I remember hanging out in ski shops as a kid dreaming of the time when I could finally upgrade to the real skis. The kid’s skis at my disposal were severely lacking in style, design and functionality. It always seemed like there was an undeniable gap in the sizes and shapes of skis between what I could actually use, and what I could hope to ride in the future.
Well that frustrating void has been filled! Nearly every ski company now makes a legitimate ski for those kids who's skills have outgrown their beginner skis but aren’t large enough to break into the adult sizes just yet.
A closer look at this category of skis will make you wish that you could grow up and learn to ski all over again. Wide, rockered skis and all the bells & whistles that come with modern designs are insanely fun, why shouldn’t everyone get to enjoy them? And thanks to this age group’s minimal mass compared to adult skiers, each pair of these mini-skis are pretty darn affordable. Lighter skiers don’t need the titanium topsheets, carbon stringers or sturdy race plates that us poor adults require. Because of this weight advantage, the skis are much cheaper to manufacture, and thus, cheaper to put on the feet of the next generation of rippers.
For the aspiring powder hound:
140, 150, 160 (150=117-97-109)
These skis are made in Austria and come equipped with a wood core, twin rocker/camber combo construction and feature the same five point sidecut as the adult Rocker2s. A progressive sidecut ratio adds even more legitimacy to these mini powder tools. The Rocker2 is one of the best skis around, and the Jr. version is the exact same ski, only smaller.
Atomic Bent Chetler Mini
133, 143, 153 (124-90-115.5)For those with backcountry freestyle in their future we have the smaller Bent Chetler. Powder rocker and camber underfoot combine to make this ski easy to maneuver on any terrain. The step down sidewall gets you strength underfoot and less weight in the tip and tail. Combine that with some of the best art in the business and you’re looking at a very capable little ski.
143, 153, 163 (132-100-116)
If you are way ahead of your years in ability and are already charging hard and fast in the deepest snow, then you have found your ski. The Shiro Jr. isn’t so much bridging the gap as it is extending the adult Shiro into smaller sizes. You can buy this same ski in 10mm increments ranging from 143 all the way up to the full size 203. Like the adult Shiro, the Jr. features Extended Low Profile Rocker and a full wood core with vertical sidewall construction. If your palate has given you a taste for powder, you’re going to want to eat it with this fork.
future park rat:
120, 130, 140, 150 (106-74-99)
This ski is the junior version of a one-ski quiver. The Full Sensor Woodcore and full rocker construction make this ski fully ready for anything. This do-everything ski is incredibly versatile all over the mountain and in the park.
120, 130, 140, 150 (106-74-99)
You might notice that the Pyra looks suspiciously like the Step. Well, you’re right, they’re the exact same ski except for the color. The Pyra is Volkl’s girls all mountain twin flagship. While it is a bit obnoxious to be told what colors each gender must use, these skis are interchangeable for those youngsters who have discerning taste in color swatches.
For the upcoming racers:
110, 120, 130, 140, 150 (111-67-97)
This ski can be used all over the mountain, but make no mistake, it is 100% racing. Designed for aspiring U8-U14 athletes, this ski means business with progressive size-relative flex, durable cap construction and a wood core reinforced with fiberglass. The ski is designed to help junior skiers develop solid basics that will take them on to the next competitive level. It’s for going fast, very fast, much faster than little kid’s skis would allow.