Gear Requirements and Recommendations


 

U10

 

Ski Gear

  • Ski Boots

    • Must be properly fitted and the correct size. Buying a larger size to “grow-into” is dangerous and not beneficial to athlete development.

    • Boots should be front buckle (not rear entry) and have a performance oriented designed. Boot stiffness should support the athletes’ weight but allows them to flex and manipulate the boot. A reputable boot fitter should be able to help with this.

    • Proper fitting boots is often more important than any other piece of gear, including skis.

 

**NOTE**

If you purchase new boots and not new skis, the bindings on the athletes existing skis will need to be adjusted to the new boots BEFORE the first day of training.

  • Skis

    • U10 athletes need only one pair of skis, which should be from a junior performance line, either slalom specific or with a “combination” side-cut. Skis with an appropriate side-cut will facilitate the athlete learning to carve the ski and excel in various drills. Twin-tips and non-performance skis are not recommended. For clarification, the side-cut refers to the physical shape of the ski, and determines which size turns it will be most suited for making.

    • Ski length at this age is generally recommended to be above the chin and below the forehead.

  • Bindings

    • Bindings should be appropriately sized for the athletes’ ski boot size, physical size, and weight. Most junior skis will come with a binding appropriate for the athletes who will likely use that ski. Ideally, the bindings should be purchased such that the appropriate release value (DIN Setting), should be around the middle of the range offered by the binding (not super light nor maxed out).

    • Binding adjustment to the athletes boots and setting of the release value (DIN) should be done by a qualified technician at a reputable shop. Eddie at the Martock Ski Shop inside the lodge is a great resource in this regard. It is true that in some racing circumstances, the appropriate release setting will deviate to be greater than recommended. However, this is not applicable at the U10 age, and bindings should be set according to manufacture recommendation.

    • Binding condition should be assessed such that there is no physical damage to the binding and the mechanism works as it should. Physical damage could be something like a broken ski break. The binding may also appear to be “worn out” if there is play/slop between the moving parts that should be under spring tension.

  • Ski Poles

    • Should be sized such that when the athlete is standing in their ski gear and holding the pole out front with the pole stuck in the snow, their arm will be bent approximately 90 degrees. Slight variation from this angle is not a big deal.

    • For U7, please do not bring ski poles at the start of the season

Safety/Protective Gear

  • CSA Approved Ski Helmet

    • Any new modern alpine specific helmet should be good in this regard.

    • Bike/hockey helmets etc. are not acceptable

 

Activewear

  • Warm Jacket & Snow pants

    • Being cold is no fun and having to take frequent warm-ups with the younger age groups takes massive chunks of time out of valuable time on snow. The solution? Warm gear that will allow athletes to get the most out of their training sessions.

  • Snacks

    • Snacks in athletes jacket pocket are highly recommended, especially if athletes are known to get hungry quickly and will not likely make it till lunch. Similar to going for warm-ups, snack breaks take loads of time out of the training day, so the ability to have a quick bite on the chairlift can really help make best use of the day.


 

U12

 

Ski Gear

  • Ski Boots

    • Must be properly fitted and the correct size. Buying a larger size to “grow-into” is dangerous and not beneficial to athlete development.

    • Boots should be front buckle (not rear entry) and have a performance oriented designed. Boot stiffness should be such that it supports the athlete’s weight but allows them to flex and manipulate the boot. A reputable boot fitter should be able to help with this.

    • Proper fitting boots is often more important than any other piece of gear, including skis.

 

**NOTE***

If you purchase new boots and not new skis, the bindings on the athletes existing skis will need to be adjusted to the new boots BEFORE the first day of training.

Skis

  •  

    • U12 athletes require at least one pair of skis but may use two pair of skis depending on their stage of development and ambitions. Properly sized slalom skis are required, while having a pair of Giant Slalom skis is optional.

    • Sizing is based on age, weight, and skill level. However, slalom ski length is generally close to chin height, and GS ski length is generally close to or a bit above the forehead.

    • As a general recommendation, 2nd year U12 athletes will benefit from dedicated Slalom and GS skis, as it will allow them to develop discipline specific skills and prepare them to move to U14.

  • Bindings

    • Bindings should be appropriately sized for the athletes’ ski boot size, physical size, and weight. Most skis will come with a recommended binding appropriate for the athletes who will likely use that ski. Ideally, the bindings should be purchased such that the appropriate release value (DIN Setting), should be around the middle of the range offered by the binding (not super low nor maxed out).

    • Binding adjustment to the athletes boots and setting of the release value (DIN) should be done by a qualified technician at a reputable shop. Eddie at the Martock Ski Shop inside the lodge is a great resource in this regard. It is true that in some racing circumstances, the appropriate release setting will deviate to be greater than recommended. However, at U12 the recommended DIN setting is most likely appropriate.

    • Binding condition should be assessed such that there is no physical damage to the binding and the mechanism works as it should. Physical damage could be something like a broken ski break. The binding may also appear to be “worn out” if there is play/slop between the moving parts that should be under spring tension.

  • Ski Poles

    • Should be sized such that when the athlete is standing in their ski gear and holding the pole out front with the pole stuck in the snow, their arm will be bent approximately 90 degrees. Slight variation from this angle is not a big deal.

    • Athletes using pole guards for slalom (see below) may benefit from having a second set of ski poles for GS. However, another option is to just remove pole guards when not skiing Slalom. The relevance of removing pole guards for GS is that the pole guards will get in the way when passing GS gates and may impact the position of the athletes hands while skiing.

    • Straight poles are always used for Slalom. For GS, straight or bent poles may be used. The concept of bent poles is to allow the athlete to produce a more aerodynamic shape when in a “tuck”. However, this is more relevant for super-G and Downhill races. For U12 GS, bent poles will provide no real value to the athlete, so would be a purchase of personal preference.

Safety/Protective Gear

  • CSA Approved Hard-Ear Helmet (FIS Approved Recommended)

    • Hard-ear helmets are recommended for U12 athletes getting a new helmet, as this will be a requirement to race GS when the athlete moves to U14. However, soft-ear helmets are allowed in U12. Hard-ear refers to helmets where the main plastic helmet structure covers the ears in contrast to helmets with soft earpieces only.
    • If buying a new helmet, it is also recommended to get one with a sticker that says, “FIS Approved RH 2013”. This may save the need to buy an additional new helmet when the athlete moves to U14+
  • Shin Guards

    • Shin guards are recommended for U12 athletes. These are used to deflect the rubber “stubbie” gates and plastic “tall” gates when skiing slalom. Most U12’s will start off only shinning the soft stubbie gates but having the shin guards lets them get used to wearing them, and they are certainly required to hit the hard plastic gates on the shin.

  • Pole Guards

    • Pole guards, in combination with shin guards are used to deflect the hard plastic gates when skiing slalom. These are not a requirement for U12 starting off but may be recommended by the athletes coach when they progress to cross-blocking tall gates.

  • Chin Guard

    • Chin guards are a protective bar added to the athlete’s helmet for face/teeth protection when skiing slalom. These are highly recommended when athletes begin to cross-block gates. Most “race” helmets are compatible with the addition of a chin guard

       

      **NOTE**

      Chin bar should be removed for GS skiing, and is not required for free skiing or skiing stubbies

 

Activewear

  • Downhill Suit

    • Ski racing suits reduce air resistance, allowing athletes to travel through the race course faster. It is recommended that athletes (especially those in 2nd year U12) acquire a race suit so that they can get used to racing and training in it. In order to be competitive, these suites will be a must when the athlete moves to U14+.

    • Many race suits are available second-hand at ski swaps, which is a great place to pick one up for growing athletes!

 

Other

  • Basic Ski Tuning Kit

    • Well prepared skis will help athletes get the most out of training as they will be better able to control their skis on different conditions, and thus focus more on improvement. For U12, a basic array of tuning gear will be sufficient. Athletes are encouraged to take part in waxing their own skis but may need assistance to safely sharpen skis due to the strength required.

    • A basic tuning kit might consist of:

      • Waxing Iron

      • Universal Ski Wax

      • Plastic Wax Scraper

      • Copper bristle ski brush

      • Side Edge File Guide for Sharpening (89 or 88 Degree)

      • Ski File

 

U14+

 Below is a quick overview of requirements for each main piece of racing equipment. At this age we do not list items like warm clothing as a requirement, but hopefully that knowledge has been acquired and engrained at this point.

 

  • Skis

    • Athletes racing at U14 and older age groups arguably must have two pairs of skis. It is possible and allowed to use one pair for both disciplines at some national events. However, at this level of the sport there is little value in training and/or racing multiple disciplines on one multi-use pair of skis. As such, athletes should have at least (1) pair of Slalom skis, and (1) pair of Giant Slalom skis.

    • Minimum and Maximum length requirements do exist, and are outlined in the Alpine Canada “ACA National Rules and Policies 2021-2022” document. However, these min and max lengths are not useful in determining the appropriate ski length for a specific athlete. Most manufactures post handy racing guides to get athletes in the ball-park for selecting the correct ski for their age, size and ability. For section between remaining options, the athlete should have a discussion with their coach as to what skis will work best.

      • Min SL Length U14+ M&F: 130cm (No minimum radius)

        • *No Max

      • Max GS Length U14+ M&F: 188cm (17m minimum radius)

        • No Min

  • Boots

    • Selecting the correct boots is one of the most critical aspects of productive athlete development, as they are the transmission between the athlete and the ski. Proper fitting race boots will not fit the same as proper fitting recreational boots. In a racing boot, the boot will have less void space and fit much more snuggly. Toes will be closer to the end of the boot, but should not be curled or bunched up. There should also be no painful pressure points when the boot is properly fitted, dispute the reduction in volume.

    • Race boots are classified as race boots by all the manufactures, and are designed to provide the appropriate racing fit, while also providing options for boots with different flexes to suit different athletes. An appropriately selected race boot must be flexible enough for the athlete to flex the boot to a degree, but not so flexible that the athlete feels like they are falling forward when they apply pressure. A stiffer boot will be better for power transmission, while a softer boot will allow the skier to be smoother on the skis and adsorb terrain changes. As such, at the highest levels, athletes will have different boots for different disciplines. At this age group, we will shoot for a best of both worlds approach in selecting ski boots. Only one (1) pair of ski boots is required and recommended

  • Poles

    • It is recommended that athletes have:

      • (1) Pair of Slalom Poles (straight)

      • (1) Pair of Giant Slalom Poles (straight or bent)

    • Slalom poles must be straight as they are used to deflect gates and for strong pole plants when skiing slalom. A bent racing pole in the scenario can be used, but it will feel very weird and is not recommenced. Slalom poles should also be fitted with slalom guards, as is noted below. Slalom poles should be purchased as racing specific poles, as many recreational poles do not have the required hardness, and the aluminum will bend into a “C” shape upon making contact with slalom gates.

    • Giant Slalom poles may be pre-bent to make a more aerodynamic shape when in a tuck position. This is not overly useful in GS, as seldom will an athlete be in a tuck if they are running a smooth ski. This makes the use of straight poles just fine, and sometimes preferred for their reduced flex at the start gate. Still, it is best if athletes have a second set of poles for GS, as they will then not have to remove their pole guards and put them back on when switching between GS and SL. Athletes should not ski GS with pole guards still on their poles, as the guards can hook into gates, causing injury.

  • Helmet(s)

    • One of most regulated aspects of racing at U14+ is helmet requirements. These requirements are grouped into one set of rules for SL races, and one set of rules for GS,SG,DH races, the later of which being much more strict.

    • Regulations on helmet requirements can be found in the documents:

      • ACA National Rules and Policies 2021-2022

      • FIS Specifications for Alpine Competition Equipment 2019-2020

    • Athletes will not be permitted to start in races if their helmet is not in conformance with these rules.

       

      • SL Rules

        • The specific rule states that helmets must be to EN1077 (Class B), ASTM 2040, or higher standard. CSA approved helmets (which most ski helmets are) are suitable to meet this requirement.

        • Soft ear helmets ARE allowed for use in Slalom

        • It is recommended that helmets used for slalom be compatible with a chin-bar to protect the athletes teeth, although this is not required.

        • The same helmet may be used for SL and GS,SG,DH, provided the helmet meets the higher GS,SG,DH Standard.

      • GS,SG,DH Rules

        • Certification for GS, SG DH helmets is ski-racing specific and requires the helmet to display a certification sticker which says:

          • “Conforms to FIS Specifications RH 2013

        • Soft-ear helmets are NOT allowed in GS, SG, DH

  • Back Protector

    • Back protectors are armour/padding device that is worn on the back in GS and Super G races. It is designed to protect the athlete from impacts to the back in the event of a crash. It does not prevent twisting injuries.

    • Back protectors are not mandatory from a national rules standpoint, but may be mandatory within the rules of a given race. All Super-G races on the Atlantic circuit require the use of a back protector, and many athletes will use them for all of their GS races as-well.

    • From a perspective other than safety, back protectors help keep you warm! Win Win.

  • Shin Guards

    • Shin guards are used in slalom in conjunction with pole guards to deflect the plastic gates while skiing through them. At U14+ they are most certainly required. Athletes will have sore shins without them. If forgotten at home, magazines taped to the shins also work....sorta.

  • Pole Guards

    • Pole guards are to be fitted to slalom poles to deflect gates when cross-blocking. At U14+ they are required. It is recommended to purchase the “full height” pole guards that will protect the entire hand, and specifically the thumb.

  • Arm Guards

    • Arm guards are not required, and only occasionally recommended. These guards fit on the athletes forearms for use in deflecting gates in Giant Slalom (vs. taking them off the upper arm). There are benefits to using these guards, but it is a more advanced technique and can actually hinder an athletes skiing if theyare focused on contorting their body to use then instead of focusing on their skiing. Athletes should have a discussion with their coach if they are interested in using arm guards.

  • Race Suit

    • A race suit or “downhill suit” is required for racing and training at U14+. Suits with or without padding are suitable. However, suits without padding may necessitate the need of additional arm padding worn underneath for GS racing.

    • National level races such as are held on the Atlantic circuit do not have a specific standard for racing suits, so any race suit made for ski racing should be sufficient. Some race suits will be labeled as “FIS Approved” which would be required for racing in FIS (Federation of International Ski), but not for national level races.

  • Suit Padding or Stealth

    • Additional padding can be purchased and worn as a top/shirt to supplement or take the place of padding built into race suits. This may not be required depending on the level of padding within the suit, and the level of the athletes skiing.

 

Upcoming Events


Dec. 17, 2022 to Dec. 21, 2022

CAMP: Monte Saint Anne (U12+)
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CAMP: Amqui (U12+)
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