several and bring two or three to the hill. Kids love to chew on them or otherwise put them in their mouth, and their breath will soak through and freeze. Always a parade to the hand dryers at lunch time to try and dry them out.

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