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Racing Ski Lengths for 8 and 10 YO Girls

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I've seen a few threads on length of junior racing skis which mostly focused on skier height and ability. It occurs to me that weight is another consideration - perhaps even more so than height at this stage. My girls are 8 and 10 and are the top skiers in their age groups at our club. The younger one beat all of the boys and girls her age and a year older last year and would have been 5th among the girls two years older. They are 4"6" and 4'10" tall and 66 lbs and 80 lbs respectively and both aggressive skiers with good edge to edge transfer.

Last year the younger one skied on Atomic Race 10 120cm and the older one on the Rossi RSX Racing Jr (with riser plate) in a 130cm.

My understanding is that the riser doesn't affect stiffness (not sure) but it certainly adds weight. I have been told by some that both my girls should be on risers and I should also be concious that they have skis with a sidewall and slalom radius.

The thought was that a longer ski provides stability and with a true slalom radius they will get plenty of turnability (is that a word?). The suggestion was to use the one daughter's 130 Rossis for the younger one and to get a 140cm junior slalom racing ski for the older one with a plate.

At 66 lbs I was leaning more to a lighter 130 junior racing ski Rossi RSX (without the plate), Dynastar Omeglass, Atomic Race 10 or Racetiger Jr all without riser plates for the 8 yr old.

For the 80 lb older daughter I was thinking about a similar ski to what she had last year in either a 135 or 140.

I have seen the comments regarding a ski that challenges for further development without overwelming and hurting results and confidence. We ski about 60 days a year, most of which is race training or racing for the girls.

Thoughts anyone?
post #2 of 25
I think the best advise you will hear from girl's coach (coaches). They know how girls ski, know their strength and deficiencies.

cfr
post #3 of 25
As a parent of young racers, I would start with skier weight when determining ski size. Rossignol, Dynastar and Nordic ski selectors are all based on skier weight for the younger racers. Skier ability and height are secondary considerations. I agree with the statement that you should talk to your children's racing coach. Based on your the type of hills and snow conditions your children will be racing on, the coach should be able to recommend a ski length.

My kids have used skiers with carving plates (risers) in the past and I've noticed more junior race skis are using a binding-ski system that allows for binding adjustments without having to remount the bindings (I think this will be a bonus when selling skis at a ski swap).

Dynastar has a junior ski selctor on their website. Here is the link: http://image.dynastar.com/Dynastar/R...ng%20chart.pdf
post #4 of 25
I see some danger down the road with this kind of thinking. Right now the course is probably set tighter and more SL'ish and keeps the speeds down .... however ..... I don't know about Canada, but a majority of the races here are GS and most of the training is GS oriented.

In the year or two before they had to comply with the regulations (spotty enforcement), the whole pack was so addicted to their SL's you couldn't pry them away if you tried.

During a few races where the course was hard as a rock, I watched those kids try to carry speed and watched the skis come out from under them. IMHO, they simply didn't have the edge surface necessary to carry that much speed in the turn. The universal excuse was "Dad, I booted out" .... nah!

As they progress and the courses become faster, there should be a period of transition to ween them into GS skis and take away those "Teddy Bear" SL's.

Just my HO.
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone.

They run both "SL" and GS courses but even the SL courses are stubby , brushes or quasi-GS in set-up. Longer length provides more stability at speed and edge on the ice (which is what the courses end up being) and I am being told the kids need to transition to a FIS ski over the next 4 years so they need to learn to turn a longer ski ... etc. In my understanding they need to be able to flex the ski to turn it and to have an edge on the snow so if I go too stiff they will be overwhelmed by it.

Do riser plates impact stiffness? The ski company websites don't seem to differentiate the weight range for skis with or without riser plates which would imply no.

Also, the skis w plates are much heavier - does anyone think that affects the kids ability to turn it? It may also be better construction that gives them weight but either way ...
post #6 of 25
I have also racing kids in you kids age. One boy -96 and one girl -98. They are booth top of their age group.

The girl (75 lbs) had last year 130cm Rossignol Radical RS Racing but without a plate. She also had 147 cm Dynastar Team Course Comp for GS. This year she will be on the new Dynastar Omeglass WC in 135 cm and Dynastar Team Corse Comp in 147 or 156.

Big brother (100 lbs) will this season be on Dynastar Omeglass WC 145 cm and Speed Course WC Team in 172 (or 164).

Especially in SL I think it's better to go shorter if in doubt. With 5 cm increase every year they will be on 155 cm last year before they need FIS legal skis (155/165).

For GS I think its good to start early. The oldest started with GS skis when he was 10 and the youngest when she was 9.
post #7 of 25
Gicven their ages, I am presuming that they are skiing at the I2 level. My experience - Having a (now) 11-yr old boy who did fairly well in the first year of I2, we figured that he would be able to handle a longer GS ski in the second as a 10yr old. It was a dismal failure and based on his results and the coach's advice, they didn't come out after the second race of the season. Despite being the proper length, they were simply too stiff for his 75lbs to bend. He ended skiing on his SL skis for all races. It was frustrating to see and he didn't learn anything by struggling against his skis all the time.

My 2 cents is not to get all caught up in having to have GS and SL specific skis at that age. Unless they are particularly strong you can easily use an "X" ski such as an Elan RCX or Rossi RSX, and get one that they can flex. Buy for appropriate performance, and don't overbuy to look like a racer. By the time they reach 2nd year K1 you will have to buy new ones because they are growing and will go through a major growth spurt anyways. Besides, in general from what I have seen, unless they are in the top 5-8 racers, the speeds for even GS don't demand a significantly stiffer ski.
post #8 of 25
Not sure where in Canada you are, but I know (as you likely do) that Alpine Ontario/Canada (not sure if this is national or provincial) enforces a 1 ski rule for kids up to K1 (maybe K2?), in part to prevent kids from getting too caught up with GS vs. SL (and a few other reasons which we won't get into).

While it can be problematic to get kids stuck in an SL turnshape, as ZeroGravity notes, the problems of having too much ski can be far worse than getting a kid to adapt to GS skis later on. With your oldest only 10, you don't need to worry about FIS for some time. By the time she's there, she'll have much better fine motor controls and the experience to readily adapt to new skis. If you get something that's too long/GSish, she's going to struggle now. At the Nancy Greene stage (which I'm assuming your daughter is if she's 10 this season), there really aren't any sets that favour a GS type ski in any event.

As for plates, on junior race skis they're not much more than plastic and rubber, they shouldn't affect the flex of the ski much. They may make it slightly heavier, but that's not really going to affect the skiing characteristics.

Talking with the coach is a good idea, and gets more important the older she gets. At the Nancy Greene stage, I'd be inclined to talk with a senior coach/supervisor who may have a little more experience with ski sizing at that age, as I'm guessing her coach is fairly new to coaching - not always the case, but frequently is at the NG level.
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks I will follow-up with the coach to be sure and while the Nancy Greene league has changed the one ski rule to two we will be sticking with one combo ski until K1 next year.

I have now found guidelines for Dynastar and Rossi suggesting the 130 and 140 should work and that the plate doesn't alter the range. I really want to build confidence, a good racing line and not have them overwhelmed by too much length. They both outperformed other skiers on skis 10 and 20 cm longer last year and a 10 cm bump is not bad each year.

In K1 they will need two pairs and a 140 slalom with a 150 or 155 GS would be a solid starting point without too big of a jump I hope.

Thanks again and happy skiing everyone.
post #10 of 25
The Nancy Greene League doesn't require SL and GS skis, and not that many bother with different skis. The ones who do usually have a pair of K1 skis inherited from a big brother or sister that they want to play with. (Or sometimes it's a little rascal who sneaks his twin-tips along.) Some 10-year old NG racers can make a 14m K1 GS ski work, but for most there's no advantage to be gained at that level with 2 pairs of skis. For another wrinkle, the "SL" and "GS" skis for NG level (i.e pre-K1) skiers are sometimes the same ski with different topsheets.

K1 racers should have SL and GS skis. If you read the rules carefully there is a way to work with a single ski, but part of the development at this stage is equipment awareness and adaptability, so I expect all of my K1 racers to be on 2 pairs of skis. There's room for flexibility for 11 year old kids, but the strong 12 year old kids really should be on a proper 14m GS ski.

Having said all that, for NG and also K1, there is more emphasis on SL to develop quickness & agility (ask your coach about "windows of trainability" for the 9-12 age group). This is reflected in the race series events (stubby SL, panel SL, kombi, SL semi final) and should be factored into training as well.

When choosing ski length, weight is generally more important than height, but ability is probably most important.
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Cheers,

One ski it is. I will try the younger one with a riser plate on the 130 and see how it works initially. IF the plate doesn't add too much weight or stiffness the 130 shouldn't be a problem given her ability. IF it doesn't work I understand they can take it off the RSX Racing ski which would make it like the straight RSX Jr.

The 140 should work for the 10 year old (80 lbs) particularly with an SL sidecut. Not much point in moving to a 135 (Dynastar makes one).

Thanks again
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by CanuckInstructor View Post
Not sure where in Canada you are, but I know (as you likely do) that Alpine Ontario/Canada (not sure if this is national or provincial) enforces a 1 ski rule for kids up to K1 (maybe K2?), in part to prevent kids from getting too caught up with GS vs. SL (and a few other reasons which we won't get into).
Last year, I found out that VT, the home to a few top academies, also has the same 1-ski rule for the J4/5 (through 12yo).

Also, I was surprised to hear from the ski shops/areas that I talked to that they prefer to have young racers (say through 11yo) to go with shorter skis -- like -5 to -15cm the height for GS or and more for combis. The idea is that it's more important to learn the fundamentals than to force the way down the hill fast (and risk struggling with the techiques).
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canada Goose View Post
The 140 should work for the 10 year old (80 lbs) particularly with an SL sidecut. Not much point in moving to a 135 (Dynastar makes one).
How tall is the 10-yo? 140 for a SL side cut seems long for him, unless he measures at least 145cm.
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canada Goose View Post
The 140 should work for the 10 year old (80 lbs) particularly with an SL sidecut. Not much point in moving to a 135 (Dynastar makes one).
Depends somewhat on the ski, but 80 lbs is light for a 140 cm SL ski. She might ski it comfortably when free skiing, but it will be hard to hold a clean edge in a course.

One of my K1 girls last season, 12 yo & 105 lbs, was on a 140 cm Fischer RC4 JR SL (10m radius). Very talented technically, but she still needed the weight to make the ski work in a race course. SL results included a first place finish.

In her last NG season, 10 yo & 78 lbs, she was on a 130 cm Atomic SL9 JR (9m radius). Achieved podium results including top 3 overall (boys & girls).
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Here are a couple of guidelines I used:

Dynastar Race Product Selector (see under Tech Info third bullet down under Dynastar)
http://www.wsco.ca/index2.php

Which at 10 and under and 80-90 lbs suggests a 130-150 and for lighter K1's (11-12 YO) suggests a 140-145 SL ski or Multi event. She is 4'10" which w 80-90 puts her in this range as well.

On Rossi
www.clubskistoneham.ca/AxisDocument.aspx?id=954&langue=fr&download=true&d ocument=Rossignol.pdf
suggests a 140 at 80 lbs at 10 YO.

Also on Rossi:
http://www.monodsports.com/main.php?p=1041
seems to suggest I'm on the right track.

The 8 YO handled the 120 Atomic Race 9 last year easily (beat almost all of the girls 2 yrs older (4th/5th) and all of the boys and girls her age and one year older). I thought I would try her older sister's ROssi RSX Racing (w Riser Plate) for a few days before the race season and remove the plate if its was an issue.

I could be overthinking this a tad but hopefully with the right boots (w sufficient flex) we'll be in good shape. Some of these comments are making me nervous though ...

Thanks for the help everyone.
post #16 of 25
These charts seem very aggressive, particularly the Dynastar/Lange one for 11/12 yo. The same goes for the boot models and sizes.

I pondered upon the same dilemma last year and I, like you, posted a similar question on this group. The suggestions here was nowhere close to what these charts state. I ended up going conservative (about -10 to -15 from the Dynastar/Lange chart - 143cm/131cm GS/SL) for my then 11-yo. Things happened to work out really well and she ended with a super season.

As for the boots, she stuck with her Comp 60 (which she loved). I can assure you that her results wouldn't have yielded where they were if we were to go with the Comp 70 as the chart suggests (even as one of the strongest 11-yo female). The 70 is a lot of boots unless the kid is super big even for this season now that she is just under 100 solid pounds.

One last thing... Don't get too hung up with results when they are at that age. Aggression or line selection alone will be enough for the podium. Incidentally, and many who are in the racing circuit here will agree, these aspects will eventually become level field for all kids as they progress. I'm not suggesting anything. I'm just saying...

Of course, that is MHO (which is shared amongst many coaches and race shops) and effectiveness will vary from skier to skier. Hope your decision works out well for your young racers.

BTW, your references got me thinking about moving her up to 140cm SL (Dynastar says 145-150cm) this season, even though all along I, with concurrence from her coaches, was going to keep her at 131cm.
post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I hear you on the results - its easy to carried away. I was more trying to suggest they are fairly aggressive skiers and have a good level of skill for their age as I would assume less capable skiers would go shorter.

At 10cm shorter than the Dynastar chart on the 10YO that would put her on a 135cm. If you think the 135 would be significantly easier to handle than the 140 then that could work. I was hoping to use this years X ski as next years slalom so the 135 should still work.

If the riser doesn't affect flex the 8YO easily handled the 120 Race 9 last year and it feels stiffer than the 130 Rossi RSX from her older sister so I didn't think that was such a big leap. Unless the riser will affect performance in other ways and then maybe I could have it removed.

Thoughts?

I promise not to bother you too much more on this one.
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canada Goose View Post
At 10cm shorter than the Dynastar chart on the 10YO that would put her on a 135cm. If you think the 135 would be significantly easier to handle than the 140 then that could work. I was hoping to use this years X ski as next years slalom so the 135 should still work.

If the riser doesn't affect flex the 8YO easily handled the 120 Race 9 last year and it feels stiffer than the 130 Rossi RSX from her older sister so I didn't think that was such a big leap. Unless the riser will affect performance in other ways and then maybe I could have it removed.

Thoughts?
I think the RSX should be fine for the 8yo. From my understanding at the really short range (say <120cm) SL and multi-events skis are pretty much equivalent. Because they are much softer as compared to the longer SL skis, the kids can easily use them for freeskiing. The RSX are a good choice as race-able skis even at this length are much better in quality than any recreational ones.

One other thing to note is that jr. race stock does vary from brand to brand when it comes to stiffness. There was an old thread on this before but I was not able to locate it for your reference. From memory, I think it was suggested that Atomics and Fischer are far more demanding than something like Elan and Dynastar. But, don't quote me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canada Goose View Post
I promise not to bother you too much more on this one.
Don't be silly. I, like most others who aren't pros, am here to share my passion and to reap from others' experience. To be very honest, I was glad you posted those charts. They certainly provide more insight to the exchange.
post #19 of 25
Thread Starter 
Cheers,

I changed my order to the Dynastar Omeglass WC in a 135cm (from 140) for the 10YO. I can always use those for my younger daughter if the older needs a 140cm for slalom next year. After all of this discussion the 135 feels better in my gut as well. I may be overthinking the 5 cm (2.5cm fore and aft) but I'd like to optimize their development.

Your comment re atomic race 9 seems to be right on as I could feel the difference with both the RSX and the Omeglass. Atomic was noticeably stiffer.

My ski shop seems pretty good (I have a friend who runs it which helps) and said they will take care of me if I make the wrong choice... or I could always hold on to it for next year for the younger one.

Here's to a fantastic ski season!
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canada Goose View Post
I changed my order to the Dynastar Omeglass WC in a 135cm (from 140) for the 10YO. I can always use those for my younger daughter if the older needs a 140cm for slalom next year. After all of this discussion the 135 feels better in my gut as well. I may be overthinking the 5 cm (2.5cm fore and aft) but I'd like to optimize their development.
...
My ski shop seems pretty good (I have a friend who runs it which helps) and said they will take care of me if I make the wrong choice... or I could always hold on to it for next year for the younger one.
The 5 cm shorter will make a difference, good choice for SL.
Keep in mind that you're looking for a ski that she can race well with, not just ski with.

I had a few of my K1 kids last year trying out FIS SL skis (Rossi & Dynastar 155 cm) on a demo day. Free skiiing they were laying down some pretty good tracks, but when they tested in a race course, they couldn't hold their line.

+1 to your shop for helping out. A lot in our area (S. Ont.) have half-back programs which really helps get the kids in suitable gear each year. Much better than hoping to grow into something over 2 or 3 years.
post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 
Cheers,

...and thanks for the note. I was still flip flopping in my mind today. Have a great season.
post #22 of 25
Just my quick 2 cents... A race plate will make these jr skis stiffer. For the 8YO, the RSX 130's without a plate may be ideal. Try it with the plate, but based on her weight, I'd say that the perfect setup would be no plate and risers under the bindings. I think that's a great ski, it's light and cap construction. Work out the plate issue and she'll do fine.

Realize that the Omeglasss WC is a different animal than the Omeglass/RSX (they are the same ski except RSX has a plate). The Omeglass WC is a vertical sidewall ski that's heavier and stiffer. The construction is like an adult race ski, just scaled down. I agree with Chanwmr that the charts seem to overestimate lengths and at 80lbs, your older daughter will have to ski the 135 somewhat aggressively to enjoy the ski. I'm not saying this is the wrong ski, just be aware as her dad that there will be an adjustment from the easy going RSX to this more demanding ski.

All in all, I like your choices. Good luck!
post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I'm glad I put her on the 135 vs 140. I assume the stiffness will be good at speed as long as she can keep it on the ice and stays aggressive (which she is fairly aggressive as a rule).

On the 8YO - I know its tough to tell torsional rigidity in the shop but the Race 10 (in a 120) she was on last year without a riser plate actually felt more rigid than the RSX. Oh, and I just realized its risers under the binding and not a full plate so flex appears to be similar.

Cheers and happy skiing.
post #24 of 25
It sounds like your girls are talented young racers, on their way to getting equipment sponsorships. I had two kids that learned how to ski at the age of two and my son became a USSA/FIS Nor Am level International racer. Every year, their coaches and sponsors would recommend the appropriate ski(s). Just my .02, but I think coach involvement is critical.

Have a great season and let's hope for many top-spot finishes!
post #25 of 25
I'm here looking for help on when to bring my J4 and J5 up to adult skis. They are 150 lbs/168 cms tall and 140 lbs/ 156 cms tall, are strong, aggressive and get the ski out from under them and bend the ski. And they have good success.

But I'll comment on issues I'm familiar with in this thread. Developing racers are fine with the rsx or multi event skis until when you see them rounding a gate, the ski is out from under their body and flexed into a semi circle. Until then, they are making skid turns and the softer skis are more forgiving allowing them the confidence to build on their skills.

To my knowledge plates were developed not so much as a lift, but to solve the problem of the ski not flexing under the boot when bindings are mounted directly to the ski. Notice how the plates have slots on one end allowing them to slide as the ski flexes and the mounting fasteners move closer together. So if your racer can get the ski out from under the body and bend the ski, they need plates. Otherwise, the arch of the ski will have a flat spot under the boot.

And I agree, coaches input is essential, plus the advice of a good shop owner. Ask the coaches for a good shop tech or owner and when the same name keeps coming up, go there, and buy there.
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