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I wonder how to size my son's next skis

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi,

My son has been on 100 cm skis for the past two seasons (he's been skiing for 3 years now). They're now pretty short and I was looking for end of season deals. I am not sure what to get him.

He's 116 cm tall right now. 110 cm skis are around his eyebrow and obviously 120 cm are a bit above his head. I have no idea how tall he'll be when next season will come in but I'd venture 120 cm would be top of his head or slightly below (by a couple centimeters).

My son is pretty athletic. He's 6 1/2 year old, a level 7 skier (not according to my father's ego, though I would evaluate him professionnally I think, but as his instructor's judgement), skis in one of the top classes at our local hill, and roams blacks and double blacks all the time (some having 45+ degrees pitches, up to 50 in one). He wants to be in the local pseudo-race program next year (I call it pseudo-race because it's once a week, they train maybe 3 times and race 2, and freeski the rest of the time---fun for kids but not an intensive race program by any definition).

Would the 120s be too long? He might get 2 seasons out of them, but then a pair of skis bought now will cost $115 and while like everybody I enjoy making my money last longer, I'll take him making big progresses over stretching the use of the skis (he's got siblings to use them too). The 100 cm being long initially haven't bothered him though. And my wife says statistics for 7-year old height say 117-122 cm. Conversely, could the 110 cm turn out too small too quickly or will it be perfectly sized?

If it makes any difference, the skis are Atomic Race:5 (by the way, do all kids ski have an extruded base like these, or do some have a sintered one?).

[Edit:] My #1 goal is to make sure he gets the best skis to be challenged and learn. He loves skiing and learns pretty quickly and I want to make sure he can get challenged.

What would you recommend, and why? (And there is always the option to wait until Labor Day and size him at Sniagrab, so I'm really interested in length related to body features and why.)

Thanks!
YA
post #2 of 21
I never tried to get two years out of my sons equipment always figured it was more important that he progressed in talent rather than try to save a few bucks. Get him the 110's and assess his abilities and progress at the end of the year and go from there.

I think your Father might be right. Even though he can ski blacks and such doesn't make him a level 7, especially at age 6 1/2. My boys were skiing upper Enchanted Forest and the Bowls of Copper when they were 6 but they were by no means at level 7.

So, pick up a good deal at the sniagrab next fall, make sure his boots are the correct size, (more important than ski size) and spend the extra money on ski school for him.
post #3 of 21
I have had similar thoughts. SKi instructors and shops told me for kids, proper length skis are between the childs collar bone and nose.

assume average 2" growth per year at this age, and the eyebrow high 110's should be perfect for next year.

good luck. tuning is important too for them as well.
post #4 of 21
Don't equate "good skiing" with terrain.

Buy skis no higher than his chin.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Rusty Guy:
Don't equate "good skiing" with terrain.
I don't. It's actually an issue I'm trying to fight at the school I teach, where the upper classes basically roam the difficult terrain all the time, but the kids don't get as much instruction on how to ski properly. The excuse used is "oh, we're using directed instruction where we give them clues and tips and then we ski hard" but many of those kids have poor technique (though they have great adaptability due to the variety of terrain they encounter).

YA
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Rusty Guy:
Don't equate "good skiing" with terrain.

Buy skis no higher than his chin.
I agree with Rusty. My kids, 6 and 8, are on the Mt Hood Meadows race team. No higher than the chin is the mantra there for that age group. The youngest skis on a 110. The oldest a 120.
post #7 of 21
Take a good look at the sidecut of the ski. My son had one of those low level Atomic "race" skis with minimal cut and he was not a happy camper. He was on a Rossi Viper with lots of cut prior to that.

A good short SL is probably the way to go, it won't be too stiff and most of the junior racers stick with the slaloms even for GS.

No parent ever wants to hear about the reality of keeping kids on good skis. The boots will be an issue too; they grow out of them faster than the skis. Find a shop that can work with you on used higher end gear and consider seasonal rentals too, they will change gear if the kid outgrows the stuff during the season.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by yuki:
Take a good look at the sidecut of the ski. My son had one of those low level Atomic "race" skis with minimal cut and he was not a happy camper. He was on a Rossi Viper with lots of cut prior to that.
The Atomic Race:5 I just bought is 94-65-86.
He's currently on a Volkl vertigo Jr, 88-67-80.

YA
post #9 of 21
Ladede - In case the sidecut radii were not given for those skis, I plugged the dimensions you gave into the formula I have for sidecut radius and got:

Atomic Race 5 - 9.3 meters in 110 cm length

Volkl Vertigo Jr - 11.3 meters in 100 cm length

(I hope I matched up the lengths and skis correctly).

FWIW, my daughter (11 y.o., 5 foot (153 cm) tall, 80 lbs, skiing since 3 y.o.) is on 140 cm k2 (kid's) Enemies (109/73/97 - 12.6 meter sidecut radius) and does well on them in any snow, but does not race.

Tom / PM

PS - BTW, the formula I use makes a fixed assumption as to what fraction of the stated (chord) length is the actual contact length. This assumption works very well for adult sizes, but might be a bit off for kid's lengths. Nevertheless, it should give you a decent estimate of the SC radius, as well as give a consistent estimate or the radius when comparing skis of similar length.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Ladede:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by yuki:
Take a good look at the sidecut of the ski. My son had one of those low level Atomic "race" skis with minimal cut and he was not a happy camper. He was on a Rossi Viper with lots of cut prior to that.
The Atomic Race:5 I just bought is 94-65-86.
He's currently on a Volkl vertigo Jr, 88-67-80.

YA
</font>[/quote]The latest issue of ski press suggests that it is best to keep the kids away from deep side cuts until they are old enough, strong enough and have developed sufficient technique to stay forwards. This is usually no earlier than 8 yrs old.

Their angle is that the kids will remain in the back seat when running very shaped skis. They've also stated that young kids generally use poor technique to get the ski's to carve, like dropping the inside hip. And then that has to be unlearned in their teens.

I've got a little bit of experience with this, but my sample size is very small. So here's my two cents:

I have two daugters, the eldest was on pretty shapeless Volkls, 91-67-83 for three years. She is now on Dynastar 08 jrs, that have a little more shape ( IIRC, 98-65-85 ). She ski's very well, and is just now starting to flex at the ankle.

My youngest (3 yrs) is on very shapely race-5 Atomics. She is much further back than the eldest ever was -- they both started quite young. I watched as my youngest started more centered, and then "learned" to control the skis from the back seat. Instructors are taking her into the moguls to try to fix it already. There's much more skiing with her hands on the knees going on than with the eldest. I will definately be putting her onto the Volkls next year.

Hope this helps...
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
BigE, did your daughter ski the same ski for three years, or just the same model in different lengths?

I'm watching my son very attentively to make sure he doesn't get in the back seat. He hasn't on the Volkl but it looks like I may need to watch him when he'll get on the Atomics. My second son has been learning on straight skis, which I believe are better when you start as a 3 year old.

YA
post #12 of 21
If your son is very active (it sounds like) and gets involved in the race program you are getting the best deal on the hill.

Basically, the magic comes from being on skis and building miles, in a "monkey see, monkey do" fashion. They will learn to follow and imitate the coaches, they will parrot every move. The carve will be a little "A-framed" at first but that will go away in a year or two.

Don't get too concerned about the time spent running gates. In a development team setting by "the book" only something like 10% of the time should be so devoted. Technique through free skiing is where it's at during this phase with the emphasis on fun. If it becomes too comp oriented the fun can go away pretty quickly.

Cost it out. Most programs are about $350 to $400. My son spent seven to eight ski hours with the instructor/coaches each weekend. Since we changed programs we added two week nights too, December thru March .... that is a lot of training for the dollar spent.

You don't say what area you are from but check out a few hills. All programs are NOT created equal! Try to get a bit of feedback from some of the parents but make sure they are ski types who understand training. We have seen a few problems and have had to bail out of one program and ended up in a pretty darn good one. If the hill doesn't have a commitment regarding the "real estate" and training accomodations it can be rough. Monitor the coaches and how they treat the kids too. The intensity will grow soon enough as they mature.

So far it's the best thing I may have done for my son .... so far.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Ladede:
BigE, did your daughter ski the same ski for three years, or just the same model in different lengths?

I'm watching my son very attentively to make sure he doesn't get in the back seat. He hasn't on the Volkl but it looks like I may need to watch him when he'll get on the Atomics. My second son has been learning on straight skis, which I believe are better when you start as a 3 year old.

YA
We rented many different straigher skis, then used the Volkls for a year. She went a touch back as soon as more shape was introduced. Not too far, but she's only starting to get more forward -- after 30 times on the hill!! But then I'm really a bit picky.

We'll be using only Volkls on the young one starting next year, until she is older -- probably til 8 yrs old.
post #14 of 21
Physics Man

would you say a bit more about this formula? I had understood the turn radius quoted by the manufacturer took rather more into account than the sidecut, but considered the min radius for the tightest arc likely for its flex and torsional characteristics etc. thanks
post #15 of 21
DaSlider - AFAIK, the number quoted by all manufacturers is nothing more than the geometric sidecut radius, ie, the radius of a circle that would best fit the shape of the sidecut of the ski laying flat. It's a very simple formula involving just the contact length and the three usual dimensions. They never factor in flex or torsional characteristics (to the best of my knowledge).

Also, FWIW, the effective geometric sidecut radius when the ski is edged is equal to the cosine of the edge angle times the quoted (ie, flat) sidecut radius.

HTH,

Tom / PM
post #16 of 21
Ladede: You still haven't given us a clue what part of the country or hills that you frequent.

That matters a lot! A kid skiing the big soft western bowls will require a different ski than my home (eastern icy) trails.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by yuki:
Ladede: You still haven't given us a clue what part of the country or hills that you frequent.

That matters a lot! A kid skiing the big soft western bowls will require a different ski than my home (eastern icy) trails.
Sorry. My kids ski at Alpenta, WA. Very varied terrain, not too much ice except on the main blue, and a great mix of tree skiing and one nice bowl.

PhysicsMan, the Atomic skis say radius is 8 meters on the 110 cm Race:5. If I can find some Rossignol RPM in the same length I may get them (less sidecut) if you guys really believe that much sidecut is bad at their age.

YA
post #18 of 21
If he is in a race program he will learn to make good use of the sidecut. Most of the early work is in a NASTAR "GS" foremat where the gates are a bit tighter to keep the speeds down. Some of the kids are on SL's ... some on shorter GS ...

But they spend lots of time "comparing tracks" and "getting angles" ....

I'd ask a few of the coaches for a recommendation on the type of ski and network with some of the race parents, someone is always out growing something.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
He'll be in a very gentle race program... There is an intensive one here, Team Alpental Snoqualmie, but the mountain-sponsored Buddy Werner (sp?) program as I said is pretty simple, mostly freeskiing, and only once a week. Should be fun for him though.

YA
post #20 of 21
Take all this with a grain of salt. This is what I believe:

If the skier is really in the back seat, and not yet flexing at the ankle, I would strongly consider this pick:

volkl 7-24 Jr. Which volkl says is 91/67/83 (10.6)

Rossi RPM 7 Jr is 98-65-85 -- is appropriate for a skier that's out of the back seat or nearly so, and certainly showing some ankle flex. Incidentally, this is the same sidecut as the Dynastar 08 Jr, and IIRC, Head Team Jr.

I can't find sidecut info on the atomic Race:5 Jr, except to say 7 m @ 100, which I think is way too tight for such a young skier.

I regret my decision to move my daughter to the Dynastar 08 jr from the Volkl. What happened to her skiing was instant: she stood tall, began edging from a distance, stopped nearly all up/down extend and flex motions, replacing them with the slight angulation of the hip dropping sideways and back. It has taken a long time for her to get forwards: 30+ ski days, 16 of which had 4 hrs coaching and instruction/day.

I wish I waited until she was actively driving the skis, as opposed to just balancing and riding them with low edge angles....

Here's what I think would be a good indicator of using more shapely skis: The child is carving.

If they are skidding/wedging then forget it completely. Skills before tools is a good approach.

That's my 2 cents. I'm sure there is another camp that would disagree completely and say get the biggest sidecut you can find on a soft enough ski. It's up to you.
post #21 of 21
My sons history went something like this:

7 to 8, 135 Rossi Viper Juniors. He started gates on this ski but it was on the soft side and his edging skills were pretty good at this point.

8 to 9, P-30 Volkl SL in a 150. He liked the ski but after watching them jump around on the ice a few times we decided a change was in order.

9 ... Atomic Jr Race (not the "top line") in a 150. He lasted two weeks on this ski. He hated it. Very little side cut.

9 ... Stockli GS (87-64-99 radius of 15). Happy camper time, this was a 152.

9 thru 11 ... Stockli SL 138 with a 10.6 radius (90-63-107)and the Stockli GS 149 (103-64-88).

He had a great time on the old blue 152's and the following season was getting into the more radical stuff on the SL's as his technique improved.

Kind of more what what Big E was getting at when I looked back the history. Position yourself on the hill periodically and have your kid crank a few turns and watch what the ski is doing. As he becomes more involved in race the needs will change since the courses are more prone to ice and hard pack (they salt to tighten things up).
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