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Sizing a Jr SG ski?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My K1 (J4) is going to a "speed camp" in mid-Jan and I would like to have him try a real SG ski. A local shop rents them and the shortest they have is 175cm.

What's the general guidelines on SG lengths. To me, 175 sounds about right if he is on a 152 GS ski.

post #2 of 11
How much does he weigh?
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
About 90lbs and 150cm (almost 5') tall in shoes.
post #4 of 11
The shortest Jr SG ski available from any brand is 175cm. Typically a j4 would use a SG ski approx 10 to 15 cm longer than their GS ski properly sized.

Depending on height, weight, coordination, coaches opinion, etc, GS skis for j4's are head high to 10 cm above head height. So, that being said, your son being 5 feet tall, the "starter size 175" SG is probably the place to start. In some parts of the US, smaller lighter, less proficient j4's will use slightly longer GS skis.

JFWIW, most of the JR SG sks (sizes 175,185 ) have sidecut radius that is closer to a FIS GS ski ( 27m ) then a FIS SG ski ( 33m ).

The key element is that the kids need to be able to bend the ski and get it out and away from the centerline of the body. Size, athletic skills, technique, and tactics will dictate the appropriate ski size for
j4 SG.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks Jim, that sort of confirms what I was thinking. As you said, the alternative is to find a longer FIS GS ski if the SG ski isn't appropriate for him.

post #6 of 11
A 175 cm Jr SG could be a good option to start with. Another option is an adult GS ski, e.g 175 cm, 19m radius. It's a big step from a K1 GS ski (14m) to a Jr SG ski, so he should get at least a full free-skiing training day before the camp to get used to the skis, and get some benefit from the camp. Training ahead of time provides a chance to change skis as well if the first choice doesn't work out.

I'm assuming your son is first-year K1, and this is his first K1 speed camp. Has he done any NG speed camps? Is his regular coach going to be with him at the camp? How many days on snow in total before the camp?
post #7 of 11
It's been a LONG time since my kids did a number of J4 and J3 "speed camps", normally two-day deals. As I recall, the skis were not that critical. I would absolutely check in with his coach as a first step. He/she can give you the exact details of what they will be trying to accomplish. My guess is that it's terrain, letting the skis run in bigger turn shapes, basic body position {like hands}, some work on the right tuck shape, etc. They also introduce the safety aspects; getting flagged off the course, etc. I remember my daughter learning a lot about how much speed you could scrub by being straight and late, and how important her hands were. Fun days.

As I recall the basic sets used in these camps incorporated a lot of turning, well across the fall line, and maybe a bit of opening up on the flats. In everything, safety was very obviously #1. I watched one of these camps a year or two ago, and the speed was much less than that of a men's FIS GS. Not even close.

We bought a pair of 181 SG's, and I think that their coaches quickly got them on a longer, and bigger radius GS ski instead. The first time that either one really needed {or was possibly helped by} a specific SG ski was at J3 JO's, and that was when the set and speed was such that hooking up on a longer GS ski was a real possibility. I remember a number of kids hooking tips, and it was no fun. My son's set-up as a first year J3 was a pair of 184 Salomon GS with a fairly long radius, that had been a real WC ski {skied on the WC}, and were mounted with a Deflex plate. The next year he alternated between a 193 Volkl GS, set up the same way {again an experienced fast ski} and a 201 woman's SG. What he found was that in most "speed" camps, and J3 races, the actual speed skied was not that much, there was a lot of relatively tight turning, and his real SG skis were harder to ski. he was faster and had more fun on the GS skis. He was able to forerun a number of FIS races that year, and got a good feel for the SG's, and how they would work. He skied those at J0's.

I'd simply let the coach know that your son is really looking forward to this event {assuming he is}, and ask him what you should do with skis {if anything} to ensure that he has a great experience. One last comment, I remember one of my son's friends, who made it to the USST as a speed skier, running a typically turny J3 SG as a FYJ3 and just killing it, on his regular GS skis. Maybe 168's? He was pretty small at that time, maybe 5'3" and 130. He nosed out my son who was on the 193's. If the course had been two gates longer, my son would have caught him. The other kid just killed him in the turns, and was on a ski that he knew inside and out. I think my son was on a 181 GS at the time; probably should have stuck with that. He was comfortable on those at almost any speed. He probably skied those 193's about 1/20th as much as his GS skis.

I also remember seeing younger kids decked out in SG skis, DH poles, etc. who were not among the top of their age group, and I think for the most part they felt embarassed. It may have been compounded by the fact that they didn't have the skills to ski them.

Last comment. Not a lot of "development" is done by most companies on kids SG or DH skis. That's been my experience as a dad talking to a ton of coaches and reps.In retrospect, I thought way too much about this. It didn't matter until much later on. I'm not sure how much they put into the design, etc. As Jim mentions, if they are closer in design to a GS ski, that would be a good thing. They may have come a long way in recent years, but a few years ago, there were some dogs out there for short speed skis. Basically just hard to ski for a small kid. Long radius, adult layup, etc. I think it depends on the kid, and the ski. I'm sure that there are some good matches. As mentioned, I'd ask the coaches. Your best resource on this one.

I hope that he has a blast! Have fun.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks Muleski, I believe that your comments are right on the mark. He is so stoked for this, and I think regardless of results, which we are not making any expectations, it will be a total blast just to let him open it up and rip down the course. The coach suggested that the 175 Jr GS ski would be OK for him to use, so we reserved them right away. Around here, there are only 2 of these two-day speed camps so a lot parents will be looking to rent skis.

Thanks for all the input.

post #9 of 11
Got it. I think that keeping the "stoked" meter to the max should be the main focus. Sounds great. If the coach thinks he should be on a 175, then go for it. I'd also have his GS skis ready to go, just in case. You want him to have a blast.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Good point on having the GS skis as a back up.
post #11 of 11
I think so. He's comfortable on his GS skis, and probably just rips on them! If he tries the 175's and you or his coach see all of the body language that suggests that "this isn't so much fun", then you can put him on his GS skis. There will be plenty {most?} kids on their GS skis. As much as he thinks this is going to be like a WC DH, it........won't be. My hunch is that the primary concern will be safety, and that the drills and sets will be geared to keep even the least proficient comfortable.

Like I say in ALL of my posts regarding racing at this age, I think that keeping it fun for the kids is huge. My kids are still deeper into it than ever at 21 and 18, and they love it. It's very sad for me to think of the huge number of kids who gave it up along the way, in most instances because for whatever reason it wasn't fun.

My daughter wrote a college essay on how she felt as comfortable and relaxed in a tuck at 75mph as she does anywhere. The start of that fun and comfort were J4 speed events. That was where the base was built, and the skills and experience grows from there. My son went to a longer GS ski, the week after his first speed camp, so be prepared! Your son will have a blast. Great stuff.
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