Kid's Gear 2000: Slalom Racer

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Salomon Super Axe Team
152, 160 cm
$425
Testers loved the snap and quick rebound of the Super Axe. It excelled all over the mountain in long and short arcs, but really came into its own in slalom. "It feels like this ski has a brain," said Jeff. Elisa concurred: "It helped me be tighter on the gate and more independent with my feet."

Rossignol 9S Pro Racing Jr.
153-173 cm
$399
The 9S Pro Racing Jr. required careful attention to sizing (err on the short side), but testers loved it. Jared declared it "the best ski of the day," and, sure enough, the coaches saw him making his best turns of the day. Mike liked it in bumps, and Molly was delighted with its smooth rapid response in short, quick turns.

Nordica Next Jr.
90-150 cm
$249
This ski is designed as an all-mountain cruiser, and it certainly excels in its domain. Yet, the Next pleasantly surprised testers with its versatility. It got awesome results in quick turns. Parks said it sliced through the icy/cruddy slalom course unperturbed.

Fischer RC4 SL World Cup Jr.
128-178 cm
$395
Once the testers got accustomed to the RC4, they got good results from it, especially in short-radius turns. Coach Christi saw Buck make huge improvements on it: He was centered and confident. Spencer found it quick edge-to-edge, and Korrina recommends it for the racer limited to one pair of skis.

K2 Merlin VI SL Team
162-177 cm
$540
Not a ski for everyone, the Merlin SL is best suited for the highly skilled slalom racer. Testers particularly enjoyed this firm-flexing ski in shorter lengths. Tim and Matt did well with it, but had to stay on top of it. The Merlin was more demanding than other K2s, but did hold very well on ice.

Dynastar Team Speed ST
150-175 cm
$385
The Team Speed ST is made for fast, short-radius turns. Both Ben and Tim enjoyed it best for slalom turns on steep faces, where it demonstrated superior edgehold. Testers had their best results on slightly longer lengths.And the bird of prey graffics¿same as on the adult race ski¿were a big hit.