On October 27 -28, some of the most famous men and women in giant slalom ski racing will be on the Rettenbach Glacier for the Audi FIS World Cup ski race at Soelden. With this, the ski racing season officially begins. This means if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to get race skis for your junior ski racer.
Here’s a short video from our service manager, Randy, explaining the USSA rules and how they relate to ski selection for U12 and U14 ski racers. For the complete rules see the USSA Alpine Equipment Regulations 2017-18.
Skis for U12 ski racers
At the U12 level, a multi-event ski is no longer recommended. Your ski racer should have both a slalom and giant slalom ski. While there are no sidecut or radius rules yet, there are some common sense rules based on course setting matrices that will help dictate ski size and length for your 10 or 11 year old ski racer.
U12 SL skis
Slalom courses for U12 ski racers are typically “turny courses” with short turning radiuses. We recommend using a slalom ski with an 8 – 10m turning radius. All of the major manufacturer’s produce junior race skis with appropriate radius for U12 ski racers. The important thing is to make sure you get the correct size ski for your athlete. Generally, the appropriate length for a U12 slalom ski is a ski that falls somewhere between chin and bridge of nose height. Exact length will vary based on ability and ski manufacturer. If you have any questions, give us a call or stop in and see us for sizing help. The Fischer RC4 WC SL Jr WCP race ski is a great ski for U12 ski racers.
U12 GS skis
When looking for a giant slalom ski for your U12 racers, you also want to make sure you don’t go too big. While giant slalom courses are up to 22 meter radius, giant slalom courses for U12 skiers are typically on the lower end of that spectrum. Get your U12 skier a giant slalom ski with a 13 – 14m turning radius for racing in the east. The Nordica Dobermann GSJ works very well for U12 ski racers.
Skis for U14 ski racers
USSA equipment rules at the U14 level are still pretty minimal and they are the same for both boys and girls. At this age proper sizing is key.
U14 SL skis
The rules state that slalom skis for U14 boys and girls need to be a minimum of 130cm. Since skier height dictates ski length, this is a pretty easy rule to meet. At the U14 level there is no sidecut rule. So once again, proper sizing is everything. You want to make sure your U14 ski racer is on a slalom ski that is long enough to carry speed, but short enough to make short quick turns. The Atomic Redster S9 FIS J, that looks like the ski Mikaela Shiffrin uses, is very popular for U14 ski racers.
U14 GS skis
Rules for U14 giant slalom skis dictate a minimum ski radius of 17m and a maximum ski length of 188cm. Every major manufacturer has a ski that meets this need. The Rossignol Hero FIS GS Pro race ski is a popular ski with U14 ski racers.
A more critical component at the U14 level is to place a shim or “lifter” under the bindings for correct stand height. This will enable young ski racers to achieve better edge angles and turn the ski better. The U14 rule with relation to binding stand height is no more than 50mm. With coaching input we can set your U14 ski racer up with the proper positioning to ski their best.
U14 SG skis
At the U14 level ski racers will be introduced to Super G racing. This doesn’t mean you need to run out and buy a Super G ski for your young ski racer. You can rent a Super G ski from us that is an appropriate length. Plus, we’ll make sure it is properly prepared for your young ski racers first Super G experience.
If you want to buy a ski to use for Super G at the U14 level, buy a GS ski that meets the USSA rules for for U16 ski racing. A GS ski that is greater than a 17m radius, fits the bill. And then when they become a U16 ski racer they can use it as their GS ski too.
So, if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to get your U12 or U14 ski racer set up with their race skis for the 2017-18 season. Stop by, Give us a call or shop online.