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  • 2003/2004 Alpine Ski Gear for Kids & Juniors

    Photo courtesy Obermeyer Manufacturers continue to produce high quality, technical gear for kids. Here's a recap of what's out there for skis, boots and bindings for the 2003/2004 season.

    Alpina: Alpina's junior boot line features easy entry/exit designs and are built to give young, growing skiers stability and support. Alpina adds new hardware and has improved the inner boot. The boots are manufactured with materials that retain a soft flex, even in extreme cold.

    The Junior Discovery is available as a four-, three- or two-buckle shell in an overlap design. There are two rear-entry models, the R2 and the R1, which are ideal for beginners and toddlers or preschoolers. Both feature a single-ratchet buckle and are designed so even a four-year-old can put on his/her own boots.

    Atomic: Now kids can skiercross just like Mom or Dad! New for Atomic is the SX:11 Jr., modeled after the SX:11, Atomic's skiercross ski. The SX:11 Jr. is a strong, versatile all-mountain carver. Atomic also has a new binding for juniors. It comes in two models with different DIN settings and is only available in ski-binding packages.

    Blizzard: Two seasons ago, Blizzard skis, from Austria, could not be found in the United States. In January 2001, Dalbello Sports became the U.S. distributor for Blizzard and since then Blizzard has become a major player in the children's market.

    For youngsters, Blizzard's RS Junior and SL Junior are race skis with titanium layers for performance. The Sigma JR is a lightweight, flexible model for advancing recreational kids. The Blizzi, available in lengths from 70 to 100 centimeters, is for the smallest skiers.

    Dalbello: Dalbello's flagship model is the V-Pro Custom, a high-performance junior race/freeride boot that features all the performance and technology of the adultAvanti Series models. The Visio J is a kid-sized version of Dalbello's new technology soft Visio. The CX Series is an easy-entry, three-piece overlap shell for kids of all skill levels and comes in three-, two-, and one- buckle versions. One rear-entry model, the SX 1.5, is for beginning skiers.

    Dolomite: The aptly named Kid is a soft-top boot for young skiers. For accomplished skiers, Dolomite has the J82 in four- and two-buckle versions.

    Dynastar: Dynastar has taken the junior ski concept to its limit and created a line of kid's skis that fit every riding style, every mountain, in every condition. The Team Trouble Maker is a twintip ski that dovetails with the adult model in sidecut and sizing. Trouble Maker is for young freeriders who need a ski to freestyle in the terrain park and superpipe. Team Cross is a versatile ski while Team Speed is designed for the beginning skier who needs a stable ski to advance to carving turns. Team 4X4 is Dynastar's all-mountain junior ski. The Team Omecarve and Team Omeglass/JPV are performance models for advanced skiers looking for a dual event or performance ski for the whole mountain.

    Elan: In racing, Elan uses vertical sidewall construction and wood cores-the same construction as in Elan's Mitja Kunc, one of the top-ranked skis in World Cup slalom competition. Elan's models are the RCG, for giant slalom racing; the RCS, for slalom; and the RCX, for dual events.

    Elan's Integra Race is an all-mountain, versatile ski that goes anywhere, does anything. Twintip freeride skis from Elan include the W Pro Dragon, with dragon graphics for boys; the W Pro Girl, with funky flower designs; and the gender neutral W Pro.

    Fischer: Fischer believes its strength for junior products is in the racing category. Fischer's World Cup, Competition and Race models will satisfy any junior racer. The Big Stix and JFX are more in the recreational mold.

    In bindings, Fischer features the FreeFlex, Carve Concept and FJ4 models for all levels of skiers.

    K2: K2 has a variety of skis to address the aggressive skiing nature of some of today's young skiers-those looking to do tricks in the halfpipe, jumps, terrain park moves or just fast cruising down advanced terrain. At the top of the line is the Axis Jr., designed for the advanced young ripper who skis the entire mountain. It has an aggressive sidecut and a substantial waist. The Mach Jr. is built on the same chassis as the Axis Jr., but with a red, white and blue graphic. The Mini Enemy is built with the same idea as the bigger version-a ski that's perfect for the park, pipe or entire mountain thanks to its twintip design and fat dimensions. The Escape Jr. and Spire Jr. are learning skis with lightweight, soft flexing designs and easy turning characteristics.

    Lange: All Lange boots derive from racing technology, and almost all the boots feature cantable soles. This allows the upper cuff to better align with the angle of the lower leg so the ski can lay flat on the snow (meaning turns will be easier and more fun!). The Lange junior line starts with the W.C. Team high-performance racing boot and ranges downward in performance to the Comp 80 Team, Comp 70 Team and 60 Team.

    Line: Line has found its niche and makes twintip skis primarily for teenage males who play in the parks and on the pipes. Graphics are important to this skier and Line has answered with Ninja-style graphics, helicopters, missiles and urban landscapes. Line also makes skiboards (90 cm to 98 cm in length) with cowboy and jet graphics. Line's all-mountain skis are also designed to be used in a park. Line's Reactor 12 bindings are made specifically for Line's skis.

    Nordica:Nordica makes a boot for every junior out there. The four-buckle, traditional overlap GPTJ is a high-performance boot that works well for beginning racers or advanced recreational skiers. The Super N02 is a two-buckle, mid-entry boot that is easier to get on and off than a traditional overlap boot and is designed for seven- and eight-year olds. The N01 is a one-buckle, rear-entry model for beginners.

    The Beast TJ resembles Nordica's freeride boot, but it is a tuned-down version. It has a softer flex for those juniors who have large feet but their legs aren't strong enough to handle adult boots. The Beast has a hinged throat for easy-on and off access. In fact, the Beast can be put on and taken off without pulling and tugging. Nordica's Super N line of skis are for youngsters getting into the sport while the SUV is a versatile, all-mountain ski with a lot of flotation

    Rossignol: Rossignol adds three twintips to its stable of junior skis this season. The Scratch Proteam is based on the adult Scratch ski. The Scratch Jr. is a freestyle ski, while the Bandit is a freeride model. All the twintips can be used in the park, pipe or all-mountain. In racing skis, Rossignol has the 9X World Cup Jr.,a giant slalom ski, and the 9S World Cup Jr., a slalom version. Both skis have the same construction as adult race skis but have flex patterns specific to junior racers.

    Salomon: Salomon's junior ski line mimics the adult skis in performance and construction. From racing to entry-level, Salomon's junior skis are not shrunken down adult gear. The skis have appropriate sidecuts for little skiers and softer flex for easier turning. Another product from Salomon is the Grom Snowblade. This skiboard, 65-centimeters long, is lightweight and easy to get on and off.

    Like the skis, Salomon's boots run the gamut from T1 and T2 for the smallest skier to the Performa range for learning and intermediate skiers to the Course GT for big kids who love to race.

    Salomon makes two junior bindings, the S305 with Salomon's Spheric technology, and the more traditional C305. The bindings have built-in snow scrapers and long leashes so kids can disengage themselves from their skis easily.

    Tecnica: Tecnica's junior boot collection has been revised and updated with models to suit every level of junior skier. Key technologies such as Rapid Access and Dual Pivot have been incorporated into some of the junior models.

    The Icon Jr., a high-performance junior race boot for the skier not quite strong or big enough for the adult boot, follows its adult counterparts with the Rapid Access Cuff system. The Rider Super and Rider X have forward lean wedge inserts and new hardware. These boots are for smaller junior racers or advanced to expert skiers not ready for the Icon Jr. Two new models, the RJ Super and the RJ, replace the TJR Super and TJR models. They feature the Rapid Access Cuff System, making entry and exit virtually parent-free.

    Volkl: Volkl's approach in the junior market has been two-fold. At the highest levels, the company continues to develop racing skis that conform to FIS guidelines. Secondly, Volkl is developing skis for kids who are learning. Each model is specifically developed to help the first-time or improving skier enjoy the sport.

    The 7 24 Junior replaces the Vertigo Junior as the entry-level junior ski of choice. It has a relatively wide waist for easy balance and a generous sidecut to aid in learning to turn. Volkl also has the twintip V Expression Jr. and a carving ski, the Supersport 6 Star Jr., as well as the P60 SC and GS Racing skis.

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