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Best Lesson Strategy for Single Mom with Two Kids

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi,

I'm brand new to this forum.  I'm a single mom from Florida, and I'm headed out to Keystone for a week in January alone with my 2 kids.  We want to ski! 

 

This is the problem -- I haven't been on skis in about 15 years, and I was significantly less.... um.... rotund at that time.  I'd  be classified into the obese category now.   My fitness level is not horrible, but I'm nervous about my ability to pick this sport up again.  My children are 6 and 8 and have barely seen snow.  I'm really nervous about trying to get them on and off lifts by myself!

 

I've been poking around the Keystone web site and it seems like my two children would be split up in the kids ski school program, due to their age groupings for lessons (also, the full-day ski school program seems like a lot for 2 little ones who aren't used to snow).

 

If possible, I'd really like to hit the bunny slopes with them as a family.

 

My questions are:

1)  Am I absolutely insane to even think about skiing with my kids?  Several people have told me we shouldn't ski, just play in the snow for a week.  I wonder if I'm not getting a hint that's being thrown at me.

 

2)  I'm thinking that a private half-day lesson for the three of us would be the best way to start.  That way, we could all be together and decide at the end of the lesson whether we want more lessons and what our interest level / fitness level dictates in terms of skiing.  How would you deal with lessons if you were in my shoes and why?

 

Much thanks, and happy New Year!

post #2 of 19

I think kids learn best in kids lessons. Good ski school programs have plenty of breaks for beginners. Make sure they are well outfitted with layers so they can adjust as necessary. Get yourself a private lesson the first day. Better fitness is a plus, but when skiing gravity is your friend.  Ski together once the kids have something to show you - they will be so exited.

post #3 of 19

I ski fine.  I used to teach.  I have kids currently 8 and 9.  The older one can now ski a little bit and rides the lifts OK.  I still wouldn't dream of trying to go out with both of them together until the younger one can also manage on her own at least on greens.  I took them out one at a time leaving the other one at the lodge with mom taking turns the first time out.  Then we did resort ski wee programs for half a day day two. Then the third time still taking them out one at a time with me.  The younger girl lost interest so the last season it was just me and the older boy.  He's about got the greens under control.  Going solo with two kids, you will need some help, either a half day or full day kids program.. or at least the day care/ baby sitting options so you can work with them one at a time at first.

 

 

post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluetik View Post

1)  Am I absolutely insane to even think about skiing with my kids?  Several people have told me we shouldn't ski, just play in the snow for a week.  I wonder if I'm not getting a hint that's being thrown at me.

 


That's ridiculous. You can all ski. Put them in group lessons and then take one (or more) yourself and go from there.

post #5 of 19

Ski school.

post #6 of 19

My 2 cents:

  • Have everyone learn to ski - it will open up so much more of the mountains to your kids than just going to play in the snow.  The experience of just being on the top of a high CO mountain in the winter is incredible and you won't get that playing around at the lodge.
  • Get lessons for the kids! I'm a confident (if not completely competent) skier and I couldn't teach my kids at all.  Instructors will have experience with kids, will know how to build a foundation and progress them in their skills, and will know how to keep it fun.  Even if you knew how to do all of that, sometimes kids just take direction better from people who aren't their parents.
  • Consider lessons for yourself, but if you can have fun out there without them, that is OK too.  If the cost isn't an issue, it could make you a better skier and that will make your trip even more fun.  Also, skiing has changed a lot in the last 15 years and I think having an instructor bring you up to speed on how to use newer equipment could make a huge difference.
  • If possible, try to get more than one lesson with the same instructor.  Perhaps a big lesson on the first day to get the kids started, then a couple of shorter lessons through the trip so you'll have time to practice and rest.  Then you'll get the most out of your lesson time.  Keeping it with the same instructor will keep the teaching consistent and save you and the instructor time.  A new instructor is going to have to spend a good chunk of the lesson assessing where you are before coming up with an action plan.

 

Keystone is a great mountain for beginners.  I was there as a 13-year-old never-ever skier and was able to have fun skiing the mountain top to bottom.  Of course that was, um, a while back.  

 

I love skiing with my kids.  Sharing the experiences, both good and not-so-good, makes great memories and loads of fun.

 

Have a fun trip!

post #7 of 19
Ski school is the way to go with your kids. They make things fun and take plenty of breaks with activities and snacks. So don't worry about a whole day lesson being too much for them. You will be amazed at the way kids pick up the sport. U may be able to all do a green run together at the end of the week. If u r going to be there for the whole week though, u may want to consider a midweek day off so all of u can rest. Good luck with everything and welcome back to the sport. My girls (7yo twins) made a break through last year with their skiing and I am excited to be able to ski with them this year.
post #8 of 19

A word of encouragement...I just got back from spending the day skiing with my 19 year-old son. 

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tips!  I'm an advocate of the "nothing is impossible" line of thinking, which only occasionally gets me in trouble. ;) 

 

 

post #10 of 19

one added item other than I agree ski school will pay off more quickly.

 

if your kids do end up learning quick, drag ya up a hill and issues arise (the end of day sometimes tires them out more than on thinks) and you have a child on melt down, do use the patrol.  My youngest talked us into showing us her skills after 3 days, I could lightly do greens as I was leaning too and she melted down, just fell over, crying and refusing anything.  Ski Patrol just stopped, told us no issue, called a snowmobile and we all headed down.  

 

Ski Patrol is great, always willing to help defuse most any issue.

post #11 of 19

Hi,

 

Personally I'd start 'never befores' kids in a class because Vail Resorts has a max of 4 kids in a beginner class. My rationale: a group of 4 might progress faster and get out there sooner. 

 

If you were good 15 years ago, go out and play on these new fangled skiis - and see how easy they turn, then grab a lesson if you must.

 

 

If you want a lesson as a private group,

 

- you can ask to tag along;

- the instructor can give you tips for your ability and still teach the kids. 

- Keystone is part of Vail resorts and I 'shouted' a mixed group a day lesson at Heavenly: the 7 year old is very very good, the 15 year old and 1 mum were upper intermediate and mildly nervous, and another mum from Arizona was low intermediate, nervous, just lacking confidence. The Ski School succumbed to giving us one instructor for the day - you can insist on a family private, just be firm and polite :). (Yeah, instructors will say its better to break people up, but I figure 'have fun', and nudge your confort zone). 

 

Our all day lesson for 3 adults and 2 kids was $80 per person (at passholder rates) + tip + lunch and drinks and dinner for the instructor). By the end of the day, all but the Arizonian  were skiing Motts Canyon, a black run, because everyone was pushed - just a little - out of their comfort zones and learned that they can do it. The mum from Arizona was stunned she could ski trees and ankle-deep powder

feb 2011 021.JPG.30 Jan 2011 017.JPG

 

So get out there and 'do it'. 

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by pete View Post

one added item other than I agree ski school will pay off more quickly.

 

if your kids do end up learning quick, drag ya up a hill and issues arise (the end of day sometimes tires them out more than on thinks) and you have a child on melt down, do use the patrol.  My youngest talked us into showing us her skills after 3 days, I could lightly do greens as I was leaning too and she melted down, just fell over, crying and refusing anything.  Ski Patrol just stopped, told us no issue, called a snowmobile and we all headed down.  

 

Ski Patrol is great, always willing to help defuse most any issue.


Too true - I should check if our group earned "frequent flyer points" with all the trips we made.

 

post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post


That's ridiculous. You can all ski. Put them in group lessons and then take one (or more) yourself and go from there.



I couldn't have said it better myself!  

Put your kids in a group lesson for their age group and get one for yourself. 

 

Check and see if you can get in a lesson with Annie Black.  She's an incredible instructor at Keystone, and her enthusiasm is quite contagious!

 

post #14 of 19

I'm going to agree with everybody here, and let me give a bit of my perspective, as a children's instructor. First off, a full day lesson is fine for the vast majority of kids. I teach primarily 4-6 year olds. This past week (Christmas vacation week), my school had an average of 150 kids in that age group going through our program every day. We only run full day group lessons for that age group. Of the 150 kids a day, maybe half a dozen had to leave early on any given day. And we had a full on blizzard, a bitterly cold day with a high of about 10, and a rain day in the mix.

 

I've worked at three different mountains in two different states in my tenure as a ski instructor. Each program runs more or less the same type of schedule for their lessons, so I'll give you a little breakdown:

 

8:30ish to 9:30ish- Registration. You come check your kids in. At the end of the process, they go into the program area, and you leave. I've never seen a program that allows parents into the program area with their kids. It's a security thing.

9:30ish-10:00ish- Kids are organized into classes, everybody uses the bathroom (no pee, no ski), and the instructors get the kids dressed.

10:00-11:00- Classes out on snow for instruction (some first time classes will start with indoor instruction about the equipment and moving around in boots, usually lasts about 20 minutes, then out to snow)

11:00-11:15- Break time. Kids come inside. Water, hot chocolate, maybe snack, depending on the program

11:15-12:00- On snow instruction

12:00-1:00- Lunch Break

1:00-2:00- On snow instruction

2:00-2:15- Break time

2:15-3:00- On snow instruction

3:00-3:30- Parent pick up

 

This schedule varies from mountain to mountain, but due to the time constraints of the ski day, and the logistics of running the program, the schedule ends up being rather similar in the end. As you see, there are plenty of breaks that your kids will take, and the instructor has discretion to add in more breaks if necessary.

 

As far as being from Florida and not acclimated to cold, not a big deal. Layer them well with clothing, and they'll cope with it fine. They'll be working hard anyways. I had a half dozen or so children this week from Puerto Rico. None of them had any problem with cold. However, a thing you will run into out West that you won't have here in the east is altitude. It takes a day or two to acclimate to the thinner air at that altitude, so maybe consider not skiing the first day you're there.

 

Finally, I can't overstress what an incredibly bad idea it would be to ski with your kids by yourself, without getting them lessons. I'm an excellent skier who has a decade of experience and training in instructing snowsports. That being said, managing a group of children who have never been on skis can often be a struggle. A first timer has no concept of how to stop themselves, so they will slide directly down the hill until they run into something or fall. And once they fall, the don't know how to get up. If you took your kids up the hill with no instruction, you will have to physically hold them the entire time. One kid that may be manageable for a decent skier. Two kids... I don't physically help two kids at the same time, and I'm a professional.

post #15 of 19

Having had my 3 learn over the yrs, all having taken ski school lessons I fully agree that you really don't want to take the kids up for trail ride until they have down the basics and even then are fresh, not tired and not hungry.

 

What we found with our kids is that the bunny hill or base hills are wonderful way to have very short but fun time where one can bail (even walk) but again, they need the basics of turn, stop and get up on their own, their instructor will let ya know what they're ready for.   With 4 person kids groups they may develop quickly, mine were in bigger groups but were fine on the bunny hill around the third day, the hard thing will be with two .... it can be more difficult especially if neither can the chair lift without a hand but if they can do the chair with limited/no help, there is usually an adult who will ride with one if you can handle yourself and the other.

 

I wouldn't expect anything other than base ski with the kids but really, each of ours were ecstatic simply spending a bit of time on the base slopes just to show their skills.  It really depends on the kid, ours varied, you with an eight yr old may be quicker. 

 

I don't recall doing any non base hills with any of our kids (they each started around 4/5 yrs old) until around 4 or 5 days or school.  Our second season was the real rewarding ones (given their first yr was a single trip) as their progression was to real runs.  In line with Freeski919, our kids learned best with others, this is simply peer groups without their having a parent to hang on, disagree with, whine to, etc.  nice thing is every resort I've been too, adult lessons end 1/2 hr before kids did which gives ya time to hone up yourself. 

 

to sum  up:  Trust the instructors recommendation for you kids skills, expect only base hill for the kids to show their skills, use the help offered. 

 

 

post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for all the advice!  This has been really helpful.  My son is stoked for ski school -- he wants to meet new friends.  I'm still working with my daughter.  She wants to be with mommy. :)

 

Believe me, I have no illusions about trying to teach them myself. eek.gif   I was just wondering if it would be best for us all to learn together or separately.  It seems the consensus is separately is best.  This will also reduce opportunities for sibling rivalry, which runs pretty intense in our family. 

post #17 of 19

Bluetik,  have a great time, update upon return as to the success.  One thing at least with the less than ideal snow, being in a lesson is a sure way to make the most of a dry season  redface.gif

post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluetik View Post

Thanks so much for all the advice!  This has been really helpful.  My son is stoked for ski school -- he wants to meet new friends.  I'm still working with my daughter.  She wants to be with mommy. :)

 

Believe me, I have no illusions about trying to teach them myself. eek.gif   I was just wondering if it would be best for us all to learn together or separately.  It seems the consensus is separately is best.  This will also reduce opportunities for sibling rivalry, which runs pretty intense in our family. 



I shot a pm to Annie Blake (username on Epicski anniefarkle

She said that the snow conditions at Keystone are about the best of all the ski resorts in Summit County and she's still instructing there.  

Here is a program that Annie is involved in that you may like

post #19 of 19

Remind your daughter that it's not ski school. It is Kids Camp. Camp is way more fun than school. It is all with other cool kids, very cool coaches and great snacks. Do a couple days of lessons then take a day to ski together (actually, do a half day followed by some fun in-town activities like some sort of arts-and-crafts project).

 

If you can afford it, take private lessons for yourself. At least the first day. It will accelerate the process dramatically.

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