First let me welcome you to the Northern Vermont Council.
J5/6 ski racing is a lot of fun.  It is time consuming, but
it is worth it.   Even if your kid doesn't become a great racer,
she will acquire skills that will stay with her for the rest of her life.
The MRG Race Club is a great program.  There are a lot of great families
in it.  You will get to meet a lot of nice people through the races.

I have to disagree with the other posts.   You do want a jr race ski.
You want a dual event ski.   Most of them are now quite wide in
the tip.   This helps with initiating the turn.   Little kids skis have
changed quite a bit recently.   3 - 4 years ago Dynastar had the best
kids race skis.  Since then the other manufacturers have caught up to them
and many have passed them.   Back when the K2 Merlin was out, there weren't
any real shaped kids race skis.   Those days are long gone.   

A kid with out a race skis will not have
as easy of a time learning to carve on ice as a kid with them.
Coming over that headwall on the end of the race hill is scary enough, 
never mind trying to do it on a pair of rec skis.  Good skis help
give a kid confidence.

I have been coaching kids for the past 8 years.
I have coached J5s for 7 years and just started coaching J4s last year.
Equipment makes a big difference.  Even for non-aggressive kids.
If you have to upgrade mid season, it will cost a lot more.   I have 
had to go after some of my parents, because their kids did not have good
enough skis.   When they bought their kid new skis, the kid noticed the
difference right away.

I bought my kid a pair of all mountain skis one year and ended up regretting
it.  I ended up spending a week on the phone trying to find a race ski
for her.   Come January, it is difficult to find kids race equipment.

I should point out, my head coach says an all mountain ski is ok for
first year racers.  She says get a ski with a tip of 100+.  I disagree
with her as well :-)  

Unless your kids is big for her age, I would stay away from Atomic and
Stokli.  Most manufacturers make kids race skis with a nice flex, but stiff
torsionally.  The race skis they make for an 8 year old are far more
forgiving then their adult counterparts.  Yet they have what it takes 
to carve on hard ice.   

Since you are MRG, I would definitely get her a pair of skis for freeskiing.
Then another  pair of skis for racing and race training.   I think you 
will find most kids in the race program will have both.  When you are
tuning her skis the night before the race, you will be gratefull she didn't
use them on the main mountain.   Actually, I think this is a good idea 
regardless where you ski.

I am assuming you have heard about the equipment day next week in Waterbury.
If not contact Sally Knight, or back channel me.  It is a day where all the
reps will be setup to sell Jr race equipment on race form.

If you have more then one kid, you can pass them down.  
I find that I was able to sell my kid's old equipment for a reasonable price
on Ebay.  Swaps were a waste of my time.

On Wed, 31 Aug 2005 14:12:10 -0400, David Guertin <[log in to unmask]>

>Peter Salts wrote:
>> Will newer skis dramatically improve her skiing?  Will she need a race
>> ski at this age?
>Wow, so you're gonna be a ski race dad. I feel for you, dude. I'm here
>if you need me.
>Seriously, I don't have much to add to what others have already said.
>Shaped skis, yes. Race skis, no. Just get something that she'll have fun
>with. Two of my kids started racing on the same pair of old ski swap K2
>Merlin Juniors. I think I paid $25 for them. I forget what the third one
>used, but it was something similar.
>You'll have plenty of opportunity to spend more money as she gets older.
>(Ask me how I know this.)
>Also, I second the advice to focus on boots. It doesn't really matter
>what skis she has if her feet aren't comfortable.
>Dave G., ski dad
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