Völkl Vectris J
Moderately shaped and very versatile, the Vectris J goes anywhere. Buck got in hot water with the Ski Patrol for the air he was getting on it, and Trevor got such good angulation his parents didn't recognize him. Coaches Christi and Scott both saw improvement in the kids who used it.
This little Gremlin is hard to beat for price and performance. Easy to turn and lightweight, it's great for cruisers or beginners. Spencer N. found it responsive in bumps, while Whitney was surprised at how well it held on ice.
Elan Stiletto Jr.
The kids seemed well-balanced and comfortable on this less radical version of the original Elan junior shaped ski. Elan suggests sizing it quite short. We obeyed, and the kids were pleasantly surprised. Devin and Kelly found it stable and maneuverable. The Stiletto will work well for beginners and up.
The Ergolino has always made skiing easy and fun. It's lightweight and compliant, shaped but not radical. Trevor C., who hates to turn, ran it straight and fast without problems. Mike liked it for jumps, while Cassidy was pleasantly surprised by its edgehold.
Olin Apex J
Because the Apex J is very stable, it's the perfect learning tool, but will also keep up with your child as he improves. All the kids enjoyed cruising the groomed on it. Whitney even liked it in GS gates, though it lacked quickness for slalom. Buck, Devin and Matt gave it high marks for cruising, but not for bumps or crud.