Renting

Unless you have the good fortune to possess a fortune, thereís no need to spend a fortune on skis, boots, and bindings for those fast-growing children, especially for total beginners or those who may ski only a few days each winter. So, letís first talk rentals.

The first skis for children in the three-to-five or - six bracket are usually available as separate rentals, or included with the fee, for those who enter ski school. If you must rent equipment outside the school, always inspect the skis as carefully as you would those you rent for yourself. Donít worry about the cosmetics. Are the edges sharp? Are the bottoms smooth and without major gouges?

Properly adjusted bindings are as important for the young skier as for her grandmother. To test whether heís properly adjusted the bindings, the attendant fitting the boot to the binding will usually simply give the boot a sharp blow to knock it out of the binding. For the lightweights who tip the scale at less than 50 pounds this test is quite satisfactory, though itís also a wise precaution for Mom or Dad to check the bindings while still in the rental shop. Have the child step into the bindings then lean hard, and far, forward, pulling up her heels, to make certain the heel doesnít pop out. Then try twisting her boots out of the bindings. Everything still attached? Pick up the skis and weave through the crowds into the fresh air. The mountain beckons.

Rental boots seldom fit as comfortably as a childís own, bur look them over, especially the toe and bottom of the heel. Avoid those that are worn away on those two vital places, because wear and tear there complicate proper release of the bindings. Always have your child wear his warmest ski
socks when trying on the boots - which should fit snugly but not tightly. You should be able to put a finger inside the boot behind the childís heel before the boots are snapped closed. Overly tight boots will impede blood circulation, which means only one thing: ďMommy, my feet are cold.Ē

Boots should be loosened for the ride up on the chairlift to help the blood circulate in the feet. (Loosen yours, too.)

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