Balla is the word for a kid or child in the Altai Mountains so it seemed appropriate for our kids version of the Hok. The Hok is a playful ski even for adults, so we felt it was the ideal type of ski for a kid to learn to ski on. Yes, it is slower then a regular ski, but the Balla Hok is stable, easy to use, and can go up or down with equal ease. It is the perfect tool to just go out and play in the snow. The Balla has inserts that match the 3pin hole pattern used on the regular Hoks and also matches the Kuna universal we have designed just for kids. This binding has been in the works for a number of years and is now complete and ready to go.
We feel the Balla Hok, especially when matched with our Kuna universal binding, can be the first ski starting at age 3 or so and go up to 8 or 10 years old, depending on the size and proficiency of the child using it. We have had a lot of testing with some kids around our region and results have been really positive.
The Balla Hok comes with 3 inserts matching the 3 pin tele hole pattern (same as the adult Hoks) but no heel piece inserts. We have had people also direct mount kids NNN bindings and a standard 3 pin (like the old round bail bindings) would use the back 2 inserts and drill the front hole. The 3 pin we offer would fit the inserts as is.
In the past we would cut down our adult sized universal binding so that the binding fits shoes down to about a size 12 kids, depending on the shoe type. this worked but was very heavy and bulky, especially for smaller kids.Our new binding – the Kuna (Kuna is the local word for wolverine in the Altai Mountains.) is 12 oz lighter and fits smaller boots much better then the cut down adult universal. Because we created our own molds and design it is less expensive as well.
The advantage to the universal is your child can use whatever boots he or she chooses (winter boots!) and can adjust the binding to grow with feet…. one ski and binding lasting for years!