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1st time skiing for kids

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

I have 2 boys, 7 & 4, neither has skied before.. I have some questions about lessons for them.  They have had exposure to cold and snow and have proper clothing and are used to wearing it.  They will have only 2 days to ski this trip.

 

I Plan on putting them in a lesson and not trying to teach them myself.  My first question is should I do group or private lessons?  And if private, should I split the boys up?

 

Also, I'm not sure how involved we should be or if we should just drop them off in the hands of the 'pros'.

 

Thanks in advance,

John

post #2 of 16

I would go with half days of whatever kid program the resort offers (Ski Wee, whatever).  Most private lessons are only about an hour.  If the kids have never skied, most of the first hour will be spent just learning how to get the skis on and off, walk around on them, learning to untangle them to get up from the ground on them, etc.  The 7 year old will likely last a lot longer than the 4 year old so they'll likely be in different groups.  If they do well, by the end of the second half day period they may be able to take turns skiing with you.  I don't recommend trying to take them together with you on the lift though at that level.  You can all play around over by the carpet together, but take them one at a time if you are skiing a lift served trail.

 

One thing you may be able to do if they have their own gear is to go ahead and break it out at home.  Let them boot up and play in the yard with their skis.  Even if there is no snow they will have fun and learn to get around on the skis and boots.  You may want to take pictures, it is priceless watching them stomp around on the grass.  By the way, it won't really harm the gear.  I don't recommend razor sharp edges for noob little ones anyway.

post #3 of 16

I'd separate them into group lessons of similar ages.  They can probably handle a full day, especially if that's how much time you want for yourself to ski the grown up stuff.  Let the pros handle it; don't linger around.

 

If you've got the money for two separate full-day privates, that would be great, too.

post #4 of 16

I respect Xela's opinion, but based on my experience as an instructor long ago and parent with younger kids at the moment we have to entertain the scenario that a four year old or seven year old may not want to go ALL day.  If you commit them to a full day anything without being prepared to throw in the towel if one or both ain't "feelin' it" after four hours and you keep pushing you could taint their desire to want to ski for a very long time.  If you're OK with signing them up for a full day private knowing that 5 of those hours may be spent in the lodge sipping hot cocoa then that is fine.  But, better to commit to a half day on the first try and be ready to either take them back to the room or sign them up for more skiing at the end of the first session.

 

Just my opinion.

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the comments.

 

crgildart:  We're heading to Boone, so I just called App about the Ski Wee options.  We'll probably sign both kids up for full day, but know that the little one might not last.  The last thing I want to do is push them an have them not like it.  I think they'll do better in class together to start with, but then split them up after lunch if skills are different.

 

I figure if the older one is getting along well, we might do a private lesson on Sunday or something.

 

 

We've never skied in NC, so not sure what to expect  - Not too worried about my wife and I, just want the boys to have fun.

 

post #6 of 16

I started my son at 4.5yrs old in all-day group lessons. He gets to ski with, have lunch with, and hang out with kids his own age and they take frequent hot chocolate breaks.  While learning, they act like a bunch of kids and talk to each other about "kid" things.  I pick him up at the end of the lessons and ski with him for an hour or two and we do whatever he skiing or runs he wants.

 

I've found he prefers the all-day lessons and just a little skiing with me to skiing with me all day. He's now seven and I still put him in lessons (plus, then he doesn't have to resent me if we disagree about how he's "supposed" to ski).

 

(and don't forget to tip your ski instructors).

 

-Smarty

 

post #7 of 16

I started my daughter when she was 3.5 years old with a five all day lesson at Telluride.  It was her first time skiing and she loved it.  Albeit, the first 2 days she was nervous, did not know what to expect and was clinging to me.  She did cry when I was dropping her off at ski school for the first half of the week.

 

A few months later I went to Park City and brought her with me. She did 5 all day lessons at PCMR.  Again, she immensely enjoyed it and this time no issues with crying.

 

This year, over the Christmas holidays, we went to Steamboat and I had her enrolled at ski school for 10 days.  We took 2 days off in between her lessons to relax.  I think group lessons are much better at that age than privates.  They just want to have fun and interact with other kids.  The goal is not to become a world class skier but to introduce them to a sport that they can enjoy and build on the skills.  At Steamboat, my daughter got to the point of getting on the gondola and skiing the blue groomers down.  That's because she was having fun.  And as some others have pointed out, I was able to ski with my kid a run or two after picking her up and she wanted to show off her new skills learned that day.

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xela View Post

I'd separate them into group lessons of similar ages.  They can probably handle a full day, especially if that's how much time you want for yourself to ski the grown up stuff.  Let the pros handle it; don't linger around.

 

If you've got the money for two separate full-day privates, that would be great, too.



Xela has it right. This is exactly what we did with our kids when they were that young.  If the resort has a competent ski school the kids will have a better time learning with other kids.  The idea isn't to put them on black diamonds in two days.  You just want them to have fun and experience a great sport safely.  They will learn fast enough.  Don't worry if the younger one cries when you drop him off...he'll stop as soon as you are out of sight and then have a great time.  The ski schools know when to take chocolate breaks, when to warm them up, etc.  Just tell 4 year-old the night before that he is going to a school that is similar to preschool, but it is for skiing. 

post #9 of 16

I think the tip is to be sure to spend the time to setup the equipment.  Don't rush the boots if renting.

 

No matter how good the instructor or ski school is, the child still will still want out if their feet are hurting in a few hours. 

 

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mannsj View Post

Thanks for the comments.

 

crgildart:  We're heading to Boone, so I just called App about the Ski Wee options.  We'll probably sign both kids up for full day, but know that the little one might not last.  The last thing I want to do is push them an have them not like it.  I think they'll do better in class together to start with, but then split them up after lunch if skills are different.

 

I figure if the older one is getting along well, we might do a private lesson on Sunday or something.

 

 

We've never skied in NC, so not sure what to expect  - Not too worried about my wife and I, just want the boys to have fun.

 


Appalachian has a pretty good ski school. They often have the best spring coverage in this area too.  My older kid has did a half day of the kids program there two years ago.  They had a team of instructors over by the carpet working them down the little hill.  This season we did a one hour private for him. I recommend Ron Haynie there for a kid friendly private.

 

Since this is your first NC experience, I should also mention that Appalachian is the smallest resort in the area, the others are double the vert that Appal has, but it is still a fun place to ski with a great ski school full of excellent instructors.

 

post #11 of 16

I have two kids, ages 7 and 10.   We started them at ages 3 and 4 in ski camps.  This is what I've learned:

  • Group lessons with kids their own age.  The instructors will match up abilities.
  • You get your butt out of the way and let the pros do their job.  If you're a helicopter parent the kids will melt down when you show your face but they'll suck it up and try hard amongst other kids and with instructors.
  • Don't over-praise at the end of the day.
  • Tip the instructor WELL.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 

Just wanted to send back a note about the trip:

 

Took the boys to Appalachian and put them both in all day lessons as part of  Ski Wee.  The weather turned out decent for their first time as it started overcast and in the upper 30's, but at lunch the sun came out and it warmed into the 40's.

 

Morning Session:  They boys were together in a group of about 6 kids and 2 instructors, but really there was a group of instructors and 10 or so kids all together at the small carpet area.  At lunch time, both boys were tired, but had grins from ear to ear.  We were afraid that our youngest, who is not quite 4, would bail for the afternoon session.  They ate a quick lunch and then said can we go out as a family and go to the bigger carpet area?

 

Afternoon Session:  4 kids and 2 instructors for their lesson.  they spent the next two hours just going up and down the larger carpet lift together with both instructors helping all 4 kids.  One of the instructors really spent a lot of time with my younger son as I watched him maneuver his way down the hill time after time, skiing around older kids and adults who had fallen all over the hill wink.gif.  The oldest was definitely bored on the small hill, and unfortunately didn't listen to the instructors.  He just wanted to get down to the bottom as quick as he could.  The snow was a bit slushy, so he never really looked out of control, but not sure if he could turn all that well especially compared to little brother who seemed to have the weighting thing down pretty well.

 

big tips for both instructors as both boys finished the day full of smiles and wanting to ski more.  What more could a parent want !  We spent the next hour or so skiing as a family on the smallest chair taking turns with the kids.

 

The best thing was not only did they have a great time, but last night when we were putting the boys to bed, I heard my oldest ask my wife "Mommy, when can we go to Jackson Hole so I can do some real skiing?"  Guess I've taught him well biggrin.gif  Look out Jackson, here we come!

 

Thanks everyone,
John

post #13 of 16

Nice!  Sounds like a great start to a family tradition.  We go on an annual family ski trip and it gives us some of the best memories.

post #14 of 16

I'm in the same boat. Taking the family to Winter Park and still can't decide on private or group lessons for my girls who are 8 and 11. They have skied very little but have the basics and want whats best for them.

post #15 of 16

Kids learn differently than adults.  For kids, the group lessons often work better, and they are cheaper.  Might as well try that way first.

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by vale46 View Post


I'm in the same boat. Taking the family to Winter Park and still can't decide on private or group lessons for my girls who are 8 and 11. They have skied very little but have the basics and want whats best for them.




 

 



Winter Park has a great ski school. Group lessons all the way.
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