Ski Touring Set Up For a Six Year-Old

| January 6, 2014 | 17 Comments

After trying a few other approaches, I finally pieced together a touring set-up for our six year-old daughter, Mira.  It turned out to be more complicated than I expected, but in the end it seems to work well and was cheap.

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We originally tried just having her “tour” in her alpine set-up with the buckles undone, but since kids boots only have two buckles to begin with, that didn’t work very well.  Roadside car shuttles worked, but the terrain was limited.  Dad nixed the idea of going up on XC gear and then switching over to Alpine gear for the way down as being too gear intensive and cold.

The crux of a kids touring set-up is definitely the bindings, because as far as I know, nobody makes touring bindings for kids, which need to have a range of about .5 – 3 DIN. I ended up using a pair of Slivretta Pure bindings that a neighbor kindly donated to the cause, but they had to be modified.

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First you have to knock the expansion pins out…

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Then you trim off about 3/4″ of an inch from the length bars…

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Then you employee the time honored “use the binding as a drill template” to mount them.

The bindings are a size “small” but they are still intended as an adult binding, which means they only go down to 3 DIN, which is still too high for Mira, but she’ll survive.  I also think I need to remove the ski brakes as their stiffness makes it hard to get a kids boot in.  The binding plate overhangs the edge of the ski a bit and the screws bubbled the bases a bit (kids skis are quite a bit thinner than adults), but this is nothing a few princess stickers can’t help you overlook.

For boots, we are just using her alpine boots as she’s not going far anyway.

For skis, I had to search around quite a bit, but I finally found a pair of 110cm used skis (Rossignol Vipers) with straight tails for $10.  Most used kids skis come with the bindings attached, which bumps the price up – it was actually kind of hard to find an unmounted pair.

For poles, K2 makes a great adjustable kids pole which she uses for resorts, XC and now touring.

For skins, I recycled an old, old pair of skins and fitted them with a rubber tip attachment, which is easier to get on and off – not that she has any intention of doing that herself as long as Dad is around to do it for her.

Overall, satisfaction is pretty high.

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Out first tour was about 1/2 mile and 300′ vertical feet up an access road behind our housing development.  Ample amounts of chocolate bribes were required to keep moving, but Mira had a good time and quickly got the concept of sliding her skins along.  We haven’t explored the top climbing peg yet, but I’m sure that will come soon enough.

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Category: Skiing with Kids

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber and Mountain Unicycle rider. He and Polly Samuels McLean are the parents of two very loud little girls.

Comments (17)

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  1. Bill Balz says:

    Nice solution Andrew!….my 6 yr old is pretty ticked off that he cannot go uphill yet. I’ve been telling him that he’ll grow into his mother’s AT boots by next year, but this would be a fun project to do with him as he is quite the little gearhead.

  2. Rick Collins says:

    jealous of those who live the life–my daughters grew up 10-20 days a year at alta, know and ski well (for ny’ers) every line in bounds–but will likely never know the special exp that touring is–enjoy now–she wont be skiing with you for long, old man!

  3. jriph says:

    That is just ridiculously cute .

    On a side note: Plum makes an guide XS that goes down to 3,5 Rv alas at a very grown up price.

  4. Kikkert says:

    Thanks Andrew…I have been contemplating something for the 6 year old (more for spring when he wants to hike at a closed Alta), this seems like a decent solution. Also, as a Dad of twin girls obsessed with princesses…have to say that’s a nice Alladin background in your one photo.

  5. Smokey says:

    What about just focusing on putting tech inserts into a kids ski boot and using some old dynafit bindings? Get the dremel out. Doesn’t have to be perfect as kids don’t stress bindings/boots that hard.

    Could you get some inserts from your Bro’s at BD?

  6. Rick – hopefully I’ll be able to extend my touring shelf life with her for a while as a dedicated trail breaker. But, at six, I think she has already outstripped her grandparents, so I guess I’m next.

  7. Kikkert – I was King Arthur yesterday, but apparently I’ve been demoted overnight and am now a lowly house servant who makes a crappy breakfast. ;)

  8. Smokey – That was my first thought as well, but there are a few problems… First, our girls are on an insane gear rental program where they get full skis, boots, binding, etc., upgrades every year until they are 30 or something (ok, maybe not that old), so we don’t really own her boots. But even if we did, they out grow them so fast it is hard to get too attached to a pair. Second, hooking my kids up with a pair of Dynafits would mean taking a pair(s) out of my personal stash, and love only goes so far. I still have my first pair from about 15 years ago and they are still rockin’ hard – I’d take them on an extended expedition tomorrow with no qualms.

  9. Hey Andrew, what about the Silveretta “Kid’s pure”? Isn’t that around anymore? Additionally, after my first World’s skimo team’s race I fell in love with towing my kids around. Using the same set up I can hardly feel them back there. Thanks tons for the post.

  10. Brad Yates says:

    It’s easier than that, swallow your pride and go three pin.

    Sheik Yerbouti

  11. mike says:

    My 8 year old girl pretty happy w Silvretta Kidz mounted on old kids skis someone was throwing out, and kicker skins.

  12. Mason says:

    Great solution! I bought my older (9) daughter some alpine trekkers which only work due to the fact she has big feet, but my younger daughter (6) isnt blessed? with Shaq sized feet. I will be hunting down consignment shops for a set of Pures.

  13. Mickey says:

    Yeah! Silveretta made the Kid’s Pure for years – but they quit. Market was too small. Lucky I still have a pair lying around I picked up at a gear swap.

  14. Awesome info. Thank you Andrew.

  15. Shawn says:

    I bought the kidz pure online last April (Snowinn) for around $130. They are just the size small pure with a less stiff spring. However, the toe piece can’t be adjusted low enough to fit a kid’s boot. I solved this with six layers of gorilla tape on the AFD plate, and they worked well for my five year old climbing the resort in November. Extensive backcountry testing will commence in April. (Last spring he used nordic gear on the up and changed at the top.)

    I also connect a bungee leash (Ruffwear, maybe?) between us to keep him from sliding back on the steeper sections. This might be our most important piece of gear.

  16. “Love only goes so far.” <3 Ha!

  17. Ann Shirley says:

    She looks so cute! Maybe she’ll be in the olympics for skiing in the future. ;). Hope she enjoyed herself!

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