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Kids skis question

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I have a boy (12) and a girl (11) that I got started skiing in ernest this year. They are progressing right along and I think they will want to ski again next season. I am renting their equipment this year, but, for them to truely progress, I believe they need to get their on skis, boots and poles. Unfortunately, they are at an awkward age and size. Since the end of the season is approaching, with all the sales, I'm looking for suggestions on how to equip the kids with out breaking the bank.

Both kids are in the 4'10" to 5' range and weigh between 100 to 115 lbs. Both of them have rather large feet, 24.0. My dilema is this, they are already in adult ski boots, but they in between kids skis and adult skis. I think it's doubtful that a kids ski and adult boot would work well together anyway. On top of that they are growing and I expect big growth spurts in the next couple of years. My wife is 5'10" and I am 6'. We both had big growth spurts around age 14. (I went from 5'2" to 5'8", she went from 4'10" to 5'8")

I have several thoughts on the situation. One is to get appropriate skis and bindings at the end of the season. Hoefully, something they can use for several seasons and which matches their projected level of skiing next year. The boot option would be to find a local shop that will do a boot exchange program, even though they are in adult sizes, and get boots at the beginning of the season. the alternative would be to get boots at a ski swap. I could also wait for the ski swaps to buy skis, but that could be risky if I don't find anything.

The kids are currently on a 143 Blizzard rental shaped ski. That seems to be an appropriate length for their size and skill level. Which I'd say is just about level 3 at this point. Neither child is overly agressive. If anything they tend to err on the cautious side, one more than the other. I'm sort of thinking along the lines of the 140-150 range on length. I'm hoping to get them to level 5 or 6 by the end of next season so I can take them out west on vacation. I figure it's probably better if I err on the short side when it comes to length.

Any input would be appreciated. Also, strategies to maximize value and minimize cost through their growing years would be appreciated.

Thanks.
post #2 of 21
What I have suggested in situations like yours.. Next year do both. Buy gear for the y/old and rent for the 11. the next year your 11 y/old will move up to the 12 y/olds and buy another set for him. This is the cost effective way of doing it, but there is a stigma of "hand me downs".

Ebay is a great source for cheap gear new and used. I would look there for skis, but shop swaps for boots.
post #3 of 21
Whatever you do, try to keep them on childrens' boots. A small kid with big feet will not be able to flex an adult boot. Nothing will hold them back more than a boot that is too stiff. Kids boots are available in sizes as large as 27, although it's hard to find a shop that stocks the big sizes.
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdowling
Whatever you do, try to keep them on childrens' boots. A small kid with big feet will not be able to flex an adult boot. Nothing will hold them back more than a boot that is too stiff. Kids boots are available in sizes as large as 27, although it's hard to find a shop that stocks the big sizes.
Or put them in womens boots, most are black now, maybe your son won't notice.
post #5 of 21
Why not continue to rent until they stop growing? Many shops have pretty good stuff and the earlier in the season you go (next fall) the more there will be available. Here in North Jersey I can rent skis, boots and poles for my daughter for $85. No reason to buy yet. I did BUY her a helmet though.

Marc
post #6 of 21
I would agree with Phil on the swaps. I outfitted my 5 & 6 year olds this year with boots at $20 each and ski's at $40 each. Our local shop even adjusted the bindings for $10 each since I bought at the swap they were sponsoring. I figure I can sell all of it back when they outgrow it in a year or two for darn near the same price.

Also, if you really want new stuff, you can see if your local shop has a buy-back program. Get all the details first, because not all programs are created equal.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies.

Phil, I thought about the idea of the hand-me-downs. Currently, it's not really practical because my 11 year old daughter is slightly bigger than my 12 year old son. My oldest daughter is 5'11", so that difference may not change significantly.

jdowling - At their current size and weight, they are maxed out for Jr skis. They really fall right into the crack between Jr and adult equipment. Most shops here so not carry Jr boot in any sizes above 22.0. They currently measure 24.0.

gores95 - We have season rental from a ski shop near the hill. It's $89/year. I could keep doing that for a while. At least the equipment we rent is better than the rentals at the hill.

Ullr - I agree with you the swap meets are the most economical way to go. My only worry is getting the kids in ot the correct size boots. (see below) I know the local shops have some buy-back deals, but I think the deals only apply to Jr equipment. There are not that many shops around and they don't have much selection in equipment that I believe would work for my kids.

The other thing I have to consider is my daughter wants to try boarding. What the heck, I'm going to let her try. However, she must wear a helmet and take a lesson. I expect her to be on the ground all day and, hopefully, she will decide to stick with skiing after that experiance.

The biggest problem I am having with the kids renting is that their foot size puts them into an adult boot. Both wear size 6 shoes, but they are skiing in 7s and 8s because the correct size boot is difficult for them to put on. I have tried to correct this, but part of the problem is putting on their socks and base layer on correctly. Since the correct size is so difficult get on their feet, they size up. That's a large part of why I would rather see them in their own equipment because I think it would be easier to someone at a shop to get them into the correct size boot than for me convince them to do so. OTOH, at a swap meet, with only their ski socks on, I might have a better chance of getting them into the correct size boot.

The main reason I want to get them into properly fitted equipment as soon as possible is to help them progress. I know this is important for them to be able to progress through intermediate to the advanced and expert levels. It ain't possible if you can't balance on a single ski and maintain edge control. My main concern is getting the best bang for the buck and having a strategy that will minimize costs as they grow while without sacrificing quality.

Thanks for the responses and keep them coming.
post #8 of 21
Re boot sizes -- look around shops or on eBay for Technica TJR boots. They are decent quality kids boots that defintely go up at least to 26.0. My local shop carries them and does seasonal rentals. I got two pair off eBay last fall for $50 / $60 bucks. My kids are in same size range for boots but just don't have the heft to flex an adult boot, they're fine in these.

You're right about proper fit. It's just as important for kids, and they really want to go big because it's so much easier to get in a boot that's too big. My solution - also with cost a major factor - has been garage sales, local ski swaps, and eBay. You can often get really nice kids skis with good bindings for $50/$60 pr. Or small size adult demos - same range - on eBay.
post #9 of 21

my solution...

My son is 5 now. This is his third season on skis. The last two years, we have done a season lease from our local shop. They offer brand new boots, skis, and poles for around $125 for the whole season. Then you just turn them in at the end of the season.

Pros:
1. he gets fitted in new boots every year.
2. No more renting lines at the hill.
3. He is on new equipment every year (safer)
4. he loves to look at 'his' gear at home sometimes.

Cons:
1. None that I can think of (although he wants to keep his stuff yearround; like his dad)

This is the best. I don't have to worry about what to do with gear too small for him when he outgrows it. We definitely get our $125 out of the deal.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SrMike
The biggest problem I am having with the kids renting is that their foot size puts them into an adult boot. Both wear size 6 shoes, but they are skiing in 7s and 8s because the correct size boot is difficult for them to put on. I have tried to correct this, but part of the problem is putting on their socks and base layer on correctly. Since the correct size is so difficult get on their feet, they size up...
That's the WORST THING you can do to them. The only thing they will learn is that they can't ski well and that their feet are uncomfortable. If you can't get them into properly sized junior boots, put them on a snowboard.

John
post #11 of 21
This is a UK view and might not apply but ... In the UK, Junior boots are readily available up to 26.5. My 3 sons all seem to have Salomon-compatible feet and I've bought my eldest son's boots at the end of season, going one size up from his (then) current size. Sometimes I've been caught out because of a growth spurt but in general, it has worked out well and they have all been moved down the line successfully. The current sizes are 26, 25 and 24 and I have given/sold the 23.5s, 23.0s, 22.0s and 20.0s to friends or through ebay, so I've more or less gone through the range. In any event, it has worked out much cheaper than hiring.

I have bought my eldest son's skis at the end of season sales after using this chart kidshealth.org/parent/general/body/growth_charts.html to estimate his height/weight for the following season. (My kids' percentiles have remained pretty constant and these charts have been good predictors). The skis have generally lasted for 2 years before being handed down the line My eldest son moved to adult skis when he was 15.

Joe
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
John - I'm with you on the boot thing, I wondered if anyone would catch that. I can tell the kids how to, and I can show them what to do, I can give them the logical reasons to do it, but I won't make them do it. This is not like minding manners, doing homework, etc. We do this for fun and while I realize they would be better off in a smaller boot, I'm not going to push the issue so far that I turn them off to skiing.

I figure eventually, through persistance, I will convince them to wear the right size boots. They're hitting the age where Dad is stupid and they know everything. Most kids eventually grow out of it. Maybe telling them if they take a big fall with loose boots they are much more likely to get hurt badly. It's been a battle to get them on the slopes. (Wife doesn't ski) I believe keeping them there is better in the long run.
post #13 of 21
SrMike - I've had many of the same fights on the boots and prevailed through a different sort of surrender. Instead of giving up on sizing right, which I think is a safety / performance issue, I gave up on expectation of self-sufficiency in putting on boots, which is only psychological (my prob not theirs).

I consciously made that tradeoff when I sized their boots this year. My 11 y/o twins and 14 y/o are expected to pack and carry all their own gear, but especially at 11 they still can't always get the tongue out and shell spread enough to get in the boots that fit tight enough. So if they try once or twice and if frustrated I get down on the floor and open it up enough they can get in and buckle it up themselves. Feels ridiculous - they're not little babies on the bunny slope and can ski faster and better than me - but they just can't deal with this.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SrMike
I can tell the kids how to, and I can show them what to do, I can give them the logical reasons to do it, but I won't make them do it. This is not like minding manners, doing homework, etc. We do this for fun and while I realize they would be better off in a smaller boot, I'm not going to push the issue so far that I turn them off to skiing.

I figure eventually, through persistance, I will convince them to wear the right size boots. They're hitting the age where Dad is stupid and they know everything. Most kids eventually grow out of it. Maybe telling them if they take a big fall with loose boots they are much more likely to get hurt badly. It's been a battle to get them on the slopes. (Wife doesn't ski) I believe keeping them there is better in the long run.
If they do indeed "know everything" then rather than Dad being right, they'll magically know that snowboarding is way better.

If I wanted to ensure that they ski, I'd push them into snowboarding HARD!
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
BigE - My daughter wants to try boarding. Honestly, I expect after spending a day rolling around in the snow, she will let that idea go. You may be right, letting her go boarding may keep her skiing. However, ya' never know.

ts01 - I have offered to help put the kids boots on. I get the "I can do it Dad!" It's like offering to help is a personal affront or something. Since they are into the adult sizes, the boot shells are stiffer and they have trouble manipulating the shell. I can explain it all I want, if they don't listen - so what. It's not a matter of life or death - it's more important than that.

I see it like this. If they like skiing, they will want to go and they will want to improve. At some point equipment, probably sooner than later, equipment will become the limiting factor to progress in skiils. I also have some concerns that current equipment is contributing to bad habits, which is why I want to guide them in to appropriate boot and skis. I will know in the end I will have succeeded if they think it was their idea.

I think getting them in their own equipment will give me an opportunity to solve the fit problems. Developing a strategy to do it without breaking the bank is the goal. Great suggestions so far. The equipment lease is a great idea if I can find a local shop that will do it.
post #16 of 21
SrMike,
As children go through the growing ages, it's unreasonable to expect anything to last more than say 2 seasons, including skis. Here are the options (most you have already mentioned) in my order of preference. Bare in mind that, if the equipment breaks while in your possession, you're SOL. And, so is a growing spirt during a ski vacation (don't laugh, it happened).

1. Limited selection, good return, no flexibility - end of season sale - this can be as good a deal as, and better selection than, swaps (more than 50% off); Go to big mountain areas where surplus inventory is abundance.

2. Very limited selection, best return, no flexibility - Local swap - buy them used but good condition; when the kids outgrow them, put them on the swap and resell them. Return is usually very high.

3. Good selection, somewhat flexible with some return - exchange program - pick what you need and swap for newer/better/bigger gears the next year

4. Most flexible, mid quality, with no return - seasonal ski shop rentals - usually fitted for the season, no need to worry about things being outgrown.

5. Most convenient, poor quality, no return - daily/weekly rentals. No need to say more.

As for matching big feet with short skis, no a problem. Many boots in varying quality come in youth's and women's sizes. Couple with that, adult skis come in very short lengths nowadays.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SrMike
BigE - My daughter wants to try boarding. Honestly, I expect after spending a day rolling around in the snow, she will let that idea go. You may be right, letting her go boarding may keep her skiing. However, ya' never know.
Don't be so sure. To a preteen/teen, peer pressure and trendiness very often overshadow pain/hardwork.
post #18 of 21
we found a shop that does a 50% buyback on kids' gear. my kids' stuff cost $200 each this year, so if we get all new gear next year we'd get $100 toward new stuff for each kid (we can also split things up and get 50% toward new boots but keep the skis another season, etc.).

if you can find a shop that has jr. boots to fit your kids, that might be a good way to go.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
chanwmr - I agree that 2 years out of any piece of kids equipment during the growing years is about all I can expect. Catch the kids in a spurt year and they may not make it through the season. Biggest problem I have in OH is few shops, limited selection and options. I'm going to have to work at this to pull it off. I did find passes for $140. I expect the deals for passes will be as good next year.

Surprisingly, my daughter wants to try boarding on her own. None of her friends ski or board. I think she just wants to try it. I bet I have her back on skis by the end of the day.

I've been scanning the internet and asking around. I haven't seen anything special yet. The season ends here about the end of Feb. Most of the shops stay open through Mar to support their customers who go on spring skiing vacations. My kids are out of school the last week of March and I am planning to go up to Boyne for a few days then.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SrMike
Biggest problem I have in OH is few shops, limited selection and options. I'm going to have to work at this to pull it off. <clipped> My kids are out of school the last week of March and I am planning to go up to Boyne for a few days then.
I think you have just answered you own question. If your wallet agrees, do a late season trip (no earlier than mid March and can be quite affordable) to a bigger ski area. We run into a similar situation as well. Our local area also lacks the big mountains and it's not close enough to the metro NY to have the spending crowd. Consequently, much of our purchases are made away from our home town.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SrMike
Since the correct size is so difficult get on their feet, they size up.
IMHO, you could size up. But, if you plan on the kids to progress, make sure that it's no more than say 1/1.5 size bigger than their actual fit. Make sure, I repeat make sure, that the boots have multiple buckles (the strap counts as one) -- the more the better. Since your objective is to squeeze in as long a duration as possible without compromise performance (too much), this is not a bad approach. The extra adjustments allow the boots to a better snuggly hold around the feet without having the perfect length. Start with thicker socks, not really thick, and goes thinner, really thin if weather permits, as the feet grow.

BTW, although some of the later model of boots have made on/off easier, it is still true that the better (performace) the boots, the tighter the fit and the harder it is to get on/off. I hate to say this but it's something they can (may have to) get used to.
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