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SL Race Skis for a Youngster

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

The shop at my local hill had what appeared to be a really nice deal on some '08 junior race skis, SL and GS Volkl Racetigers and Nordica Dobermanns. My 9 year old daughter has expressed an interest in racing, so I was tempted to grab a pair before they were gone. Our local hill is in the NASTAR program and I've been trying to gather information on that...seemed to me that all the races of that kind I'd seen at our place were slalom, so I was thinking about SL instead of GS skis.

Thing is, she's never been on advanced skis, and definitely does not tend have a "quick turn" style of skiing at this point. I even catch her doing stem turns (think that's the right term) on occasion instead of staying parallel. She handles difficult terrain well when it's groomed, but needs to tighten her technique up...she's been resisting lessons fiercely, but I'm going to insist on a few before the season ends. I feel guilty for not pushing her more into lessons, but she literally cries about it...I don't know why, she had always loved them in the past.

I'm not sure if this is a good chance to expose her to a new type of skiing she'd love at a good price or a potentially huge mistake. I could try renting race stuff for her to try out, but that would really be a pretty fair percentage of the sale price I saw. I'm not sure if the shop would let her demo a pair and apply the cost of that to a sale.

Any thoughts? Are these skis going to throw her for a loop?

post #2 of 13

I doubt that at that level Nastar type races would be Slalom.  Probably closer to a GS.

 

For a 9 year old get a Junior race ski that has a radius around 14 - 15 meters.  Many manufacturers make a ski of this sort for youngsters around that age where they have one ski rather than both SL and GS.

 

Mike 

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Wow, mikehoyt, you are 100% correct, they are GS races, not SL.

Shows you what I know about that stuff...basically nothing. I've watched racers from the lift and thought they were slalom races.

Well, I'm a little more comfortable with the idea of getting her a race ski with a larger radius since that's closer to what she's used to...but I'm still not sure if it's a good idea.

 

EDIT - poked around and saw the kind of ski you're talking about, mikehoyt. That would probably be the best choice for now...that type wasn't on sale at the shop, but I think that it's what I should get if I buy her anything.


Edited by Virtus_Probi - 3/4/2009 at 04:47 pm
post #4 of 13

An opinion from a race dad... I have a 9yo and a 12yo both racing USSA.

 

For this age, go either SL or dual (essentially the same depending on the brand) if you really want to stick to race stock. But, imho, a race stock for a young skier is an overkill and it may hinder her skill development. Even a nice carving all mountain will work (by saving yourself a few bucks). From her perspective, any quick turning ski can handle "large" as well as small radius turns. That way she can develop nice turns. Go GS if your only motive was to go fast, but if you do get her something soft. My (small bodied) 9yo is on a Atomic Race 10 dual and it seems to work well for her.

 

Atomic and Fischer are known to be the stiffest in race stocks. I believe Volkl and Nordica are about the same with one another but they aren't all that soft either. For that size, probably stick with the Elan and Rossi so that they won't overwork her. You can always upgrade later.

post #5 of 13

The picture is Head WorkldCup Race.  It is a Junior Race ski and is neither SL nor GS.  Other manufacturers havce same thing.  As lifelong instructor and father of two racers it is the type of ski I would recommend.  Mike

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input, chanwmr.

She's on Salomon twin tips now...she wanted to look cool, and all kids' skis looked the same to me when I bought them. They appear to have a pretty minimal sidecut. If she had more typical all mountain skis, I probably wouldn't have even thought about the racing skis.

I like the idea of the duals, I'll have to educate myself on them a bit.

 

post #7 of 13

Firstly I'd say that the Fischer WC RC4 SLjr/GSjr aren't really scary-stiff. My 7 y.o. bends his nicely. Note that the freeflex on the bindings isn't engaged so as not to stiffen them more than necessary at this stage.


My original plan for the season was to buy a longish SL (133cm, r=9) and let him train GS on those. As he grows and starts training SL over the next couple of seasons these will still be long enough, and he can move up to GS skis for GS training/races. In the end I bought a pair of GS's (140cm, r=14) too as I came across a bargain. The best laid plans of mice and men and all that.... he's actually started training on the GSs as his skiing has come on by leaps and bounds. But if in doubt we go for the SLs as he's more confident with them at this stage. Maybe Sunday he'll compete on the GSs for the first time but we'll leave the decision until we've seen the course.

 

 

post #8 of 13

In our neck of the woods, having race stocks for this age is unheard of. In fact, in NY State not too many kids have more than one pair until they turn 10. In VT where many of the WC racers are bred, the rule is to have only one pair for kids up to J4 (12yo). I have talked to many ski shop in areas where the academies are and they all recommend short for this level and age.

 

BTW, Squawker, how tall is your 7yo?

post #9 of 13

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtus_Probi View Post

 

Thanks for the input, chanwmr.

She's on Salomon twin tips now...she wanted to look cool, and all kids' skis looked the same to me when I bought them. They appear to have a pretty minimal sidecut. If she had more typical all mountain skis, I probably wouldn't have even thought about the racing skis.

I like the idea of the duals, I'll have to educate myself on them a bit.

 

One pair for racing and one other pair for free skiing. for you. My 9yo have exactly that setup. Helps to keep the more expensive race skis scratch/scuff/gouge/cut-free.

post #10 of 13

I read your post and you mention lessons and your daughter. If your mountain has a kids race program, in my opinion that is the only way to go. For us it is much less expensive, much better instruction, much more fun, and our 9 year old son has shown incredible improvement over a 3 month season thus far. They run gates and work on that aspect of course but it's not just race, race, race. More working on skiing and general instruction than anything. Most I've seen provide a well balanced program for the kids and they love the actual races as well.

 

With no exaggeration it is the best sports decision we have ever made for our son and our 8 year old daughter will start with the program next year.

 

Check in to it.

post #11 of 13

Tend to agree with chanwmr on this.  Kids of that age group in organized racing tend to gravitate towards the SL skis.  The big problem is trying to get them away from them when those nasty rules start to apply.

 

Kids love SL's ...

 

If you can, try to get her into a race development "team" or program at the hill.  It is powerful medicine that is generally fun, low pressure but high performance (kids tend to follow and ape the better kids and coaches), and it's very cheap if you look at the .... "lesson cost per hour" ... it's something like 75 cents an hour.

 

They will run NASTAR at that level but the gate sets are tighter and not as steep so it's not like WC ... and play games and stuff.

post #12 of 13

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr View Post

 

In our neck of the woods, having race stocks for this age is unheard of. In fact, in NY State not too many kids have more than one pair until they turn 10. In VT where many of the WC racers are bred, the rule is to have only one pair for kids up to J4 (12yo). I have talked to many ski shop in areas where the academies are and they all recommend short for this level and age.

 

BTW, Squawker, how tall is your 7yo?

 

LOL - he's about 128cm right now. So the SLs are GS length to him and the GSs even longer.

 

Not that I'm particularly advocating long skis - that's mostly about skill and technique. I bought the SLs based on talking to trainers and other parents and an idea about how his skiing would develop this season. I introduced them cautiously at the start of the season, expecting to keep using his old 120cm Atomic GS9s for a while but he was so obviously handling the new skis well and enjoying it ("Daddy, these skis love ice") that the decision made itself.

 

If I hadn't gotten the GSs cheap (and I had a spare FR11 binding looking for a ski ;)) I most likely wouldn't have bought them this year (but I'm a ski-junkie also by proxy so don't take that as gospel!) And when you've got skis, you gotta try 'em, right?

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikehoyt View Post

 

The picture is Head WorkldCup Race.  It is a Junior Race ski and is neither SL nor GS.  Other manufacturers havce same thing.  As lifelong instructor and father of two racers it is the type of ski I would recommend.  Mike
 

Thanks to everybody for the comments.

I found a pair of Fischer RC4 Competition "dual" skis locally, and I hope that they fit the bill.

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