SKIS must be flexible, the proper length, a major brand in order to insure quality, and be no more than 3 or 4 years old. Having the appropriate skis for your Powderpig’s skill level as well as for their appropriate height and weight will determine whether or not they will get the most out of their lessons. Control is another important factor to consider. A child whose skis are hard to turn, unstable & hard to control (too short) or cumbersome & hard to control (too long) is not as safe as one who is able to get the response they need from their skis. In the past few decades technology has dramatically changed the manufacture of ski equipment, broadening the capacity of many models of skis to respond to demands of a much greater spectrum of terrain, speed and ski levels.
How to measure skis for proper length.
- Position for measuring ski length: When we measure ski length, we have the skier stand facing their skis with the tip curving towards the child.
- Length: We measure in terms of where the ski tip reaches: Chin, Nose or Mid-forehead.
Beginning Skiers have very specific needs where skis are concerned. They need skis that are easy to turn and very forgiving at moderate speeds on moderate terrain. (Around chin level/nose level length) Skis for Beginning Skiers Are designed to be easy turning and very forgiving on gentle slopes at moderate speeds. Ski length for beginning skiers: Ski tip should reach from chin to nose depending on body build and how aggressively the skier approaches physical activities. The shorter ski will provide greater ease of movement at slower speeds and the longer ski will provide greater stability at faster speeds. Who the skier is will determine what the best ski length will be. Is this skier Solid? Slender? Strong? Willowy? Is this skier careful or aggressive in their approach to new physical activities?
Older and/or Larger Beginning Skiers who are very aggressive in sports remain beginners for such a short time that an intermediate ski could be more appropriate. Their rapid transition to more challenging terrain and greater speeds suggests a ski that will support these more demanding activities. Higher performance skis are also more durable.
Beginning Intermediate Skiers
Beginning Intermediate Skiers are those skiers who, no longer beginners, are graduating to a more challenging terrain with some confidence, picking up a little speed and are beginning to consider venturing up into even more challenging terrains.
Skis for Older/or Larger Beginning Skiers and Beginning Intermediate Skiers. Today’s shaped skis make for fine success in taking on the challenge of the slopes. These skis have some of the attributes of the advanced skis that give them greater stability at faster speeds and are more likely to respond well when asked to deal with increased slopes and varied snow conditions. This, without the “quirkiness” that the truly advanced skis may have. Advanced skiers don’t mind at all – they call those quirks “quick” and “responsive” while beginner and beginning skiers would find themselves on their ears on the snow. These skis are particularly effective for older and more powerful beginning and intermediate skiers. Length will depend very much on how fast they are growing and just how easy a time they have learning new physical skills and how aggressive they are.
Intermediate Skiers are those who have left their humble ski beginnings far behind and are on their way to more advanced skiing skills and more challenging terrain. Included in this category can be unusually fast physical learners, very aggressive athletes or those who will spend a great deal of time on their skis. Shaped skis, standing beside the child, should come up to somewhere between the chin and mid forehead. Make sure the skis you buy are children’s skis and not short adult skis, unless your child weighs 100 + lbs. or more. Intermediate Skis are designed with increased torsional rigidity to hold more firmly on ice and more demanding terrain. These skis will turn more quickly and have greater stability at higher speeds allowing the skier to advance as far and as fast as they can. Here too, shaped skis provide a whole new world of advancement for this level skier.
Intermediate skier’s skis should be anywhere from ski tips to nose to forehead to just a little longer depending on your skier’s build and how aggressive they are in physical activities and how fast they are growing. Discuss this with your Alpine Hut/Gerk’s/Edge & Spoke representative. Advanced Skiers – Easy to recognize at a glance, are those skiers of all ages who seem to float down the mountain effortlessly, with smooth, economical movements through any conditions the mountain has to offer. Really good skis and boots that will support them are absolutely necessary for optimum performance. For these skilled skiers, make sure the skis you’re purchasing for you child are Jr. skis and not just short adult skis unless your child weighs well over 100 lbs.. If your child is over 100 lbs., check to assure yourself that the ski you are considering is indeed a higher performance model designed for a skier of your Powderpig’s height, weight and skill level and not just a lower performance adult ski. (This is one of the reasons you need to be sure of your sales person’s qualifications and integrity!) Some individuals who are not familiar with children and skiing have tried to make that substitution in the past. It really doesn’t work. Skis for
Advanced Skiers are designed for high performance skiing in the steep, the deep and the downright scary. These skis are also for those that aspire to this level of skiing. In these skis the materials are designed and constructed specifically to deliver at the higher speeds and in more challenging terrain. Their shape, flex pattern, and torsional rigidity are designed to provide sustained performance at these sophisticated and challenging levels. Talk with your representative from Gerk’s, Alpine Hut or Edge & Spoke about ski lengths for your advanced skier. . RACING SKIS Designed for running the various kinds of courses. These skis are a demanding, high performance experience that sometimes leave something to be desired in conditions like deep powder! Talk with the expert in your ski store about these skis. Talk with your instructor or coach about models and lengths as well as the joys and limitations of these specialty skis.
Passing Skis Down
If you are passing skis down through the family, especially if the “inheritor” will no longer be a beginner when they are to use them, a more advanced model of ski should receive strong consideration – especially when the inheritor of the skis is an aggressive athlete. Those easy to turn, forgiving skis become an increasing liability as speed increases and terrain becomes more challenging. This is a very important thing to consider as you make plans for skis for younger siblings who already are skiers.
New Skis for “Old” Skiers
Remember, once you have outgrown your beginner skis you will never be a beginner again and you will need more advanced skis. Beginner skis are designed to be easy turning and very forgiving on gentle slopes at moderate speeds. With steeper slopes and faster turns those neat little skis that did such a good job in the earlier stages make for very unstable skiing and can take the joy right out of more challenging terrain. When an experienced skier tries to take “entry level” skis into steep and/or bumpy terrain his/her performance, confidence and enjoyment can be destroyed. Check with your sales representative to make sure that new skis are not “entry level” or beginner skis. If you are passing down beginner skis, make sure they are going to a beginner skier and not to a younger experienced skier.
Previously Used Ski Equipment – last year’s or used
Be sure to have all your equipment checked over before you go skiing. Bindings will need to be checked by a CERTIFIED BINDING TECHNICIAN for proper function and readjusted for weight change and any change in ability level. This is even more important when equipment is moving from one child to another. Boot size change will precipitate a series of changes in the binding’s adjustment. Once again, find a certified binding technician for that particular brand of binding. Binding techs in reputable ski stores like Gerk’s, Alpine Hut & Edge & Spoke are certified for most bindings. Skis, new or used, need a “tune-up.” A tune-up consists of flat filing or stone grinding the bottoms, so edges and base are on the same plane; base repair (on used skis); sharpening and evening edges to the proper angle; removing burrs that will catch on the snow; and hot waxing the skis. Hot waxing “conditions” the base material of your skis and makes them run more smoothly and turn more easily thus giving you more control. It is very important that the equipment be as hassle free as possible so time on the mountain will be spent skiing and NOT trying to remedy non-functioning equipment. It must also be appropriate to a child’s skill level. The equipment has a direct effect on the student’s ability to learn to ski and enjoy it. If it is current, it is designed to perform the maneuvers we are teaching the children. If it is obsolete or of poor quality there is no way a child can make it work. Nor is it safe.
New skis as well as used skis easily become “untuned” because of temperature and humidity changes in storage. Since having flat bottoms on skis is essential to their performing properly, it is very important that a tune-up is included on the work order when you have your bindings mounted on your new skis OR WHEN YOU TAKE YOUR BINDINGS IN TO BE CHECKED BEFORE THE SKI SEASON BEGINS. In a tune-up the skis are flat-filed or machine ground as well as hot waxed. Hot waxing conditions the bottoms by filling in the pores of the base material, thus preserving them and producing a surface that makes the skis easier to turn. AT LEAST ONE SKI TUNE UP AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON AND ONE MID SEASON SKI TUNE UP IS A REALLY GOOD IDEA. If you notice that your Powderpig’s skiing skills have begun to deteriorate, have their skis checked by an expert. Most often their skis have just begun to detune, and the problem is easily fixed with a tune up. Always keep skis well waxed.