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Dino Haak

Professional Ski Expert

Junior Racing Skis

Featured On:

  • SkiMag
Race skis are awesome! They are fast and stable at higher speeds, generally have an amazing edge grip, even on ice, and they are very responsive. But keep in mind that race skis are for expert skiers only. Race skis are stiffer than your regular ski and need a skier with good technique because they are not as forgiving as other skis on the market. While giant slalom skis are intended for long, high-speed turns, slalom race skis are best suited for quick, short turns. Slalom race skis are generally lighter than their giant slalom counterparts and have a more pronounced side-cut. They are also shorter in length and are relatively narrow underfoot, which generally ensures reactive performance and tight, snappy turns. Good, competitive slalom skis, like the ones listed in this review require a high level of skill to use effectively and safely.

There are many people who think that buying the most expensive, fastest ski will get them or their kids to become better skiers. I have seen it over and over again: Beginner and intermediate students come to my classes sporting a top-of-the-line race ski. If the ski is better than they are, they usually have a tough time progressing, as the ski isn’t forgiving of their initially sloppy technique.

The main reason for buying a race ski for your youngster should be that he or she is racing and/or training in the gates. For any other purposes (styles and types of terrain) there are more specialized skis out there that will do a better job (e.g. all around, powder, bump, or terrain park skis). However, if junior is ready for the gates, any of the skis reviewed below will do a great job in helping him or her get to the top! The five skis in the Best of the Best section are favorites among the youth racers’ coaches I talked to throughout the making of this review.

Best Junior Racing Skis by Dino Haak

The Best You Can Get

  • Atomic SL 12 Jr.

    Dino says: The Atomic SL 12 Jr. is a highly reactive, snappy ski that’ll likely push your young racer to the top of the class. One of my junior students owns the SL 12 JR along with a twin tip park ski. He always brings both skis to the mountain, but uses the SL 12 Jr. for all things groomed. We have done a lot of work on his carving technique and he loves the quick edge-to-edge response he gets from his Atomic. Having tried the adult version of this ski, I can say that I am highly impressed. Edge grip is phenomenal and the ski holds up well even in medium and long turns with good torsional stiffness and stability.

    • Very reactive and snappy performance
    • Amazing power transmission
    • Wood core
    • Nice balanced flex
  • Fischer RC4 Worldcup SL Junior

    Dino says: The RC4 Worldcup SL is a beast. Just last winter, I had the chance to demo the adult version and this is one snappy son of a gun! I really liked how the ski handled. Turning was effortless, however one needs to stay on top of it and keep up the good technique, as forgiving it is not! Of course, it is the adult version I tested, and even though construction and features are similar to the same, I made sure to get the additional opinion of some German youth racers who use the Worldcup SL J. I just returned from Germany a week ago, and while there I had a chance to connect with a good old friend who coaches a youth racing team. He praised the Worldcup SL as one of the top slalom skis used in his team. The ski is made with a wood core construction and features a Titanal shell that makes for very good torsional stability and thus ensures fantastic edge grip, stability, and control, even at high speeds. Sandwich construction makes the ski durable and adds increased shock absorption.

    • Sandwich construction
    • Snappy
    • Superior edge grip
    • Wood core
  • Rossignol Radical RS Racing Jr.

    Dino says: Another snappy ski that offers great performances and has some snazzy looks! The Radical RS Racing features sandwich construction that has been fine tuned for racing. Rossignol uses a combination of materials that aid in making the Radical RS fast, responsive and stable. A wood-core gives the Radical RS a nice flex and makes it forgiving without losing out on snappiness. I like the slightly understated and somewhat retro styling of the Radical RS. Rossignol race skis are huge in Europe and quite a few young skiers from my “chosen” junior race team (which is about 30 strong) use the Radical RS for their weekend races.

    • Sandwich construction fine tuned for racing
    • Vertical sidewalls
    • Wood core
    • Easy to turn
    • Stable at higher speeds
  • Head Worldcup SL Team

    Dino says: I have tried the adult Head Worldcup iSL, which is similar in construction to the junior version reviewed here. Both junior and adult skis share a largely similar construction, and performance should be very similar as well. I did like what I skied! The adult version had amazing edge grip and turning was quick and easy. I also noticed that for a slalom ski, the Head Worldcup SL performed surprisingly well at higher speeds where it remained calm and under control at all times. Back to the junior version, I have heard nothing but the best about it from the youth race team. The ski is well liked and well used, and is has brought some of the young racers all the way to first and second places. The Head World Cup Junior SL is well built and incorporates the newest ski technology. One of the unique building blocks of the Head SL is its Liquid Metal Technology, which not only provides instant rebound when flexed (and thus makes for snappy performance), but also makes the ski stay lively longer as there is less breakdown in its molecular structure even after months of heavy use.

    • Liquid Metal technology
    • Racing top sheet
    • Very good edge grip
    • Very snappy
  • Nordica Doberman SLJ Plate

    Dino says: As the name implies, this ski has some bite! The Doberman SLJ Plate is a highly reactive, powerful junior racing ski that will deliver big time in the gates. The edge grip is fantastic and the ski reacts with the tip of a toe (quoting my German youth coach buddy). The Doberman is one ski he definitely recommends to all young newcomers to his race team. The ski has a wood core that allows for a smooth ride and even flex that is generally on the stiffer side with very good torsional rigidity. The design is busy, but I know that kids love that….

    • Wood core
    • Precise and reactive
    • Amazing edge grip
    • Good torsional rigidity

You will be happy with any of these

  • Völkl Racetiger SL Race Jr.

    Dino says: With its vertical sidewalls, torsion box, and wood core lay-up, the Völkl Racetiger SL Race Jr. offers superb edge grip, snappiness and stability. The ski is especially responsive with a definite snap to it. Designed for short carved race turns, this ski will also perform well in medium to long turns and even shine at higher speeds. The Racetiger is not the most forgiving ski; it is of harder construction and on the stiffer side when compared to other skis in this category. It needs to be mastered, but once you have the technique down you’ll be rewarded with a fast, snappy, and reactive winner that has some of the best edge grip you’ll find in a slalom race ski. The Racetiger SL definitely looks like a race ski and there is a sense of motion and speed incorporated into the design.

    • Vertical sidewalls
    • Wood core
    • Snappy and reactive
    • Fantastic edge grip
  • Dynastar Team Omeglass

    Dino says: The Dynastar Omeglass is as interesting a ski as it can be used as a slalom as well as giant slalom race ski. At its top length of 150 centimeters, eleven-, twelve-, and thirteen-year-old slalom racers will benefit from its quick short-turn response in the gates while younger (and shorter) skiers can use the Omeglass as a longer giant slalom ski that delivers amazing edge grip and stability in fast long turns. This ski rocks, I am told, and rewards with quick turn initiation and precise turn control. It is also a fantastic ski for general skiing on the groomed slopes and, due to its wider cut, will also hold up nicely in off-piste and in the crud and powder. The blue and white design rocks also!

    • Wood core
    • Precise
    • Great edge grip
    • Both slalom and giant slalom capabilities
    • Wider cut brings more versatility
  • Elan RCS Race

    Dino says: My good buddy in Germany works for Elan and he believes that the RCS Race is the best youth SL race ski out there. Of course he says that, because he works for Elan! But I do believe him when he says that the RCS Race has a top notch and cutting edge construction, amazing edge grip, and feels especially stable and responsive. Personally, I have never skied on an Elan, but in "my" German youth race team, the ski is well liked. It may not be as popular as some of the other brands as only about four of the young racers own this Elan, but it actually seems to have an air of exclusivity about it. One of the top racers in this team confirms that the edge grip is over the top and the ski is “snappy as hell.” The laminate construction and wood-core ensures good rebound, stability, and torsional stiffness. Personally, I particularly like the green finish!

    • Laminate wood core
    • Vertical racing sidewalls
    • Very good edge grip
    • Responsive and snappy
  • Atomic Race 10 Jr.

    Dino says: This is a nice, versatile race ski that allows for precise turns, and in Atomic tradition, offers amazing edge grip. It is designed for the younger racer, and is perhaps a step less aggressive, a little more forgiving and slightly softer than Atomic’s junior slalom flagship, the SL 12.1. This is still a very fast ski though, and designed for the expert junior racer. It is very reactive and stable at higher speeds and is also a great ski for use on groomed slopes.

    • Very good edge grip
    • Great for the gates as well as on slope
    • Reactive and easy to turn
    • Stable
  • The Blizzard SL Magnesium Jr.

    Dino says: Built as a smaller copy of the adult’s version and featuring the same design and World Cup sandwich construction, the Blizzard SL Magnesium Jr. is a snappy reactive ski that has been highly recommended to me by some young racers and one experienced coach. I had the opportunity to try out the adult version and have to agree, this is a nice racing ski that does what it is told to do. It rewards with very good edge grip, snappy performance, and stability at higher speeds. I can very much recommend this one as a junior racing ski one can’t go wrong with. I also like the simple, somewhat understated three-color design that exudes quality and gives the ski an exclusive if not expensive look.

    • Great rebound
    • Very good edge grip
    • Nice looking design
    • Light

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