I've been skiing since I was about 5 with some years on and some off, and it was primarily my uncle who taught me back in the early 80's in Sweden. The ultimate goal was always to keep the skis together, lol. I also have a background in skiing from the army service, but you can't really consider it technical downhill skiing, just real rigorous winter training. The last skis I bought was a pair of K2s in the early 90's, and since then I've skied on borrowed/rented skis/boots, but own the clothes, gloves, goggles etc., as does the rest of the family.
I now live in Los Angeles, and have skied a couple of times at Mammoth, and with my wife's sister's family that winters in Big Sky (Moonlight Basin), MT, where we've been a couple of times. We took our daughter who had just turned four skiing there for the first time earlier this year. I foresee any skiing done will primarily be done around California, and Big Sky/Moonlight Basin, unless some odd trip would happen for some reason.
To me it's important the our daughter learns to ski, it's right up there after swimming, bicycling etc., and I was really excited to have her up on the mountain earlier this year. I think she did really well for being so young and for the few days we were there. We did have her hooked up to a harness, and the tips were connected, but she had good speed/control/balance, and showed a great attitude in general, no whining, laying down etc., just seemed to enjoy it, it was great to see.
I don't think it's enough for her to do a long weekend in Montana every year, and think it would be fun for all of us to visit the local mountains around here, and to really help get her going with stopping/turning/technique etc.
Here's the thing, we don't own any boots/skis/poles, but I think if we did, it could encourage us to do the weekend trips around here, and over time it would start to pay off. I don't expect us to go a lot, but a couple of times is better than once per season. Since we're off season, I've been searching Craigslist, Ebay, this site etc. to try and get a feel for what would make sense. We won't be skiing a lot, and we're probably not looking for max performance, just something that we can enjoy and that won't be a problem. I understand the gear has evolved quite a bit since I bought my last skis, and I've tried to rent/borrow different skis (hi-end if possible) every time just to try different things.
Here's where we're at:
Me - 39 / 6.1' - 180lbs / good solid confident skier
Wife - 39 / 5.4' - 125lbs / a bit hesitant/slow, but gets down the mountain
Daughter - 4 / 42" - 41lbs / just started out, can stand/balance well, but on harness, and no stop/turn training
I'm not looking at throwing thousands at this, just hoping to give us a better start for the next season with purchasing some gear in the off-season, with the idea of doing some family weekends.
I've heard/understood that the boots are really important, and is something that should fit as good as possible. I've tried many different boots over the years, and all seemed to work, but I don't think I've ever had a horrible/exceptional experience. It also seems to go to the far end of the spectrum with personalized boots, fitting sessions, four figures etc., and we can't justify that. Would it be better to go and try some new stuff (might not be possible off-season?), or hi-end used on Craigslist, or any other ideas? Seems tough to buy boots online, when you can't test them properly. Any quick guide on how the boots should fit? What should we get for the kid? She'll probably outgrow them almost every year early on, so maybe rent?
I don't mind if the skis are used, but they can't be abused, and how old is too old? Length/style etc? There's seems to be a lot of great skis around where some are very specialized, and hundreds of reviews. Price seems to wary greatly also between model year/ex-rental/used etc. Is Ebay an option, or just a hassle?
For me, I think something around 170-180cm, that can go all mountain, with a certain level of performance, but probably won't squeeze every last % out of them.
I found on Craigslist some Salomon X-Wing 6 for $100, and Some Nordica Hot Rod Modified for $75. Think I could get away with something like that, and put some more $ towards the boots instead?
For her, I'm not sure how much performance she can get out of them, probably something that is easy to ski would be good. She's borrowed her sister's Volkl Aura 170cm a couple of times, but are they too long? If we would buy something, should she go shorter to make it easier?
For the kid, does is really make any difference? Would almost any decent ski from a known brand do, as long as the length is ok? I think she'd go 90-100cm.
I'm just aiming for something that comes with the skis, or is there anything in particular to look out for? Known issues, or different styles?
Poles are poles, right?
I know this seems low-end, but for the time we're using the equipment, and what we're looking for to get out of it, it's at least a start, and will be an incentive to go more often.
Sorry if it got a bit long, but this is my first post on this forum, so I thought I'd try to make it thorough.
Any help is greatly appreciated!