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Jr Racing Skis - Has anything changed since 2007

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
A while back (2007), Whygimf posted a good sumary of the junior race skis (see below), and as a parent of a 10 yr and 12 yr old racers, I am wondering if these observations are still true?

Skiing in and around Southern Ontario (small hills), I've noticed that more and more the older kids are switching to Fishers, but Rossi still has a strong presence. Atomic seems to be an endangered species amongst my kids fellow racers. I expect that Head may be up and coming because one of the major retailers is making a big push with junior Head race skis.

"Soft end (in order)- Nordica. Provides a lovely arc, very consistent, forgiving and holds extremely well. We're big fans. In the GS it needs to be skied +5cm more than any other. Have skied it on small and large kids - elite and learning - performs for all - tend to recommend as a young ladies ski.

Dynastar. Good. Bends a really good arc. Has a nice sweet spot. The SL is excellent. The GS has been suspect, but this past season they were a nice surprise and were real weapons. Excellent product. Weird GS sizing range.

Salomon - They just aren't around any more - so, we don't play. Very soft and skied center only. They don't like fore-aft pressure changes.

Rossi - They're a crapshoot. Who knows what's under the skin? Some kids ski good on 'em, and for others it doesn't do anything for them, so I don't know when it's working because their manufacturing happened to spit out a good pair, or that athlete got on someone's list for good skis. Middle of the road stiffness, although their Jr SL is getting beefier.

Volkl - Good sticks. The SL does what it's supposed to do as well as promotes learning. We were challenged with one particular length in GS this past season, but overall, it taught and raced well. Not sure if it's the fastest jr ski, but, I'd put any kid on 'em and they won't be slow.

Fischer - Now we're into firmer toys. Athletes who like a strong platform and aren't afraid of tipping the ski alot can get as much as they want out of being on Fischer. They aren't forgiving, but they are predictable. I like these skis. On the right athlete.

Atomic - I have felt for a number of years that these skis are too torsionally stiff for this age group. The story shared above about moving the kid to Atomic from Dynastar was my fist foray into recommending an Atomic to an athlete in probably 8 years? I liked the way it looked on the snow this winter. It is still torsionally stiff, and unless the kid is able to potentially podium at the reg/nat level... it's too much for most. It is not a learning ski.

Elan - dunno, don't sell 'em in our neck of the woods. Probably on the Nord/Dyn stiffness level. It look like it skis 'deader' - a bit sluggish.

Head - No presence in the jr race market in our neck of the woods. Yet.

K2 - who?

So, Volkl, Dynastar and Nordica are the most forgiving for learning and yet able to win at any level. Fischer you can learn on but the athlete better have gumption and a real mtn sparkle. Atomic? You got kids good enough? You're doing better than most.

The above are just personal observations of race skiis 170 and smaller. I don't do much for ski size matching at 13 yr up, other than for athletes who ask for my guidance as they move up in age group. With all ski selections, we make every effort to involve the youngster in the process to help their understanding of why we chose what was best for them. We want them to have full confidence in their new toys."
post #2 of 7
A lot of kids in our race program ski on Rossi; Fischers are probably second; Head third; then Dynastar, Atomic and Volkl.

What that means, who knows... Some of our best younger skiers (J4s and J5s) are all on Rossi. I think ski selection depends on the coaches and the ski shop affiliations. The flavor of the day seems to be Rossi with ours.

Truth be told, IMHO good skiers can make any of them work, and they all, for the most part, have good characteristics that allow the athlete to perform.
post #3 of 7
In our club, brands are all over the place. Even our coaches have their own individual preferences. I have noticed that some of the other teams in our region do tend to stick to similar brands within the teams themselves.

As for what's new and what's good... My older is still skiing on Nordica GS (new old stock) and SL (same pair from last year). And the 1st year J5 is on Atomic Race 10 (which I'm pretty impressed with so far). It is still pre-season, so only time will tell.
post #4 of 7
Dynastar has new skis to this season, Team Omeglass WC and Team Course WC. They are stiffer then the previous models especially the GS ski that are alot stiffer then the old Team Course Comp. The GS ski also have a full sandwich construction and it's a pretty nice ski.
post #5 of 7
Atomic might not dominate the way they did 3-4 years ago, but they're still pretty common in our area, and they still have great products for jr racers from NG to K2.

The NG targeted skis (e.g. Race 8 or Race 10) accommodate a pretty good range of developing skiers. These skis work well as a single ski for the typical GS and SL type events at the NG level. I don't see as much difference between the brands for the NG-oriented skis. The differences become more noticeable at K1 and up.

The Atomic skis directed toward K1 (11-12) and K2 (13-14) are among the stiffer jr skis out there, so skill and strength are needed to work them. There are a good number of proficient K1 and K2 skiers who can work these skis well, so they certainly aren't too stiff for the right skier.

Fischers have become much more popular in the past couple of years, (deservedly so I would say). A little less stiff than Atomic, but still lots of stability. The SL especially is a quick ski for the kids.

Dynastar seems to be coming on stronger this year -- I've seen more of them out this season. I don't know the details of their new line, but from skiers I know who are on them, they are still a more forgiving flex than Fischers or Atomics.
post #6 of 7
A quick look around the hill and chalet has Volkl RaceTigers and Fischers head and shoulders above all other brands combined. Atomic seems to be rapidly falling off the map, Rossi as well, and Dynastar, Elan, Nordica are practically non-existent.

Of course in the local retail market has a lot to do with it. The major retailers seem to be carrying a bare minimum of Atomic and Fischer has been on the rise. I would suspect that around here, there may also be a slight increase in Elan as their exposure is also increasing.
post #7 of 7
For young kids skis at least, it really is what the retailers in that area sell. The older kids may be influenced by what their coaches rep for. Up here Fischer is pretty huge, with Rossignol, Volkl, and Atomic doing their fair share. Elan has a presence with some of the college racers, but that seems to be fading. Nordica is starting to show up more often, and Head and Dynastar are almost non-existant.
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