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I'm thinking of taking my 35 month year old skiing for the first time in Jackson, WY. What do you think?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Does anyone have an opinion on taking a nearly 3 year old skiing at one of the great destinations in North America, Jackson, WY ?  My wife and I are trying to decide whether to bring him or leave him behind.  The great advantage of bringing him is that we will not feel guilty and we'll have our first, and potentially very special, trip together out West.  The disadvantages?  Well, I'm sure you all know what could happen.  Meltdowns.... distractions... high costs... accidents... tantrums... etc.


So I wouldn't mind hearing a few opinions.  We are thinking of taking a full week, so we'd have time to do other things besides skiing- perhaps sleigh rides, sledding, seeing the animal areas and natural wonders, etc.  But in terms of taking the little guy, what do you think?  His grandparents in Chicago would probably be willing to take him for a week.  But in terms of taking the little guy, do you think a kid that age may take to skiing?  (He loves every sport he's ever seen and has enjoyed sledding this winter in the Midwest).  Is there even gear for rent for a kid his age (he is bigger than average so he would pass for a 3.5 year old for gear- if there is such a thing).  Is Jackson the right/wrong place?  Other thoughts?  


Thanks for the feedback.



post #2 of 12
My kids started a few months older. They enjoyed it and I did some but it's certainly not a "ski trip". You have to be in the mindset that you are just playing with your son. If he is cold, tired hungry, crabby or whatever he decides that day, you have to be prepared to do what he wants. I had the problem of thinking it was about getting my boys out and teaching them to ski. Sometimes they want that, sometimes they want to throw snowballs. I found edgie wedgies and a leash made it more fun for them but I'm not sure it doesn't help their progress. On another note, we have friends kids who started 2 years later and in a few trips were at the same level. Jackson can be crazy cold too.
post #3 of 12

Not sure what there is to feel guilty about giving willing grandparents a week with their grandson.  Seems like a lot of effort and money to take a 3yo out west for the first ski experience.


You can find out if he likes it or not at any small ski area within driving distance.  I waited until age 4 for my daughter because that's the minimum age for ski schools in the southeast.  I waited until age 7 to take her out west for a late season trip to Alta Lodge with friends.  (My husband is a non-skier.)  The kids program there made it fun for her and me.  By then we'd skied all over the southeast and I knew she'd be able to have fun at Alta's ski school and be able to ski blues.


What type of skiing do you and your wife enjoy?  How many hours a day did you used to ski while on a vacation out west?


I don't know JH, but my sense is that there are probably other places that are more family friendly that are easier to reach.

post #4 of 12

Have you checked out this thread about getting little ones started on skis?



post #5 of 12

I can say that the Kids Ranch at JHMR could handle your 3yo and teach him to ski.  They only ask that your child be potty trained.  They deal with accidents all the time, but like to keep it to a minimum.  I have seen some very young groups out there having a blast with their instructors and each other.  You can get more info on the website jacksonhole.com.  Yes, there is rental gear available.


You can take him and it will work.  Whether you should is a question only you can answer.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone for your feedback.  Some really great comments and suggestions to consider.  What a great resource this forum is.  Thanks!


Also, to answer the questions in the thread, we do intend to ski as much as possible, which means we could face a huge limitation in bringing my son, although the "kids ranch" options sounds fantastic.  Right now we are leaning toward "No", but will probably try to take him out to a local resort next weekend to see how it goes.  Good info in the linked thread as well.  Thanks.

post #7 of 12

I just saw that kids fly free into JH on American.

post #8 of 12

My sister has 4 kids and the smallest one is 40 months old and Me and my wife recently went on a ski trip with them. We skied a lot, my sister and her husband did not. 


First of, ski school at that age is more like daycare at the base of the resort. Most ski schools just cord off an area at the base and install some magic carpets. Rarely do I see three year olds on a lift. So I would not worry much about safety.


Second, If you want maximum skiing time with your wife make sure your lodging is as close as possible to the ski school so you minimize the morning routine of taking your son to school. This makes a HUGE difference. Most schools are in before 9 and out around 3. Plenty of time for you to ski but make sure your child is willing or you might get a call to pick him up.


I think you child is too small and I would leave him behind with family if possible. Next year he will be much better equipped to deal with ski school and enjoy it much more IMHO.

post #9 of 12

Ultimately this is a question that only you can answer, but I'll share our experiences skiing with 35 month old.


This wasn't at Jackson Hole (or even in the US) but I think it is transferrable (we have skied in North America and apply the same principles there).


Our son has always travelled with us to ski and we have found that this has paid large dividends as he got older (we took him to North America for the first time when he was six and he thrived). We made a conscious decision that ultimately we wanted to ski as a family so better to get used to it early rather than later - on the assumption that he would think that it was normal family behaviour. What do you and your wife want medium to long-term? Is this trip a one-off or are you likely to travel to ski regularly? (By the way these questions are for you to consider - don't feel obliged to answer them publicly).


We found that larger ski resorts often had better child care facilities (larger, lighter, qualified staff, good staff to child ratio's, better resourced etc which all led to more settled child and less guilty feeling parents). We were specific about using one that was our equivalent of state licensed. JH is a state licensed facility so that would be a plus for us. I would be tempted to contact the centre and see if they could send you some images of the facilities and tell you what the staff to child ratio is.


Our son was used to childcare at home so going to daycare at skiing was't too bigger leap. By 35 months he was articulate enough for us to have a conversation with about it so he was excited to go.


If your son  goes to child care at home does he hang out with the four year olds or the two year olds if the group is mixed? Our son gravitated to older kids at that age and had the language to keep up with them and he wasn't particularly keen on toddlers, so at 35 months we negotiated with the resort we went to and enrolled in the 3-5 year old kids centre which made a huge difference and we had no problems with him keeping up in the skiing bit. I think we would have had a different outcome if he was in with the 0-3 year olds (because he was at the age where "I am not a baby"). How well do you think that your son will settle at child care? What age group will he settle best with? Is it a deal breaker if you cant get the best fit?


Does your son still sleep during the day? If yes, is he likely to sleep at child care - ours didn't (settle easily at childcare for sleep ever) so until the year he was 35 months afternoons at ski resort childcare could be a lottery.


Food - What is the ski school typical menu? How does this fit with your sons eating habits? Hungry kids hate skiing. We did send some snacks that we knew our son would eat, but he was pretty easy going food wise. 


Accommodation - we get accommodation / lodging that has at least one bedroom so that we could chill out with a glass of wine after little kids were in bed (our son was a bit of a party animal and would not ever sleep in a room if there was any hint of something more interesting). So the question is can you come up with a lodging solution that means that you will all have a good holiday and is within your preferred budget?


The good thing was that we discovered that the holiday was fun. If you normally have fun with your son on holiday then chances are you'll all have fun skiing at JH together.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Ski Kiwi, thanks for your thoughtful reply.  We have elected to leave our son with the grandparents and take a 4-ski day trip to Jackson.  You posed some excellent questions and I can certainly tell you've made some thoughtful decisions with your own family.  We decided that he would have some fun but isn't quite ready to ski- probably better next year.  He goes to daycare here and we definitely considered that a potential bad daycare experience out there would be a bad gamble to take and it wouldn't really offer him the vacation he would get by spending the entire time with his grandparents.  


thanks for the replies all.

post #11 of 12

Thanks for letting us know what you decided.  Have fun!

post #12 of 12

Yea it was probably a good choice deciding to leave your kid at home. My daughter is 2, and has been on skis a couple times this year....just cheap plastic ones that go on over her snow boots. She loves it, but grows tired quickly. 35 months isn't too early to ski by any means, but perhaps its a little early for a "vacation" considering how much money will be on the line.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Family Skiing Discussions › I'm thinking of taking my 35 month year old skiing for the first time in Jackson, WY. What do you think?