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My never-ever 10-year old wants to snowboard...any reason to start him on skis?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I am planning to take my two sons (both never-evers) on a four-day ski trip this season (most likely to one of the big Colorado spots, but Jackson Hole would be great too).  Anyway, I only ski and my 14-year old will probably only be interested in skiing, but my 10-year old really wants to snowboard.  Here is my question:

 

Is there any reason why I should start him off on skis before transitioning to a snowboard or would it be better for him to start out with a board (and lessons!) and go from there?  I have never snowboarded before so I am largely clueless and wouldn't think there would be any reason to start him on skis if his heart is to be a 'boarder.

post #2 of 10

Save him from the traverses!  Forget snowboarding!

 

(I have no real idea about your question...)

 

Mike

post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lofcaudio View Post

 wouldn't think there would be any reason to start him on skis if his heart is to be a 'boarder.

You answered your own question. Let him do what he wants to do. However insist he wear at least a helmet and wrist guards as he will take some very  hard hits the first day or two. Knee and elbow guards are a good idea too and they don't show. Think skateboarding armour. Many, many beginning boarders break their wrists when learning and that will ruin your vacation faster than making him ski when he doesn't want to. 

post #4 of 10

The traditional wisdom on this is that skiing is easier to initially learn then snowboarding is...  But once you get the "hang" of a snowboard, you're off-and-running (or sliding, as the case may be).

 

Snowboarders only have one edge in the ground...  when you lose it, you go down -- hard.  Not saying that beginner skiers don't have the occasional hard fall as well, but the first day or two on a board seems to be legendarily painful / difficult to get through.

 

All that said...  if your son wants to board...  seems like the best chance of having him embrace snowsports is by starting him with the sport that he actually wants to participate in.  Starting anything with the attitude of "I don't want to do this..." is not a great recipe for success.

post #5 of 10

i second the wrist guard comment...

 

i tried Snowboarding once and i broke my wrist the fist day (luckly i had first been skiing for 4 of the 6 days of the trip)... when you fall forward the instinct is to break the fall with your arms and the wrist will take most of the force!

post #6 of 10

If he wants to snowboard..let him try snowboarding. Here is what I did, take this proven method with a grain of salt. My son wanted to try snowboarding so I let him try...twice. First time was a freezing cold boiler plate day..miserable by anyone's account. Next time was a fresh dump day with about 20" of fresh. Neither time was fun for a 10 year old. It didn't work out well for him either time and in the long run, he decided that he liked skiing better. Letting kids snowboard? Thats just not good parenting. 

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
 

Letting kids snowboard? Thats just not good parenting. 

 

I agree, but I'm already a failure since my 15-year old daughter is a Duke basketball fan.  Kids these days!

post #8 of 10

You're most important task is ensuring a successful day on snow. Regardless of which sport you choose, make sure your son is well fed, well hydrated, warm, comfortable and having fun. Don't assume that he can go all day. Be prepared to stay till last run if he's having the time of his life, but also be prepared to you suddenly needing to go in early if you detect the "pooped" signs. Also make sure that there is no pressure. If he does not like one, let him try the other. If he does not like either be prepared to offer other alternatives. Be aware that the national average for first timers converting into regular participants is about 16%. In a family situation, the odds your son will enjoy a snow sport is higher but still not guaranteed.

 

When snowboarding first started to become mainstream, the learning curve was faster on a board than on skis. With the advent of shaped skis, the learning curve for skiing caught up. The biggest factor for learning curve currently is previous sports experience. If someone has experience with forward facing sliding sports like inline skating, ice skating or water skiing then they will tend to pick up skiing quicker. If someone has experience with sideways sliding sports like wake boarding,surfing and skateboarding, then snowboarding will be easier to learn. The easier a sport is to learn, the more likely one will enjoy it. Although not relevant to your personal situation, the conventional wisdom is that skiing is easier for children under age 7 to learn. This is because children develop physically from the center out and snowboarding requires more ankle movement than skiing to manipulate the edge changes. Burton is working hard on equipment design and teaching techniques to address this. I have successfully taught 3 year old children to ride, but this requires more hands on teaching and careful terrain management than when teaching young first time skiers.

 

Helmets should be mandated by parents for either sport. Wrist guards are an important piece of safety equipment for first time riders. Sprained wrists are more common than broken wrists, but are usually avoided with proper lessons.  Modern teaching techniques minimize "slamming". The most common trigger for wrist injuries (and tailbone injuries) in snowboarding is catching the downhill edge. Modern beginner boards have a high edge bevel (e.g. 4 degrees) to minimize the risk of catching the downhill edge.. Losing an edge to the uphill side of the board rarely causes a hard fall.

 

Although many schools do not teach how to fall in lessons, I prefer to teach first time riders the "secret sound" method of falling. Practice this method by getting on your knees, then making fists with each hand, then crossing your arms over your chest, then crashing onto your chest. As you make contact with the ground say the secret sound: "OOOMPH!" That makes you exhale on contact (don't land and then say oomph or say oomph and then land) and lessens the impact. The secret part of this technique is that if you try to remember everything as you are falling, you won't get past make a fist before making contact. If you think "oomph" as you're falling you can get all 3 steps done in time to prevent injury.You can practice this at home on the lawn before your trip.

post #9 of 10

I would add crash pad shorts to the list. The worst feeling in the world is landing on your tailbone. You immediately feel like you're going to explode from both ends.

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post
 

I would add crash pad shorts to the list. The worst feeling in the world is landing on your tailbone. You immediately feel like you're going to explode from both ends.


Or insist on a Michelin Man suit for your's son's safe survival.  If that doesn't get him on the right equipment, nothing will!!!

 

(Tongue in cheek snide comment -- apologies...)

 

Mike

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