Tag Archives: kids ski gear

Kid’s Ski Gear Programs: The most Bang for your Buck

Heart and Cross Ski's
Creative Commons License photo credit: CraigMoulding

Our local ski shop, Rogue Ski shop, has a great way of getting families into skiing painlessly, both financially and effortlessly.

I’m not sure if this system is a common occurrence in other parts of the country, but if you’re lucky enough to be somewhere where there’s a similar program, it’s definitely worth doing.

Here’s how it works. Basically, it’s a ski exchange. When kids reach an age, or more exactly a height and weight, they are eligible to join the Rogue ski shop junior ski exchange.

It’s simple to get started and doesn’t cost much when you look at everything you get. For around 300 bucks per kid you get three years of ski gear. I’ll walk you through it.

When my oldest was 8 we enrolled him in the ski exchange program. He had been skiing since he was 4 so he was a decent skier, a perfect candidate for the exchange. The ski technicians measured and weighed him then found ski gear( boots, skis and ski poles) that fit him perfectly.

That first year he was given a pair of used skis and bindings that had been turned in by a young skier the previous year. Since there weren’t any good ski boot matches, he was given a brand new pair of boots. This gear isn’t chincy or cheap either, good stuff like Rosignol and Volkl.

Once he was outfitted the ski techs adjusted the ski bindings to the boots and adjusted the settings that were appropriate to his height, weight and ablility, they even tuned the skis. All I had to do was show up and take the gear home.

It was ours to use for the rest of the season. If anything went wrong with the gear (it never did) we were assured that it would be replaced or repaired at no charge.

The next year we got a call from the shop in early November asking us to bring in the gear to be evaluated and exchanged out for more appropriate lengths and sizes.

Since my son had grown so much over the year, we exchanged our gear and got a second set of  boots, skis and poles. Even though the gear had been used, it had only been used a couple of times, it was still in pristine shape.

The following year, same thing, only this was the final year of the three-year program. This third set of gear was a little different.

This gear we’d get to keep. We wouldn’t turn it back into the exchange program. this year all the gear is brand new. It’s all top of the line, name brand ski gear.

The techs made sure to get us dialed with gear that we’d hopefully get more than one season out of. For instance, they put my son into a more aggressive ski, knowing that as he gets better he’ll want the more aggressive style. they also tried to size the skis and boots big to give us some growing room.

My oldest is done with the program now. For that 3oo dollars, I got 3 different sets of ski gear, the third set we keep. If I had to buy new skis, boots and poles every year, it would have cost a lot more.

It was also a relief to rely on the experts to outfit my son with the perfect gear, set to the perfect settings. There was no guess-work and no fuss.

My youngest son is in the ski exchange now and  were just as pleased with the results.

Kid’s Ski Gear: 7 Tips to Dress for Success

It’s been a cold Winter. We haven’t skied in temperatures above 25 degrees, but we are able to take our kids into these cold conditions and have great ski days because we have the proper ski clothing and gear. As my wife likes to say, “There’s no bad weather, just bad gear.”

well dressed skiers
Creative Commons License photo credit: cproppe

Here are some gear suggestions for keeping your kids warm while you ski.

1. Good Long Underwear. It’s not easy to find good long underwear in kids sizes. We have the best luck at local ski shops, but to save some money shop online at places like Sierra Trading Post.

Be sure to look for both shirts and pants that are moisture wicking and breathable. You don’t want real bulky stuff, we usually opt for the mid-weight long underwear.

Kids grow fast, so buy the biggest size you can, but be careful, you want the underwear to be snug. It doesn’t do much good if it fits too loosely.

2. Insulated pants with boot skirt. When you’re shopping for kids’ ski gear, pick ski pants that are lined with some sort of insulation. This won’t be hard to find as most are lined but make sure you’re not picking up just a shell.

Be sure the bottom of the pants have an inner snow skirt. This skirt fits around their ski boot once the boots are buckled. This is essential for keeping the pant from riding up and allowing snow to enter the top of the boot.

If you don’t have a snow skirt the boots will eventually get wet from melting snow and your ski day will end due to cold miserable children.

3. Gloves or Mittens. This is always a tough debate: which is better, gloves or mittens? Mittens are warmer but we use gloves because the kids like to have the use of their fingers when they ski. Mittens are just too restrictive.

In order to make the gloves warmer we always bring along hand warmers. These handy little bags get warm when you shake them. They last all  day if you shake them occasionally. We put them into the palm of the gloves and the kids never get cold hands. They’re cheap and are worth the minor expense.

4. Ski Socks. Buy ski specific socks. They’re more expensive but they’re designed to fit snugly and keep from bunching up in the ski boot. This is very important to make the kids as comfortable as possible. They come in varying thicknesses, we opt for the mid-weight, and as long as were actively skiing and not sitting around, the kid’s feet stay warm.

5. Ski Coat. Believe it or not we don’t get too fancy with the ski coat. You don’t need waterproof or any kind of expensive tech gear. If it’s raining, we aint skiing!

Purchase coats that can also be used for everyday. Really we only look for two things in a coat: warmth and length.

The coat should be insulated, warm and have an outer shell. You don’t want a cotton coat. We want the coat somewhat long, (about halfway down the butt) because the length helps keep snow out of the pants when the little skiers fall.

6. Helmet and Goggles. Yes, you need to purchase a helmet for your child. They can be expensive but you can usually find decent used ones at pre-year ski swaps. Just be sure there aren’t any cracks or fading. Kids grow fast so finding a helmet that’s only been used for a season is pretty easy.

Goggles should be ski goggles. They should fit around the helmet, and be big enough not to be squinching the kid’s eyes. Spend some time fitting the goggles to your child. There’s nothing worse than ill-fitting goggles. Be sure they don’t squish the nose, or encroach on the eye (the 2 most common complaints).

7. Skis and Boots. Go to a ski shop and have a professional fit your kids with skis and boots. You can try to find used gear, but unless you know what you’re doing it’s tough to fit the kids’ properly. If you do it wrong it’ll make for a miserable trip and season. Spend the money and get it done correctly.

Some ski shops have ski swap programs that allow you to purchase gear, (skis and boots) for a one time fee, but then you’re signed up for 3 years. In other words you pay once and get ski gear for 3 years.

At the beginning of each year you return the old stuff, and get new stuff. The third year you keep the gear forever. This helps keep it simple when your kids are growing so fast.