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I need help with my 8 year old son

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I've just booked our ski trip for this season (sadly, only one). My older son has started skiing 3 years ago. His progress so far has been slow (with instruction both private and group). Last year, after 2 days of ski school he didn't want to go to ski school anymore. Instead, he asked to come with me, and with me he started turning in a snowplogh and made real progres. This year, he's announced that he's not going to ski school and that "dad's my teacher". I actualy taught him to swim (took him to classes at first, but he started swimming only after he spent time with me at the pool, and it was a good experience for him). Thing is, I swam for a team, so I remember a few vague teachin\training drills.

Now for skiing, I'm a decent recreational skier (I hope) but I learnt to ski as a kid, a loong time ago (on straight skis) and I really can't think what and how to teach a kid (I took instruction as an adult but it was at quite a different level).

I think that he should move to paralel turns, but how? Give him poles? Teach him to flex and release (old skool like)? Teach him to "ride the side cut"? Do kid's skis have enough side cut for that? 

Or maybe let him go on plowin' and focus on line selection, linking turns, maintaining a rithm?

 

Maybe leave him at home?????

 

I colud really use some ideas as to what his next objectives should be and some drills to try.

 

Thanks

post #2 of 17

First of all, I'd try to encourage him to get into ski school and ask some of the parents around the resort who they'd recommend. 

I know that I'd have a couple good recommendations if you were coming out to Tahoe.  

Some of the instructors make it more fun than others and your son may have gotten a "not so fun" coach. 

 

Second, I know UGASkiDawg taught his girls how to parallel.  He has some really good ideas.  Maybe he'll pop in here and give you some advice. 

 

Others here are parents and instructors.  I'm betting you're going to get some good advice from them. 

 

Good luck and have fun. 

post #3 of 17

It was always a negotiation about ski school between me and my daughter, who is now 11.  She likes skiing, but is very cautious and not terribly gung ho.  Some of the successful deals we've made with her for ski school are that my wife agreed to take lessons if she did (my wife is a non-skier), or skiing with her in the morning and having her do a half-day of ski school in the afternoon (or vice versa).  If one of her friends skied, it would be another story, though.  If you could bring a friend along and ensure they're in the same ski school group, it might make all the difference.

 

I'm also interested in hearing from instructors or other parents on tips for teaching kids to move from pizza to french fries.  When I ski with her, I usually let her be so she'll have fun, but sometimes point out that she should move her weight forward more.  If it is a steeper trail, I'll have her follow me so I can make sure she'll take nice turns to control speed.

post #4 of 17

I kept my kids in ski school (mostly Canyons, Homewood and Heavenly) until they could ski the black diamonds, skiing with them every few days so they could "teach me" what they learned and show me where they skied.  A decent instructor knows the verbal imagery and tricks to get the little guys to understand the concepts better than you or me.  Besides, lessons should be more fun for the kids since they are with others their own age.  If there is an issue somewhere, have your son take a half-day lesson and end the day skiing with you.

 

The only downside to lesson was the cost and that certain ski schools only teach certain things in their lessons, and some fundamentals were lacking.  I found this to be no big deal, either teaching this to my kids myself (e.g., hop turns on steeps) or by tipping the instructor ahead of time and then asking him to help him with a specific thing.  if the kids learn one thing a day, consider it a good day.

 

Ski sidecut?  It will matter when he is carving turns, and he isn't there yet.

post #5 of 17

Consider bribery.  And narrowing his choices.

 

For example if does ski school for 2 days then he can ski with you for the next 2.  What about a nice Lego set?

 

I know bribery is not considered an acceptable modern parenting technique, but this is a desperate sitiuation.  Having gone through this with 3 kids, and recalling my own experiences as a kid, it's pretty clear he'll be better off learning to ski from an instructor instead of you.

 

Good luck!

post #6 of 17

My son started in ski school at 3 but rebelled by 5.  I used to put him in very occasional private lessons.  We even took a private together one time.  When I was skiing with him which was a lot, I mainly just let him have fun and learn by doing and by following me. (at least when I was on skis - i actually took up boarding for a time to give myself some challenge whilst hanging on the easier runs.  Instruction occurred but not constantly.   This actually worked really well because when I did have something to impart he generally would listen.  It also worked well for me as I am no instructor, I would take my time observing him and thinking about how best to coach him along.  Mileage brings a certain comfort level on skis and works wonders for young skiers.  An occasional lesson is a good idea especially when you feel your son is ready to move up a level.

post #7 of 17

it might just be a problem of socializing and having a solid group of friends, if his previous ski classes weren't that great either because the kids didn't get along or the teacher wasn't great he might not want to go back to that. I'm sure that if he finds kids that are "cool" he would have no issues going to ski school. smile.gif

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by psy View Post

I've just booked our ski trip for this season (sadly, only one). My older son has started skiing 3 years ago. His progress so far has been slow (with instruction both private and group). Last year, after 2 days of ski school he didn't want to go to ski school anymore. Instead, he asked to come with me, and with me he started turning in a snowplogh and made real progres. This year, he's announced that he's not going to ski school and that "dad's my teacher". I actualy taught him to swim (took him to classes at first, but he started swimming only after he spent time with me at the pool, and it was a good experience for him). Thing is, I swam for a team, so I remember a few vague teachin\training drills.

Now for skiing, I'm a decent recreational skier (I hope) but I learnt to ski as a kid, a loong time ago (on straight skis) and I really can't think what and how to teach a kid (I took instruction as an adult but it was at quite a different level).

I think that he should move to paralel turns, but how? Give him poles? Teach him to flex and release (old skool like)? Teach him to "ride the side cut"? Do kid's skis have enough side cut for that? 

Or maybe let him go on plowin' and focus on line selection, linking turns, maintaining a rithm?

 

Maybe leave him at home?????

 

I colud really use some ideas as to what his next objectives should be and some drills to try.

 

Thanks


psy, An 8 y.o. should have the muscle strength to be able to learn to and ski in a reasonably short time. If not quite athletic it might take longer. Things to check out are his boots fitting and adjusted properly, lots of times in lessons kids are struggling and because the pants are down over the boot we sometimes don't see if their boots are snug. Everything they are trying to do, because skiing involves the feet , is not working. I would not advocate poles at this time, only going to be a crutch for him and potentially dangerous.  As others have mentioned maybe do a 1/2 day lesson and have him show you what he learned for the 2nd 1/2 of day, make sure he has food to keep his energy level up. Stay on the easiest of terrain playing with all types of turn shapes and varying the speed. Try to get him to go across the slope where practical being aware of traffic coming down the hill, if he isn't moving across have him narrow up his wedge, no snowplows, no pushing of the snow but try to get him to turn his feet where he wants to go. Less straight down with a plow and more flow across with small wedge, lots of mileage gliding on skis. Good luck

post #9 of 17

How old is your son?  Does he really enjoy skiing, or does he mostly like to spend time with Dad?  

 

I think most kids have more fun skiing in a group with other kids their own age and an instructor that keeps them moving and keeps it fun.  Sometimes in younger kids lessons there can be a lot of hot chocolate and bathroom breaks and an aggro kid gets held back.  It could also be that your son trusts you and likes to be with you and the instructors haven't earned that trust and he misses his Dad.  Either way, if your son really doesn't want to be in a group lesson with the SS, then maybe a private lesson for the two of you might be good.  Get an all day lesson and ski a lot of different stuff during the day.  The lesson could mostly focus on him, but you should learn some stuff for your skiing as well and maybe learn something about how to help him progress further after the lesson.

 

I teach the wedge only as a learning tool for parallel skiing.  There have been a ton of very active threads about this on Epic and I will try not to repeat it here.  Basically I try to never get any age student stuck in a defensive wedge.  The wedge shouldn't be used as a speed control device, but rather as a means to turn the skis and the act of turning the skis creates "the line" and the line creates speed control.  I can usually get kids to move beyond the wedge by getting them to ski faster in the flats so they feel better about speed and working on fun stuff like hockey stops.  We also play games with "line" like seeing who can go back up the hill the farthest on their turns.  Kids will do anything for a gummy worm and I have seen them start carving the end of their turn to get one.  I like to see beginner skiers extend into their turns.  Kids are natural mimics and will copy your demo if the terrain isn't too hard and the demo is correct.  If a kid is skiing down the fall line in a flying wedge, the hill is too steep.  If the kid says they like speed show them that the wedge is slow.  I can make big carved turns and go faster than a kid in a flying wedge on any green trail.  

 

Keep it fun and they will stay motivated.  That being said I find that I have to give some kids a firm nudge to get them out of their comfort level.  If this is the case, never let them fail when stepping up.  If you scare them too badly, they won't learn, and they won't trust you anymore.  Scare them a little bit and have them succeed and they will do great.  Try to remember who the lesson/day is for and don't let your goals for your student/son be only your goals and not theirs.   

post #10 of 17

It may run contrary to some schools of thought, but poles are a good idea.  For pure ski training, there are certainly some tanglible benefits to leaving the poles on the rack.  However, much of the ski experience is enhanced by poles.  Balance, a third point of contact, skating, and lift lines are all pole benefits.  He is getting pretty big.  Poles are ok.

 

Try this - Stepping on the marshmellow under your big toe or the ball of his foot.  (later move up to TWO marshmallows - one under the foot and one in the boot cuff on his shin.)

 

Have him start on one side of a wide, mild trail and start downhill.  Then have him press FIRMLY on the marshmallows on his downhill ski.  Keep encouraging him to hold the pressure on the foot.  DONT LET UP.  Eventually the edge will engage and start to pull him across and back UP the hill.  Have him make these big Cs several times both ways.  The key is DO NOT LET OFF THE MARSHMELLOWS.  Once he has the knack and feels in controll by turning across and back up the hill - have him LINK the big Cs. 

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

First of all, I'd try to encourage him to get into ski school and ask some of the parents around the resort who they'd recommend. 

I know that I'd have a couple good recommendations if you were coming out to Tahoe.  

Some of the instructors make it more fun than others and your son may have gotten a "not so fun" coach. 

 

Second, I know UGASkiDawg taught his girls how to parallel.  He has some really good ideas.  Maybe he'll pop in here and give you some advice. 

 

Others here are parents and instructors.  I'm betting you're going to get some good advice from them. 

 

Good luck and have fun. 

 

 

Saying I taught my girls is giving me way too much credit.eek.gif 

 

 I couldn't afford ski school and with Olivia's diabetes we couldn't find a ski school that would handle it the way we wanted so I ended having to teach them.  That mostly consisted of my showing them how to wedge turn at 2-3YO and then making them ski 60 days a year.  They eventually stopped wedging but not for years and they were already skiing the toughest runs on the mountain in wedges because I didn't have the patience to ski cruisers with them.  They learned by survival and mileage not by my teaching skills.  On the flip side they loved skiing with their dad and his friend who just so happened to have 2 kids at exactly the same age.  He was also an impatient demanding father and they  skied with us every day so they had the fellow kids aspect covered.  Now they race and their coaches teach them real technique and they can crush me on a race coursemad.gif

 

I would highly recommend ski school for a kid who's only going to get a few days per year.  Take a family lesson with a private instructor if you have to.  

 

If you can ski 30 days a year or more then teaching them the wedge turn and slowly building confidence yourself will work.  

 

I will take partial credit for passing along a love of skiing and the snow along with my supportive wife and friend Stephen despite Stephen and I harassing them and/or forcing them to stay out/go even when they didn't want to go and had melt downs over itfrown.gif

 

Good Luck and you'll be amazed at how fast they learnicon14.gif

post #12 of 17

I'll generally second what Snowbowler wrote.  Aside from that, I'll suggest that you've got a child psychology issue, not a skiing issue.  Learning from dad, while great, isn't always the best path for all things.  Depending on the kid, there may or may not be better choices.  I'm not sure why he didn't like ski school, but some kids are just shy and averse to certain situations.

 

If you can't get him to professional instruction, don't worry too much.  If you can teach him to like skiing, that's a great start.  If he needs to un-learn some things later, he won't be the first one.  I've heard many times that mileage is the best teacher, anyway.  Keep it fun.

 

As for specifics, no poles until he's doing well parallel, which may not take too long.  As for transitioning from wedge to parallel, some kids just do it naturally.  Parallel is easy in a straight line, of course, traversing or down a gentle slope.  When turning, the main technique seems to be "easing" that inside ski to parallel during the turn.  This is easier when there's more weight on the outside ski, which is shared with parallel form.  I'm not an instructor.  These are just my observations.

 

As a side note:  personally, the reasons I really like professional instruction are (1) I get to ski with my wife on the grown-up stuff and (2) my kids have no ill will toward me at the end of the day about "that fall" or something that I "made them do".

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

I certainly agree that ski school is the best way, but I don;t think it's  for him at this stage. My aims are 1) to have fun during our family vacation 2) to pass along the love for the mountains and snow. The suggestions that I got so far have given me a few ideas for some games I can play with him, make the skiing more interesting and instilling some skills without the "formal" feel, thanks

post #14 of 17

I alternated ski school with days skiing with me when my daughter was in the beginner stages of learning (ages 4-7).  Did half-day ski school on trips out west more often than one our local hill because she could ski with me more, but still learn new stuff.  That seem to work out pretty well.

 

For poles, I did not let her use poles during ski school until the instructors said it would be fine.  But for free skiing, once she was tall enough I did let her use poles.  By then they did not get in her way when skiing.  She pretty much held her hands the same way she did when not using poles.  Made it a lot easier on flats and in lift lines.

 

Where are you going?

post #15 of 17

My daughter made a very similar announcement before her 3nd ski season.  I initially took her to the bunny slopes myself for short stints and she also took some group lessons at the end of her first season and one during her second season.  The first half of the 2nd season consisted of me watching her from the bottom of the bunny slope as I was injured at the time.    

 

I was surprised that she didn`t want to continue with ski school because she normally enjoys being with groups of kids, enjoys school and doesn`t like listening to dad. I told her that if I was going to be her ski instructor, she was going to have to listen to me.  While she still doesn`t like listening to me with math (something I am really good at), she has done a good job listening to me and following my lead on the slopes.  It was a positive enough experience for me that I got myself hired to teach part time.

 

Some of the things I did/do-

 

Minimal verbal instruction- Most of the time I gave her very little actual instruction and either just had her follow me or pointed out good skiers when we rode the chair up.

Started her on very easy terrain and did not emphasize the snow plow- I let her use it, but also showed her how she could go french fries when it was flatter.

Went with her friends and their parents.

Let the kids go through the trees in flatter sections and take jumps on the sides of runs

Play games like follow the leader- you can lift a ski off the ground, hop, etc.

Stay on easier terrain unless she was pushing for harder stuff (which she did as this is where her friends family liked to ski)

Compliment her when she is trying to use good technique

Talked to instructors and asked them for suggestions

Let her watch videos of good skiers.

 

Family private lessons are one of the most popular with the Vail ski school.  Not sure where you are going, but you could do a family private on the first day of your trip and ask the instructor to show you some stuff that might be good for the two of you to do together the rest of the week.

post #16 of 17

http://www.sofaskischool.com/

 

Ask child to watch the video above, or perhaps you should, in my view best instructional video ever made, easy to learn, and crystal clear, and easy for you to impart these basic tips "face the danger", "roll your knees" etc....but maybe too long for a kid, but your child could watch this youtube clip, most viewed ski-instruction, or ski clip in YouTube history I believe....(have not checked but I read this somewhere recently, I saw it originally in 2008 or something like that...)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlzIkIQa3e0

post #17 of 17
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