I would ski with my tiny tot between my legs, striving to help him learn the intricate techniques referred to as ‘Pizza Pie’ and ‘French Fries.’ After a couple of hours, burning quads would inform me that the boy had had enough (lol), and I would happily hand him over to his grandparents before hitting the slope for some serious skiing. If you’re a mom or dad with young children who are just beginning to learn about this sport, you’ll get what I mean.
The good news is that kids develop and learn the fundamentals of linking turns and stopping on a dime, which is when it’s time to upgrade their little kids’ starter skis from wooden planks to skis for shaped performative skis. Find a child a great pair of skis with goggles and a helmet, and they’re set to tackle the kind of runs that will give them the confidence to make them true skiing enthusiasts for their entire lives… not to mention the incalculable joy of showing off to dad and mom.
Knowing the types of skis for kids out there and what kind will be the best for your child is the business of this article, and I’m glad to have you here. The future of skiing depends on making sure that we enthuse the next generation of skiers, so let’s begin by getting your kids the best skis.
Different Types of Ski for Kids
Skis for kids are designed to be comfortable, soft, inexpensive, and easily mastered. They generally include a soft inner core composite which requires only a little weight or skill to force the ski to flex, bend and respond to only a minimum amount of pressure applied onto the ski.
The majority of skis for children are constructed using cap-style construction, which helps make the ski lighter in weight and more flexible. This way of making skis is the best for the newer, lighter skiers and is simultaneously the most affordable.
The more advanced kids’ skis might have wood cores or vertical sidewalls. Skis like these are generally left for more aggressive, skilled skiers or those who require racing skis. Such skis are more challenging, requiring better skills to properly flex and bend the ski so that it can react instantly and in the way it is supposed to.
Skis for Kids that Come with a Rocker
A majority of skis for children now come with a rocker located at the top part of the ski. The rocker is the reverse camber or faintly upward bent design that skis come with. Imagine the ski’s tip as having a pre-flex allowing the skier to more quickly and easily engage a turn when the skier moves onto the edges of the skis.
If your child still snowplows, a ski with a rocker in its tip will make the ski grip the snow with less difficulty, making it easier for the child to push out of the snowplow.
Skis for Kids that Come with Bindings
A lot of kids’ skis come with bindings. To me, this is the best route to take for compatibility and simplicity. Skis for kids with bindings do not require the bindings to be removed to drill them again to properly fit boots.
The bindings must only be put in the specific child’s boots correctly. Later, you can change their position when the child switches boots without damaging or compromising the ski’s fundamental integrity.
I highly recommend that you use the services of a qualified binding technician to install, adjust, and check your child’s bindings each season since Alpine ski bindings are a critical piece of equipment promoting safety and helping in preventing injuries while skiing. Use a certified binding technician because he will have the specialized tools to ensure that the ski’s binding will release once the right amount of tension is put on the binding.
Skis for Kids that Come without Bindings
A variety of junior skis come without bindings. Called ‘flat skis,’ they are not equipped with bindings, meaning that you have to purchase bindings separately. The best guideline I can give you is to purchase bindings that have a brake width at or above the width of the waist of your ski, but by no more than 0.6 inches.
Junior bindings will work with most kids’ skis because they are made with shorter screws and, when installed, won’t puncture the ski’s base when installed.
Should you purchase skis that have bindings or not? It’s entirely up to you. If your child loves ski racing and you’ve bought him a high-performance boot, you might wish to search for a binding with a similar type of performance that can work with the boot.
For the majority of beginners, however, ordinary bindings are perfectly okay provided that they are correctly adjusted. The most important thing for beginners is to adjust the binding so that the ski comes off easily during a wipeout, thus avoiding injury to a leg or a knee. In contrast, advanced skiers prefer to have their skis stay in place regardless of how much pressure is put on them.
Skis for Kids that have Twin Tips
Many kids today are attracted to twin-tip skis for a good reason. The twin-tip skis have tails that turn up, resembling a ski trip. Skis with this sort of tip help with both exotic freestyle and ordinary mountain skiing, so they’re pretty versatile.
It is important to take into consideration one particular thing about twin-tip skis, and that is they ski shorter than they measure. Turned-up tips don’t count in the measure of the ski because they never touch the snow. I recommend you up the size of a twin-tip by about two inches when compared with a traditional shape ski.
Certain Junior Twin-Tip skis have wider waists and stronger flex patterns, making them extremely useful for more aggressive, stronger skiers.
All-Mountain Skis for Kids
The name implies all-mountain skis were designed for every terrain on the piste. The majority of such skis are 3-4 inches in the middle. They’re slightly larger, meaning they have more buoyancy when skiers go off-piste.
A few also have a ‘rockered’ tip (indicating the tail and tip are set lower to proffer a reverse camber) to give the skier even greater stability in the powder. Although they can be used anywhere on a mountain, the one-size-fits-all somewhat scattergun approach can mean that the child cannot always depend on getting the most enjoyable of experiences.
Big Mountain Skis for Kids
While they sound like all-mountain skis, these are made to ensure your child stays afloat even in the slushiest powder, even in the craziest skiing. Wider, longer, and stronger than other models discussed, they offer an extra degree of stability that skiers require on untreated snow when nipping along at speed. This is the ideal choice for that one-in-a-thousand-child star to take on a ski holiday and show off.
Carving Skis for Kids
These skis are the most popular with skiers who ski for entertainment rather than sports. So-called ‘carving skis’ come with distinctive hourglass shapes to help skiers turn with ease. Most likely, they’ll range around 3-4 inches in width and can be as wide as 4.5 inches at the ski’s tips and tails.
Because the ski’s metal edges are curved, they naturally create a turning circle when those edges get buried in the snow. As evidenced by their name, these skis deliver the best carving opportunities, enabling skiers who have mastered the art of parallel turns to glide gracefully down groomed runs. These are the skis you are most likely to get if you hire skiing equipment for your child.
Freeride Skis for Kids
Freeride skis can indeed be described as a more flexible variant of powder skis, in part because they’re narrower and usually less than 4 inches underfoot. Although they’re designed to be used off-piste, they can perform just as well on groomed slopes. Many of these skis come with ‘rockered’ tips. However, they are less abrasive than powder skis to make sure they can grip the slope.
They are also pretty handy when performing on snow that has not yet been plowed.
Freestyle Skis for Kids
Although carving skis can have twin tips, freestyle skis are made for half-pipes rails, jumps, and other popular features of snow parks. Since the tips are elevated significantly higher and the bindings positioned further forward, most of them are bi-directional, which means that users can go either backward or forwards with more stability than other skis. While they’re designed for use in the snow, some offer great skiing in other parts of the mountains.
Powder Skis for Kids
Powder skis are often bigger than big mountain skis and, in some cases, can extend to 55 inches beneath the skier’s feet. The reason is to handle the deepest snow. Many powder skis come with ‘rockered’ tips, which provide even more stability off-piste.
The main difference to regular skis is that the ski’s design offers reverse cambers, making the rail and the ski’s tip thinner than the middle section.
Racing Skis for Kids
The longest skis available are race skis, designed with speed in mind. While they were once more than 79 inches wide, today’s top racers utilize skis less than 62 inches wide. Responsive and highly flexible, they permit amazingly nimble footwork and are therefore perfect for racing on firm snow in slaloms at high speed.
However, they’re not particularly versatile; if your little one is used to skis with tight turning circles, they may be difficult for your child to master initially.
Snowblades for Kids
Snowblades, aka ‘ski boards’, ‘ski blades’, and ‘short skis’ are quite simple to learn and offer many opportunities for fun and games. Although they can appear similar to the untrained eye, they vary pretty widely, ranging from just 28 inches up to 56 inches.
Thinner versions are designed to cut through groomed snow and look and act a little like ice skates. The difference between ice skates is that these skis sink deep into powder. There are also wider snowblades that encourage you to lean your body almost like a snowboarder while letting you manage the powder just as well.
With snowblades, carving occurs on the ski’s edges directly beneath your feet, almost forcing you to stand a little straighter than those skiers who prefer to lean forward to carve closer to the front of the skis. The advantage here is that it makes it more natural for non-skiers to get up and running and thus, more quickly, be on their way to mastering skiing. For snowboarders and skiers alike, snowblades are fun, and with them, individuals who want to can evolve even a totally different sports style from skiing.
Different Types of Skis for Kids
You need to make sure that your child uses skis that are the best for them as an individual. However, having a good understanding of the types of skis available, what each kind is for, and how a pair of skis of any particular type would fit your child is a massive advantage for the child and an incredible act of care and diligence as a parent.
Skiing is a lifelong experience that you and your entire family can and should enjoy together. My last piece of advice is, “get out there, stay safe, have fun, and shred some snow!”