Grouse Mountain Tyee Ski Club - Great People, Great Racers since 1929

 

Last Updated 02-October-2013

 

Ski & Boot Selection Guidelines

 

Alpine skiing is a "gear intensive" sport but does not require you to buy expensive stuff all the time. The guidelines below should help you in deciding what equipment is important for your youngster as they develop their skills.

Always look for equipment that was designed for junior racing as opposed to recreational gear. All junior racing products have been designed specifically with junior racing speeds and athlete sizes in mind.

These may be new or used but should come from any of the well known suppliers out there that are supporting ski racing in Canada.

Used equipment is adequate but the amount of wear needs to be taken into consideration when looking at pricing and longevity. Used skis should have healthy, black and non-scratched bases, and at least 50% edge (1.5mm) thickness. Look out for cracks and big burrs on the edges and for poorly repaired base gouges. Also ask how many seasons they have already been skied on. When they are used more than 2 seasons as the only ski then they probably don't have a lot of life left.


Do not purchase equipment "just because," it does not do your kid any justice in the long run. It is a wise idea to make sure your kids "earn" their equipment with good school marks and dryland attendance among other items.

 

Click HERE for a general selection guideline table

U18(VST) athletes (ages 15-17+):  Your equipment selection and purchasing is done on an individual basis.  U16/U18 racers should be training on snow in the summer and fall so equipment selection can be done by testing and interacting with representatives of ski companies.  Please speak to your coach directly and determine your specific needs.


U14-U16 racers (ages 12-15) train and compete in GS & Slalom and each event has specifically designed skis, meaning they should have 2 distinctive pairs for use. You may purchase new equipment every year if you are planning on training hard and committing to many days on snow. It also an option to acquire only one pair of skis per year for the 4 years of racing, effectively alternating SL & GS purchases. This is a cost effective solution but requires the racer to take exceptional care of their skis.
At U14 age, racers should consider gathering shin, pole and chin guards for SL.
For serious U16 racers, you may want to consider acquiring/borrowing a pair of 180 GS skis for your speed events.

 

U12  racers (ages 10-11): You may purchase new equipment every year if you are planning on training hard and committing to many days on snow. The best choice is to start with a pair of SL skis. You may get a pair of GS skis in the second year but it is NOT necessary. It also an option to acquire only one pair of skis per year for the 4 years of U12/U14 racing, effectively alternating SL & GS purchases. This is a cost effective solution but requires the racer to take exceptional care of their skis. Slalom skis should be between 130 and 140 cm. Even for heavier kids do NOT go beyond 140 cm


U8 and U10 kids (ages 5-9) should try to take advantage of "size exchange" programs offered at some local ski shops. Clothing warmth and comfort may be the most important element here to promote love for the sport & mountains. 
 

 

Check out the video produced for ski coaches and parents with great tips for boot and ski selection for U10 - U14 athletes.

 

Ski Selection

 

Guidelines for Sizing

  • It is beneficial to go shorter rather than longer when choosing length for the younger participants.
  • A shorter ski will facilitate turning, allowing quicker progression of basic skills and will increase the athletes' enjoyment of skiing.
  • The ski should be between the nose and the top of the forehead for entry level participants.
  • Longer skis are appropriate as skill acquisition occurs.  Purchasing skis that are too long may impede skill development in the long term.

 

Please refer to the following weight rating for ski selection:

 

 

U8/U10/U12

 

 

Weight (lbs)

 

50-65

110

 

65-80

120

 

80-90

130

 

90-105

140

 

U14

 

 

Weight (lbs)

Recommended SL size (cms)

Recommended GS size (cms)

70-80

130

140

80-90

135

145/150

90-100

140

155

100-110

140

160

110-120

145

160/ 167

120+

150

167

 

U16

 

 

Weight (lbs)

Recommended SL size (cms)

Recommended GS size (cms)

90-100

130

160

100-110

135

160

110-120

140

167

120-130

150

167

130-150

150

175

150+

155

175

 


 

Ski Boot Selection

 

General Mechanics

  • The junior race-style overlap design has a cuff that articulates with the lower shell using a hinge at the ankle joint.  This design provides performance for the entry level participant by allowing natural ankle flexion, due to the hinged cuff of the boot.
  • The overlap design also allows for lateral action of the lower leg, a critical factor in skill development. 

 

Boot Flex

  • For all developing racers, a softer boot will be more effective than a stiffer boot, due to strength limitations and skill level.
  • To determine if a boot is soft enough, you should be able to see the forward boot flexion happening in the upper cuff simultaneously with the lower leg.
  • If the lower leg moves forward and the upper cuff moves very little, then the boot is too stiff.
  • The boots should not inhibit the natural alignment of the athlete.

 

Boot Size

  • Growth of the participants' feet during the season needs to be considered, but similar to skis, buying boots oversized is counter productive for both performance and fit.
  • Boots that are fitted poorly have the potential to cause bone spurs and possible medical problems in the long term.
  • Ski shops with experience in ski racing equipment are the best to go to for proper sizing when buying a junior race boot.

 

Foot beds

  • These are an important factor for performance, but at the entry level, foot beds do not play a crucial role due to growth and cost factors. This only becomes a concern just after the peak growth rate, and usually around the U16 level.  However, it is a good idea to have a biomechanical assessment done (done by a doctor/physio/chiro) and check the alignment of your kid's movements and address any issues before the onset of puberty.