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Fitting skis and boots for teens

SnowSeeker

Angel Diva
After years of easy gear fittings for my kids, I have found myself wondering what to do about my fast-growing teen boy and I hope some other moms have advice. I have a tall, very skinny 13 year old (currently 5’8 and barely 110lbs with men’s 9.5 feet). He is a wisp of a kid who is just starting to hit his big growth spurt. He has skied since he was a toddler and he has good technical skills, but he isn’t very aggressive. We ski every Sat/Sun in winter (in the northeast) plus ski breaks out west, so good fit and quality are essential. Men’s skis and boots seem too heavy and aggressive for his toothpick legs. He is now too big for kids size gear (no more kids price season leases!) Would women’s skis and boots be an option? Any thoughts on lighter weight gear for a very wispy, tall boy? Thanks for any and all advice
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Do you have a local boot fitter? Or one near a resort you go to semi-regularly?

As for skis, certainly fine to get skis designed for women who are in the same height/weight range. I know of lightweight adult men who talk about using women's skis. Choosing length based more on his weight, with a little room for changing over the winter, may make more sense than height Maybe nose height?

Are you considering a season lease or trying to buy?
 

SnowSeeker

Angel Diva
Good to know that it’s not crazy for a man/boy to use a woman’s ski.

I have used Bootworks in VT for myself, but it’s 2 hours away from our house. So, I usually go to our local shop for the kids (they are pretty good at fitting kids). We usually do a season lease for our kids, but our shop’s program only goes up to 157 cm and my son’s foot is beyond the kids sizes. Our shop also has adult leases, which I’m going to check out this week. However, last year, the guy fitting my son felt that men’s boots were too heavy for my son (so we squeezed him into the largest kid size boot with some adjustments, which worked well). Sadly, that’s not going to be an option this year with his bigger feet. I assume we are looking at a purchase, which is a bummer because he will outgrow it this year. I’m hopeful we can get a full season out of the same boots, but that may be tough.

Last year, our local shop warned me it would be tricky to fit my son in the next few years because of his height/weight differential. I agree that nose height is probably best, though I think the skis will be pretty short come spring skiing. But, I would rather make it easier for him to turn vs longevity of the ski because having a rapidly changing body size makes weight distribution and balance a little wonky. Both of my kids do a race development program (non competitive) so we went for slightly shorter all mountain skis last year anyway to make them more multi purpose.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
My friend who had two kids who grew like weeds stuck with rentals until it was clear at least their feet had stopped growing. While season lease boots aren't the best, does your shop carry a few different models for adult sizes?

My niece used tried on 2-3 different rental boots before picking the least uncomfortable fit. She would join us at Massanutten for a couple days during Christmas week when she was a tween/teen. That was the only time she skied. She's petite so the issue was ballet dancer calves.
 

SnowSeeker

Angel Diva
I learned to ski at Massanutten in the dark ages 40+ years ago! Our shop does carry a good selection of boots for the season lease and they are much higher quality than what you would get for an average rental bc most kids where we live participate in some sort of ski program. I assume the adult leases have even more options than the kids and we will have to try them all and hope there is a lightweight option. Or, I’ll try various ski shops because each one carries different gear for lease. It’s hard for me to fathom spending several hundred dollars buying new/nearly new gear for a 13 year old who will outgrow it by the end of the season. I’m wondering if a woman’s boot (unless a lower volume men’s boot exists) may work. It’s the skinny calves that may be an issue. As I researched this online, I noticed that it’s a gap in the ski/boot market for teens, particularly boys, unless you are looking at racing gear. Thanks for your suggestions on this!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
particularly boys, unless you are looking at racing gear.
There is actually a decent market for used racing boots because the tweens and teens outgrow the boots so quickly. I got a pair of very lightly used racing boots from a family who tried to get ahead of the curve. They bought two pairs of the same model at the same time, one a size larger to be prepared. But their son had such a growth spurt he only wore that size a few times before it was too small. I bought the boots for my friend's son for $75. He's not a racer and skis only a couple weekends, but was happy to have his own boots instead of having to deal with renting. Do you know anyone involved with the local ski team?

I learned to ski at Massanutten in the dark ages 40+ years ago!
Small world! If you haven't been back in 10 years or more, you might be surprised. Mnut has spent millions improving the lifts, snowmaking, and the base buildings after the indoor/outdoor water park was finished. My daughter lucked out and got to benefit from both since we started skiing there just after the water park opened. The ski school is great. She and my friend's kids were ready for Alta blue groomers by age 7 or 8 for spring break trips. Bonus was that my friend learned to ski too.
 

WaterGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@SnowSeeker seems like you have some good options - I would not count out race boots if they fit and could be softened if necessary.
My only advice is we "thought" that DD would grow as well during during her tween/teen years and one season she switched out of a Jr. Race boot into an adult boot of the same size, but her foot never grew. She then downsized after the adult boot packed out. I would look at the size of the parents feet to estimate if his feet will be growing much more -- DH and I both have small feet. Should have realized that DD's feet were done growing in her tweens
 

SnowSeeker

Angel Diva
Thanks for the great advice. It never occurred to me to look at racing boots. We have a big race program and our hill is having their swap this weekend. One local ski shop also has a used section with racing gear. I discounted race boots because of stiffness, but I’ll give it another look today because a teen size race boot would be better than a men’s boot, IMO. I’m pretty sure my son’s feet are just starting to grow rapidly. We are a very tall family with big feet. I believe he will be over 6ft with monster size shoes before he turns 14 next summer!
 

SnowSeeker

Angel Diva
Small world! If you haven't been back in 10 years or more, you might be surprised. Mnut has spent millions improving the lifts, snowmaking, and the base buildings after the indoor/outdoor water park was finished. My daughter lucked out and got to benefit from both since we started skiing there just after the water park opened. The ski school is great. She and my friend's kids were ready for Alta blue groomers by age 7 or 8 for spring break trips. Bonus was that my friend learned to ski too.

I haven’t been back since the mid 1990s when I moved away from the area (I grew up in VA). I bet I wouldn’t recognize it at all! My husband and I skied together for the first time at Massanutten in the 90s and it’s one of our funniest memories. He had no idea what he was doing on skis, but I have skied since I was a toddler. It was almost a deal breaker. I married him anyway and promptly put him in lessons!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I haven’t been back since the mid 1990s when I moved away from the area (I grew up in VA). I bet I wouldn’t recognize it at all! My husband and I skied together for the first time at Massanutten in the 90s and it’s one of our funniest memories. He had no idea what he was doing on skis, but I have skied since I was a toddler. It was almost a deal breaker. I married him anyway and promptly put him in lessons!
Lucky you!

I talked about skiing when dating my husband. He'd been on skis in college with friends in the midwest. But after seeing him on skis for the first time during a ski trip to Heavenly his brother (with 2 tweens then) set up, I knew skiing wasn't for him. Just too inherently scared at sliding even though he was athletic. He simply has to tolerate my winter travels.

Oddly enoughly, you'd recognize the Massanutten base lodge. They haven't changed the exterior at all. Renovated in the interior and expanded to deck to house an umbrella bar. Built a separate new 2-story building for ski school a few years ago. The trails are pretty much the same. Only widened Diamond Jim a bit to allow race training and public skiing at the same time.

Here's a trip report from 2014 when I was going to Massanutten with a friend and her two kids in elementary school. Her son was already an advanced skier by then as a tween even only skiing 6-7 days a season (2 holiday weekends), partially because he'd played ice hockey. Turned out to love bumps after an instructor showed him what to do. They started doing spring breaks at Alta Lodge a few years ago and he could ski anything there with my ski buddy, Bill, last April. They even did High Rustler. Massanutten ski school rocks!

https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?threads/tr-massanutten-february-2014.17733/
 

mustski

Angel Diva
Teen boys are tough and ski boots are the tough issue for sure. My son's feet grew 2 sizes during his 8th grade year and our ski season! For the next pair, I bought a recreational fit. I understand the issues with that but since he was not involved with a race development team, I chose "room to grow." We also chose to purchase at ski swaps during this time. His feet stopped growing after 10th grade and then we were able to purchase some high end, properly fitted ski boots.
 

diymom

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
So looking for a 26.5?

Depending on his feet, of course, maybe a Full Tilt? You can swap out the tongue for a softer flex.

There are more jr. skis coming out in longer lengths to fill the gap between jr and adult skis for teens. Some (Volkl Deacon) have a foam core, many have a wood core similar to the adult versions but no metal ( I believe Faction Candide 0.5 and Prodigy jr, , Volkl Mantra jr, Liberty Helix jr, Armada Arv 84 jr and Blizzard Cochise team all fall into this category).
 

SnowSeeker

Angel Diva
Thanks everyone for the great advice. We just nailed it down at our local shop. It took two+ hours and a lot of trying on. We found a pair of used tween Völkl skis which are a hair under nose height at 160. They should work well for a lightweight kid. We bought a new, past season softer flexing men’s boot which the shop will pad in the tongue. We didn’t find anything that fit well in the used boots and we didn’t find any used racing boots. The women’s boots he tried were way too low volume in the foot, but great in the calf. Ugh!

My son is a pain to fit boots on a good day because of the shape of his foot, so I think we made out ok given the circumstances. I’m hopeful this will work out ok for this season and we will trade it in next fall and go through this all over again. I foresee a few years of painful ski gear fitting before we get out of this phase.

Thankfully, my younger daughter’s gear from last year still fit so we didn’t need to do much other than adjusting the din.

Good luck to any of you dealing with teen skiers. Now I have to find slim fit ski pants to fit a boy with supermodel height and weight proportions!
 

SnowSeeker

Angel Diva
Teen boys are tough and ski boots are the tough issue for sure. My son's feet grew 2 sizes during his 8th grade year and our ski season! For the next pair, I bought a recreational fit. I understand the issues with that but since he was not involved with a race development team, I chose "room to grow." We also chose to purchase at ski swaps during this time. His feet stopped growing after 10th grade and then we were able to purchase some high end, properly fitted ski boots.

I’m hopeful 10th grade will be the turning point for us with gear! We also went with recreational boots for the softer flex and better fit. There isn’t much room to grow, but I think they will pack out a bit and give him the space he needs - I’m crossing my fingers they last the whole season. Our race development program is really just skill building for my son, so I’m not too concerned with a performance fit for him. He does not have a need for speed...he is more likely to become ski patrol!
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
bumping…
similar question, slightly different parameters. Looking for advice.

Kid 1 is 13, already 5‘7”, likely to grow 6” in the next 8-12 months, but feet are in a 28.5 boot this year - dad‘s foot is in a 30.5. Strong skier, foot is so big, his seasonal rentals have to come from the adult department, which means that the skis are HEAVY and banged up. He’s interested in exploring park features, so I want him to have equipment that works for that safely.

Kid 2 is 10, at least 3 more years on kid skis size wise, but chance that her foot will outgrow kid bindings, a beanpole with a big foot. Her seasonal rental kids’ boot shell is the same size as mine. Cautious skier but athletic overall.

Together, an annual rental costs us ~$425/year (his is more, because adult pricing).

For her, I could get Atomic kids’ skis for $250. For him, a little more for skis, but I’m thinking of mounting them with demo bindings and then we’ll always just have a pair of 165-170 skis if he needs longer.

What am I getting wrong? Where is my thinking broken?
 

SarahXC

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I have been happy buying skis for my kids. There aren’t really any good seasonal rentals here so I guess that’s good. I’m not sure shops really have jigs to mount demo bindings. I’d say if you’d like the boot size flexibility there are some of the Solomon bindings that have an extended track or just go to powder 7 and buy demos or ski essentials has demos up for sale now also.
 

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