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Moving kids up from "junior" skis?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
No skiing on the horizon, so time to obsess on equipment questions: When should a kid move from junior skis up to short adult skis? Related question, what sidecut for intermediate skiers?

I have a 13 year-old daughter who is an intermediate recreational skier. She's 5'3" but just barely 100 lbs. This season she was on 138mm Fischer RC4s, they started around chin length but with this year's growth it's around her shoulders. These were a few years old, shaped but not much sidecut.

So next year she'll go longer and at 150mm range, I'll have to chooose between shorter adult skis and the longest kids skis. An adult "women's ski" is an option, but I'd just as soon avoid flowery graphics because there's a younger brother who'll get this when she grows out of it. (OTOH, if the graphics pass the little-bro test, seems like these might be a good compromise.)

For what it's worth, this daughter is not a speed demon, and I'd like to see her improve on edging / carving. There's a lot of braking and defensiveness on anything steep. More lessons are in order, but I'm looking for equipment that will help, not hinder, the learning process.

We generally ski on smaller and "hardpacked" east coast hills. Another one of my kids, a younger but more aggressive skier, has I think the perfect ski for these conditions, an Atomic 9.16, but for the 13 y/o I'm afraid a slalom ski could be too much.

Any thoughts?
post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally posted by ts01:


I have a 13 year-old daughter who is an intermediate recreational skier. She's 5'3" but just barely 100 lbs. This season she was on 138mm Fischer RC4s, they started around chin length but with this year's growth it's around her shoulders. These were a few years old, shaped but not much sidecut.

For what it's worth, this daughter is not a speed demon, and I'd like to see her improve on edging / carving. There's a lot of braking and defensiveness on anything steep. More lessons are in order, but I'm looking for equipment that will help, not hinder, the learning process.

We generally ski on smaller and "hardpacked" east coast hills. Another one of my kids, a younger but more aggressive skier, has I think the perfect ski for these conditions, an Atomic 9.16, but for the 13 y/o I'm afraid a slalom ski could be too much.

Any thoughts?
The key element I see is the defensiveness and braking on the steeps. No choice of ski will eradicate this, some will make it worse.

The impression I get is that she is somewhat in the back seat, and the problem is magnified on the steeps. What kind of boots does she use? Have yout tried putting lifts into the boots? I'd focus on ensuring that the boots promote the correct stance first.

I had great success recently with putting lifts into my 7 year old daughters boots, and into my wifes boots.

My daughter is now out of the back seat, (much thanks to L7's suggestion) and flexing her ankles now. She was horrified when I asked her if I should take them out. The lift helped the boot flex.

Also hile at Mont-Ste-Anne over Easter, my wife realized that she was in the back seat. Lifts for her pushed her hips forwards. She commented that they greatly improved her stability. She now understands her equipment issues, and is in position to have the remaining issues fixed next season.

At 13, her body may be changing, and the heel lift may help as it did my wife. Or the boot just needs the lift anyway so it'll flex right.

Regarding ski selection: I've heard that skis for adults assume a lower weight limit of 120 pounds, so I'd avoid the short adult ski.

I'm also a bit concerned of using a radically shaped ski for a defensive skier as the shape makes the turning radius very short. This means the upper half of the arc where the ski goes from traverse into fall line will happen much much faster. This may cause a defensive skier that is bracing against the hill to brace even more. The shorter radius demands even more commitment to movement of the CM downhill, which she sounds currently reluctant to do.

I'd focus on ensuring that the turn is round and complete to control speed, with as much traverse as she finds comfortable/necessary. I'd avoid a ski that will move quickly into the fall line....

But that's just my 2 cents.
post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally posted by BigE:
...I'm also a bit concerned of using a radically shaped ski for a defensive skier as the shape makes the turning radius very short. This means the upper half of the arc where the ski goes from traverse into fall line will happen much much faster. This may cause a defensive skier that is bracing against the hill to brace even more. The shorter radius demands even more commitment to movement of the CM downhill, which she sounds currently reluctant to do... I'd avoid a ski that will move quickly into the fall line....
I don't think I can agree with the above.

A short radius ski that will "move quickly into the fall line" will complete the entire turn more quickly, which is precisely what most fearful skiers need. For example, the very introduction of short radius skis (ie, "shaped" skis) several years ago allowed many (but certainly not all) skiers to switch from using heel-pushing defensive techniques to using intentional carves and near-carves in much of their skiing without building up too much speed.

I have a bunch of skis with sidecuts ranging from 11 to 60 meters. I'll pick a pair with a larger R sidecut if I intend to make larger R carved turns at higher speeds. If I wind up skiing more normal sized turns at lower speeds on this pair, I know I'll wind up with more of a skidding component to each turn. I will also pick a larger R pair if I intend to do a lot of pivoty, skidded turns (eg, moguls).

About the only reason I'd worry about too tight a sidecut radius for a kid's skis is if they were an accomplished racer getting into GS and finding that their skis were hooking up too much. The sidecut radius of some short kid skis can be as little as 5 or 6 meters, and that's just a little too short for GS arcing. That doesn't sound like this girl's problem at all.

Tom / PM
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks, the conflicting viewpoints are helpful and I appreciate the thoughtful responses from each of you.

BigE, re boots, this past season she was in Koflach boots which might have been ex-rentals, they were hand-me downs from an Austrian friend whose family owns a ski school there. These need replacing as they're really tight now (and will go to little bro next year). But I'm going to hold off on boots until next fall and go to the local shop then, her feet are growing so fast now is pointless. (No harm though in getting skis now, I think there's a bigger margin of error there than in boots.)

BTW Big E, I found your other recent thread re kids boots and "lifts," I'll keep the stance suggestions in mind.
post #5 of 12
Apologies, I was extremely unclear. I'll try to fix that....

The choice is whether or not a small R ski will inspire the confidence needed to change a skiers defensive style and make the cross over move on the steeps, or if the small R ski will promote the existing defensive style.

PM makes an excellent point -- the turn completes quickly. Many times that's enough to deal with the steeps.

PM wrote:
Quote:
A short radius ski that will "move quickly into the fall line" will complete the entire turn more quickly, which is precisely what most fearful skiers need. For example, the very introduction of short radius skis (ie, "shaped" skis) several years ago allowed many (but certainly not all) skiers to switch from using heel-pushing defensive techniques to using intentional carves and near-carves in much of their skiing without building up too much speed.
Several years ago, what was considered short radius (SR) is now long radius (LR)! What is currently SR is very tight, and I think too tight to learn to carve. I am of the opinion that an intermediate recreational skier should not use an SR ski and certainly not a race ski to learn to carve.

What I am concerned of is that the skiers defensive bracing can lead to the turn being initiated from the back seat. An SR ski will turn just fine like that precisely because the ski does complete the turn so quickly. If that's what is learnt, the defensive posture that stops the body from crossing over will become even more established -- the cross-over move needed to ski the steeps well won't happen, and using an SR ski to learn to carve has hindered the process.

Phew! Hopefully, that should clear things up! [img]smile.gif[/img]

As improving edge control is an issue, I'm assuming she does not leave two clean tracks. So, I'd suggest a ski that has a large sweet spot, with an average turn radius. I'd use such a setup as whe learns to carve on moderate pitches until she really "gets it". Then I'd crank the radius up a notch, but still not into a full blown race ski, nor a plated hyper carver.

As always, that's just my 2 cents, feel free to ignore it!

I'll be going through the same exercise when my kids get their skis next year, but have a slightly different problem. Cheers! [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #6 of 12
If the kid is strong enough it should be ok , I have 11 & 13 yr old daughters that are on lower end adult skis. The 11yr old is 78 lbs and 4ft 6in and on 138cm Atomic ETL's and the 13yr old is 110lbs , 5ft and on 148cm Atomic E7's. Both the girls have no problem handling the adult skis and have a far bigger surface area under them which is a plus in powder compared to jr skis.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally posted by Leeroy:
If the kid is strong enough it should be ok , I have 11 & 13 yr old daughters that are on lower end adult skis. The 11yr old is 78 lbs and 4ft 6in and on 138cm Atomic ETL's and the 13yr old is 110lbs , 5ft and on 148cm Atomic E7's. Both the girls have no problem handling the adult skis and have a far bigger surface area under them which is a plus in powder compared to jr skis.
Yea, but your kids make grown snowboarders cry.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Grown snowboarders crying is OK with me. Leeroy, your 13 y/o, is she on the E7 (red, on Atomic's website) or E7W (gray or silver on the website)? How is it on hardpack and crud, we don't see much powder?
post #9 of 12
She's on the grey/silver E7, and yes both skis carve very good for the girls. The previous 2 seasons the oldest one was on e5's in a 140 cm .

[ April 16, 2004, 11:02 AM: Message edited by: Leeroy ]
post #10 of 12
ts01,
I'm at a similar point as you, my son is 12 and about 5'0", but a scrawny 80 lbs. He's quite a good little skier, (blacks, doubles, trees and some out of bounds when we've checked with the patrol re: avy risk), and this year he was on Rossi Scratch Pro Teens (148cm) which he absolutely loves, but then again, he's always liked Rossis. He has 3 friends that we ski with of similar abilities. The first is same height but 100 lbs and is on K2 Mini Public Enemies (146cm) and both he and my son go EVERYWHERE on their skis. The second is about 5'4" and 90 lbs
and skis on adult Public Enemies (159 cms) and he isn't quite as adept on his boards. The third friend is the clydesdale of the bunch at 5'7" and 130 lbs and is on 2 year old Atomics (170 cms)10.20's if I'm not mistaken. He's a really good skier, just not a "quick" as the others, but that may be more his size than his skis or ability.

I would think that you daughter might be better off on better junior skis, like my son's Scratches or his friends Mini Enemies. This way she won't be overwhelmed by a stiffer or heavier board and the money you save can go towards lessons. I know that all 4 of the boys above have had a ton of lessons, especially their first 2 or 3 years, and they all have about half a dozen a year now. PLUS, and this is the big one, they all spend at least 40 days a year skiing. Nothing teaches like experience.
If you have a decent shop in the area, let her demo 2 or 3 different skis, even jr vs adult and see which she feels most comfortable on.
I don't know how many parents I've seen buying skis for their kids that they can "grow in to". What a load. What's the learning curve for someone who's comfortable on their skis vs someone who's hoping to become comforable on their skis.
This probably just muddies the water for you, but it's what I've noticed with my son. Hope it helps even a little bit.
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally posted by redtree:
...The first is same height but 100 lbs and is on K2 Mini Public Enemies (146cm) and both he and my son go EVERYWHERE on their skis... I would think that you daughter might be better off on better junior skis, like my son's Scratches or his friends Mini Enemies. This way she won't be overwhelmed by a stiffer or heavier board and the money you save can go towards lessons...
Ditto everything you said.

My daughter (currently 5'1", 80 lbs, 11 y.o.) was on 136-ish Mini-Enemies this season and absolutly loved them. Ya got to match the kids weight with the ski flex just like for adults, and this seems to have been a great combination for her this season. Next year, she probably should move up
in length because she has been growing so fast.

Tom / PM
post #12 of 12
You just need someone to hand them down to,...maybe it's time to expand the family. Nyuk
Nyuk Nyuk!!!
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