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GS Radius for J4 and J5 Racers

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I was reading the thread started by Richr about GS sidecut for Masters racers, but I'm wondering about the radius for J4 and J5 racers.

From what I can tell, the radius of 170cm and larger junior GS race skis are +20m which seems big for a 13 year old. The kids are not competeing in events that require FIS equipement compliance.

I've seen older kids (J3) on cheater GS skis (Fisher Race Carves) but are there similiar cheater GS skis for younger racers? (as good as these kids are, I'm not sure if I would want to put a 125 lb kid on an adult ski).

Given the smaller hills and tighter course sets that my kids race on, would it be better to go with a shorter GS ski (165 cm) with a tighter radius?
post #2 of 21
First, a small note: J4s are ordinarly 11 and 12 (and J5s are 9 and 10). The only 13-year-old J4s are those who just turned 13 because their birthday falls in 2009.

If you've got a J4 at the level (not mention the size) that he or she is using 170 cm skis, his or her coach must know him or her well enough to make some very specific suggestions.

It seems to me that the ordinary J4/J5 would be on a shorter all-around junior race ski, rather than an event-specific GS ski. These generally have very tight turn radiuses ... more like 13 meters. The length is going to depend on height and weight. Except in the case of very-early maturers, 12-year-old boys haven't yet got their adolescent growth spurt; 12-year-old girld may have, but often are very skinny.
post #3 of 21
Are you sure that they are setting courses tighter than FIS regulations? Around here, they set K1 (J4) courses to the FIS specs. If the courses are indeed tighter, then a GS cheater ski would be advantageous. The coaches should know how the courses are being set and be able to provide guidance.
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeroGravity View Post
Are you sure that they are setting courses tighter than FIS regulations? Around here, they set K1 (J4) courses to the FIS specs. If the courses are indeed tighter, then a GS cheater ski would be advantageous. The coaches should know how the courses are being set and be able to provide guidance.

I coach K1 in the east and our race include some pretty small hills. But with the new rules in effect (Vertical % as opposed to max gate) small hills without much vertical (but a lot of flat) are usually set longer to accomodate the minimum gate #

Our races over here we set between 20 and 22 Meters for K1 usually.
post #5 of 21

What he said...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post
First, a small note: J4s are ordinarly 11 and 12 (and J5s are 9 and 10). The only 13-year-old J4s are those who just turned 13 because their birthday falls in 2009.

If you've got a J4 at the level (not mention the size) that he or she is using 170 cm skis, his or her coach must know him or her well enough to make some very specific suggestions.

It seems to me that the ordinary J4/J5 would be on a shorter all-around junior race ski, rather than an event-specific GS ski. These generally have very tight turn radiuses ... more like 13 meters. The length is going to depend on height and weight. Except in the case of very-early maturers, 12-year-old boys haven't yet got their adolescent growth spurt; 12-year-old girld may have, but often are very skinny.
...the coach should know best. There was an interesting article in Ski Racing, I think, recently, that said that most Masters racers and juniors are on way too stiff a boot, and there was a trend among top level juniors in the US toward softer boots.

You could almost (but not quite) say the same thing about sidecuts, lengths, construction, and all that good stuff for juniors as well. If you figure that the idea is to get younger juniors to ski well, carving turns, and so forth, and then worry about what to do in the gates...well, a ski that's too long, too stiff, or has too little sidecut is going to, potentially, inhibit that learning process.

On the other hand:

- The rules are the rules, and I don't currently know what they are for juniors. For Masters, I think the powers that be realized that requiring 70 year old guys to ski on a 186 cm. GS ski with 27 meters of sidecut was stupid...so the FIS regulations are merely "recommendations". So there's the junior ski rules, first and foremost, whatever they are.

- Second, there is an argument that the FIS came up with, and there's some credibility to it, that too many juniors were blowing their knees out because they were using skis with too much sidecut, which can lead to loading up the tail of the ski and having the ski arc out from under you...by by, ACL. There's also kind of a theory that too much sidecut can be a crutch...you can sort of buy a turn, which means you can get away with an unbalanced stance (sitting back), and other technique faults...which will show up, big time, when you go to a bigger ski with less sidecut.

- Third, along the same lines as the above point, if at some point a junior is going to ski FIS events...well, eventually you're gonna have to deal with the FIS regulations. Unless I'm reading things wrong, the new Atomic catalog shows a 181 cm. GS 12 with a 27-meter sidecut...and you can guess this might be something suitable to a lighter boy, say a J1/J2, who is good enough and whose points are heading him for direct entry into some FIS events in the near future.

- Finally, if you want to talk speed events, that's a whole different ball game. Speed events for kids is a tough one, but what I do know is it ain't a great idea to try to try to do junior speed events on a long GS ski. You really need a laminate, flat tip, speed ski construction in the appropriate length and sidecut for the individual athlete. Yeah, I know...more bucks, but if you want your kids to ski fast and safe, they need the right gear...
post #6 of 21
Around here the typical J5 ski will be in the 140s with a 14m radius, same for smaller J4's. When the skier is bigger/stronger, there are 17m junior GS skis. Like SkiRacer55 said going with too long/stiff/big radius skis can be difficult for kids' learning. For reference, my son went from a 138cm/12m Fischer GS as a J6 to a 148cm/14m Fischer GS as a J5 and was fine in all of their courses.
post #7 of 21
I guess I should have specified J5 racers competing in Age Class races, which is the more competitive division. J5s in the devo programs may not be going with that big of a ski.
post #8 of 21

J4/K1: 11 & 12 Years Old

The FIS guidelines for K1 are 14m minimum radius for GS. Length ranges from roughly 130 to 150, with some variations actual offered lengths depending on manufacturer. Choose a length based on skill and weight. I've had strong K1 kids use a K2 (17m radius) ski.

Depending on the level of competition, these rules aren't strictly enforced but as a coach I strongly encourage parents to follow the guidelines, with some leeway allowed for the smaller 11-year olds. All K1 kids that I work with have two pairs of skis, SL and GS.

Some of the kids at K1/K2 (J4/J3) level will use an adult GS ski for SG events. Know your athlete, know the event, and know the equipment and this can work out just fine. The top racers will use jr SG skis for speed events, and one of our local shops maintains a pool of rental race skis for the skilled racers who don't want to buy a pair of jr SG skis for just one or two events.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
It seems that the manufacturers are complying with FIS requirements for the K2 (13-14 year olds) racers. This results in the 170 cm and longer skis have +20m radii which seems "big"
post #10 of 21
There are no USSA equipment rules below J2 (other than stack height/boot height).

There are FIS rules. If your kid is skiing in the Whistler Cup, I suppose you need to worry about these. Then again, if your kid is skiing in the Whistler Cup, what are you doing asking us doofuses such questions? You probably have a half dozen coaches lurking about.

For J4s, the rules are:
- 130cm minimum length - same for SL and GS
- 14 m minimum sidecut radius - GS only
- 60 mm minimum waist width.
That's it.
post #11 of 21

This is a great topic. I have a J5 who is 10 she is skis an older 120 Rossi race ski as SL and last years rossignol radical sr in a 130 for GS. I'm not sure to the radius, but is it better to have smaller radius? I got her a pair the other day but then returned them because I 'm not sure if they a stiff enough. Her coach tells her that she needs to drive her skis more (then she asks me what drive your skis is) so I'm thinking that the skis she has now are so easy to turn that in her mind she can just put the ski on edge and it will take care of its self. But if she had a stiffer ski it would require more work to carve thus making her more proactive, does that sound right?

post #12 of 21

I don't think you'll get particularly good technical advice for your daughter from people who've never seen her ski (almost certainly not better than what you get from her coach), but I'll note:

 

I'm not sure I follow the logic that goes:

- kid needs to do X, so

- get skis that make it more difficult to do X.

 

My off-the-cuff reaction is that I'd be far more worried about a 10-year-old girl having skis that are too stiff rather than too flexible.

 

Kids' skis in the 120-130 length generally seem to have sidecut radia in the low teens, and to be intended as all-event skis (it's not like 10-year-olds are running wide-open GSs at 40 mph). Most makers seem to just brand them as "race" skis, without being event-specific. Note that Atomic at one time marketed both little kid SL and GS skis, notwithstanding the fact the two "models" were apparently identical.

post #13 of 21

Yeah I'm looking at a 140-145cm ski.

 

- Kid needs to do x not y

- Get skis that make it more difficult to do y and force x

post #14 of 21
Quote:

There are no USSA equipment rules below J2 (other than stack height/boot height).

 

And helmet requirements (no soft ears etc..)

post #15 of 21

tuckerman,

 

No that's not right thinking to believe a stiffer/longer ski would force her to drive her skis.

 

She needs to learn the movement on a forgiving ski before you ramp up demands with a higher performing ski. 

 

Teaching someone to drive in a muscle car with a touchy clutch does not force them to drive right.  It makes learning to drive downright dangerous.  Same with skiing.  Give her the right tool for the job.

 

 

post #16 of 21

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post

 

tuckerman,

 

No that's not right thinking to believe a longer ski would force her to drive her skis.

 

She needs to learn the movement on a forgiving ski before you ramp up demands of a higher performing ski. 

 

Teaching someone to drive in a muscle car with a touchy clutch does not force them to drive right.  It makes learning to drive downright dangerous.  Same with skiing.  Give her the right tool for the job.

 

 

 

No she is getting a longer ski because she keeps growing, maybe we could stop feeding her? I guess my question is more about radius. What I was saying before was that I purched a pair of skis the other day a capped ski that felt way too soft so I returned them. Turing radius GS and SL for a 3ed year J5?

post #17 of 21

 

I meant stiffer, and have editted things.

 

Her coach ought to be able to recommend a ski.

 

post #18 of 21

I asked her coach he said that all j5s should have a GS and SL ski and that the combi skis are ok for NASTAR but not USSA. Anyway when I asked him we were standing a the top of a SL training course and he started to scrap snow off all the kids skis to look at the radius, guess what they are all about the same. So he said that she needs a stiffer ski but not the stiffest. He said Head, and Nordica too stiff and suggested Rossi or Volkl for GS and she can keep this years SL ski for next year because it may have been a tad too long this year (the ski was a great deal). So she will be on a 130 Rossi SL and a 140 - 147 Rossi or Volkl GS next year. I think Volkl is 142 or 145.

post #19 of 21

We're talking development here, error on the side of soft and short. Soft for boots too. Tamara McKinny told me she raced her entire career on junior boots. 

One of the best things I've experienced is skiing 80% of the time on Rondennay boots. Your muscles learn how to work your skis.

post #20 of 21
As a racer who went from 180cm Rossi 4s's and second-hand 170cm Atomic GS skis for SL's as a 12y.o. J4 (finished on the podium in both events at PNW championships and won the second run of slalom by over a second) to 204 Atomic fis race skis as a J3 (never managed to get very good) I look at these kids with so many choices and am green with envy.

As far as radius, anything probably from 15-17m would be a good bet (but honestly, spending too much time thinking about a kid's equipment who is under 13 years old is overkill).

A kid who grew up just a bit older than me by the name of Cody Smith always had dinged-up old hand-me-downs until he got sponsorship...he turned out okay I think (made the US Ski Team and went on to be successful racing Ski X's nationally).

It's the same dilemma facing Master's racers. Up to a pretty high level, it's not the equipment's fault, dude. Coaching, dryland fitness and a healthy attitude combined with a love of the sport and a focus on FUN, not just winning is WAY more important by far. After that, making sure the skis are reasonably well-tuned and not wax-starved or completely the wrong wax is all you need to do. Obsessing about equipment (besides boots, which are the MOST important thing by far and must not be too stiff for a junior racer) is just a good way to spend money to little or no effect.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuckerman View Post

This is a great topic. I have a J5 who is 10 she is skis an older 120 Rossi race ski as SL and last years rossignol radical sr in a 130 for GS. I'm not sure to the radius, but is it better to have smaller radius? I got her a pair the other day but then returned them because I 'm not sure if they a stiff enough. Her coach tells her that she needs to drive her skis more (then she asks me what drive your skis is) so I'm thinking that the skis she has now are so easy to turn that in her mind she can just put the ski on edge and it will take care of its self. But if she had a stiffer ski it would require more work to carve thus making her more proactive, does that sound right?


If she had a stiffer ski it MIGHT cause her to be more proactive, or it might just make her frustrated. By telling her to drive her skis more the coach is just confusing her. What her coach is trying to do is get a more dynamic turn from her by getting her to initiate her turn by being in a balanced and forward position and have her hips move in a motion that allows the ski to come around and then to successfully use the energy from the last turn in the new initiation.

Getting stiffer skis and telling them to drive them harder is like telling someone to take aspirin; it makes the headache go away but does nothing to explain why the headache happened in the first place or how to avoid future headaches without aspirin.

Hopefully I didn't confuse a bunch of folks, but it's hard to explain properly without video sessions.
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