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Get your child into skiing: equipment and tips for fun, unforgettable times

Winter is fast approaching and this year you’ve decided to initiate your child in the art of downhill skiing! Boots, skis, bindings and helmet: choosing equipment and accessories for kids must be done with care so as not to compromise on safety, while also guaranteeing hours of exhilarating fun for the entire family.

Get the right gear

Ski boots

For beginners, a flexible boot is a smart choice as it allows for greater maneuverability. The boots’ stiffness can be increased gradually as your child grows and gets more experience.

Tip: You can’t count on shoe size when buying ski boots. To choose the right size, take out the liner of the insert. The sole must not extend past the end of the foot by 1 or 1.5 centimetres.

Choosing the skis

It’s easier for a beginning skier to master shorter skis, which are more maneuverable. They also take less effort, which means your child will have fun sooner and appreciate the sport more.

Tip: To choose the right sized skis, stand up a ski beside your future skier and check that it goes up to the chin. With time and their increasing skill, the skis can reach up to eye level.

Traditional or system bindings

Traditional bindings are screwed into the skis, meaning you have to put holes in the skis to attach them. They are often less expensive, but when the time comes to change boot size, both the skis and bindings need to be replaced. Rarely requested by customers, traditional bindings are not often offered in store.

System bindings are attached to the skis by rails and can vary in size up to a certain point. As your little one puts on the inches, there’s no need to change skis.

Helmet

To find the right helmet and goggle size, have your child try some on and choose the most comfortable. You can also calculate the head’s circumference and compare it with the indications on the helmet box if you’d like additional confirmation. The important thing is to choose the helmet first then make sure the goggles are well adjusted with the face and nose.

Other accessories

Once you’ve got the core equipment, make sure your child’s clothing is slope-ready. You should buy a skisuit and gloves or mittens specifically for skiing. As for poles, they can wait, because kids usually start without them.

Very important: your child must not wear two pairs of gloves, as this creates friction and doesn’t allow humidity to escape. Choose socks made specifically for skiing and snowboarding: in synthetic fibre, and going up to the knees. Always avoid cotton socks.

JUNIOR EQUIPMENT

Starting off on the right foot

Test out their interest

The Quebec Ski Hill Association (L’ASSQ) has put together a free program so that children can give skiing or snowboarding a try with qualified instructors to start them off. This way, you can find out if it’s their thing at no charge and with no commitment. Your rookie athlete can get the hang of the snowy slopes, carry out their first turns and discover the wonderful sensation of skiing. For the parents, “Expérience maneige” is a great opportunity to get a feel for your child’s interest in skiing or snowboarding. To find out the “Expérience maneige” locations near you, visit maneige.ski.

Start off slowly

The beginner’s first few slopes should ideally take place within the framework of a class, accompanied by a certified instructor who is trained in introducing kids to the sport. This is the key to starting off on the right foot. These instructors are there to make sure the kids have a positive experience. Go ahead and call the ski hill: the employees can suggest the best course for your little snowball’s age and the type of training you prefer.

Fun comes first!

Get there 45 to 60 minutes before the course starts to leave time for them to get used to the location. Stay positive and show them others who are learning to ski. Don’t hesitate to tell them that the goal for the moment is to have fun above all: fun is the biggest part of appreciating the sport.

The Sports Experts junior alpine ski exchange program

Offered at several Sports Experts stores, the Junior Alpine Ski Exchange Program offers used ski articles at low prices, perfect for fast-growing children. And if you choose to buy the equipment new, you can then sell it back to Sports Experts at the start of the following season for 50% of the initial price you paid. Starting the second year of your participation in the program, the purchase of new equipment will cost the same price or less than long-term rental!

Get ready for the first gorgeous winter day to hit the slopes as a family. Remember that having fun is essential so that your children feel like working at improving, which is the key to experiencing even more thrills. Once the season is over, they’ll look forward to hitting the slopes the next year!

Have a great season!