Making sure that kids are using the correct pair of skis for their size, ability, and intended skiing conditions will help young athletes develop their skills faster. There is no such thing as the best brand, but there is such a thing as the best ski for an individual. The information below should aid you in selecting the best kids skis for your child.
There are different types of kids skis for the various ‘disciplines’ of alpine skiing. Most kids skis are considered All Mountain Skis. All Mountain skis are available with and with out bindings and some are even twin tips. There are also twin tips for freestyle and powder applications. Junior Race Skis are also available for younger kids who are interested in ski racing. Determining which style of skis your child needs is the first step in choosing the best skis for them.
Kids Skis with Bindings: Kids Skis with Bindings are All Mountain Kids Skis designed for children weighing less than 110 pounds. Kids Skis with Bindings come with bindings which are pre-selected by the manufacturers to be the best compatible binding. In most instances the bindings are attached on a track system these skis are sometimes called System Skis or Skis with Integrated Binding Systems. This is the most popular category of Kids Skis.
Kids Skis without Bindings: Kids Skis without Bindings are All Mountain Kids Skis designed for children weighing less than 110 pounds. The trend is moving towards Integrated Binding Systems so there typically aren’t too many choices for Kids Skis without Bindings. Buying Kids Skis without Bindings allows customers to choose their own bindings for the child who might be an aggressive skier, or might already be in adult ski boots.
Kids Twin Tip Skis: Twin Tips are the cool new thing with teenagers and now many of ski manufactures are making kids versions too. There are some models of twin tips which are very similar to All Mountain Skis, the difference being that the tail of the skis are flared upwards to create that twin tip shape. Other models of twin tip skis are designed for freestyle (terrain park) or powder applications. The freestyle and powder skis are typically more expensive and designed for advanced to pro level skiers. It is important to check the product specifications on the product page for the skill level and recommended use.
Tween Twin Tip Skis: Tween Twin Tip Skis isn’t a specific category on Skis.com, however a few of the manufacturers are making powder and freestyle twin tips for tweens. These skis are designed for advanced kids and tweens weighing no more than 125 lbs. These Skis are available in larger sizes typically starting at 140cm and ranging up to 165cm. These skis are designed for kids who are advanced skiers who need a ski designed for an advanced to pro level skier but are too small to use adult skis.
Junior Race Skis: Junior Race Skis are designed for kids who will be ski racing. Junior Race skis are stiffer flexing and require advanced skiing skills to ski safely. If your child isn’t going to be racing they will have more fun skiing recreationally on All Mountain or Twin Tip Skis.
Junior Race Skis are available for the Slalom and Giant Slalom disciplines. Slalom skis have a smaller turn radius and are skied shorter than GS skis. USSA and FIS athletes must comply with current year equipment regulations. Other racers are allowed to train and compete on equipment of their choosing. NASTAR and most early developmental programs focus on GS or Giant Slalom skiing. If you are only purchasing one pair of skis for an athlete who will be skiing both slalom and giant slalom it is highly recommended to purchase slalom skis, as it is very difficult to make GS Skis turn quickly enough to ski slalom gates.
Skiers of different skill levels have different requirements for their ski equipment. Beginners need soft flexing skis which are forgiving to technical errors in their body positioning as they learn to advance their skills. Skis for expert level skiers are typically stiffer flexing than most beginner and intermediate level skis; they are also very rigid torsionally to allow for better energy transfer and precision though out the turn. Each pair of skis on Skis.com has a skill rating indicator in the product specifications to help customers choose skis designed for their skill level. When viewing all of the kids skis on Skis.com you should be able to sort by skill level to see only the skis which are suited for your child.
Beginner: This is level for skiers who are just beginning their skiing career. The skier has either never skied before or has skied only a few times. Beginner skiers are characterized as making wedge turns (pizza) on groomed, mellow terrain.
Advanced Beginner: When a skier is comfortable on the green runs (beginner runs) and is beginning to ski on some blue runs. Advanced Beginners are starting to incorporate parallel positioning into the completion phase of their turns. The Advanced Beginner may make wedge turns and traverse the fall line with their skis parallel.
Intermediate: The comfort level is on groomed blue runs that can be skied with relative ease. The intermediate skier is working toward making completely parallel turns. The Intermediate skier may use a small wedge before the turn to control their speed, while the completion of the turn and traverse to the next turn is made in a parallel position. The Intermediate skier often retreats to the wedge position when they are uncomfortable on steeper or variable terrain.
Advanced Intermediate: The skier is comfortable on all blues and is capable of skiing some black diamonds and varied terrain. The Advanced Intermediate skier is capable of making skidded parallel turns on most terrain at moderate to higher speeds. Advanced Intermediate skiers are also using pole plants to help maintain proper timing and body positioning.
Advanced: Advanced skiers are comfortable skiing black diamonds and varied terrain. Advanced skiers are capable of making large and small radius carved turns at higher speeds on advanced terrain. Advanced skiers also use pole plants to help maintain proper timing and body positioning.
Expert: Expert skiers are comfortable skiing at high speeds on all terrain including groomers, tracked powder, powder, moguls, etc. Expert skiers are capable of making large and small radius carved turns at high speeds on advanced terrain in any snow conditions. Expert skiers also use pole plants to help maintain proper timing and body positioning.
Contrary to popular belief skis don’t know or care how tall a skier is. They can tell, however, how much force a skier can apply to make them turn. For this reason it is important to size skis based on weight. For more sizing information please see the Skis.com Size Chart for Kids Skis.
Parents often want to get the most value out of a set of Kids Skis and often consider sizing up to the next size. When kids use skis which are too big it is difficult for them to control the skis. This can be dangerous if kids can’t turn their skis when they need to.
Waist Width is becoming an increasingly popular topic of conversation, especially in adult skis. The Kids Skis with Bindings or the Kids Skis without Bindings are designed for All Mountain Skiing; most of them have similar waist width dimensions (about 65mm). The twin tips are available in different waist widths. The narrower waist widths are great for skiing on groomed trails as it is easier to transition from edge to edge, while the wider skis are better for powder.
Some Kids Twin Tip Skis are available in the 72-80mm range for waist width offer versatility for kids who will be skiing in all types of snow conditions. The skis of this width perform better in varied snow conditions but aren’t too wide to ski groomed trails easily too. Most of the Kids Freestyle Twin Tips fall into this range as greater surface area provides a more stable landing while doing tricks.
There are a few models of Kids Powder Skis with waist widths up to about 105mm wide. These skis are designed for skiing in powder. These skis are aimed at advanced to expert level kids. These skis typically aren’t available in sizes smaller than 140cm in length.
Each ski has a specified turn radius based on the dimensions of the ski’s side cut. The larger the turn radius the harder a skier will have to work to make small turns, as the ski is suited to make longer turns. Skis with a shorter turn radius are best suited for beginner and intermediate skier as well as skiers looking to ski moguls and trees. The shorter turn radius allows the skier better control over their skis and is easier to make quick turns when necessary. Skis with longer turn radii are best for advanced skiers who are more comfortable at higher speeds and like to make longer sweeping turns.
Construction, Core, and Laminates
Construction: There are three main construction styles Cap, Sidewall, and Partial Sidewall. The Construction style relates to how the ski is made and effects how it will perform.
Core: The core is the interior of the ski. The core dictates how the ski will flex. Typically cores are constructed of composite material or wood. Laminates can also be added to the core to alter the performance of the skis.
Laminates: There are several different types of laminate materials that may be used in skis. Some of the manufacturers have taken time to develop their own technologies when it comes to laminates to make their skis perform in certain ways. The two most common laminate materials are carbon and metal. Typically only the high end kids skis will have laminates in the cores.
Rocker is the quite the buzz word in the ski industry. While originally reserved for powder skis, rocker technology has been adapted to serve almost every skier. As non-technically as possible, rocker technology makes a ski easier to ski. This technology benefits beginners and intermediates who might need a little help getting their skis to turn as well as powder skiers who could benefit from being able to float on top of the snow better. Use the filter options on the left hand side of the skis pages to see skis with the various types of rocker; Tip Rocker, Tip and Tail Rocker, or Full Rocker.
Integrated Bindings: Many all mountain skis come with Integrated Bindings. Integrated Bindings are designed as a system with the skis to provide a more natural flex pattern when the ski is flexed. In this case the manufacturers choose the most appropriate bindings for the skis, matching not only performance aspects but graphics too.
How to Choose Bindings for Kids Skis without Bindings, Twin Tips and Race Skis: If you choose to buy kids skis which don’t come with bindings, you will need to select a binding separately. Please read the Buying Guide for Ski Bindings for tips to make sure you are getting the correct binding for the set of kids skis you have chosen.
Used Kids Skis
Skis.com offers used kids skis which are obtained from a Junior Trade Back Program though our retail locations. Each ski is inspected upon return from the previous customer to ensure they meet safety requirements for ski bindings and are in a reasonable used condition. The skis in this program are used no more than two seasons before they are traded back. Unfortunately due to the nature of this program we can not offer customers a choice of graphics and the skis can not be returned because of the graphics.