Getting a Grip: Advice from Nordic Norm

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Aug 8th, 2013
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photo credit: D.Koerber RNSC

Getting a Grip: Advice from Nordic Norm

Dear Nordic Norm,
I told my mother that I was going to write to an advice column and she said why don’t you ask him “why, when it just snowed two feet, do all 12-year-olds still insist on wearing running shoes?”. Anyway that’s not my question. What I really want to know is this: I use my fatter older brother’s old waxable skis and they are okay for length, but I still can’t get grip. Any ideas?
Signed, Bootless in Revelstoke

Dear Soggy Feet,

Well, providing you have reasonable weight shift, here is something to think about. When most people buy equipment for kids and to some extent even themselves, they are more concerned about ski length than the stiffness (camber) of the ski. I myself would rather ski on a pair of skis a bit too long for me than a pair that has too much camber. If the ski is too stiff I can’t flatten the ski when it is time to kick. This means that the wax I took so much time to apply is not in contact with the snow right under my foot, at the point when I need it the most. The result is I have no grip and I backslip. You can not ski if you have no grip and you will not have any fun either.

My advice when buying equipment is that everything should fit properly. That means poles are the right length, boots fit, and skis are both the right length and camber. If you want the skis to last two seasons for someone who is growing, then buy the correctly cambered ski for the first season. If they are soft for the second winter that’s okay; they maybe a bit slower but at least you have had grip for two years.

Now if someone is into racing and they are in their mid-teens and they look like they are headed for the BC ski team, then having a soft slow ski may not be an option. If this is the case I suggest that they make a trip to the local ski store and introduce their parents to the staff. They are going to become good friends in the near future. Remember, don’t let your parents leave home without their VISA card.

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