Learning a new skill can be intimidating sometimes, especially for younger athletes who haven’t skied before. Like riding a bike or stepping into a pool for the first time, it can be slow going at the beginning. That’s to be expected, of course, but with your guidance and help from the resort, you can prep your little one to enjoy the mountain as much as you. Every child is different in how fast they’ll learn.
It takes a lot of patience and starting over again, but that shouldn’t deter you away from helping them grow. You had to start somewhere too, so make sure to keep that in mind as you work with them! Soon enough they’ll be confidently racing down the mountain with you. But first, start with a few basics to really make them as comfortable as possible. Kids will thank you for it and become a snow enthusiast just like that! Here’s how to get the kiddos well on their way to becoming a versed skier.
Perhaps you never personally took a lesson and were taught by family members. While this method isn’t unheard of, it’s one that can sometimes get stressful right away. The more advanced skier might not want to wait until the beginner finds their “snow legs” and can miss out on some key training opportunities. Or maybe you’ve never skied before and you’re feeling a little apprehensive about teaching your child how to do well out on the snow.
That’s why looking into a ski school at the resort you’re visiting is a great stepping stone to help teach young skiers. Instructors are there to help answer all your questions, and also show the best technique for your kids. Many resorts will offer to start teaching children as young as 3 or 4 the ins and outs of skiing, so it’s the perfect opportunity for everyone to participate in.
If you’re interested in private lessons, that’s also a great option as well. Kids have a little more one-on-one time with instructors and won’t have to worry too much about tripping over other students’ skis in the process.
Once your kiddo is a little more up to speed with their skiing, you can incorporate basic “ski games” to keep them engaged. You can pack all their favorite snacks for them to enjoy on the chairlift, or you can treat them to yummy food incentives after a morning on the mountain. Another way to keep kids entertained throughout the day is to play games both on and off the snow.
If you’re teaching them to ski or ride, find gentle slopes for them to try out. Then help them practice moving around on their skis. In the process you can play “Freeze” or “Simon Says” as they walk up and ski down hills within their learning area. You can also have young skiers and riders “follow the leader” and slowly match your movements through the snow. They’ll see that it’s safe and you can also reward them with their favorite candy for doing well.
It’s much easier for kids to continuing enjoying an activity if their experience is positive. Making sure they are comfy and warm during their adventure on the mountain will be crucial. Essentially, the accessories they need should match closely to how you would dress for the occasion.
Have kiddos wear a durable jacket, warm pants, long underwear, socks and heavy-duty mittens to start. On colder days using insulated layers or even a neck gaiter (balaclava) to really keep ears, arms, and legs as warm as possible. You can also snag “warmer” or air-activated heat pouches for kids to place in their pockets. These are same pouches you would use during a festive holiday parade and can be found at most major retailers.
Even after children finish taking ski lessons, they are going to need a lot of time out on the open snow. There’s going to be times when they fall down or might not getting something right. But that’s just a part of the bigger picture. The time it takes for kids to feel comfortable with skiing and the mishaps that might occur will differ between each one.
In the end, with a little positive reinforcement, comfortable gear and a “can-do” attitude from mom and dad, kids will begin to pick up speed both figuratively and literally on the slopes. Giving them the time to pick up the necessary skills at ski school and then taking everything at an even pace is a recipe for success! Once all of that is established more adventures can begin for the whole family.