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Rippin Riders

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  • Kid's Ski Boots for 2000/2001

    As with skis, ease-of-flex is a key consideration in boots. A yielding forward flex allows the child to get into a proper athletic stance over the balls of his or her feet - and out of the backward-leaning, defensive stance so common at a young age.

    Another buying consideration: whether to go with a "front-" or "rear-entry" boot. Rear-entry boots - those that buckle behind the ankle - are easier for kids to get into and out of, and that can be a relief for parents of young tots. But only a front-entry boot - one that buckles across the front the way most adult boots do - has the support integrity to promote a proper forward-leaning stance.

    For winter 2000-01, Tecnica introduces a new junior front-entry boot line that is designed specifically with a child's anatomy in mind. The new boots, the TNT Icon Jr. and Rider Jr., use an Ortho-fit liner, designed to provide better foothold over the instep. Rossignol offers the youngest skiers a light weight, soft flexing boot in the R18. The Comp J is an "Inverted Overlap", sort of a combo rear entry/overlap. The Freeride Jr is a hot looking four buckle overlap with a Thermo Modable Liner.

    Of course, parents will want to buy boots a size too large in order to get two seasons out of them, right? Actually, that's the most frequently made mistake. Such a boot will invariably be too big the first year and too small the second. Either way, the child is in for a potentially painful experience that can sour him or her on skiing at a critical time.

    With kids boots running at about $125 a pair, buying new boots every year would be an expensive proposition. Fortunately, ski shops feel parents' pain and offer a thrifty alternative. New seasonal lease programs allow mom and dad to outfit their children with properly sized skis, boots, poles and bindings, usually for about the price of a pair of boots. Check your local or regional sports shop for seasonal programs. Some shops offer a great buyers program as well where you can turn in used equipment at the end of the season for a credit towards the new season's equipment. With deals like that, no one has to settle for hand-me-downs.

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