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Have twin 3-year-old girls who just got ski boots! Looking for all the advice I can get.

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

I am an avid skier, partly because my parents made sure I always had fun when I was kid and we'd go skiing together. Now I have twin girls who are 3 1/2.  They have already been down the bunny hill with me for two seasons a few times on plastic skis between my legs. We did it just "for fun," but I didn't push it at all. I can't agree more with all the people who say -- just make sure it's fun for kids.

That said... I did just get them real ski boots, and we're going to spend two weeks on the slopes soon.  I am looking for any advice anyone has about gear, what works, what doesn't work, tips/techniques - in order for them to get a fun start on what I hope will be a lifetime family sport.  Specifically:

- I am a ski school fanatic, but I'm not sure the value is there quite yet.  For sure in future years. I've watched the 3 year-olds ski school, and it's more like a general day care during the day with a bit of on snow time, which is fine - just don't want to pay $300/day for that.

- What is everyone's experience with how long kids that age will ski in a day?  Two half-hour stints?  I'm sure all kids are different, but I'm just trying to get a feel for where my expectations can be.

- When I take them out for their 1 hour (or whatever) of skiing per day, do I just do "pizza pie" and "french fries"?  We've been doing that at home, and they're into it in the hallway in bare feet.  Are there tricks to translating this onto the slope? 

- Would you do both girls together (with possibly Grandma on skis with us?) or 1 at a time? 

- Any tricks about what you do when a kid says, "I'm done" and you've just gotten off the chair lift? Would love to hear fellow moms/dads/instructors stories or ideas. 

- I need to get two pairs of probably 67cm beginner skis.  If anyone has either advice on those or some to sell, let me know.

- For 3 1/2 year olds, do you use edgie-wedgies?  Are any brands better than others?

- Harnesses?  What's the latest religion on those?

- I'm an open book for any advice.  I believe the more prepared I am, the more fun we will have.




post #2 of 11

No harness. Ever. 

If it's neccesary the slope is too steep.


Kids in a leash don't have any reason to control their own speed.


With my daughter, I took her on my back and walked up a bit the first time. It was on a flat part such that a stem wasn't neccesary. I just walked backwards in front of her and I could actually walk in zig zag and she turned naturally when I asked her to come here. The first runs by stepping around, but then on her own she started turning without walking.


In order to teach wedge, I just ski backwards in front of her and hold the tips together. Usually if the slope is shallow enough it doesn't take that much effort until it's working.


After that I find that sking besides her, holding my poles in front of me pointing out my side such that she can hold on to the handles makes wonders for the slightly steeper parts when we started exploring other slopes.


My wife held her poles firmly and our daughter of course hanged more over them. I used a very gentle grip, and our daughter stood up on her own much better but still found the poles comforting to hold on to.


Actually, they are really good for turn initiation. It makes you able to turn your child by skiing around in front or by breaking more.



If you expect nothing of your child but hanging out and playing in the snow for 20 minutes and 2 *short* runs, taking everything over that as a bonus, the end result will be much better than if you set up high expectations. Hug the kids a lot in the slope and sing when you ski!

post #3 of 11

Linda, Welcome to EpicSki.  Thanks for joining and asking the question.


Here's how I teach kids of that age. 


First, I don't teach, I play with them on the snow. 


Don't worry about wedges etc.  If you teach a wedge you will end up with kids in a death wedge coming straight down the fall line.  Concentrate on them learning proper control.


Find an appropriate area to play on.  An area with just enough slope that they can slide on but not enough to gather great gobs of speed.  You should be able to walk up it with little to no edging needed.  Then just walk with the kids on it.  First with one ski scootering around on one foot.  Do this for 10 or 20 minutes, then change the ski to the other foot and do it again.  Then start all over with both skis.  Play tag, slide around in circles.  Just keep moving while on the skis.  Change it up, make it fun.


On two skis, when you point "downhill" slide and then walk to a stop across the fall line.  This will get the kids use to sliding and stopping using the hill.  (You are teaching them to turn and ski away from a collision to a full stop.  Not, to drop into a death wedge and pray you stop before you hit what you are aimed at.)


As you "walk/slide" down hill go from side to side.  You'll be surprised how fast they learn to go somewhere (i.e. turn) without "teaching them to turn."


If there is a carpet and the slope is appropriate, use it, abuse it, wear the dang thing out.  Spend much more time on the carpet than you think is needed because it is needed.  This is where the kids learn to stand up, turn, and control speed.  (They will even start to wedge, but it will be a good gliding wedge.  They actually learn it without be directly taught it.)


Please remember this, I've seen more kids develop bad habits because a parent takes them up the chairlift too early.  At 3 1/2 if all the kids see is the carpet for the entire season it's no big deal.  If they are having fun it's a win all the way around.


As you increase the terrain if you see them drop into a wide "death wedge" they are most likely "over terrained."  Drop back to shallower slopes where they stand tall.  They will be ready for the "steeper" stuff as they grow and develop.


Above all have fun, laugh, giggle, play, look for snow snakes, enjoy the great outdoors.  Make them love being there, sliding, and playing on the snow.  (I've seen too many parents being the :"ski taskmaster" instead of the "ski play-master.")




Here's why I'm telling you all this.


I was teaching a 4 year old who is locked in a death wedge and leans back 30 degrees with straight legs.  After talking with the parents I found out that Dad, a racer, last year had his 3 year old on tethers going down black diamonds.  eek.gif  That is until the kid fell and broke his collarbone. mad.gif And I was concerned about getting the kid to stand up.  I'm amazed he was on the slopes after that treatment.  He must be dealing with bucket loads of fear.


Moral of the story, ski so your kids learn and have fun.  Don't ski for yourself or your ego.  Not saying you'd do this, just warning those that need it.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hey, thanks to both of you.  Good stuff!  Love the suggestions.  Another question - Should I get them skis that have fish scales on the bottom so that they can walk around more easily?  Or is this just a crutch?  Or doesn't it matter?  I'm seeing 67cm and 70cm skis that are cheaper that do not have fishscales, but a high-end retail store was adamant that the whole experience will be better if I get them the fishscale skis.  Thoughts?

post #5 of 11

Another angle on the $300:  it's not just for a mix of skiing and childcare, it's so the adults can do their own skiing.  That said, I've been very happy with the kids program at Squaw.  My kids have learned a lot and we've avoided arguments and bad feelings between parent and child.

post #6 of 11

Hi Linda,


Being a father who taught his 2 girls to ski and a full time instructor, hopefully I can add some in site to your questions.


Sense you already have boots for the twins, don't be in a hurry to buy skis.  I find 67cm skis too short for kids, there is almost no tail of the ski and that presents problems with them balancing.  A 80cm to 90cm ski is fine.


I carry an edgie-wedgie, but use it on very rare occasions.  It is a temporary devise only for those that can not hold a wedge even on the most gentle slops.


Many children's ski schools are from 4 to 7 years of age and younger children many times are only taken as private lessons.  I suggest 1/2 hour sessions at that age in a private lesson.  If your twins are currently enrolled in preK, they may do well if a structured children's program if the program accepts ages under 4.


A harness is never necessary if the terrain is gentle enough.


It sounds like you are doing the right thing by playing with them on the snow. At this point, learning to balance in the boots and gliding on gentle slopes is the key element for their development.  If they learn to turn and stop by turning, they are well on their way to becoming skiers.


Best of luck and enjoy watching them.



post #7 of 11

I've used a harness, and a tether successfully. The important thing to remember is they are aids not crutches. Just like Ron pointed out about the edgy wedgy. So don't be afraid to use them. Just don't over use them.

Perhaps the most important factors are stamina and attention though. Boredom is pretty common in the kiddy beginner corral. So keep it short and fun, then move on to exploring other things like our snow fort, tubing hill, playground, and of course nap time. By varying the activities and not wearing them out they are far more likely to have a good time. Beyond that don't forget to take plenty of photos because once they start motoring around the ski area it's pretty hard to get them to stop long enough to take any photos.

I hope you have fun on your vacation!


post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks.  Any more advice on skis?  length?  fish scale bottoms needed?

post #9 of 11

How tall? How heavy? How strong? How often do they ski? If once a year, they will outgrow their skis and boots at least once if not twice. So just keeping them in good fitting equipment can be a challenge. Often parents make the mistake of buying stuff that is too big with the expectation that their kids will grow into the equipment. Imagine wearing boots and skis two sizes too big for you and you get the idea how poorly this method works. It's worth searching for other options since the kids performance depends on their equipment fitting just as well as yours. Depending on where you live you may be able to find a program like theColorado Ski and Golf youth ski exchange. Gently used equipment can be exchanged a couple times a year with little to no additional expense. Similar programs happen in youth ski racing clubs. At least until the kids get older and need high end specific event skis.

post #10 of 11

No fish scale bottoms. And do choose shaped skis.

post #11 of 11

I've seen kids with and without fish scaled skis.  The fish scale can be helpful.  The kids don't get "stuck in neutral" in some areas.  It helps them succeed and have fun.  That's what I'm all about, having fun.  YOU MUST HAVE FUN DAMN IT!!!


Anyway, I see fish scales as a either or thing.  If the skis have it, no big deal.  However, you don't need to go out looking for skis with fish scales.  However, make sure that the skis have a lot of shape to them.  The kids will really benefit from that.


Enjoy the process and take a grunch of pictures.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Have twin 3-year-old girls who just got ski boots! Looking for all the advice I can get.