Equipment – Youth Development
All athletes are responsible for their own equipment. Depending on the age of the racer, different length of skis and additional protection equipment are required.
- Helmet – Probably the most important piece of body protection equipment is the helmet. Helmets are required for all Race Team participation, but there are several USSS requirements for helmets used by the Competition Team. Hard-sided helmet preferred. Helmets must cover the head and ears. Helmets with spoilers or edges that stick out are not permitted.
- Goggles – Good quality goggles that provide a good fit with the helmet.
- Boots – Soft flexible ski boots athlete can easily flex, not race boots. Boots need to fit properly. It is important that racers have ski boots that are of the proper design and fit for racing. Ski boots should be 3 or 4 buckle boots. Ski boots should be sized so that the fit is snug. In addition to length, ski boots tend to be designed to be low, medium or high volume fit. This designation is aimed at accommodating the width and mass of the skier’s foot. Certain manufacturers have certain fit characteristics.
- Skis – Skis should be an easy flex junior ski, race skis are not necessary. If you intend to move onto the Competition Team, you should investigate a Junior race ski. These skis are specifically designed to be of the correct flex, torsion & rigidity appropriate for alpine racing. These skis will perform much better than a youth recreational ski.
- Bindings – Most ski manufacturers make their skis to be used with their own brand of bindings. Ski shops that sell race skis generally either package skis and bindings together or will recommend the appropriate binding for the ski. As with the other equipment, it is important to use junior race bindings. Not only do these bindings tend to work better with race skis, but they are typically designed to be “free flex” bindings meaning their release properties are not changed by a fully bent ski. As kids learn how to edge skis well, they will bend or arc the ski significantly. It is important that the binding’s ability to release is not impaired when this occurs.
- Poles – dependent on age. Please check with your Coach or Program Director
- Gloves – warm, high-quality gloves
- Neck/Face Warmer – as with anything that covers the mouth and nose on a cold windy day, have more than one. You’ll find it simple to replace a face warmer after lunch rather than trying to put a wet/damp one back on.
- Ski Pants – warm and waterproof. At the younger ages, bibs are more practical in keeping snow out. Many manufacturers now sell extended wear pants which allow your child to grow (extra length which is easily adjustable).
- Jackets – warm and waterproof. Many manufacturers now sell extended wear jackets that allow your child to grow (extra sleeve length which is easily adjustable).
- Socks – thin to medium thickness compression socks
- Hand and Toe Warmers – a key item on a cold day. Try to buy in bulk as you’ll go through a lot. You can use some warmers for more than one day by immediately removing the warmer at the end of the day, placing it in a ziplock bag, squeezing out the air and zip locking the bag.
- Backpack/Ski Bag – A good ski backpack or Ski Boot bag is essential to carry water, snacks, and gear during training sessions and at races. The best type of packs have padded shoulder straps and a waist strap.
- Ski Storage – Jack Frost has a free ski drop-off location just outside our race room where your child can leave their skis, get a token band, and go in during the break. Just don’t lose the token.
- Lock – Not all mountains have a ski check. It is a good idea getting your racer accustomed to locking up their equipment early in life.
Packing extra underlayers, socks, neck warmers, and gloves are a great way to ensure your racer can focus during the day. It is beneficial to mark the clothing AND SKIS with names/initials as not to confuse it with similar items.