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Tips for teaching my 3 y.o. to turn

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

My son turned 3 in September, and has been super excited to get out on the slopes with me.  He skied one day last year (right before I blew out my knee in January which unfortunately ended both our seasons), but there is just a huge difference in his comprehension and physical capability at 3 compared to 2.

 

I had originally planned to do a parent and tot lesson program with him, but the program doesn't start until mid January, and I couldn't hold him out any longer.  So I read what I could, and watched some videos (I thought these were excellent, btw http://www.teachchildrenskiing.com ), and have taken him out a couple of times.  Neither hill had a magic carpet, but both had chair lifts oriented to young children with very gentle slopes of 700ft to 1000 ft long.

 

He's done great so far.  He's very confident, posture is good, he's using a wedge very effectively to control his speed and stop, he's making it down the hill somewhat in control and without falling, and best of all, he's absolutely loving it!. The one area he has struggled with is turning.  Actually, it's probably more accurate to say the one area I've struggled with teaching him is turning.  I'm an advanced skier, and have had plenty of instruction myself, but translating that into figuring out how to teach a 3 y.o. to turn has proved challenging.

 

I plan to get him in lessons as soon as I can, but in the meantime, any tips you can offer on how best to teach him to turn would be much appreciated.

post #2 of 19

Have him follow you. Point his skis at you as you guide him through turns. About 2/3 of the time, he'll just start turning naturally. Brush gates work well too. But if it doesn't happen, don't sweat it. He's 3. Let him slide around and have fun.

post #3 of 19

Can you ski backwards ?  If so make him go around you  Move him across the hill when you can so he gets a sense of another means of speed control while picking up the concept of outside ski dominance and little toe edge steering.. Draw lines in the snow with your poles for him to try to stay within

. Lessons with the social aspect of being with others his size might be perfect for him. Multi week lessons would be optimal. 

post #4 of 19
He needs two things. Learn active weight transfer and milidge. Have him imitate you skiing in front doing the airplane drill. Hope you understand its reversed. You can thank me later smile.gif
post #5 of 19

Keep him on flat terrain that will allow him to keep his center of mass over his feet.  Start by having him take small steps in a circle in place.  Then do the same while moving really slow, in both directions. Turning is the act of changing direction, NOT stopping.  Also the Wedge at this age is the act of stopping.  Last I heard the sport is called skiing, not stopping.  keep the direction changes going and keep him on terrain that suits him, not you.  This is really important!  Have fun!  PS weight transfer has nothing to do with twisting the ski.

post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post

He needs two things. Learn active weight transfer and milidge. Have him imitate you skiing in front doing the airplane drill. Hope you understand its reversed. You can thank me later smile.gif

Please pay no attention to this suggestion. Weight shifting occurs naturally in turn dynamics.

Just ask him to follow you going forward. Suggest he point his toes where he wants to go. Kids like to follow your tracks. Don't try to lead him with you going backward. He gets no proper image of how you turn. Make sure you are turning BOTH feet on the snow. If you can't do that, get him an instructor who can.
post #7 of 19
I, too, couldn't figure out how to get my kid to turn. Put her in a private to do so. They taught her the airplane drill.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post


Please pay no attention to this suggestion. Weight shifting occurs naturally in turn dynamics.

Just ask him to follow you going forward. Suggest he point his toes where he wants to go. Kids like to follow your tracks. Don't try to lead him with you going backward. He gets no proper image of how you turn. Make sure you are turning BOTH feet on the snow. If you can't do that, get him an instructor who can.

 

Please pay great attention to my advice. I've taught hundreds of lessons over the years and I've seen everything. But there is a big difference between teaching your own kids as a father and teaching others kids as an instructor. You cant or lets say you should not try to "teach" your kid how to ski. Let an instructor do that. On the other hand if you are a good instructor you don't "teach" kids formally anyway. You do it through playing and having fun. So you can get away with teaching your own kids if you belong in this group. Plenty of crappy ski instructors around so be aware. Plenty of carppy parents around as well so be aware.

 

As an instructor when I work with a kid one on one I ski backwards in front and guide him through touching his ski tips. By no means grab the child anywhere above his knee joint. He needs to stand on his own. What he needs to learn is how to wedge. This involves keeping his ski tips together and most importantly how to skid over the snow with both skis skidding. If he edge locks on one ski then you should move to a more flat hill. That solves the problem because its him being defensive. Once he unlocks his mind he manages to keep same skidding angle on both skis. By skiing in front you can lean down and bring his ski tips together and gently bring him to turn by pointing the skis into and out of the fall line. As you do this the kid will feel the sensation of outside ski pressure. If he manages to wedge by himself, wedge in front of him and just turn and se how he follows. If there is an issue with him leaning into the turn which is default you run him through the airplane drill.

 

Then its just milidge. Just ski in front of him. My two sons were totally different. My older son was not afraid of anything and fell off into the fall line and never pulled out. I used a ski tip connector and a leach with him and it worked great. With my younger son I did not have to do this at all. He was much more careful. And he nailed the active weight transfer outside ski pressure angulation trick straight off. Both skied well on their own at 3, first year on alpine gear. At 2 they learned how to ice skate and ski with cross country skis. Both are excellent skier now.

 

Youngest students I had professionally were only two. It was tough. No other instructor managed with one of them. I'm kind of proud of that but it had less to do with ski instructing than how to be with kids. I'm good at both hahaaa... a little bragging never hurts. I have a money back guarantee. So far nobody has asked their money back.

post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I, too, couldn't figure out how to get my kid to turn. Put her in a private to do so. They taught her the airplane drill.

 

Ha, there you go.... be proud for doing the right thing.

post #10 of 19
Don't get excited. It was her last lesson for for years.
post #11 of 19
The airplane drill was totally appropriate when kids skis were too stiff for most kids and straight. It's still appropriate on shaped skis for folks who learned to turn with their upper body instead of the feet. Why lead a kid down that path if it's not necessary?
post #12 of 19
Three year olds can bend their skis at the speeds they go the first day out?
post #13 of 19

I like to teach the second half of the turn first by having newer skiers start with a traverse and make a slight turn to a stop across the fall line.  Find appropriate terrain (relatively flat, comfortable terrain with light traffic) and have him follow in your tracks or ski towards you.  Gradually lessen the traverse and move more towards the fall line.  Do it in both directions and then see if he will follow you on some gentle linked turns.  Don't over terrain!.  I have never taught a 3 year old, but have had success with 4 year olds. 

post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post
 

 

Please pay great attention to my advice. I've taught hundreds of lessons over the years and I've seen everything. But there is a big difference between teaching your own kids as a father and teaching others kids as an instructor. You cant or lets say you should not try to "teach" your kid how to ski. Let an instructor do that. On the other hand if you are a good instructor you don't "teach" kids formally anyway. You do it through playing and having fun. So you can get away with teaching your own kids if you belong in this group. Plenty of crappy ski instructors around so be aware. Plenty of carppy parents around as well so be aware.

 

As an instructor when I work with a kid one on one I ski backwards in front and guide him through touching his ski tips. By no means grab the child anywhere above his knee joint. He needs to stand on his own. What he needs to learn is how to wedge. This involves keeping his ski tips together and most importantly how to skid over the snow with both skis skidding. If he edge locks on one ski then you should move to a more flat hill. That solves the problem because its him being defensive. Once he unlocks his mind he manages to keep same skidding angle on both skis. By skiing in front you can lean down and bring his ski tips together and gently bring him to turn by pointing the skis into and out of the fall line. As you do this the kid will feel the sensation of outside ski pressure. If he manages to wedge by himself, wedge in front of him and just turn and se how he follows. If there is an issue with him leaning into the turn which is default you run him through the airplane drill.

 

Then its just milidge. Just ski in front of him. My two sons were totally different. My older son was not afraid of anything and fell off into the fall line and never pulled out. I used a ski tip connector and a leach with him and it worked great. With my younger son I did not have to do this at all. He was much more careful. And he nailed the active weight transfer outside ski pressure angulation trick straight off. Both skied well on their own at 3, first year on alpine gear. At 2 they learned how to ice skate and ski with cross country skis. Both are excellent skier now.

 

Youngest students I had professionally were only two. It was tough. No other instructor managed with one of them. I'm kind of proud of that but it had less to do with ski instructing than how to be with kids. I'm good at both hahaaa... a little bragging never hurts. I have a money back guarantee. So far nobody has asked their money back.

 

You've taught hundreds of lessons? Great. So have I, and I agree with Kneale. Who by the way, has taught thousands, if not tens of thousands of lessons, considering he has been a full cert instructor for almost 50 years. Active weight transfer for a 3 year old is just teaching them to throw their upper body around, rather than turning from their feet. A child that young has a center of gravity that is so high, and the muscles are so far from developed that actively teaching a weight transfer means having the child make large upper body movements, as they will be unable to shift weight through foot and leg movements.

 

I concur with Kneale. Follow me, stay in my tracks, point your toes where you want to go. Its simple, and works most of the time.

 

Further, the suggestion of an untrained parent using a ski leash is a poor one as well. Most parents using leashes don't know how to use them. They keep tension in the leash, and use the leash to control the child's speed. If you use a leash like that, you are ingraining in the child's head that when he is on skis, safety is in the back seat. Bad idea.

 

Oh, and after further review, I've taught a couple thousand lessons at this point.

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

 

You've taught hundreds of lessons? Great. So have I, and I agree with Kneale. Who by the way, has taught thousands, if not tens of thousands of lessons, considering he has been a full cert instructor for almost 50 years. Active weight transfer for a 3 year old is just teaching them to throw their upper body around, rather than turning from their feet. A child that young has a center of gravity that is so high, and the muscles are so far from developed that actively teaching a weight transfer means having the child make large upper body movements, as they will be unable to shift weight through foot and leg movements.

 

I concur with Kneale. Follow me, stay in my tracks, point your toes where you want to go. Its simple, and works most of the time.

 

Further, the suggestion of an untrained parent using a ski leash is a poor one as well. Most parents using leashes don't know how to use them. They keep tension in the leash, and use the leash to control the child's speed. If you use a leash like that, you are ingraining in the child's head that when he is on skis, safety is in the back seat. Bad idea.

 

Oh, and after further review, I've taught a couple thousand lessons at this point.

 

So this has turned into a bragging contest. You win. I'm not much of a bragger. However, I've seen really bad 50y + instructors that have been teaching full time all their lives. And great young rookies on their first year. The amount of lessons really has not much credit in my book. That's why I only wrote "hundreds" and not "millions" hahaa.... Anyway, I respect both of your opinions and hats off to such long and successful ski instructor carriers.

 

I agree, the leash is not a very good ide for a 3y old / untrained parent combo. But the fault lies not with the leash but with the untrained parent. Untrained parents should not try to teach their children, period. Worst cases are parents that wedge with their kids between their legs with their ski poles across in front for the kid to hold on to.

 

Its funny that so few instructors see the benefit in children learning outside ski pressure right from the start. The active weight transfer is not very dramatic. Usually just a hint of angulation. Keeps them away from banking. Never gone wrong with it. Only thing that can go wrong is that they don't learn how to do it. The very common habit of banking and heavy rotation is very hard to get rid of later on. Maybe I'm doing it the hard way but getting it right from the very beginning will greatly benefit the student. I'm sure you think the other way around. That's fine with me. There are many ways of getting it right.

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post
 

 

So this has turned into a bragging contest. You win. I'm not much of a bragger. However, I've seen really bad 50y + instructors that have been teaching full time all their lives. And great young rookies on their first year. The amount of lessons really has not much credit in my book. That's why I only wrote "hundreds" and not "millions" hahaa.... Anyway, I respect both of your opinions and hats off to such long and successful ski instructor carriers.

 

I agree, the leash is not a very good ide for a 3y old / untrained parent combo. But the fault lies not with the leash but with the untrained parent. Untrained parents should not try to teach their children, period. Worst cases are parents that wedge with their kids between their legs with their ski poles across in front for the kid to hold on to.

 

Its funny that so few instructors see the benefit in children learning outside ski pressure right from the start. The active weight transfer is not very dramatic. Usually just a hint of angulation. Keeps them away from banking. Never gone wrong with it. Only thing that can go wrong is that they don't learn how to do it. The very common habit of banking and heavy rotation is very hard to get rid of later on. Maybe I'm doing it the hard way but getting it right from the very beginning will greatly benefit the student. I'm sure you think the other way around. That's fine with me. There are many ways of getting it right.


I wasn't really bragging for the sake of building myself up. However, when you contradict an instructor who has been at the highest level of certification for well over 40 years with the comment "I've taught hundreds of lessons..." You come off as a bit full of yourself, and really just comes off badly. My comment about how many lessons was just continuing the theme to show you how poorly it comes across.

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 


I wasn't really bragging for the sake of building myself up. However, when you contradict an instructor who has been at the highest level of certification for well over 40 years with the comment "I've taught hundreds of lessons..." You come off as a bit full of yourself, and really just comes off badly. My comment about how many lessons was just continuing the theme to show you how poorly it comes across.

 

My bad. But I did politely try ignore mr 40+ comment and disregarding my credibility so I was not disrespectful IMHO.

post #18 of 19

Get some real short skis so you can ski the same type of turns your child will.  Also very helpful for skating around and picking up said child.

post #19 of 19
Wade, try to change your thinking about the wedge and speed control. Use turning and the shape of the turn for speed control. If your child is wedging to slow down it will be very difficult for him to learn turning. You will need to select very gentle terrain to allow the learning of turning the feet. Simply twisting the foot and guiding the ski across the hill. Encourage complete turns. As he progresses you can venture higher. If you rush him and he gets in a deep wedge to arrest his speed you will reinforce negative movements.
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