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  • Junior Alpine Gear: 2002/2003

    Photo courtesy Rossignol; photo by C.Pedrotti Kids' gear is no longer treated as an afterthought and new designs are now engineered specifically for the younger set, rather than just the usual pint-sized versions of adult equipment. Growing attention toward the youth market also has equipment manufacturers focusing big-time on improving equipment for teens, juniors and even toddlers.

    Here's a recap of alpine products offered for the 2002/2003 season:

    Atomic: Capitalizing on its reputation as a premier race ski, Atomic adds its racing acumen to junior skis, in the form of Beta-4 Technology. The GS:11 Jr. is perfect for junior giant slalom racers or aggressive skiers, while the SL:11 Jr. is for junior slalom racers. The SL:9 Jr. is for club-level slalom racers and developing recreational skiers and the Race:5 Jr. is built for the budget-conscious developing recreational skier.

    Blizzard: The Junior collection consists of four skis. The Race skis are true competition-level skis with ABS sidewall constructions and Titanium laminates. The RXK / SXK is an all-purpose shaped junior ski featuring a 3-D profile and Blizzard's proprietary Tough-Top TPU Top skin (the RXK is the red color option; SXK. is blue). The Blizzi rounds out the collection for the little guys and girls.

    Dynastar: Dynastar has a complete range of skis for juniors. The Team Course is an expert giant slalom racing ski while the Team Omeglass is an expert slalom racing ski. The Team Carve is for advanced skiers and the Team Concept is for expert/intermediate, new schoolers. The Team 4x4 is for intermediate freeriders while the Team Cross is an intermediate, all-terrain ski.

    Fischer: Fischer doubled its junior race business the last few seasons and expects to continue at that pace, especially on the heels of an Olympic year with U.S. athletes Bode Miller, Chip Knight, Kirsten Clark and Jonna Mendes on Fischer gear.

    New technology in the junior racing Speed and Sceneo skis is called Frequency Tuning. It is a mathematically calculated structure integrated into the ski that harmonizes negative ski vibrations and oscillations into concentrated energy. This creates a cleaner, smoother and quicker reacting ski.

    K2: The MinEnemy (pronounced Mini-me) functions both as a beginner twin tip and a wider waisted all mountain ski for juniors. The Axis Jr. features an aggressive sidecut and is intended for advanced juniors. The Escape Jr. is what a new skier needs, easy turning, durable wood core and cool graphics.

    Lange: Esteemed ski boot manufacturer Lange offers four junior boots. The 100 World Cup Team is for the expert racers and is modeled after Lange's adult 130 World Cup but with a lower, softer shell. Also in the lineup are the 90 Team, a softer boot than the World Cup for young racers and experts; the 80 Team, a soft-flexing performance model that is ideal for most junior skiers and the 60 Team for intermediate and advanced entry level skiers.

    Line: Line's entry in the all-mountain category (ride it on the slopes, trails, parks, pipes) is the Ghetto Blaster, a soft flexing ski designed specifically for kids. In all, Line makes seven models-all of them for juniors.

    Look: There are four models of junior bindings from Look. The P10 Team Spacer contains full-pivot and full-drive toe technology. The NovaTeam 7 Maxplate is lightweight and provides exceptional safety and performance. The NovaTeam 7 and the Team 4 are also available.

    Nordica: Nordica presents five skis for juniors: K12 GSJ, K12 SLJ, K10 RCJ, Beast TTJ and Super N. The K12 GSJ and K12 SLJ are giant slalom and slalom skis respectively for advancing junior racers. The K10 RCJ is for developing athletes. The Beast TTJ is designed for the young all-mountain skier. For beginners and intermediates, the Super N is a short, lightweight ski with an exaggerated sidecut, for kids 8 to 15.

    Nordica has a junior racing boot, the Dobermann XS. Additionally, Nordica has the K TJ, K SJ, GP TJ, Super NO2 and Super NO1 boots for young racers to beginners.

    Photo courtesy Rossignol; photo by Chris O'Connell Rossignol: Rossignol's junior alpine gear runs the gamut from racing to entry-level. The Powerpulsion 9S Racing ski is for slalom, while the Powerpulsion 9X Racing is designed for giant slalom. The Power 9 Racing was created for lighter weight racers. The RPM 2.1 is an all-mountain cruising ski, while the Bandit J is an all-mountain ski. The Rebel Jr. is designed to be a young skier's first pair of skis.

    In boots, the Power Race 9.1 Jr. is for the racing crowd, while the Axium Junior is for accomplished junior skiers. The Comp line includes the Pro, J4, J3 and J2. For less experienced kids, Rossignol has the R28 and R18.

    Salomon: The Equipe 10T2V giant slalom ski is for advanced kids and racers, while the Equipe 10T3V has a slalom sidecut. Crossmax 10 T is for aggressive, all-mountain carving and skiercross.

    In boots, Salomon has the Course GT and Course Team with lower cuffs and softer materials for an easier flexing design. Weight is also minimized so there's less fatigue and easy steering. The Performa GT is based on the Performa T Large, and comes with metal buckles. Performa T2 and Performa T3 use Salomon's Sensifit custom-fit design and a junior Thermicfit Liner, and replaceable toe and heel pads.

    Salomon has five junior bindings: the S910 is for junior racers over 65 pounds; the S608 covers a range of junior skiers; the C608 offers the same features as the S608, but without Spheric (designed for protection in complex falls) and the S305 and C305 are for intermediate junior skiers.

    Tecnica: Tecnica offers junior boots for kids just learning to ski and up to the advanced junior racer level. Each model addresses the junior skiers' needs at different performance levels, while taking junior anatomy into consideration. At the upper end, the ICON J is a performance model for high-end junior racers. The Rider X and the Rider Super have been designed specifically to fit junior anatomy. An Energy Rebound Flex System with inserts allows flex adjustment, while increasing performance and energy return. These boots are for the intermediate skier up to junior racer. The TJR and TJR Super are for beginning to intermediate skiers while the Racer is a rear entry boot for the never-ever little guy.

    Volkl: The P50 GS Racing is Volkl's new giant slalom race ski for juniors. The P50 Slalom Carver Racing is a dedicated junior slalom ski. The Supersport is for improving recreational kids; the V-Legend is a twin-tip ski for the park and pipe and the Vertigo is a mid-fat ski.

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