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Originally Posted by nashua
I have a five year old son that has been skiing for a couple of years. At some point over the next couple of years I would like to get him involved in competitive skiing, provided that is something that he has an interest in. We live in southern New Hampshire and have several small hills within 30 - 60 minutes. Is there a good age to get kids involved in a club that would provide instruction and opportunity. Also are there things that i can do for him that could prepare him so he can enjoy the experience. I am not looking to create a an Olympian or send him off to boarding school, rather give him the opportunity to be part of a team. lastly can someone recommend a program.
First my disclaimer - I'm an instructor (and the ambassador) at Crotched so I'm slightly biased. But I'll tell you what I know of the closer race schools in our area and younger kids program at Crotched.
First I will say in general from watching the junior racers competing at Crotched (CM) the past few years, all have a good program. McIntyre, Pat's and CM. Any will nurture your son to become a better skier and more than likely learn to love to ski, even if he doesn't stick with it.
With my CM hat fully on:
At your son's age, there are a couple of options. There's the Tigers and the Radical Kids (RK):
The RK is not race focused but is focused on the kids having fun and becoming better skiers/riders. It is a 3 hour group lesson for kids 5-10. Each week it will be (could be) different kids and instructors. Many parents love it as they can ski by themselves for 3 hours and the kids are under constant supervision. The links above have more info. This program has been such a huge success at CM that they just expanded the room and staff to handle the increase. The growth has been incredible and has a lot to do with the folks managing it.
Tigers is similar (3 hours group format) but they will be with the same group of kids and have the same coaches all through the season (about 13 weeks). This makes for better lessons as the coaches become familiar with all the kid's abilities and personalities and the kids make friends. These coaches are the ones that are more apt to wear funny hats and the like as they tend to have younger kids. It is still fun focused but I believe there is a requirement to your son would need to be able ski green trails. The Tigers do get some gate training running the NASTAR course which is always fun to watch. The course is set with the kids in mind and the only issues they ever having is getting their left and right mixed up. It is fun and they have a blast.
Tigers is a better value but you have to commit up front to a season pass and the fee for the program. With RK you "pay by the drink". No commitment to the program or mountain but could end up costing you more in the long run.
So there's a shameless plug for my home mountain. If you are interested in the Tigers, get hold of me quickly as the prices increase Oct 12th.
Hope to see you on the hill,