Race Equipment Recommendations

There are only a few “rules” when it comes to finding the right equipment, and  Rule One is hand me downs rarely work well since they were intended for someone else, and unless the person receiving the hand me down is identical to the original user, then a compromise is being made.

Boots                                                                         

The most important item of equipment is the boots.  They have to be a correct fit and style for the user.  For racing kids, boots need to be snug when they put them on, and when the buckles are done up the boot must tighten up slightly – not so tight that the feet go numb but tight enough that their shins do not rotate in the cuff of the boot and that their heel stays on the sole of the boot when they flex (bend) forward. The toes should not cram up against the front of the boot at any time.  Leave room at the toes and ensure the ankle is secure in the boot.  Do not get boots which are too stiff.  This is the most common fault that young racers make when they purchase new boots.  The boot may flex a little in the store, but outside when the temperature is well below zero, if the boot is too stiff it will prevent the child from making the correct move forward which will result in sitting back while skiing.  This is poor technique and can also contribute to knee and ankle injuries. The boot is the child’s connection to the ski and the snow; if the fit is not right then it will be difficult for the child to progress.

Helmets

Helmets are mandatory for all members of the Mansfield Race Programs.

Training Squad participants may wear a children’s ski helmet that is specifically designed for alpine skiing.  At this age group we often see helmets that have soft covering over the ears.  While these are not recommended they are permitted for Training Squad participants.

At all times during training and racing, all NFS and U8 through U19 participants  must wear a crash helmet specifically designed and labeled for alpine skiing – it must have a smooth surface with no spoilers, protrusions or attachments (including camera mounts) other than a slalom face guard attached to the front of the helmet as per the helmet manufacturer’s instructions and which is only used during slalom training and racing.  With the exception of helmets manufactured specifically for U14 to U19 slalom events, which may have soft ear covering, all ski crash helmets must have a hard shell over the ears.

Slalom specific helmets (soft eared with face guards) are only permitted for slalom gate training and racing – they are not permitted for free skiing with the team or for GS or Speed training and racing.

To be effective a helmet must be a perfect fit.  A helmet should fit snuggly and have no pressure points.

It should not droop down over the eyes, and at the back it should not extend below the bottom of the skull where it meets the neck (the occipital bone).

The helmet must allow for goggles to fit inside the face frame, and it must have a functional chin-strap.

U14 to U19 athletes are recommended to wear a mouth guard to protect their teeth.

 

 Skis – See Selection Chart below

For U10 and U12 racers one pair of skis is preferable.  Generally a GS or Sport Race ski is the most versatile choice.  The length of the ski depends entirely upon the height, weight and current ski ability of the child.  Do not get skis that they will grow into, long skis are harder to turn and a child will make slow progress if the skis are too long.  The side cut of the skis also greatly determines the ease of turning.   Skis with a narrow waist (center) and a wide tip and tail will turn and carve more easily.

As kids approach the U14, U16 and U19 age groups many of them need to have GS and Slalom skis.  The difference is in length and side-cut.  Slalom skis will be between 130 and 165 cm while GS skis will be between 150 and 185cm depending upon height and weight.  Junior race skis should serve your child well until they are at least 14 years of age.

Ski Selection Chart U10 to U19

              Turning Radius indicates the minimum TR  > suggested lengths greater than or equal to

 

Age/Gender U10 U12 U14 U16 Wom U16 Men U19 Wom U19 Men FIS Wom FIS Men
Weight LBS > 60 60-75 60-90 80-100 100-120 100-130 130-150 100-150 130-170
Slalom Ski cm 120+ 120-130 135-140 145-150 145-150 155 155-165 155 155-165
GS Ski cm 125+ 130-140 145-150 158-165 165-172 178-183 183-188 183-188 190-195
Weight 75-85 lbs 90-110 lbs 100-120 lbs 120-140 lbs 130-160 lbs 170-180 lbs 150+ 170-180
Slalom Ski cm 130-135 140-145 145-150 150-155 155 155-165 155 165
GS Ski cm 140-145 155-165 165-172 172-177 178-183 188-191 183-188 190-195
Weight 85-100 lbs 110-130 lbs 120-140 lbs 140-160 lbs 160+ lbs 180-190 lbs 160+ 180-190
Slalom Ski cm 135-140 145-150 150-155 155-160 155 165 155 165
GS Ski cm 145-150 165-175 175-180 178-183 183-188 188-191 183-188 190-195
Weight 100+ lbs 130+ lbs 140+ lbs 160+ lbs 190+ lbs 190+
Slalom Ski cm 140-145 150-155 155 160-165 165 165
GS Ski cm 155-165 175-178 175-180 183-188 191+ 190-195
 Turning Radius GS TR  >17M GS TR  >21M GS TR  >23M GS TR >25M GS TR >30M GS TR 30M GS TR 30

 

Poles

For younger kids one set of poles is all that is necessary and a Slalom (straight shaft) pole is preferable as it is most versatile.  Proper pole length is very important.  If the pole is too long the child has to swing it excessively and pop up in order to make a correct pole plant, and if it is too short then they have to lean too far forward to plant the pole.  Both of these situations contribute to poor technique and slow progress.  The proper length is to have the child stand straight, in a pair of street shoes, and measure from the ground to half way between their navel and their sternum.  This is the correct length for poles. Children should not have slalom blocking guards on their poles until they are strong enough skiers to cross block.  These guards tend to encourage young skiers to reach across their body in order to hit the pole which causes excessive rotation and actually makes it harder to learn how to cross block.  Junior poles are relatively inexpensive and need to be changed frequently as the child grows.

Once the kids have GS and Slalom skis, then they also need GS and Slalom poles.  Use the method above to determine length for the slalom pole and add 5+ cm for a GS pole.

 

Equipment – General Summary

While there are no rules, here are the rules:

No hand me downs

No long skis for U8 & U10 racers

No stiff boots

No long poles

No pole guards for U8, U10 and U12

No free ride helmets

 

Equipment – Summary by Age Groups

 U10 Equipment

·       All participants must wear a FIS approved helmet at all times – see notes above.

·       Participants are not permitted to wear speed suits – not necessary at this age.

·       Only one pair of skis required – see Ski Selection Chart above.

·       A Racer’s Boot Bag that can store boots and helmet – very helpful for any away event.  There are knapsack styles available which keeps hands free for carrying skis and poles.

 

U12 Equipment

·        All participants must wear an FIS approved helmet at all times – see notes above.

·        Participants are permitted to wear speed suits

·        Only one pair of skis required – see Ski Selection Chart above.

·        A Racer’s Boot Bag that can store boots and helmet – very helpful for any away event.  There are knapsack styles available which keeps hands free for carrying skis and poles.

·        Side zipped ski pants or shorts that can easily be removed just before the racer starts.

 

U14 Equipment

·        All athletes must wear an FIS approved helmet at all times – see notes above.

·        Athletes are permitted to wear speed suits.

·        At U14 many athletes have both slalom and GS specific skis – this is a recommended

·        See the ski selection charts above.

·        Many athletes as well have separate GS and Slalom poles.

·        Athletes need slalom shin guards and slalom pole guards for slalom training and racing and it is highly recommended that they have a face guard on their slalom helmet and a mouth guard which they wear to protect their teeth.

·        Slalom face guards may not be worn on helmets for GS or SG training or racing.

·        Slalom Pole guards may not be worn on helmets for GS or SG training or racing.

·        Boot bag/knapsack and side zipped warm up pants/shorts.

·        You may find it more convenient to have two helmets (Slalom and GS) to avoid having to install or remove the slalom face guard depending upon the training and/or racing schedule – very often both events are trained/raced on the same weekend.

  • For Super G training and racing athletes must use Super G specific skis – see the ski selection charts above – many athletes  do not purchase Super G skis but rather rent of borrow them for the few days that they require them – please consult the Head Coach for details
  • For Super G training and racing athletes must wear back protection specifically designed

for alpine speed events.

 

U16 & U19 Equipment

·        All athletes must wear an FIS approved helmet at all times – see notes above.

·        Athletes are permitted to wear speed suits.

·        At U16/U19 athletes need to have both slalom and GS specific skis – See the ski selection charts above.

·        Many athletes must have separate GS and Slalom poles.

·        Athletes need slalom shin guards and slalom pole guards for slalom training and racing and it is highly recommended that they have a face guard on their slalom helmet and a mouth guard which they wear to protect their teeth.

·        Slalom face guards may not be worn on helmets for GS or SG training or racing.

·        Slalom Pole guards may not be worn on helmets for GS or SG training or racing.

·        Boot bag/knapsack and side zipped warm up pants/shorts.

·        You may find it more convenient to have two helmets (Slalom and GS) to avoid having to install or remove the slalom face guard depending upon the training and/or racing schedule – very often both events are trained/raced on the same weekend.

·        For Super G training and racing athletes must use Super G specific skis – see the ski selection charts above – many athletes  do not purchase Super G skis but rather rent of borrow them for the few days that they require them – please consult the Head Coach for details.

  • For Super G training and racing athletes must wear back protection specifically designed

for alpine speed events.