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ski size for kids

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am in process of purchasing skis for my kids from a local ski shop. The person helping us seemed very knowledgeable, but after leaving, I am concerned that he recommended skis that were too long.

My daughter is 8 yrs old and approx. 56 inches tall and weighs about 70 lbs. She has stated skiing last year and has skied 3 times. He recommeded 130's for her.

My son is 6 yrs old and approx 46 inches tall and weighs about 50lbs. He also has skied 3 times. He recommended 110's for him.

They have not yet mounted the binding, so I can probable still make the change to a shorter ski. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 17
When my son was 7 he was on 120's and his sister was on 135's; she was 10. I forget how much they weighed.

What type of ski is important however. They were on Rossi Vipers, a good kids ski with lots of shape.

If you got stuck with a pair of "straights", get em back quick.

You will probably be able to "hand-me-down" the one pair to the younger sooner than you think.

How about boots? Now is a good time to start hunting the ski swap meets that many shops and mountain put on this time of year.
post #3 of 17

A general rule of thumb on sizing for the little skiers is to
have the tip of the ski come somewhere up to the ebrows/forehead.
Of course, this can change/differ on the ability of the child, size and weight.

You have children at 56" and 46" tall. If you multiply that by 2.54 cm per inch, that works out to 142 cm and 117 cm. So, your recommendations were close, if you consider the middle forehead or eyebrows as your measuring point.

An important consideration is that children need to develop the three skills of skiing; pressure, edging and turning (rotary).
I assure you that these will come quicker and easier if the ski is managable. Pressuring, edging and rotary development will occur faster if the ski is just a little on the "smaller" size.
It's not a crime to fudge down a bit. Sure, the ski will give up stability at speed, but pointing them downhill and railing is a skill for later. Skills formed early are the ones that become the automatic skills of the future. You and I know that these can be "bad habits" as well as sound fundamentals. So don't feel bad about going shorter. Parents want to save a buck by getting two seasons out of ski for a child. The kid spends the first season fighting the ski that's too long and thus develops survival maneuvers which turn out to be bad technique. Show me the guy who steers from the back seat and I'll show you the kid you found out that by leaning back, the tips came up and he could "throw" them into a new turn direction. This person jumped past the normal discovery of blending forward pressure, tipping the ski on edge and rotating the feet to initiate and finish a turn.

Good luck...

Rock'n Doc
post #4 of 17
For comparison, my daughter is on soft, shaped 140's. She is 10 y.o., 55 lbs, tall and light for her age, skiing since she was 3 y.o., and skis as fast as most adult high-intermediate recreational skiers.

Yuki's comments are right on the mark, and I'll add another comment about ski stiffness. Just as for adults, try to make sure that the stiffness of the skis very roughly matches the skier's weight.

Probably the best way to do this is to go to a ski store and feel a bunch of kids skis of the length you are interested. This will give you a sense of what is soft and what is firm in kids' skis of that size (ie, *very* different from adult skis). Then, when you are considering a particular pair, you can make sure that a kid on the heavier side will get a pair of skis towards the stiffer end of the spectrum of those available and visa versa.

Considering their weights and the fact that both of your kids have not skied very much yet, the lengths recommended by the store sound pretty reasonable.

FYI, if you don't want to go the used ski route, a number of stores around here have a buy-back policy for rapidly growing kids - namely, they will buy back a pair of skis or boots for half price within one year of the original sale and apply the money to your next purchase. With my daughter, when she was younger, I did season leases, but now have switched to purchasing under this buy-back agreement, and found that it costs no more than the season lease, and you wind up with brand new, better equipment instead of used rental stuff.

Just some thoughts,

Tom / PM
post #5 of 17
My two cents. I have always gone very short with my kids. Under chin. They have a lot more maneuvarability and the fact is that at 7 and 8 they're probably not traveling at blistering speeds even if they are in a race program. I have always gone short, worried about it and always been pleased with my desicion. I beleive my 7 year old is on 110 cms--the topskin says its a G3 jr ski--but who knows what that means--relative to the real G3. But if its a modern shaped ski--same principles apply--you can risk going down in length more than you might think.
post #6 of 17
At the end of last year's junior program, I recommended all my kids get shape skis that reach between the chin and nose. CLoser to the chin is long enough but they grow fast. Too short is better than too long.
post #7 of 17
I would like to add to this topic by asking at what point should a kid make the switchover to an adult ski? I have son who is 15 about 5'6" 110 lbs. He's already into an adult ski as of last season. On the other hand my daughter is 13 about 5' 80 lbs who is on kid's skis but will probably be only good for 1 more season on her current skis. So when I buy again for her next year, I could possibly be looking for an adult ski, depending on how much she grows this year. At what point should one make the jump from kid's skis to adult skis?
post #8 of 17
Kids can use adult equipment when they are strong enough to overpower children's equipment. Actually, some smaller women can use children's equipment forever. Some children's equipment is pretty weak, but some of the race equipment is pretty good, but cheaper than adult stuff. (I have a pair of Salomon Jr race bindings that go to about DIN 8, and they work fine for me.) Or just tell your kids they can have adult equipment when they buy their own.
post #9 of 17
All very useful advice. Are the recommendations of chin-to-nose (John) and eyebrow-to-forehead (Rock'n Doc) to be measured with the kid in boots or just socks?

[ October 12, 2002, 08:09 PM: Message edited by: DTS ]
post #10 of 17
Originally posted by John Dowling:
Kids can use adult equipment when they are strong enough to overpower children's equipment.
The problem with kids is that they have a hard time describing and quantifying their experience on skis. So it makes it difficult sometimes to know what's exactly what's going on. Sometimes ignorance is a bliss. We should be all concentrating on having a good time rather than analyzing our equipment
post #11 of 17
DTS- Ski boots vary quite a bit as far as the thickness of the soles, so I prefer to judge the length of skis with kids in street shoes.

Wizard- You're right, of course. I didn't mean to imply that we should turn kids into equipment nerds. I just wanted to point out that Jr. equipment varies from stuff that is appropriate for kids at early stages of physical/motor development to skis that are pretty high performance. The Rossi catalogue has Jr race skis at 160cm, boots to 27.5 (bigger than mine), and bindings to DIN 10. When kids get interested in competition or performance skiing, they will let you know what equipment they need. Smaller kids are better off in equipment that is more forgiving and user friendly.

post #12 of 17
The sizes seem reasonable. From experience with 4 children, now 24, 12, 9 and 7, boots are just as important. Kids' rear entry boots are lousy tools for learning. The engineered wall that they have seems to restrict flex. The 12 year old learned on those, and always seemed to be fighting for the front seat. The 9 year old had front entry, (2 or 3 buckle) and caught on quickly, able to flex readily, getting the knees over the foot. Same with the 7 year old going on 16. There are lots of easy to buckle front entries for children. Make sure that your childs' foot is held snugly. Shops we have used will trade in the boots that have become too small or you can find reasonable rentals. Stay away from the rear entries.

[ October 13, 2002, 07:41 AM: Message edited by: John J ]
post #13 of 17
If I were you I would go shorter. 10 CM on each ski. Go with 120 CM for her and 100CM for him. Use a shop that has a buyback program and you'll be all set. They have only skied 3 times for petes sake, do them a favor and keep them on something short. My 2 boys are ages 9 and 7, this will be their 3rd. year skiing and I'm just considering moving the 9 year old to 130CM skis and the 7 year old to 110CM skis for this year. My 4 year old girl will probably be on 90CM skis. It's much easier to develop proper skills with the shorter skis, less frustrating also. They will go fast enough to scare you and themselves on anything you put them on...trust me. Teach them to turn and how to control their speed, it will be easier on the shorter skis. Oh and get good boots also that fit properly and flex for them. This is more important than ths skis. Hope this isn't to late.

post #14 of 17
Grupp you asked a simple question about ski lenght re: your kids sizes ......well your probably going to be ok with what you got. My girls (now 10 &11) were on the same length about that age and size. As for straight or shaped it isn't going to make a difference right now , just get them out there and have some fun and the sooner the better.......oh ya make sure what ever you put them on is safe gear and put them under a helmet.
Have fun!
post #15 of 17
Originally posted by Leeroy:
...As for straight or shaped it isn't going to make a difference right now...
I like all your other comments, but I've got to disagree pretty strongly with you on this one.

Putting kids (or any other beginner) on straight skis will essentially leave them with no other choice than developing old school technique, eg, lots of rotary input, forward pressure & unweighting to turn, with lots of pivoting and sideslipping. This is the antithesis of modern techniques like Bob Barnes', "Ski the slow line fast (when you can)".

With the price differential between used straight and used shaped kids skis so small, why essentially force them to learn all the defensive skiing moves us old-timers went throught, knowing that they will have to learn more efficient / modern technique since:

(a) they will eventually be skiing on modern skis;

(b) modern technique truly is better than old technique; and,

(c) you know that they are in their most formative years (with respect to learning motor skills) and it will be very hard for them to forget defensive old-school skiing moves if they learned them first.

The only comment I will make in support of straightER skis for kids is that if they are not beginners and are moving along at a good clip making long radius turns, the most "shaped" of the kids skis actually have sidecut radii of well under 10 meters, and this is just too short a radius for stability at speed, in cruddy snow conditions, etc.

Tom / PM
post #16 of 17
Tom I know where your coming from on the shaped thing . But at this level most kids will only realize they have edges that will give them resistance and they can use them to change direction. This along with the boots most kids are in not giving them a very technical fit won't let them realize the benefits of a shaped ski or promote the proper use of them. The other thing is by the time they start to catch on they will of out grown what they're on .
Most kids at this age will be in a wedge for this season and not be carving anyway , they are only going to want to stay standing and have some fun.
Once they have the stability to use a shaped ski then promote the proper use .
Just my humble opinion.
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your replies. I did go back to the ski shop and discuss the lenght selected for both of my kids. They already had mounted the bindings, but were willing to change if I wanted. They felt the length was fine, but left the final decision to me.

I did get shorter skiis (120) for my daughter. They are sized to about her chin. She is very slender and lacks some in her balance. She can also get frustrated easily if she feels the is not keeping pace with other kids.

I did not change the size for my son and his are go abut to the bridge of his nose. He is very strong and has excellent balance, so I thought he might be O.K. with this size. I hope I didn't make a mistake in not going shorter.

We did go to a shop that has a trade in policy. The skiis are Atomic Race:6. They also spent spent a long time making sure the boots fit correctly, so I am confident they go a good fit.

Maybe I am getting to concerned about making sure they have the right size ski. So far they have really enjoyed skiing and I don't want to do anything to screw it up. It would actually be nice if the skiis for kids increase by 5 cm, because 10 cm seems like a big differnce on the short skiis. But as I said, maybe I am to obsesed with this issue.

We have a trip to Colorado planned for after Thanksgiving, so were hoping for an early snow.

Thanks again

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