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Ski length for racing kids? - here is the answer 4 years later

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

I started a thread 4 years ago where I asked questions about ski length for my then 9 year old racing son. I got a lot of good answers and I thought that I should make an update about what has happend the last 4 year regarding equipment for him. Maybe it can help others choose equipment for their kids.

Here is the old thread from 2006: www.epicski.com/forum/thread/37395/new-sl-skis-for-nine-year-old-racer/0

When I started the thread my son was 9 (he is born 1996) and weighing about 30 kg. Today he's 13 and weighing like 51 kg. Here is a video from a SL race 2006: http://www.skiteam.se/filmer/Seb_MC_...una_SL_ak1.mpg


2006 9 yo:
SL: 130 cm non plated.
GS: 147 cm with a plate.

2007 10 yo:
SL: 136 cm and the first plated SL ski. Worked very well.
GS: Started on 147 cm but switched to 156 cm mid season.

2008 11 yo:
SL: 143 cm. Good soft ski and perfect for him.
GS: 164 cm 17m radius. GS was not so good but probably not the skis fault.
SG: 176 cm (Rossignol).

2009 12 yo:
SL: 145 cm. Was great in the beginning of the season but a bit short in the end. He borrowed a 150 cm in the end and that felt better. Is was a demo ski so we had to go back to the 145 for the races.
GS: 172 cm 21m radius. Felt a bit stiff and he was somewhat struggling in GS.
SG: 186 cm (Rossignol)

2010 13 yo:
SL: Started this season on 150 cm jr ski but changed after two days to the 155 cm women ski. He thought the 155 felt better and more stable.
GS: 176 cm 23 m radius. Feels great and he has developed a lot in GS.
SG: 196 cm.

For next year I think he will stay on 155 in SL but go a bit longer, like 182 cm in GS. It's first in the 2012 season he need to be on the 165 in SL.

All of the above skis are Dynastar except for the stated SG skis.

Here are videos of him training this season (It's funny to se the progress after 4 years):
http://www.arledal.com/playflv.aspx?link=http://www.skiteam.se/filmer2010/Sebastian_Quick.flv
http://www.arledal.com/playflv.aspx?link=http://www.skiteam.se/filmer2010/Sebastian_Quick2.flv

 


Edited by Christer - 2/2/11 at 4:00pm
post #2 of 27
 He's 13? Wow, VERY strong and impressive! Love the balance and angulation!

I take it you live in Sweden? Are you sending him to an academy for high school?
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Yes we live in Sweden. In sweden the kids go to elementary school grade 1-9 until they are 15. After that they can go to a ski gymnasium if they have the will and are good enough. 
post #4 of 27
WOW on the current runs. You guys start SG at the age of 11?
 
post #5 of 27
To add to the data, here's the ski length progression of my boys.  Pretty much average height, average weight, competitive skiers.  Rocky Mtn Division (USSA) starts SG at 11 as well.

7-8 yo (J6): 60-65 lbs
SL: 123 non-plate Fischer
GS: 138 12m radius plate Fischer

 9 -10 yo (J5): 65-75 lbs
SL: 133 cm plated Fischer
GS: 148 cm 14m radius with a plate Fischer

11 yo (J4): 80 lbs
SL: 137 cm. Atomic SL 41/27 flex  (trainers are 144, no problem at that length either)
GS: 158 cm 17m radius Atomic D2 51/42 flex
SG: 173 cm 21m+ FIS Fischer GS
post #6 of 27
Good posts, and good info. I've been through this with both of my kids {now 19 and 22}. Without doubt, the years that posed the most equipment challenges were the end of the second J4 and both J3 years for our daughter, and both J3 years for our son. And to simplify it, we had almost no problems with SL skis. Our son was big enough and skilled enough to move onto a 155cm woman's ski as a FYJ3, and stayed on it the following year. Back then the FIS minimum was also 155, and for the first year as a  J2 he skied a 155cm, too, though a beefier one. Our daughter was on a couple of 145-150cm Elan SL's. Worked very well. At the time, great junior SL skis.

GS skis were a challenge. Our son was a big kid, and grew from about 130 to 160lbs during those two years. Our daughter grew, but also just became stronger, and really began to work a ski. I think the same situation exists today, but the transition from junior race skis to adult skis was better bridged by some companies than others. Our daughter had a lot of success as a J4 on a 158cm Dynastar, but when she moved to a 168, she simply overpowered it. Same with an Elan, and a Rossi. She ended up that first J3 year on a 175cm Fischer. That, and Volkl had both been good alternatives in that size.  The following year, as a second year J3, she enrolled at a ski academy, and picked up a deal with Rossi. Coach really wanted her on them. Rossi's 175 cm GS was a horrific ski at that time. Awful. After a lot of testing, and help from Rossi, she moved to a 181cm full-on woman's ski, She was fortunate to be able to ski it, as it was a big jump. By the time JO's rolled around, and she was skiing her first J1-J2 races in the spring, she was dialed in fine.  If I were doing it again, I might have put her right back on a 175cm ski that worked....the Fischer or Volkl....rather than trying to find a Rossi solution. In general, my advice would always be that if on the fence, sizewize, I'd size down.

Our son tried just about every combination that you could imagine the summer before his first J3 year, having been on Dynastar for both J4 years. He ended up on a 175cm Fischer, which worked pretty well. By the end of the season, he could have used more ski. The following summer and fall, he tried a number of women's GS skis in the 180-183 size range. Was pretty set on the Fischer, until he tried an 182 Elan, which was a full-on WC ski. A ton of metal in that ski then. That was a great ski for him at his size, but could be a challenge depending on what he saw for a course set as a J3. That's another reality. You may have a kid who is very skilled, big and fit, and for that reason needs a bigger ski but the course sets can be very tight. Our son won a couple of very tight J3-J4 GS races on small hills skiing on his SL skis that year. Again, once it was the end of the season, the skis were a big plus.

I'm not sure why, but it seems that the various companies have options for the small juniors, and then they typically have a line-up of FIS compliant adult race skis. In the middle, when you're ready for more than a junior ski, and an adult ski might be too much, it still seems to get confusing. My home mountain has one of the largest junior race programs in the country, as well as a ski academy. The head J3 coach is very good. I seem to be seeing a lot of Blizzard, Fischer and Volkl among the 13-14 year old group of boys. As a parent, I think the key is that you need to be prepared to make changes if things are not working  {that goes for boots, too...another thread!!}, and as your child grows. Don't be afraid to suggest it to a coach, if you suspect something. I know a lot of coaches who are extremely sensitive to the costs of the sport, and don't want to spend your money in those years. But, what you start with in November may not be right in March. Some kids need to put what they start with in November into the closet until they can handle it later on. I think you often need to give up any thought of brand alliance. What might be great at one age may not be at another.  Clearly the most frustrating equipment years, in my experience, were these J3 years. When we got it right, it made a big difference. Also made for a lot more smiles. Got much easier as a J2, at least for us.

Agree on the OP's video. He looks great. Fun to have those videos to look back on as he progresses. Hope that he keeps loving it!
post #7 of 27
My children are on:

Son 8yo currently on slalom skis 137, using them as all-round skis.
Daughter 10yo slalom 130, GS 140

I have longer GS skis in the cupboard, 148 and 150 (bought second hand when good buys happened to come along). My daughter was a late starter on skis but suddenly everything is beginning to click. She is currently on shorter skis than most of her age group but her technique (and times) are improving rapidly. My son is also doing well and has been moved up to the next training group where they begin to differentiate between SL and GS.

So the longer skis will come out of the cupboard mid season.... A slightly shorter pair (144-5) would maybe have been useful, but I couldn't find a good pair second hand and my budget doesn't stretch to new skis for two children mid season! So we'll see how things go free skiing and only race on them once they can handle the longer lengths.

Mark
post #8 of 27
FWIW, here is the data for my 2 girls:

Older (now 13yo)
Preteam - Fischer Competition 118cm
J5 (1st year) - Elan RCX (dual) 125cm
J5 (2nd year) - Elan RCX (dual) 135cm
J4 (1st year) - Nordica GSJ 143cm, Nordica SLJ 131cm
J4 (2nd year) - Nordica GSJ 153cm, Nordica SLJ 131cm (yes, she likes her SL short)
J3 (now) - Nordica GSJ 161cm, Nordica SLJ 141cm, Rossignol SG 186cm

Younger (now 10yo)
Preteam - Fischer Competition 118cm
J5 (1st year) - Atomic Race 10 (dual) 120cm
J5 (now) - Elan RCX 135cm for GS; Atomic Race 10 for SL
post #9 of 27

Hi everyone. My son (11 years, 143 cm) has started skiing in competitions this winter and now we are about to buy better SL and GS skis for him. At the moment he is skiing with 130 cm skis and for end of this season and for next season I am looking for used pair of better quality skis. He has developed fast and wants to go to few competitions next year. According to history he should be around 150 cm next year. Is 137 Atomic SL skis ok for him, and how about GS skis 158 too long?

 

Thanks in advance. 

post #10 of 27
137 SL sounds fine. He might find 158 GS a bit tough if he hasn't been on a GS ski before. But if they are a good deal, get them and have him free ski on them at the end of the season so he gets a chance to get the feel of a GS ski. I can't imagine they are too short, so he will make use of them sooner or later. If he is a strong skier and grows as expected they could work out pretty well.
post #11 of 27

I always used chin to nose for  SL and eyebrows to top of head GS as a rule of thumb, or GS = SL + 10-15cm. Rossignol and Elan used to have some pretty good charts for estimated length for kids' height & weight. As I said in another similar thread, I have be "burned" by trying to go too big too soon and he couldn't use the skis I got for an entire season.

post #12 of 27

Hi, got good deal for 137 cm SL so I bought them. I think that with GS have to wait and try both 151 and 158. He is strong skier, but inexperienced  so 151 might be better. Thanks for the answers, this is new world for me and finding information can be tricky, even though our kids' coaches are awesome and helpful.

 

Our younger kids are 7 and 5, should I still stay with cheap skis for 7 years old boy or should I start to look for him some "better skis? He has "found" carving turn this year and I wouldn't like to spoil his fun by buying crappy skis.

post #13 of 27

Welcome LaaLaa. I too am new to racing and had some questions earlier this season. My 10-year old daughter (born -02) did her first racing season as a U12 this year--but she's been skiing since she was 6. Skied her first races in SL and GS recently. She's 141ish right now and slim, but strong (has been doing gymnastics). She started the season on 130 cm Elan RCX:s as a multi event ski. We got a good end-of-the-season-deal on a pair of Elan RCG Jr GS-skis and bought 152 cm (mainly for next season GS and SG). But since we're having such a long season over here (they've had SL today and are having GS on Tuesday) she's already done some practice and one race on them--and all though she definitely doesn't master them yet, she can ski them very decently in a GS course already. I was a little surprised by their stiffness though. I always thought Elan was softer, but they felt as stiff or even slightly stiffer than a pair of last years Fischer 155 Jr GS (with the hole). Maybe I'm just a poor judge of flexes? Don't know about the Atomics, but flex come into play as well and it varies for different lengths even with the same ski model.

 

We'll start with the 130cm as a SL ski next season, which is a little short, but depending on growth/development, I'll get her 135-138 cm SL mid season. The norm in her group seems to be roughly +10-15 cm for GS and -5 to -10 for SL. So a 137 cm SL sounds right to start next season on.

 

Good luck

post #14 of 27

Thanks for the answers. It has been great help to hear others experiences. I got used pair of 151cm Atomic 12 GS for very good price so I bought them to be first GS skis for him. He has time for few runs this season and next season we will find out how he can handle them.

post #15 of 27

I saw this thread pop back up and thought I would update what our progression has been now that we have a pretty good view to FIS.  As you can see we are very pro- Atomic, in our experience their skis have not been too stiff or too soft, have a broad range of Junior skis,  and have excellent edge grip on hard snow (we train on injected surface).  The U14/U16 years are interesting because the kids are packing on height, weight and muscle, and going from junior to adult skis in the process.

 

To add to the data, here's the ski length progression of my boys.  Pretty much average height, average weight, strong/competitive skiers.  Rocky Mtn Division (USSA) starts SG at 11 as well, DH at 13.

7-8 yo (J6): 60-65 lbs
SL: 123 non-plate Fischer
GS: 138 12m radius plate Fischer

 9 -10 yo (J5): 65-75 lbs
SL: 133 cm plated Fischer
GS: 148 cm 14m radius with a plate Fischer

11 yo (J4): 80 lbs
SL: 137 cm. Atomic SL 41/27 flex  (trainers are 144, no problem at that length either)
GS: 158 cm 17m radius Atomic D2 51/42 flex
SG: 173 cm 21m+ FIS Fischer GS

 

12 yr (2nd year J4, 1st year U14 again) 90-100/95-105 lbs

SL: 144 Atomic SL (younger boy grew more and sized up to 151 D2 JR SL in Feb)

GS: 165 Atomic SL (younger boy grew more and sized up to 171 Atomic D2 in Feb)

SG: 175 Atomic Jr SG

 

13 yr * older boy was 1st year J3, younger will be 3rd yr U14 (much tighter sets for U14) - 105 lbs/est 115lbs

SL: 151 Atomic Jr D2 SL (may go to 155 women's SL with younger as he is already 110lbs)

GS: 175 Atomic Jr D2 GS

SG: 195 Atomic Jr SG (J3), may go 185 Atomic Jr SG for U14 SGs

DH: 195 Atomic Jr SG (J3)

 

14 yr (1st year U16 again) - 110-125 lbs/?

SL: 155 Atomic SL

GS: 183 Atomic GS

SG: 195 Atomic SG

DH: 210 Atomic DH

 

15 yr - 2nd year U16  ?/?lbs

SL: 158 Atomic SL

GS: 188/30m Atomic GS (to prep for the following year's 195s)

SG: 205 Atomic SG

DH: 210 Atomic DH

 

16 yr - FIS regs.

post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 

Quote:

15 yr - 2nd year U16 ?/?lbs

SL: 158 Atomic SL

GS: 188/30m Atomic GS (to prep for the following year's 195s)

SG: 205 Atomic SG

DH: 210 Atomic DH

 

Why go to r=30m when you don't have to?

post #17 of 27

So the transition to 35m skis is less awful? The 30m skis ski essentially the same as the old 187-188/27m skis. The Colorado USSA sets are pretty open and non-technical, and the racing venues are pretty flat, so the large transition won't be too bad.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christer View Post

Quote:

 

Why go to r=30m when you don't have to?

post #18 of 27

Yep, what Bruins said.  The idea is to begin to develop the skills that will allow him to go fast on the straighter skis after growing up on shaped skis.  Or, maybe the bigger, straighter skis will be faster anyway?  Note that this year's 183cm skis will likely be my last hand-me-downs from the kid smile.gif.

post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by coloskier View Post

Yep, what Bruins said.  The idea is to begin to develop the skills that will allow him to go fast on the straighter skis after growing up on shaped skis.  Or, maybe the bigger, straighter skis will be faster anyway?  Note that this year's 183cm skis will likely be my last hand-me-downs from the kid smile.gif.


On this note, I'm interested to see what happens to GS sets at the USSA and regional FIS level starting next year. On EC and WC, distances increased to accommodate the increased required radius. I'm also intrigued by the carnage we'll see on non-injected surfaces with younger (i.e. weaker and less-skilled) athletes. I can't wait.

 

However, I'm almost 100% sure nobody will enforce the new regs outside of seeded athletes, especially at USSA races.

post #20 of 27

I very much hope that the new regs are not enforced too strictly at the back of the field. Otherwise a lot of young racers are going to quit the sport, especially boys. Although some boys are fully grown at age 16-17, a substantial proportion are not and they simply won't have the strength and weight to ski on a 195/35 ski.

post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperkub View Post

I very much hope that the new regs are not enforced too strictly at the back of the field. Otherwise a lot of young racers are going to quit the sport, especially boys. Although some boys are fully grown at age 16-17, a substantial proportion are not and they simply won't have the strength and weight to ski on a 195/35 ski.

 

 

I have to go over this with my son's coach next week as part of the planning for nesxt season. He will be going into first year FIS (U18) and while at 6'1", he's still a rakish 145lbs. The current thinking is as a "999" and will probably not break the 200 point level, no one is really going to be looking at his skis that close. We will probably go with the ladies 190/30m ski as the transition from 182/23 FIS skis.

 

When I spoke with the national race director for one company, he said something to the effect of they will be changing the flex patterns to make them easier to ski, since their current production was all towards the top WC, Nor-Am, and Europa Cup level.

post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by bruins14sammy View Post


On this note, I'm interested to see what happens to GS sets at the USSA and regional FIS level starting next year. On EC and WC, distances increased to accommodate the increased required radius. I'm also intrigued by the carnage we'll see on non-injected surfaces with younger (i.e. weaker and less-skilled) athletes. I can't wait.

 

However, I'm almost 100% sure nobody will enforce the new regs outside of seeded athletes, especially at USSA races.


That's my thinking too. As the increased turn radius skis filter down to the younger levels, the course setters are going to have to adjust the courses to be more open to avoid constant blow outs by the racers.

 

In fact, this past season, I witnessed as an race official several severe blow outs (resulted in the racers going to a hospital with a concussion), because the course was set too tight. The couse setters later said they set the course tight to keep the speeds down, but the opposite effect happened. These kids are going to charge the couse to win regardless on the set. They are not going to slow down, so you might as well have a set that safely accommodates this.

 

I also think there will have to be an increased aspect to speed training, to teach the kids how to absorb terrain at speed in GS. Too many clubs in USSA East have a bizarre adversion to any type of speed training, as they could get away with it when the kids were all on overly short, turny GS skis. This adversion needs to stop, if not for SuperG involvement as they get older, but just to learn how to absorb and react to terrain at speed in general. I was struct this past season with some of the kids I work with on how really bad they are in free skiing out of the couse on variable terrain even at moderate speed.

post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperkub View Post

I very much hope that the new regs are not enforced too strictly at the back of the field. Otherwise a lot of young racers are going to quit the sport, especially boys. Although some boys are fully grown at age 16-17, a substantial proportion are not and they simply won't have the strength and weight to ski on a 195/35 ski.


The 195/35 has nothing to do with it. It is the flex pattern that needs to be adjusted to accomodate the younger racers weight. FIS needs to settle on what it wants on specs for each discipline, and keep it there season after season. This changing the specs every season or two needs to stop. That way the manufactures can have a line up of skis to accomodate racers at different weights, and not worry about engineering different turn radius skis all the time. Also, a constant ski specs would allow club coaches to settle on a couse set that they could work with the kids on year after year. As GS skis got shorter and more turny, the couse set got more turny. Now that skis are getting longer as less turny, many club coaches have no idea what to do with training sets.

 

When I started racing as a kid, we were on skis much longer and straighter than even the current FIS regs. We simply learned to race on them, as we knew that there wasn't going to be any great changes in the shape as we got older (the "shaped" ski era changed that, as skis seemed to change every year).

post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeroGravity View Post

 

 

I have to go over this with my son's coach next week as part of the planning for nesxt season. He will be going into first year FIS (U18) and while at 6'1", he's still a rakish 145lbs. The current thinking is as a "999" and will probably not break the 200 point level, no one is really going to be looking at his skis that close. We will probably go with the ladies 190/30m ski as the transition from 182/23 FIS skis.

 

When I spoke with the national race director for one company, he said something to the effect of they will be changing the flex patterns to make them easier to ski, since their current production was all towards the top WC, Nor-Am, and Europa Cup level.

 

mens sizing/radius = 195/35m and 190/35m. womens sizing/radius = 188/30m and 183/30m. the skis are designed and built in all sizes. many kids at the higher junior levels have already had a chance to test the newest designs, some of them in race conditions in the later spring races. the new radius train is leaving the station.

 

the new skis are arriving now. the smart coaches and programs are having their athletes buy a pair of new radius GS ski now so that they have the longest possible run up into next november to adjust to the new skis.

 

there will not be enough skis for everyone to "test" this spring/summer at mammoth/ bachelor/ hood, so the better organized programs are getting skis on their athletes feet now so that they are not wasting the next 5 months training on skis that are not representative of what is being used next year.

 

there are new race skis available for purchase today in the US from Head, Atomic, Fischer, and Volkl, the other brands will be delivering soon.

 

for those of you standing around with your hands in your pockets waiting for someone to tell you what to, it is already too late! you will not be getting your kids on new skis until winter snow arrives in the northern hemisphere. unless you think a few runs at summer camp on a beat demo center ski will be enough to make the transition.

 

jim


Edited by starthaus - 4/22/13 at 11:47am
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by starthaus View Post

 

mens sizing/radius = 195/35m and 190/30m. womens sizing/radius = 188/30m and 183/30m. the skis are designed and built in all sizes. many kids at the higher junior levels have already had a chance to test the newest designs, some of them in race conditions in the later spring races. the new radius train is leaving the station.

 

 

Jim - where does 190/30 come from? In my post I was thinking ladies 188/30. I see in the FIS regulations that they have a -5cm tolerance for U18s but I don't see anything about -5m radius as well. Are the manufacturers making a inbetween "transition" ski in 190/30 specifically for U18s

post #26 of 27

typo on the second mens size, i edited my post

 

yes, there is a tolerance on length

 

no, there is not a tolerance on radius

 

2 ways to go..................

 

1. you can line up on the sidelines wishing, hoping, and praying that this is a mystery, dream, travesty, inconvenience, the end of the world, etc........

 

2. or you can realize the universe of ski racing is the universe of ski racing, and if that is where you choose to play, then get over your denial and process of manipulation and resistance. get your quiver together earlier than later, and get out there on these new skis and learn how to get faster on them, cause when the racing season starts the result difference between #1 and #2 will be staggering.

 

jim
 


Edited by starthaus - 4/22/13 at 4:01pm
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by starthaus View Post

typo on the second mens size, i edited my post

 

yes, there is a tolerance on length

 

no, there is not a tolerance on radius

 

 

That makes sense. If there is a ski that will be slightly easier to ski to make the transition for a 16 year old who hasn't physically (mentally too) matured yet, then it's nice to be able to have a transition and build confidence instead of struggling for a whole season. Realistically in his case there may only be 2 or three at a stretch seasons left in his career, so I am not so sure about "building for next season". 

 

I haven't seen much out there yet from the manufacturers websites etc on the new 2014 race skis. As far as getting them as soon as possible, I've already talked with a couple of the maufacturers' race directors, and it it in the works, but my son isn't back on snow until Sept so as long as they are lined up, delivery doesn't have to happen soon and as far as I've been told, they aren't available for general consumption yet. As soon as they are, I will be on it.

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