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Race skis for 13 yr old girl?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am looking for new SL and GS skis for my daughter who is a 1st year J3. She has been racing for 2 years and is a middle of the pack skier, not very aggressive but accurate. I have heard different opinions about what length and brand of skis I should get for this year. She is 63" (160cm) tall and 90 lbs., so shorter skis have been suggested based on her weight. We are on the east coast with normally icy conditions. Thinking 140cm SL and 155 GS. Her coach suggested Fischers. Any opinions?
post #2 of 17
could also try rossi rs and rx with the jr ibox plate...its a plastic plate thats lighter and easier to flex, but a great little ski...the majority of the kids racing in ontario are on the rossis...
post #3 of 17
OK....it's tough love time.

First and most importantly, do you trust the coach to suggest a ski that he/she is NOT sponsored by?? If so, asking here is superflous, the coach will know better.

OTH....if the coach happens to be sponsored by Fischer and 50-75% of the athletes are on Fischers, then you have good reason to be seeking other opinions.

An experienced coach can and will match the weight and aggressiveness of the athlete to the ski brand. The gear "ho" will suggest the same thing for almost everyone. It's up to you to find the distinction but the first person I'd solicit is the J4 coach. He/She will have been working with this racer for two years. If the J3 coach is the same person, great! If not, he/she may not be familiar enough with your racer to have valid input.

Just one rather jaded opinion.

post #4 of 17
My girls (J3 and J4) both love Fischers, based on trying everything that shows up in Govy during the summer. They bracket your daughter in size (as well as ski size and aggression). Given the information you've provided they're a completely solid choice...even if the coach reps for them.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 


Thanks for the helpful replies. Do you have an opinion about the length of the skis? The Rossi rep I met with thought she should be on shorter skis based on her weight (90 lbs.) vs her height (160cm) and recommended 140 and 155. Don't know if the same is true for Fischers, and the coach thought that was short. She seems to be taller every morning.
post #6 of 17
Yeah, I'd say that's short. the Fischer SL Jr. comes in a 140, 145 or a 150. The adult SL starts at 150.

If she's at that point where she's growing quickly (as most girls are at that age), the 140 will be too short quickly. I would look at least at the 145, or the 150. For the GS, I'd be looking at 160 to 165.
post #7 of 17
Originally Posted by JaneNYC View Post
Thanks for the helpful replies. Do you have an opinion about the length of the skis? The Rossi rep I met with thought she should be on shorter skis based on her weight (90 lbs.) vs her height (160cm) and recommended 140 and 155. Don't know if the same is true for Fischers, and the coach thought that was short. She seems to be taller every morning.
I have a couple of girls on my team of similar size that have had solid success on the Fischers, SL and GS -- excellent training development and multiple podium finishes. Based on my observations, 155 sounds reasonable for GS, but at 90 lbs, 140 cm could be a bit long for the Fischer SL. If she's strong enough, she might grow into it, but at her current weight, she could find it hard to hold the edge in the race course. Dropping down 5 cm is what it might take to get the ski carving instead of sliding in a course.

As mentioned elsewhere, input from previous coaches would be helpful. If that's not available, make a note now to get an end of season assessment from this year's program to keep on file for next fall.

If you're seeing rapid growth (maybe she's at or near her PHV - peak height velocity - phase), it's a really good idea to measure weight & height monthly. This will give you growth trend info that is helpful to coaches, and to you as a parent to help plan equipment purchases. For bootfitting, measure foot growth too.(Ideally, you would want to have measurements back a couple of years to clearly identify PHV.) If she's had a recent growth spurt, then her strength is probably lagging a bit, and that will make it harder to work a longer, stiffer ski. I don't know what shops in your area offer, but a number in my area offer "half-back" programs which make it a lot more economical to trade gear in each year rather than hoping to grow in to something.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks, that's very helpful input, and we will start to track her growth more closely. I agree that she may do better on a slightly shorter ski. She has recently grown about 2 inches but is just at the beginning of her growth spurt per an orthopedist we saw recently. While I would like to maximize the use of these expensive skis (and no our local shops don't do trade-in), I want her to have the right equipment for her current size and ability. Btw, I learned that the coach is a Fischer rep, though it seems like it may be a good choice for her anyway. Any guidelines for picking a boot?

Thanks again for your help.
post #9 of 17
In case you were wondering, I have no association with Fischer. From my own demos and from the results of my athletes who are on Fischers, I do think they are excellent skis.
My own gear is Atomic, which I'm very happy with.

One comment I'll give you for boots -- be sure that there is good forward flex to allow ankle flexing. On some models this means taking out the bolt at the back of the boot to allow the hinge to work. For more detail & current boot model suggestions, post your boot question to the Bootfitter Forum.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your help last year. We ended up with Rossi RS 140 and RX 155 with the Jr plate. She skied well on them last year, though it was a difficult season as her coach was out for a few weeks and there were quite a few injuries on the team. Now we have to decide what to do for equipment this year. She will be a 2nd year J3 and grew 3" (now 5'6") and gained 10 lbs. (now 100 lbs,) and is still not that aggressive, particular on the slalom course. Most important thing will be new boots as her feet have stopped growing. I guess she still needs a junior boot? Any recommendations? Based on the Rossi chart for a 100 lb. J3, she could still be in a 140 SL ski this season, or should we move up? What about the appropriate GS skis?

Thanks for your help!
post #11 of 17

Based on her height & weight, the 140 is still in the right general range.  I interpret "still not that aggressive" to indicate that her skill is still developing, so the 140 SL would be a better choice than moving up to a 145.  Let her keep the ski size that she will be able to hold confidently in a SL race course.

For GS, move up 5 cm to give her a ski that will carry some more speed. If she was happy with Rossi last year, this year's RX at 160 cm would be a good ski to consider.  This ski is listed as an 18.3m radius, a bit longer than the 155 at 17.4m.

A junior boot is probably still the right choice in terms of flex, cuff height, and overall fit profile. Does she have footbeds yet? I prefer not to go with footbeds for kids when their feet are still growing a lot, but as the growth of the foot stabilizes, it's time to consider footbeds for improved performance through improved fit.

post #12 of 17
these days there are some short carving skis that are really light and offer a lot of sidecut like the head xenon. they make that ski in alot of flex models and some short sizes. some older models like the head xrc could be good too. the Head xrc's were built similar to race skis with a laminate construction. ANy of this type of ski may be more forgiving and more fun for her. i just looked up these

this site has alot of this type of carving skis that could be good for a young racer.

think snow!
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
 Thanks, that's very helpful. I do think that her feet have stopped growing and we will consider footbeds.
post #14 of 17
i think 140's are too short.
there are multiple girls on my team in the 5'3 - 5'6, 95-100lbs range that ski on 150's. (1st year J3s)
it also depends how much money you are willing to invest. if you want to buy a new pair of skis each year (if she keeps growing/gaining) then i wouldn't go above 145s. just sell them at a swap when done.
if you dont want to buy new skis every year she should be fine on 150's for atleast a year.

Last year i was 97 lbs, 5'3/5'4ish and skied on 150s and they were great for me.
post #15 of 17

I know how challenging it can be to find the right ski for our kids.  On the one hand, we want to get the most for our money and to get 2 years out of ski is very helpful.  On the other hand, we want our kids to perform to the best of their ability and get better without being hampered by their equipment.

I have two boys that race and have been for about 7 years.  My now 13 year old competed in the J4 Jr Olympics in Winter Park, CO last spring and finished 13th overall in slalom.  He was on a Fischer 145 SL, at that time he was about 5'3" and weighed about 120 lbs. He is a very aggressive skier. It worked out fine.  My youngest son has skied Rossi's for the last 2 years, but this year was moved to Fischer also.  I have probably 8 pair of fischer race skis right now (we pass them down when possible)

I think that the Fishcer skis stand up well and allow the kids to perform at a high level.  They also maintain well, and I have had only one ski break on me in the last 4 years and was quickly replaced under warranty with no Q's asked.

As to length with your daughter, I think that since she is not aggressive, I would go bit shorter, but with her height, I would probably opt for the 145.  I think you may get 2 years out of that ski.  Make sure she stays on a jr ski with her weight under 120 lbs.  As for GS, it kind of depends on what type of courses they set, if they are open go to 160 for 2 years use.  If they set them tight, you could consider 155, but that seems short to me.  My son will use between 160 and 170 depending on course at the same height.

As for boots, consider this the most important piece of equipment.  Find a good boot fitter in your area, let them find the best boot based on her foot and then fit them for 1 years use.  Save money on skis, not boots.  If you use a foot bed, make sure its necessary and don't use something that fixates the foot ( like superfeet ) and doesn't allow proper inversion and eversion of the ankle and arch.

Just my 2 cents as a parent who spends a gigantic amount of energy making the same decisions with successful outcomes.

post #16 of 17
My 13yo 1st year J3 is just under 5' (~150cm) and she is around 110 pound. Solid build. During last season, she was aggressive on SL but not so much (top third of pack) on GS.

Here is what our HC has to say for this season based on what he knows about her:
"Girls her size can use GS skis at the 167cm length adult wood core ski. SL can be shorter at 135-138cm".
I trust his judgement because what he recommended for her last year worked out really well for her with good results.

Based on this and your description of your daughter, I would definitely go with something between 160-165cm. If she was more aggressive and heavier (by say at least 20 lbs), probably 170cm would probably be better. As for SL, I say 140-145cm would work. A shorter length is good for skiers with skill levels at both ends of the spectrum (pretty much all other kids use something at least 5-10cm longer). Both skier types can use the easy of turning with shorter skis. The downside for a more timid skier is loss in speed (especially on a open course). OTOH, in quick turns heading straight at the gates, it takes precise control, balance and execution due to the smaller sweet spot.

FWIW, here is my daughter's setup for the upcoming season (last year: 4'11" and just under 100lb)
SL - Nordica Dobermann SL Jr.141cm with plate (131cm last season)
GS - Nordica Dobermann GS Jr. 163cm with plate (153cm last season)
Boots - Lange Comp 70 (60 last season)
post #17 of 17

Ski length should be selected based on skill, strength and weight in that order.  Height is less of a consideration, especially for kids.  Size of the levers can be important, but not without the muscle strength and skill to work them.

There are a few good sizing charts out there from Rossi and other manufacturers based on weight.  They provide a good starting point, and there is room for variations up and down depending on the individual skier.  Skiers who are still developing skills will do better on the shorter side of the scale.  The better racers who really know how to work the ski can trend upwards. 

As a side note, "aggressive" or "not aggressive" alone can be misleading descriptors, and "aggressive" doesn't necessarily mean "skilled."    I have worked with kids who had the mental and physical strength to really attack race courses, but their results were limited because they did not have the skills.

There's more of a risk in going too long for SL.  If the ski is too long, the racer will end up just struggling gate to gate, not getting enough energy to work the ski cleanly and develop speed and rhythm.  For GS kids can go a bit longer, and as they get comfortable with higher speeds, that speed is giving them the kinetic energy to work the ski and hold the line in a race course.

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