Yellowjackets - Equipment
Equipment (skis with bindings, boots, poles)
Cross country ski equipment can be bought locally at REI (Pittsburgh), Route 31 Board and Ski (Somerset), 3riversoutdoor, Findley Lake Sporting Goods (Findley Lake, NY - near Erie), and through PACCSA's resale page.
Equipment can be rented by the day from the concession at Laurel Ridge State Park, and by the day or by the season from Thrifty Ski Rental (Donegal, PA).
Whitegrass (Davis, WV) has a "buy once and get a no charge trade up until adult sizes" deal for children.
We STRONGLY recommend purchasing skis or season rentals. This will ensure that your Yellowjacket will have properly fitting gear for each and every session, which significantly aids the learning process. Also, "no-wax / waxless" classic skis are recommended for all beginners.
The Bunny group (5-6 years old) skis without poles, which allows them to develop proper balance skills on skis. Younger Jackrabbits (7-10 years old) will also ski without poles for at least the first few sessions. When the older kids join the Track Attack skate group (10-16 years old), they will also need a set of skate skis and skating-length poles. We also recommend "combi" style boots for Track Attack, which can be used for both skate and classic classic skiing.
Click on the tables below for detailed information on how to select properly sized ski gear for your kids! Also, never be afraid to ask the Yellowjackets Coaching Team for gear advice!
The biggest mistake made by new Yellowjackets members is overdressing! The Coaches will keep your kid moving, so too many clothes will cause your Yellowjacket to sweat and fatigue quickly. Clothing for winter running or cycling is usually suitable for XC skiing. Dress in layers that can be easily removed as temperatures change, and avoid cotton since it will saturate with sweat and make your Yellowjacket feel cold. The innermost and middle layers should be some type of wicking material (e.g. wool or polyester); the top layer should be windproof and smooth-textured to shed snow easily. Also, we recommend mittens / ski gloves, wool or wool-mix socks, and a turtleneck shirt or neck gaiter. The team hat is essential.
Snow Pants are OK for the youngest Bunny beginners, but tend to be too warm for the older, faster-moving kids. Also, heavy downhill-style ski jackets restrict movement and will QUICKLY overheat your Yellowjacket in all but sub-zero temperatures. Sunglasses are a good idea to reduce glare from the snow, and its smart to have an extra pair of mittens / gloves in case their main pair gets wet. A dry change of clothes for the journey home and a warm jacket and snow boots for walking between the car and warming hut are also recommended. Take a look at one family's example packing list.