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D-Team Ski Recos For 15 y.o. Non-Racer

Lane Myer

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Hi all. I just signed my 15 y.o. son up for a local D-team ski racing program here in western WI. We do our skiing out west and he is a strong skier, but he's never raced. We thought the D-team would be a good way to learn how to carve and have some fun in-between family ski trips, but he's not looking to become a ski racer....just a more technically proficient skier. I bought him some Nordica Unleashed 98s to use out west this year, but I'm thinking he'll need something narrower to get the most out of the program in terms of learning, but not worried about race results. I was hoping some of you fine folks could offer up some brand/model recommendations that I can keep in mind while perusing swaps and online demos deals. He is 5'10" and ~135lbs and I'd say an advanced resort skier with strong soccer legs. Based on the little research I've done so far I'm assuming a slalom ski with short turn radius would be best given the very small hills in WI/MN he'll be training/racing on, but beyond that all the race ski model names and acronyms are greek to me. Tried calling the program, but not having much luck yet so figured I'd ask here. Thanks for any advice you might have!
 

Philpug

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Hi all. I just signed my 15 y.o. son up for a local D-team ski racing program here in western WI. We do our skiing out west and he is a strong skier, but he's never raced. We thought the D-team would be a good way to learn how to carve and have some fun in-between family ski trips, but he's not looking to become a ski racer....just a more technically proficient skier. I bought him some Nordica Unleashed 98s to use out west this year, but I'm thinking he'll need something narrower to get the most out of the program in terms of learning, but not worried about race results. I was hoping some of you fine folks could offer up some brand/model recommendations that I can keep in mind while perusing swaps and online demos deals. He is 5'10" and ~135lbs and I'd say an advanced resort skier with strong soccer legs. Based on the little research I've done so far I'm assuming a slalom ski with short turn radius would be best given the very small hills in WI/MN he'll be training/racing on, but beyond that all the race ski model names and acronyms are greek to me. Tried calling the program, but not having much luck yet so figured I'd ask here. Thanks for any advice you might have!
135lb? 157 SL.
 
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Lane Myer

Lane Myer

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Or something like a Head supershapes or rec carver w 14-16m radius.

welcome to the white circus!
Thanks and yeah I wondered if a resort carver with short turn radius would be sufficient and maybe more versatile if the snow conditions aren’t great on our trips.
 

Philpug

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There are a lot of regulars here who ski a 157 SL as pretty much a daily driver.
@mdf
@KingGrump
Prince Grump
and I am sure a few more.
 

tromano

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Devo team, my experience was absolutely no need for a race ski or even race adjacent. Most kids in the D-team at snowbasin were on seasonal rentals. The Devos start exclusively on groomed terrain, but by the time they are solid advanced (which it sounds like your kid is) they are skiing all over the mountain bumps, freeride terrain, park, everything on rental skis. So if the program is anything like that, would recommend something that your kid can ski all over your home ski on literally every square foot of your home area in any / all conditions.
 
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4ster

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I would do my best to wait & speak with his coach or at least the program director. If that’s not possible…
Or something like a Head supershapes or rec carver w 14-16m radius.
If this is a “race” development program a combi or cheater GS ski is what is often recommended for pre-teens & wouldn’t be a bad choice for any age.
At 15 you may think he is late to the party to be a racer (I’m not thinking World Cup) but you never know. An athletic soccer player at 15 could pick it up quickly & the competitive bug has a way of getting under your skin. Even if he never goes to an actual race, skiing gates in itself can become addictive.
Personally I think every developing skier should have a SL ski in their quiver.
 
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Lane Myer

Lane Myer

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I would do my best to wait & speak with his coach or at least the program director. If that’s not possible…

If this is a “race” development program a combi or cheater GS ski is what is often recommended for pre-teens & wouldn’t be a bad choice for any age.
At 15 you may think he is late to the party to be a racer (I’m not thinking World Cup) but you never know. An athletic soccer player at 15 could pick it up quickly & the competitive bug has a way of getting under your skin. Even if he never goes to an actual race, skiing gates in itself can become addictive.
Personally I think every developing skier should have a SL ski in their quiver.
It is indeed a race focused dev program and they will be doing four races at different area hills during the 10 week deal. He is very motivated to get better as a skier, but skiing for him is a non-competitive joyous release from the competitive pressures of soccer. Although I agree with you, we’ll see how long that lasts!
 

mdf

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There are a lot of regulars here who ski a 157 SL as pretty much a daily driver.
@mdf
@KingGrump
Prince Grump
and I am sure a few more.
Well in fairness they talked me into it....:ogcool:

I'm 5'10", about 205 lbs (this year, sigh...) and I'm on the 157 Atomic slaloms a lot. I even skied them on a powder day last May at Mammoth. (I do sometimes ski my Nav 85's, too. My wider skis don't get much love.)
 
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Lane Myer

Lane Myer

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Well in fairness they talked me into it....:ogcool:

I'm 5'10", about 205 lbs (this year, sigh...) and I'm on the 157 Atomic slaloms a lot. I even skied them on a powder day last May at Mammoth. (I do sometimes ski my Nav 85's, too. My wider skis don't get much love.)
Fellow Nav 85 skier, which my son likes to refer to as "dad skis" as in dad bod, dad socks, dad shoes, etc. I really like them though. I let him demo some QST 98s at Alta last season and the grin on his face was ear to ear. I doubt he'll let those wider skis go, but who knows once he actually learns how to carve. Thanks for all the great advice everyone, really appreciate it. I'll give the program another try this week to see what they say, but leaning towards an SL option for him. Looking at past season race results, it looks like they do run SL and GS courses, but can't imagine there's much difference besides gate spacing on MN/WI hills with 200-300 vertical feet.
 

nnowak

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Our daughter did D-Team in MN when she was younger. While there is some GS, SL is a much greater emphasis. Skip the GS skis fo now, but your son will likely need more than just SL skis. For both disciplines, course sets tend to be tight and turny to keep speeds down. Height does not matter anywhere near as much as weight.

For skis - FIS SL in 155cm, 156cm, 157cm, or 158cm. Length will depend on manufacturer, and any of them will work. These will all be a women's FIS ski and should have a small FIS logo or some verbiage about being FIS approved somewhere on the ski.

For boots - a flex index of 90 should be about right. Blue RS Langes are the defacto standard around here, but other comparable.boots will work. You definitely don't want to be on a soft, sloppy fitting recreational boot.

Ancillary - SL pole guards and a helmet with a removable chin guard. As your son is just starting out, shin guards likely won't be needed, but he may want them anyway just to fit in.

You should be able to find all of this gear on the used market. 5 year old boots and skis are totally fine as long as there are still in decent condition.

One last thing... you will want to tune the skis frequently to maintain a sharp edge. Wax is less important, but a basic blue/cold wax typically works for most of the season.
 
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Lane Myer

Lane Myer

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Our daughter did D-Team in MN when she was younger. While there is some GS, SL is a much greater emphasis. Skip the GS skis fo now, but your son will likely need more than just SL skis. For both disciplines, course sets tend to be tight and turny to keep speeds down. Height does not matter anywhere near as much as weight.

For skis - FIS SL in 155cm, 156cm, 157cm, or 158cm. Length will depend on manufacturer, and any of them will work. These will all be a women's FIS ski and should have a small FIS logo or some verbiage about being FIS approved somewhere on the ski.

For boots - a flex index of 90 should be about right. Blue RS Langes are the defacto standard around here, but other comparable.boots will work. You definitely don't want to be on a soft, sloppy fitting recreational boot.

Ancillary - SL pole guards and a helmet with a removable chin guard. As your son is just starting out, shin guards likely won't be needed, but he may want them anyway just to fit in.

You should be able to find all of this gear on the used market. 5 year old boots and skis are totally fine as long as there are still in decent condition.

One last thing... you will want to tune the skis frequently to maintain a sharp edge. Wax is less important, but a basic blue/cold wax typically works for most of the season.
awesome thanks so much for the advice. got him fitted for new boots at hoigaards this fall and he ended up in a 100 flex so we should be good there at least. i love shopping for ski gear so this opens up a whole new educational/retail front for me. although glad to hear 5-year old skis are ok because apparently FIS stands for fork it over son...
 
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Lane Myer

Lane Myer

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UPDATE: found some used 2019 dynastar wc fis sl 157s locally so pulled the trigger on those. Took them to the shop for a tune and to get bindings adjusted. Pulled out the new Salomon alpha pro 100s I just bought my son for trips west and got an education from the friendly ski tech on how grip walk soles aren’t compatible with race bindings. Doh! He wasn’t a Salomon dealer but thought I might be able to swap out the sole vs buying new race boots? Really don’t feel like buying another pair of boots so I guess option 2 would be returning the Salomons and buying a race boot for d-team and trips. Any recos?
 

nnowak

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UPDATE: found some used 2019 dynastar wc fis sl 157s locally so pulled the trigger on those. Took them to the shop for a tune and to get bindings adjusted. Pulled out the new Salomon alpha pro 100s I just bought my son for trips west and got an education from the friendly ski tech on how grip walk soles aren’t compatible with race bindings. Doh! He wasn’t a Salomon dealer but thought I might be able to swap out the sole vs buying new race boots? Really don’t feel like buying another pair of boots so I guess option 2 would be returning the Salomons and buying a race boot for d-team and trips. Any recos?
Those skis will be perfect, but yeah, those boots are a problem. There actually are some lower level race bindings that will work with gripwalk boots, but for what the new bindings would cost, you could just pick up a used pair of blue Lange RS's.
 

pchewn

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It is very easy to remove the GW soles and screw on the Alpine soles to those ski boots. Then they will fit "All" bindings.....

Any shop selling new ski boots with GW soles needs to educate the buyers about binding/sole compatibility and offer to upgrade to the Alpine soles.
 
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Lane Myer

Lane Myer

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Those skis will be perfect, but yeah, those boots are a problem. There actually are some lower level race bindings that will work with gripwalk boots, but for what the new bindings would cost, you could just pick up a used pair of blue Lange RS's.
well at least i got the skis right...
 
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Lane Myer

Lane Myer

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It is very easy to remove the GW soles and screw on the Alpine soles to those ski boots. Then they will fit "All" bindings.....

Any shop selling new ski boots with GW soles needs to educate the buyers about binding/sole compatibility and offer to upgrade to the Alpine soles.
thanks for confirming the alpine sole conversion is an option. in all fairness to the shop that sold me the boots i did bring in a different pair of skis that had GW compatible bindings that i wanted those boots fit to before this whole race thing came up, so they probably didn't think i needed the alpine option.
 

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