When an adult buys skis, there is a range of acceptable sizes that will work for them depending on their ability level. For junior skis, this isn't the case. When you size skis for your junior skier, you want to be very sure that they are absolutely no taller than their chin. Too frequently, we have parents buy skis for their kids with the idea that they'll grow into them. It sounds like a great idea, but in reality, if you oversize junior skis, you'll overwhelm the kid and skiing will make them miserable. What good is having properly sized gear two years from now if your kid hates skiing? Here at Level Nine, we carry a few types of junior skis. This guide will help you pick the pair that will work best for your child and make everyone happy.
Standard Junior Skis
This is the most common type of children's ski. Skis in this category are made with a variety of synthetic, foam cores. They rarely have a waist wider than 70mm, and their lengths increase in steady increments, usually by 10 cm. They are extremely light and maneuverable and usually a great choice for all levels of junior skiers. As your child gets older, you'll undoubtedly run into the question of when to switch them to adult skis. Typically, if the child is either exceeding 140cm length skis, or is heavier than 150lbs, then it is time to switch to adult skis. You may notice that these skis often have "race" in the name. Some of these skis may have useful features such as a more durable textured top sheet, though they are by no means race skis. You can consider all the skis in this group to be essentially the same.
Full or Partial Twin Tips
The second group of children's skis is identical to the standard junior skis as above, except that they have tails that are turned up. In terms of the cores, weight, and widths, this group is the same as standard junior skis. So what difference do twin tips make? Not much in terms of learning how to ski and getting around the mountain. The twin tips do add an additional element to skiing though, as the child will soon learn that they can ski backwards, enabling them to learn tricks. Additionally, these skis will be easier to ski in trees, gullies, and other tricky situations. These skis are better for the moreadventurous junior skier, but still can be skied just as easily by any youngster.
Advanced and Expert Young Rippers
This is the final and most advanced category of junior skis. These skis are built for kids who have been ripping it up since they were 2, and can truly ski at an advanced level, anywhere on the mountain. For most juniors, these skis will be too much to handle, and should be avoided. For the right junior skier though, these are the closest you can get to an adult ski, without actually making that leap. These skis will be stiffer, wider and basically perform like adult skis, just in a shorter length. These skis should only be used by the stronger junior skier who skis all mountain aggressively.