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So your kids are finally old enough to start skiing. Choosing the right pair of skis will determine whether they love it or hate it. While you might be tempted to immediately buy them new equipment, make sure to have them take a few lessons, before you make the financial commitment. That said, keep in mind that while skis are a fun purchase, boots are actually the most important part of skiing, so be sure to buy them a good pair of ski boots.
Once your kids have said the magic words "Mommy and Daddy I love skiing,” you should determine their skill level, weight and height. In most cases, shorter skis will be easier for kids to control. Choose an all-mountain ski. Added side cut, powder or racing skis are unnecessary for child novices.
Keep in mind that most kids will require a fairly flexible ski. Hold the ski by its tip, and add pressure to the center. A flexible ski will bend under this pressure. Now check for camber by holding the bases of both skis together. The tips and tails should be touching, but there should be a space at the center of the ski.
While grownups (usually) realize that cool graphics are not the only important factor to be considered when selecting a ski, keep in mind that kids are extremely visual. By all means, don't choose a ski entirely because of its graphics. On the other hand, if choosing between two similar skis, and your child has a preference for the graphics on one of them, it's probably best to go with that ski.
Every once in awhile, an enthusiastic (or should we say overly enthusiastic) skier desires the one piece of gear that has be known to grant bragging rights: A pair of racing skis. Unfortunately, folks that covet these skis don't always have the skills to handle them. Before you run out and purchase the hottest racing skis on the market, there are a few things you should know.
First of all racing skis are generally much stiffer than traditional alpine skis. They also want to be on edge, and don't appreciate being skidded into a turn. That being said, if you seriously want to get into recreational racing, it's imperative that you take a ski racing clinic. That way, when you put on a pair of racing skis, you will know how to use them.
Your next step is to determine what type of racing you prefer, helping you choose the best sidecut radius. The sidecut radius measures the amount of shape in a given ski, and is determined by the difference between the tail and waist of the ski. For example, a curvaceous type of sidecut will take longer to complete a turn. These racing skis are suitable for giant slalom events. In contrast, slimmer skis will be more suitable for the short, quick turns needed for slalom events.
Telemark Skiing is a style of skiing known as “free heel skiing.” Telemark skis are different than Alpine Skis because they use a binding that only connects the boots to the ski at the toes, just like cross- country skis. Telemark skiing gets its name from the Telemark turns and a Telemark turn is a turn that is led with the heel flat on the outside ski (down hill ski) and the inside( uphill) ski is pulled under the skiers body while keeping a flexed knee and raised heel. The skis are kept staggered, not parallel, and the outside ski supports most of the skiers body weight.
Increasing the stagger of the ski means the skiers knees are bent more and the torso is closer to the snow.
An ideal Telemark turn is executed by the skier shifting his weight to the outside ski by a ratio of 50/50 up to 80/20, considering snow conditions ad the skier rests mostly on the toe half of each foot which has its boot heel in contact with the ski.
Powder Skis are designed solely for skiing in deep snow Powder skis are wider than regular skis to allows the skier to “float” above the snow which makes skiing in deep snow much easier, safer, and more enjoyable. The extra width of powder skis make turning in deep snow easy and safe. Powder skis are also shorter than regular skis and this also makes turning in deep snow much easier.
If you hear someone use the term “under foot” when talking about powder skis this refers to the width of the ski. For example, a powder ski with 100mm under foot means the ski is 100 millimeters wide where the bindings are mounted to the ski. The width of a powder ski is not the only thing that separates it from a regular ski but it is the most important distinction. Speaking of measurements, if yu are at a ski website or ski store you will see three different numbers for the ski dimension. (“Dims”)These three numbers refer to the tip, the waist , and the tail of the ski. The bigger the difference there is between the tip and the waste numbers of the ski means a bigger hourglass figure and a ski with a smaller hourglass figure will have more float but will make turns more difficult out of the powder.
Twin tips skis enables advanced skiers to perform freestyle acrobatics, including jumping and skiing backwards down an icy slope. These skis are for a daredevil of the winter sport, who loves to strut and show off their talented abilities. The future Olympians still follow a strict guide line in choosing the right twin tips skis for their free-styling antics.
There are many ski tips for measuring the adequate size of any ski set; however, the back trodden skiers want to rest assure that their gear is safely secure to perform the stunts unflinchingly. A foolproof way of nailing the length of your twin tips skis is to measure from the floor to right below the eyes. It is common knowledge among advanced skiers to choose a longer ski if you want to gain momentum, and produce the awing effect of suspending powdery terrain into mid-air. Other ski tips are to choose a shorter ski for more narrow turns, and to perform rail grinding. Skiers opt for adjustment on their binding, in order to add even more speed, and bring the ability to hang glide for the spectators of freestyle riding. Every aspiring skier should focus on improving their weaknesses before attempting to rent twin tips skis. My ski tips advice towards experimental teenagers: don't do this at home!
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|