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Skis for High School Race Team

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

My son is going to try racing on his High School race team this year.  He is a strong advanced skier and skis in the Midwest and in the West on vacations.  Likes to go fast and hard but has never raced.  He is looking for a challenge here in the Midwest given our lack of decent vertical.   He is 5'10 and weighs 140 lbs.  Given that our family is new to racing I am trying to determine which skis would be a good fit for him.  It is my understanding at his High School level in the Midwest they typically only use one pair of skis for both SL and GS, unless they are also on a club team. 

 

Needless to say we are trying to keep the costs as reasonable as can be expected at this point.  Since he is not on a club team it appears that he does not have to follow FIS or USSA regulations as far as proper length and other dimensions.

 

My local ski shop suggested the following skis for a high school racer.  They suggested a length of 155, 160 or 162. 

 

Does anyone have any thoughts regarding the following skis?

 

Dynastar CR 72

Salomon xPro

Salomon xMax

Nordica Fire Arrow 76 Ti

Blizzard RC Ti

 

Thanks much.

post #2 of 10

Paging @ScotsSkier to the white courtesy phone.

post #3 of 10

@Muleski might have something as well..

post #4 of 10

I don't have any skis that would fit the bill, right now. Sorry about that.

 

In thinking this through, I would talk to the coach, a dad or two of some of the older boys, and maybe have your son talk to some of the older boys. I honestly think that advice might be better than a shop. 

 

We live north of Boston, and there's a pretty active HS ski league. Our own kids chose another route, and were away at school, racing in a different situation. I've checked out some of the racing, and the kids have a blast. However, what I have seen is that the fastest kids are skiing on real race set-ups. Race boots, the boys racing SL on mens 165cm SL skis, and racing GS on skis that seem like older women's GS race skis. 181-183cm, and about a 23M radius. These same kids race on weekends in USSA on a longer, bigger radius ski. The sets in the high school races here are pretty simple, and have enough "offset" to make a longer GS ski problematic. One of my friends who coaches, and has had sons go through the HS program has them racing on a GS "cheater" in the 172-175cm range. 

 

There are kids skiing on all sorts of skis, wearing all sorts of clothing, but the kids who are the most competitive are on race gear, in speed suits. So some of this is likely to evolve based on what your son wants to do with this. 

 

I guess it also depends on what your snow surface is like. They tend to race here at night, and the snow is either man made, and pretty hard once it sets, or pretty hard natural. Of course, here, it can get warm, and rut up. I've watched a couple of high school races in Minnesota, at Buck Hill, at night, and the temps have been real cold, and the surface real hard.

 

As others will tell you, used race skis are a pretty good bargain. I've been VERY pleased to sell top level race skis, with something like a total of 40 race runs on them for less that $400, with bindings. If you were to pick up a pair of 165cm SL skis, he'll probably be able to use them for at least two seasons. I'd think about that route rather than a women's 157-158cm SL. 

 

If he's going to race twice as many SL races as GS, and mostly train SL, I think you will want him to have some SL skis. Lightly used is the way to go. 

 

I'm sure that any number hard snow "carvers" might work for the GS, and for his free skiing. You'll need one with a real hard snow bias, though. Skis that actually will perform on a hard race course. This is an opportunity for your son to really improve his skiing and have some fun, but the fun will increase if he's on the right ski. That's why I'd ask around. I'm guessing that you'll be told to keep him on a ski that's no wider than 75mm at the waist. Skis that I'm familiar with, have skied a lot, and might be a good choice include 

some of the Head Supershape series. The Magnum is one. It's 72-73mm in the waist. A 170cm Magnum might be great ski. I also have a pair of Dynastar Cheaters, the Course Pro, which is 74mm in the waist. I ski it in a 178cm. I wouldn't recommend that ski and that length, but Dynastar makes some other carvers that are very similar in shape, and hold an edge on the rock hard well. There are a lot of skis in the category; the narrower, and more torsionally stiff {that's resistance to twisting}, the better the edge hold.

 

Just my opinion, but those lengths suggested by the shop sound very short to me. He's only going to grow. Some people may get hung up on his current weight, make suggestions based on that, etc. How old is he? 

 

Like I said, I'd ask around and get the local knowledge. I feel like I'm kind of flying blind here. 

 

He'll have a blast. Hope you get to see him race a bunch, and cheer on his team. You'll have a blast as well! 

post #5 of 10
Skicol, where are you in MI? Lots of great local clubs around that will be having ski swaps shortly. As an example, if you're in the TC area, contact someone from the Grand Traverse Ski Club. The HS coaches there are extremely knowledgable as well.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. I will certainly ask the coach and other parents. We are in WI and ski swaps will be coming up soon so we will be sure to check them out.

My son is 15 so he would have three years of HS racing. I don't see him going the club route at this stage but you never know.

I am confused about ski lengths though. Given that they race mostly slalom I would assume he should get a slalom ski rather than trying to make a GS ski work for SL. For the occasional GS I figure he could get by at this point. If he really takes to racing we could look for a real GS ski. In other threads it seems like some people recommend going short while others recommend longer.

Also, what are are 'cheater' skis? Dumb question.
post #7 of 10
Not a dumb question. A "cheater" is a ski that has a layup (construction) that's like a GS ski, but they are shorter, and have a much shorter turn radius. Mine are 178cm and 180cm, with turn radius of about 18M or so. I use them to free ski, but many like them for NASTAR type courses.

So....have a feel for how much SL, vs GS? 60% SL, 40% GS? 50/50?

Knowing you're in WI helps, too. Not trying to equip a world cupper, but ensure that it's fun.
And when there's a clock, fun normally means getting faster!
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by skicol View Post

Thanks for the replies. I will certainly ask the coach and other parents. We are in WI and ski swaps will be coming up soon so we will be sure to check them out.

My son is 15 so he would have three years of HS racing. I don't see him going the club route at this stage but you never know.

I am confused about ski lengths though. Given that they race mostly slalom I would assume he should get a slalom ski rather than trying to make a GS ski work for SL. For the occasional GS I figure he could get by at this point. If he really takes to racing we could look for a real GS ski. In other threads it seems like some people recommend going short while others recommend longer.

Also, what are are 'cheater' skis? Dumb question.

Talk to the coaches about ski needs. I know in MI that it'd be pretty tough to be both fast and safe skiing GS on an SL ski. 'Cheater' means non-FIS compliant. This isn't an issue for HS racing as they aren't governed by USSA. I don't know about your area, but many local race clubs have Facebook pages w/ gear swaps, etc... locally, club membership isn't required to sign up for their FB info and postings. Around here, it's a great way to find used gear.
post #9 of 10

^^^^ All sound advice. As others, would also urge looking for used gear if your son is still growing (likely) or may want to change brands after a season (reasonably likely). Racing skis are disposable tools, not long term acquisitions. Most racing skis are only a season old when they are put up for sale, many still have good edges left. Also, trust me, after a couple of races, after everything's been tossed around, left flat on snow for folks to walk over, and covered with permanent marker, the new is all gone anyway.  Online works, but also ski swaps and such that are coming up soon. And you save about 1/2 to 2/3 the cost new. Spend the savings on new bindings and a good helmet, because at the end of the day, you want your son to have healthy knees. And brain.

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

^^^^ All sound advice. As others, would also urge looking for used gear if your son is still growing (likely) or may want to change brands after a season (reasonably likely). Racing skis are disposable tools, not long term acquisitions. Most racing skis are only a season old when they are put up for sale, many still have good edges left. Also, trust me, after a couple of races, after everything's been tossed around, left flat on snow for folks to walk over, and covered with permanent marker, the new is all gone anyway.  Online works, but also ski swaps and such that are coming up soon. And you save about 1/2 to 2/3 the cost new. Spend the savings on new bindings and a good helmet, because at the end of the day, you want your son to have healthy knees. And brain.


Most around here are sold with Marker Comp bindings... even if they're cosmetically 'experienced', they're still likely to be absolutely sound as new.

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