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help from ski parents

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I am going to be going skiing with my 5 year old daughter alot this year.

I am looking for some help in relation to gear.

First off I have the helmet, goggles and ski suit, toque, neck warmer.

Her feet are 16.5 on the Nordica scale and I have bought her some 18.5 Nordica Super's ( http://www.nordica.com/boots/scheda.php?s=8&target=473 ) they are about 1/2 - 3/4 inches too big to allow for some growth and maybe use next season. Is this too much? Is there a much better children boot?

The Head junior boots would not do up tight enough, and I wasn't about to start tweakin' a 5 year olds boots. I liked these better but perhaps it gives and idea of her calf size for other boot reccomendations.

I have been trying to find her some good quality ski mittens (cold hands equals, lets go home Dad) I bought some Kombi kids mittens (http://www.kombisports.com/kombi_05_..._cnd/index.htm) but they are too big. My ski store is bringing in some of the smaller sizes for me. How big is too big? Ie mittens fall off on rope tow, can't grip poles well enough ( I know likely won't use them) too much room and cause cold hands etc....

Also I noticed some have longer cuffs. As an udult the longer cuff is good (less snow on the wrists) but for a 5 year old in the middle of a lesson is a cuff really a good thing for a 5 year old to get on herself? how much cuff is too much? is a real short cuff better?

I have chosen to use the on-hill season long rental program. Am I better off to get her her own skis and bindings for the sake of consistency? performance?

I recall all their small tykes gear were all the same brand and type of ski, therefore she will get the same ski every time, tune job (yeah right)

Perhaps at this young an age it won't matter anyway?

as well any tips, don't do's, do doo's (lets hope not on the hill) would be appreciated.

She has been out on skis the last two seasons but each time was a quick one hour lets just play and have fun event, some sliding and of course the introduction of the "Pizza"

I'm a gear head so I wonder about these silly things. Man I hope she doesn't catch my disease!
post #2 of 26
"Perhaps at this young an age it won't matter anyway?"

Nah. Of course it does. I am new at this and am pretty sure you are not alone. The only thing I feel qualified to comment on are...

Mittens. Here is my advice. Before any gloves go on put some baby lotion on her hands in the car (yes, and her face gets the sunscreen) - it keeps the moisture in - you know, hand lotion stuff - we just happen to have a bottle of the stuff from Johnsons that we bought the week she was born and STILL haven't gone through it yet. Mittens with Big Cuffs that go most of the way to the elbow OUTSIDE the jacket. At first, I tuck them in, but when they inevitably come out, she can pull them over the top easily. Tie them together with a piece of string through her coat sleeves so she can't drop them and too big is no longer an issue (slack enough to hug herself around the middle). Punch a hole in the mitten cuffs and tie a knot, forget velcro or metal clips.

Others will fill you in on the specifics of instruction, there are some great threads here on this sort of thing already (search). Have fun.
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
I saw the long long snowmobile type kids gloves on Kombi's site. Big wide opening, lots for her to grab onto and easily put her hand in. lots of cuff to go over the jacket cuff

I haven't found any of these in the stores yet.

I did find the cutesy, snowman gloves but I felt these were too gimiky and didn't feel very insulated and they had a non existant cuff.

Thanks for the moisturizer tip. I will try it.

String, hole and knot way ahead of ya. Lol thanks
post #4 of 26
Gloves are usually wet by lunch, so have a second pair. I always had to have these in my pockets. I also had several pairs of liners. Nothing high end, just to help keep the gloves dry. I kept an extra pair of socks in the bag. If it was very cold, I'd change them at lunch. Wet feet=cold feet. 1 pair of socks is good for most days. I also kept handwarmers in my pocket for an emergency.

I've used Balmex, Dermatone, J&J baby cream (Not positive on the name, but it's an ointment and it comes in a tube) for the face and lips. Check her face and hands the next day and if it's chapped, use some of the cream again.

If it's you and the child, put the child on the side that the liftie is on. That way there's one more person to help if needed. When you're on the lift, hang on to you child so she doesn't slip out from under the bar. I usually ski with 1 pole and I put the handle end across the kids lap like a seatbelt. The pole is also good for skiing with your child. She can ski next to you with the pole across her body. she'll hold onto the pole to contol her speed. (assuming she's just learning).

Edgie Wedgie's are pretty cheap and will keep her skis in a wedge and prevent them from crossing. A friend tells me that you can use the leads from the harness to steer you child by pulling lightly in the direction you want them to go.

If she has a helmet, the only thing that goes under it is a balaclava. Turtle fur makes one with a neck gator on the bottom.

Since you mentioned doo doo... Cold, lots of clothes, long way to the bathroom......... Tuck extra undies and long underware (if you have them) in the ski bag.

Have her take lessons. If you can afford it, go for a private lesson.
post #5 of 26
I've raised four skiers, one is also a boarder. I probably did everything wrong in a technical sense. Used old, oversized ski swap boots and skis, made very few specialized clothing purchases, mostly utilized hand-me downs from one child to the other. Procured very few professional lessons. All were on the hill with me by age 5. Youngest is now 12. They all enjoy skiing possibly because I did one thing right...I hung out with them the whole time they were in the early learning stage and heaped lots of encouragement on them. Good advice to bring two of just about everything they will be using/wearing during a ski day. They'll enjoy surprisingly simple things the most like riding the chair with you, or eating french fries on a mtn top, or taking a nap on the drive home. They don't need logistically challenging trips to mega resorts and will more likely prefer short trips to little nearby ski hills.

When they go from being your ski anchor to your ski trailblazer you'll know you did your job and you get rewarded with a fun ski partner.

The average day time temp in your region will surely be much colder than I had to deal with in the mid-atlantic US, therefore you'll need to be especially sensitive to them getting too cold. I would plan to really take advantage of the joys of Spring skiing.
post #6 of 26

Starting a 5 year old

Hmm, so there are some others here with small children. Forget gear for a moment, the first thing you need is PATIENCE! It is an investment skiing with your younger ones, you may have to forgo the power days and your favorite trails and you will be doing a lot of waiting. The most important thing is to get them to like the sport, so make it a positive experience for her.

I started my 5 year old last year. Unless you have an even younger child to pass gear on to, you might consider seasonal rentals. First off, gear at this age doesn't matter that much, so i wouldn't agonize over gear too much. As long as they're safe and warm they will be happy. With a 5 year old girl you will likely start her on 90-100 cm skis. If she is a size 1 foot, I would not go bigger than a size 2 boot. With growing kids feet you should be able to get 2 seasons out of one pair of boots. Rear entry boots are easier for younger kids to get on and off on their own.

Clothing- If you can afford it, Spyder makes some nice stuff. Their kids clothing (jackets and pants) have clippable seams that can add 2" length as your child grows. My 10 year old has used a jacket for 3 seasons.

Mittens are better for a 5 year old- they will ski w/o poles at first. When she's older you can get smaller gloves to fit her. I would go with a helmet, warmer than a hat and safer too.
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
thanks to all for the replies. through my years and being well known in my circles as being a good skier I have had the chance to teach alot of people to ski. One thing I did learn long ago is that without patience don't even bother.

As I didn't ski until I was 13 and have never had any professional teaching I clearly remember what it was like to learn and how frustrating it was. It looks so easy, the principles are straight forward. Why can't I do it. I took patience in myself that with time it will come and it has.

I am looking forward to the long roads ahead. Luckily we have a pretty decent hill close by. Not big, but kids don't need big they just need enough area to stay entertained.

We do have a week long trip booked for this year but I am not expecting in any way a mountain ripper at 5. in fact I know we won't even get off the magic carpet.

My biggest concerns were the little things to keep her happy and content and ensure it is a happy and positive experiance and to a 5 year old this mean boots, gloves, jacket, pants and head. Ski's heck they are just a nusance to her at this point. I was sure that parents here had learned the hard way what gloves are best, boots being too big were good or bad, whether ski type or length was critical.

wet gloves, extra clothes, extra everything seem to be the key so far. Thanks for that I will take heed and a big bag.

If anyone has additional points or simply want to add input please do.
post #8 of 26
The biggest issue we had was finding warm mittens. I think we must have gone through 20 pairs before we found the jr mitts made by Auclair.

http://www.reliableracing.com/detail...&category=3152

If she is a 16.5 and she's in a 18.5 boot then I'd guess that's a bit large to start out. We've had good luck with the Rossignol Comp Jr boots. You might need to use toe warmers (my kids won't ski without them).

Teaching method: Four years ago I rented skis for my kids and started teaching them how I had learned (wedge as the starting point). Watching the kids ski down the bunny hill I realized something was very different with the new skis because every so often my daughter would make a parallel turn. When I got home I fired up the PC and started to surf the web looking for info on shaped ski instruction. One link lead to another and soon I was reading about PMTS. The next day I went out and purchased Anyone Can Be an Expert Skier I. I read the book from cover to cover over the next few days and that weekend we were back on the slopes. I told my kids to forget everything I had taught them and started over using the PMTS method. They were good sports and worked with me on the various drills. The change in the kids skiing was dramatic by the end of the weekend and after a few weekends they were making respectable turns.
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Max, thanks thats another one to add to the boot too big side. The boots are still brand new and I have to go back to the store to pick up the special order Kombi gloves. I think I will get her as close to 17, 17.5 at the biggest as I can. I think what happened is that's the smallest they had.

Thanks for the tip on Auclair I know she will need new gloves again soon enough.

I too saw first hand in my 14 year old the benefit of shape skis. She was using rental shape skis and had never skied before, lived in a warm climat, and had no knowledge at all of skiing in anyway.

I used the wedge simply to give her the confidence to slide down a hill and not die. I had her use the wedge simply to begin the turn and had her pick up her uphill ski and place it beside the other one as soon as possible. within a few runs she was picking up the uphill ski before the turn initiation was even over. by the end of the day the "pizza was barely a memory. Amazing thing these new skis.

5 year olds I don't think will catch on that fast, but I don't want the pizza crutch to become a bad habit to break.
post #10 of 26
I had problems finding boots small enough for my kids so I ended up using thicker Bontex boot shims to eat up some of the volume. This season I've found size A Superfeet Wintergreen footbeds that I think will give my sons an even better performance fit by chewing up even more volume. I'm using the Salomon T2 boots for them.

My other suggestion is to use full head liners for under the helmet. These are the kind that just have a hole for their face and fully cover their head and neck with a light insulating layer. My sons love them and say that they make them look like "knights".
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmot mb
5 year olds I don't think will catch on that fast, but I don't want the pizza crutch to become a bad habit to break.
My son was five when I started teaching him using PMTS. The first weekend out we did the wedge. After I read the PMTS material we never talked about using the wedge in skiing again.
post #12 of 26
Try Mountain Equipement Co-op (http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_main_kids.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=140847 4395892021&FOLDER%3C%3EbrowsePath=1408474395892021)

They have a good selection of kids gloves and my kids (6 & 8) used their gloves last year and they worked. Also, I've used hot shot hand warmers for my kids as well (in fact almost all of the kids in the race club use the hand and toe warmers to make it through the really cold days in Janaury). I've found that there hands get cold because the kids don't move their hands enough to keep them warm.
post #13 of 26
I'll second the hand warmers suggestion. On the cold days they are a big help.
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmot mb
5 year olds I don't think will catch on that fast, but I don't want the pizza crutch to become a bad habit to break.
Now that's hilarious!

I recommend that boots need to do three things:

They need to fit, they need to be warm and they need to flex. Buying two sizes too big is not a good idea.

They need to trust that the ski will move when they do, and that the ski won't move when they don't. A sloppy fit won't help them.

Warm is obvious, but not at the expense of fit. NOT two socks, since again that compromises fit.

Even though their ankles are not strong, and they don't really use ankles for balance, boots should still flex. Kudos to you for going the rear-entry -- that ought to be soft enough out of the box.

But the lack of buckles really mean that the boot needs to fit right out of the box -- you can't ream on the buckles to take up the slack.

And the gloves definately go on the hands, not between the boots to fix the pizza crutch!
post #15 of 26
I just outfitted three kids. 9, 6, and 4. I have the luxury of passing things down to the next kid. I would look into seeing what kind of trade in or annual rental deals your local shop offers. For me the deal is you get 50% credit if traded within two years. It applies to skis and boots. I bought things on sale in March so I did not pay full retail. I bought the oldest from Ebay ($150 for skis and boots) and the other two from the local shop paid about $220 for skis and boots. I figure I will be trading two sets every two years and pass the oldest kid's set down. Worst case is I may have four sets on any given season.

Hard to get reliable feedback from a 4yr old on boot fitting
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by weogio
Hard to get reliable feedback from a 4yr old on boot fitting
Ain't that the truth, haha. I went throught that a month ago. I think she wanted to answer correctly(make me happy), but didn't know what the right answer was! She didn't complain playing in the living room, and didn't complain during/after her first lesson. So I guess they are fine.

Good luck Marmot. There seems to be a bunch of us in this same boat.
I'm so excited for my kid I can hardly stand it.
post #17 of 26
Great timing. I am planning on getting my 4 year old on skis this season. Is 4 too young? I was planning on renting skis and boots and going the lesson route to make sure he likes skiing before I invest in equipment, but now I am thinking I should get him boots to get started and just rent skis at the mountain (or a local shop).

So, is 4 too young?

Should we definately buy boots?

Thanks again for the advice in this thread.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeleCarve
Great timing. I am planning on getting my 4 year old on skis this season. Is 4 too young? I was planning on renting skis and boots and going the lesson route to make sure he likes skiing before I invest in equipment, but now I am thinking I should get him boots to get started and just rent skis at the mountain (or a local shop).

So, is 4 too young?

Should we definately buy boots?

Thanks again for the advice in this thread.
I think 4 is fine if your child is fully potty trained (as most are by then). I decided to purchase gear for my first son since he has 2 younger brothers coming up behind him that will use the gear. Many shops have great season long rental programs for kids with a trade-up program for each new season. Looks like a good way to go if you're not going to purhcase.
post #19 of 26
Yes, he is potty trained and he has a 2 year old brother so you make a good point. I will look into some of the programs our local retailers are offering. I even purchased some alpine skis (have been freeheeling for the past 8 or 9 years) so I can work with him after/between lessons.
post #20 of 26
The first time out with my, then, 5yr old boy was great. A couple of days of lessons and we were off to the lifts. After about ten runs, we stopped at the bottom. His cheeks were so red they were hurting me just to look at them. I asked what he thought, he quickly replied this is great, let's go again.

One of the greatest days of my life...seeing the genuine excitement in his face. Never complains about being cold, wet, or tired.

Enjoy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt B
Ain't that the truth, haha. I went throught that a month ago. I think she wanted to answer correctly(make me happy), but didn't know what the right answer was! She didn't complain playing in the living room, and didn't complain during/after her first lesson. So I guess they are fine.

Good luck Marmot. There seems to be a bunch of us in this same boat.
I'm so excited for my kid I can hardly stand it.
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by weogio
The first time out with my, then, 5yr old boy was great. A couple of days of lessons and we were off to the lifts. After about ten runs, we stopped at the bottom. His cheeks were so red they were hurting me just to look at them. I asked what he thought, he quickly replied this is great, let's go again.

One of the greatest days of my life...seeing the genuine excitement in his face. Never complains about being cold, wet, or tired.

Enjoy.
Skiing is one of those sports that really gives you an opportunity to talk with your kids (golf too). There's just something about being up there alone on that chairlift and not having to face each other that just makes it all so much easier. My kids are young, but I can easily see skiing being an avenue to stay "in touch" with what's happening in their lives as they get older. My 5 (almost 6) year old already doesn't really want to "talk" to me at dinner and tell me about his day (it starts early I'm finding out), but when we were skiing I really cherished how much more he was willing to share with me. It's given me a whole new appreciation for this sport.
post #22 of 26
Our kids are 6 and 9 now and cant get enough! One thing that we did was to only take them on warmer days when they were very small. This was easy since we only have to drive about 20 minutes to the hill. They were able to ski in lighter weight clothing and did not get cold. Just like Pavlov's dog they did not equate skiing with cold temps. Then as they were able to stay upright and dry they got used to the colder weather. This made a huge difference for us.
post #23 of 26
My wife and I have always enjoyed skiing and both of us have skied since we were 6 or 7. During the early years of having kids we would get out occasionally and our oldest, 5 at the time would take a sporadic lesson. Not much improvement over the course of a year or two. Mostly walking around on skis. By the time our kids were 4, 6 and 8, I went to a small ski swap and bought them all skis and boots of their own. I think I spent $75.00 total to outfit all of them. Brands unimportant, something to get them out on the hill with.

We have a County Park about 20 minutes from home with about 250-ft of vertical a Double T-Bar, 3 trails and night skiing, all for FOR FREE!

First time out a lot of laying on the hill and crying. By the fifth time out they were all able to get down the hill, stop, turn somewhat, and ride the T-bar to the top most of the time without falling.

Then we put them all in a lesson. I though it made a huge difference that they were all able to ski somewhat from our self teaching in as much as they were in a group of kids that were a little more advanced than the "first time on skis group". After a few real lessons they were all able to ski top to bottom.

Since then we have all had seasons passes. They are now 10, 12 and 14, have a real love for the sport and ski very well. It is a skiing parents dream come true! To be able to enjoy one of the greatest sports with the whole family.

Looks like we have about a two week wait, but will be there opening day as we have for the past 5 years, with everybody saying "I can't wait to go skiing!"
post #24 of 26
rental boots that fit are preferable to owned boots that don't. hand warmers with several pairs of cheap, dry mittens are better than one pair of fancy gloves that get wet. They will make snowmen and fall a lot and they will lose mittens. Better not to spend too much time and money on them and then get mad when they are inevitably lost. Dissapointing Daddy makes for unhappy memories of skiing.
post #25 of 26
Thread Starter 
Lol it would be a "MOM" with solid no nonsense advice.

No worries about dad getting mad over lost gloves. I lost more than my fair share of stuff growing up and I always appreciated my mom simply taking a light hearted approach, (if your head wasn't screwed on you would loose it)

I am more concerned with good gloves for warmth and function. There are so many kids garments out there that do not cut it in cold weather. The look nice but are useless for warmth. Then things like having no cuff, thumbs are ergonically incorrect etc... I don't mind paying $30 VS $8 if it's warm and fits.

boots, I'm convinced I need to down size at least one. It's more a convience thing having our own. Our local hills rental boots for tykes are kinda a sorry lot, and are always wet, wrong liner etc.... We have to get rental equipment each day.

Thanks Mom
post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 
Juat a quick thanks out to those that offered advice.

I downsised the boots to 17.5 from 18.5, might not fit next yeat but they fit now.

The kombi gloves must had been good, -15 --18C 3 hours and not one complaint. cuffs area tad short but under the coat sleeves they stayed put.

Went out for first day of this season with her.

gotta gloat. What a trouper, what a effort she put in. Giggling and laughing the whole time. Got the heels out to slow thing happening and was happy to be cruising slowly by herself. Seemed rather comfortable with skis on and tromping around lift lines etc... Pops is smiling it was a good day.
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