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Kids Gear

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General
The obvious problem with kitting children out for the slopes is that they're always growing.

Don't be tempted to buy equipment too big for them to 'grow into' because it can make skiing difficult or even hurt your child.
 

Boots
Ski boots should fit like trainers - with enough room for toes to wiggle.

It's hard sometimes to get feedback from smaller children so, if you can, take the liner out of the shell to get a better idea of where their toes are.
 

Skis
Children's skis tend to be shorter, softer versions of adult skis and the new shaped skis turn more easily than traditional straight skis.

It's a good idea to choose shaped skis for kids because they don't exert too much leverage on children's legs.

They're also shorter and therefore easier to turn and manage.

Length
As with adult skis, you should take into account the child's weight, ability and aggressiveness when picking the correct ski length.

Rental shops should always consult parents about their child's ability.

Carving skis
Should come somewhere between the top of the shoulder (for light kids) and eye level (for the heavier ones).

Traditional skis
Up to 6 years old - 15cm below head height.
6 - 10 years, the ski should be around head height.

 

Clothing

Clothing manufacturers have really been working on their kids' ranges over the past few years so there's loads more available than ever before. And it's not just adult kit cut to size.

The snowboarding brands have come up trumps – names like Billabong, Bonfire, O'Neill and Quiksilver have really great ranges with bright colours and funky loud patterns for kids that are cool concious. And most jackets have been designed so they can be worn back home on the street, so parents are happy, too.

Skiwear is as big as boardwear for children. Although jackets and pants are big sellers, all-in-one suits are still going strong, especially for the younger ones. Don't laugh at them either; they must be pretty warm…

 

 
kids ski wear
Photo © Columbia Clothing
 

Poles
Kids don't tend to use them until they have at least learnt the basics.

They are distracting and get in the way on lifts.
 

Helmets
It is advisable for all children to wear a helmet.

Make sure it fits properly and that your child can still see to the sides and hear clearly.
 

Buying versus renting
For beginners and kids who ski infrequently, renting kit is the best option.

It can be stressful and busy in a rental shop, so bring along some toys to keep the young ones amused.

At peak season, choice may be limited and sizes unavailable so, if you can, rent at home.

If you do decide to buy, many ski shops offer a buy back scheme where you can trade in old equipment for new well-fitting boots or skis.

 

Bindings
They should be high quality and have a DIN setting that goes low enough (maybe down to 0.5) for your child.

Always get a technician in a good ski shop to set the bindings.