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Is there a difference between skis for young kids?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I tried a search and didn't really find anything on this topic.  If there is material, please point me to it.

 

For my daughter's first set of real skis (80 cm Volkl RTMs) there were limited options, so I just picked up what was available at a good price in the local shop.

 

These served her well, but are starting to get too short for her.  They are not hindering her development or her fun, so I'm looking to figure out what to get her for next season.  

 

There are a lot more options to work with in the larger sizes, my first question is are there real differences between the skis at this point, or is it really just top skin graphics?  If there are differences, what would you recommend for east coast skiing.

 

My second question is, what length should I get?  I have heard some suggestions that the tips should be about chin height, while the instructors that she has had that I asked suggested tips between her nose and forehead.  I would like to have her on the ski for two seasons, so I expect that by the end of the second season the skis will probably be too short, and I'm ok with that.

post #2 of 7

In my recent experience with 4 small kids now 11 - 4yrs old, the small skis are pretty much all the same.  "Squirt" skis which means foam core, very simple construction, inexpensive.  If she was on 80cm skis I'm guessing shes ~5yrs old +/- a year.  At this age & physical development I don't think the skis will really make a difference.  It's not until I saw my kids really driving their skis that I would look to upgrade the quality...and price.  I have my oldest on a pair of 138cm Gotama Jrs & he does pretty well in a variety of conditions including off piste.  One thing that I made sure of was to keep their edges as sharp as mine.  I ask them to keep pushing for higher edge angles, but that ski must hold for them to trust it.  If not, they'll regress in to skidded turns as it feels safe & predictable.  Soft, easy to turn, holds an edge are key when starting out.  You'll see when they're ready for a more serious ski.  It's pretty obvious if you ski with them.

 

As for length, I felt that a little short was better than a little long in the first few years.  Once they get a little weight, muscle & better dynamic balance, I could push the length.  I also have the benefit of a kid's ski quiver so I can let them experiment with size if I think they're in between.  Except the oldest....he gets to be the guinea pig for the experiments.

post #3 of 7

I don't have much to add to this thread, but many experts believe weight has more to do with ski length than height.

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by hrspear View Post
 

I tried a search and didn't really find anything on this topic.  If there is material, please point me to it.

 

For my daughter's first set of real skis (80 cm Volkl RTMs) there were limited options, so I just picked up what was available at a good price in the local shop.

 

These served her well, but are starting to get too short for her.  They are not hindering her development or her fun, so I'm looking to figure out what to get her for next season.  

 

There are a lot more options to work with in the larger sizes, my first question is are there real differences between the skis at this point, or is it really just top skin graphics?  If there are differences, what would you recommend for east coast skiing.

 

My second question is, what length should I get?  I have heard some suggestions that the tips should be about chin height, while the instructors that she has had that I asked suggested tips between her nose and forehead.  I would like to have her on the ski for two seasons, so I expect that by the end of the second season the skis will probably be too short, and I'm ok with that.


After my daughter was essentially an intermediate (skiing blacks in the Mid-Atlantic at age 7) I got her skis that were forehead height.  She used them for 2-3 seasons before I made another jump.  She never had a problem with new skis or older skis that were relatively short (chin height) for her ability.  She was petite so there was little choice.  We weren't skiing that much so I didn't worry about brand/model, just length.  I also made it clear that if she didn't like the graphics, that was tough.

post #5 of 7

I'll second the idea that too short is better than too long.  The main reasons to go longer are for stability at speed and float in powder.  Neither of these apply to most little kids.  The down sides are that long skis are harder to control and can cause more injury in a crash.

 

In my shopping experience, there have been many choices of skis, not all of them great.  While small skis may not be available with wood cores (probably for good reasons), a variety of rocker/camber profiles and single/twin tip designs are available.  My personal opinion is to avoid rocker until the kid has figured out how to ski the traditional shape in the proper way.

 

Is your daughter light, average or heavy for her height/age?  There are more and less stiff models out there.  My kids are quite light.  We did OK with the Blizzard Viva Jr. line, which was stiff for them.

 

Once you get up beyond 120cm or so, there are more choices of width and shape.  Where you are now, get something that doesn't break the bank and looks pretty.

 

Check out evo.com, skis.com, levelninesports.com, powder7.com, etc. and take notes.  Try to read between the lines to figure out what's a noodle and what has more stiffness.  Try to figure out which are park skis.

 

Is she using poles yet?  I've had good luck with the junior adjustable model from Goode.  It pays for itself as long as it doesn't get lost or stolen.

post #6 of 7

I'd third that ...

 

with 3 kids having learned, one at just about 4'-6" and light just started skiing something more "standard" length at 110cm last yr (she ~4' -2") and this yr hoping she does the 120cm but will likely start with the 110s. She insisted on skiing ones that were nearly shoulder short ... as they were prettier. She did fine and being short she had fewer issues in some bumps. I figure why care less it impedes her plus they were lighter. 

 

Boots is where I struggle with her, she finally accepted a bit more snug fit verses wanting loose. trick was getting the instructor to state this.

post #7 of 7

I had my kids in the Dalbello Gaia boots until my older daughter asked for snugger boots (halleluja).  Now they're using the Lange Starlett series.  A little hard to get on, but no other issues.  They're wearing Eurosock Ski Supreme Junior with them.

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