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Drills

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm taking my 5 y/o daughter out on the snow for the first time and am hoping that someone can share a few basic drills with me to get her feeling comfortable (I would put her in a class, but the age cut-off is 7).  I definitely don't want her first attempt at skiing to be a terrible experience.  We'll be in a flat/shallow grade training area.  I'm not planning on putting on my skis. . .unless she progresses to a point where it's easier to put them than it is to move around in my boots. 

 

Any advice you can give is appreciated. 

post #2 of 7

Talk to the ski school director. Every ski school has options for 5 year-olds. 

 

Just that you used the word "drill" tells me this won't end well for either of you if you try to do this yourself. Better to have your daughter happy and wanting more.

 

She'll do much better playing basic games with other kids like "duck duck goose" in ski boots... 

 

If you're going to ignore my advice, take the poles away at least. walk around in the snow. Have a "race" in just ski boots - use the poles to set the course. 

 

Have hot chocolate. Build a snowman. 

 

Put some jello powder on the hill. Have her spread it with her ski. (ski ops might get fussy about this. Try to avoid a red colour.)

 

Do a flat run. Work up to making a wedge. She might need you to hold her wedge on a flat to get the feeling for it. You may need to ski backwards holding the wedge for a few runs along the almost-flat terrain. 

 

If you really wanna teach, I'd recommend getting your level 1 instructor cert... 

 

Day 1 for little kids, when the parent doesn't really know how to teach, is just about having fun. Any learning is a bonus. 


Edited by Metaphor_ - 2/2/15 at 12:06pm
post #3 of 7

Well, it looks like from a previous posting that you live near Winchester, VA. The two closest resorts to that area are Bryce and Whitetail (where I teach). Both offer instruction to children under 8, but do not allow kids that age in regular group lessons. 

 

Quote:
 I definitely don't want her first attempt at skiing to be a terrible experience.

This is why those resorts don't accept kids under 8 in regular ski lessons. They also want successful first time ski experiences. Bryce offers a kinder school product. Whitetail offer a kids mountain camp product. Whitetail just expanded the capacity of the kids camp program this year and we're still selling out on busy days. Whitetail and Bryce must know a little something about how to be successful. But the national average for a successful first day (as measured by skiing at least 3 days the following season) is around 15%. There is a legitimate reason for trying to up those odds of success. 

 

One way to increase the odds is a private lesson. Both resorts accept 5 yos in private lessons. Both resorts accept parents in the same lesson with the child. Whitetail even has a parent/child lesson product called "Ski with Me" where the first half of the lesson is spent teaching the child and the second half is spent teaching the parent how to teach the child.

 

If you insist on the DIY option, the standard routine we use for first time children starts with making sure the equipment is right (e.g. boots buckled tight, no pants tucked in the boots), a bunch of walking around drills mimicking skiing movements (e.g. wedge position, side steps, walking circles, hopping, turning around,  etc - anything will do), one ski drills (try doing the same drills as walking around) and two ski drills (again the same as walking around, plus shuffling feet, a straight run down a short 10-20 foot stretch and turns left and right). If your child is athletic and has the right gear (shaped skis with a short radius sidecut) and you have the slope space available you can choose to start your child with parallel turns instead of the standard wedge turn progression. There are additional special drills for that (e.g. one ski skiing and dragging the heel of the free foot). During all these drills you will need to identify and correct problems, offer praise for success at the right times and make things fun by turning drills into games. O yeah and you also need to mix in some break and play time with the learning time.

 

We often see parents doing DIY teaching of children. Some are successful. Some aren't. I've personally witnessed a dad DIY teaching his 9 month and seen the amazing results of his teaching skills in his older 2 and 4 yo children. I've also seen some kids that need a super star instructor to be successfully taught to ski. If you observe instructors teaching children to ski, the process looks simple enough. If you've taught to children to ski and seen excellent children's instructors at work, the process seems more like magic. Your mileage may vary.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

Well, it looks like from a previous posting that you live near Winchester, VA. The two closest resorts to that area are Bryce and Whitetail (where I teach). Both offer instruction to children under 8, but do not allow kids that age in regular group lessons.

We're in Waynesboro, VA.  We took advantage of the 'Monday Madness' at Massanutten yesterday and I'm happy to report that she had a great time.  Started her off walking around in the boots a bit, then went to the one ski drills to get her used to sliding.  She was having a blast going down the shallow-grade training slope.  My back isn't too happy with me this morning (I'm 6'3", so bending over and picking up a kid a lot with skis on isn't a motion I do a lot), but it was worth it if she had fun.  She was getting the hang of the wedge by the time we decided to pack it in and get some dinner (her choice to quit).  The slope was really icy, so I'm curious to see how she'd do on some better conditions. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post
 

Talk to the ski school director. Every ski school has options for 5 year-olds. 

 

Just that you used the word "drill" tells me this won't end well for either of you if you try to do this yourself. Better to have your daughter happy and wanting more.

 

 

The only option would be private lessons and knowing my daughter the way I do, I wasn't willing to shell out that kind of money just to have her decide at the last minute that she didn't want to try it. 

 

Drill might not have been the best term to use.  Exercises or games would probably have been better, no?

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by WayBeau View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

Well, it looks like from a previous posting that you live near Winchester, VA. The two closest resorts to that area are Bryce and Whitetail (where I teach). Both offer instruction to children under 8, but do not allow kids that age in regular group lessons.

We're in Waynesboro, VA.  We took advantage of the 'Monday Madness' at Massanutten yesterday and I'm happy to report that she had a great time.  Started her off walking around in the boots a bit, then went to the one ski drills to get her used to sliding.  She was having a blast going down the shallow-grade training slope.  My back isn't too happy with me this morning (I'm 6'3", so bending over and picking up a kid a lot with skis on isn't a motion I do a lot), but it was worth it if she had fun.  She was getting the hang of the wedge by the time we decided to pack it in and get some dinner (her choice to quit).  The slope was really icy, so I'm curious to see how she'd do on some better conditions. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post
 

Talk to the ski school director. Every ski school has options for 5 year-olds. 

 

Just that you used the word "drill" tells me this won't end well for either of you if you try to do this yourself. Better to have your daughter happy and wanting more.

 

 

The only option would be private lessons and knowing my daughter the way I do, I wasn't willing to shell out that kind of money just to have her decide at the last minute that she didn't want to try it. 

 

Drill might not have been the best term to use.  Exercises or games would probably have been better, no?


Glad you had a good time at Massanutten.

 

At Massanutten, the age 7 minimum is only for group lessons, either beginner (two 1-hr sessions) or Adv. Beginner/Intermediate (90 min).  Full day school for kids (9:30-2:00) starts at age 4.  Since the kids gets 3 sessions of instruction, plus snack, lunch, rentals, and lift ticket, it's a reasonable price.  My daughter started at 4 and was skiing blacks in the southeast in her third season thanks to Mnut instructors.  She did ski school one day each time we went (Dec, 2-3 weekends) until she was old enough for group lessons or simply skiing with friends.

post #6 of 7
Massanutten's Slope Sliders program is fantastic for the kids. My boys did a week a year in the program for several years and loved it. More importantly they became excellent skiers.
post #7 of 7

As other have suggested, play games in the snow. It is better to simply get her accustomed to moving around with boards strapped to her feet than try to really teach skiing in a traditional manner.  Just find a flat with a possibly very gentle slope attached to it that she can maneuver around on and maybe get some sliding in but will not need any speed control mechanisms.

 

What I did with my kids was wait for a snowfall, put skis on em and sent them out into the back yard to tromp around. I think they wre 3 or 4 at this time. 

 

A couple fun things to try:

 

1) "Twirlybirds".   Baby steps just turning 360 degrees in the same spot, both directions. This helps to get used to having long extensions on the feet without stepping all over yourself. Helps develop independent leg action and rotary skills necessary for direction change. 

 

2) Walking sliding. You can use the slope adjacent to the flat. Start on the flat, walking in bigger and bigger circles, with those circles starting to be slightly up the incline, then learning to begin to glide down as the slope will allow. Both directions.  If she is comfortble continue making the circles bigger, climbing *a bit* more each time until she gets the feeling of gliding. The circles, without thinking, teach direction change without teaching converging action of the skis. Walking can transition to shuffling. And once comfortable, the shuffling will almost automatically turn into ski turns. 

 

Do not rush thru the process.  Use the circles. They work if you work your way gradually through the progression. If any hesitation shows up, you've gone too fast, so take it back a level. Good luck.

 

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