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Child lessons - done. What next?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi, 

New to the forum.  

 

My 6 year old daughter learned to ski this year.  She took 2 1/2 day lessons in early-Feb (Alta), then 2 1/2 day lessons in early-March (Boreal), and pretty much "graduated" from the beginner lessons.  We went this last weekend for two days (Bear Valley), so she could continue practicing.  

 

We spent the first day almost exclusively on the green runs.  We tried a blue run twice, but since it had just snowed a couple of inches and wasn't groomed, she had some difficulty with the run, and said she wanted to go back to the green runs we were doing earlier.  On the second day, we did a few runs on the greens, and I told her I thought the blue run would have been groomed based on seeing the grooming done to the green runs we were on.  So she went on the blue and loved it.  Then she said "Mommy, why don't we go that way next time?'"  So I check the map, and see that to get to the blue, we'd have to pass through a short black.  She say "OK".  So we go down it.  Falls a bit, but pretty much hops back up.  

 

So when I get down and turn around to take a video, I see that she's plowing straight down the hill.  Doesn't know enough to complain, says she loves it, let's do that again!  

 

But I know she can't keep that up over the course of a couple days ski trip (for the future), plus I'm sure it's not safe just to come barreling down (mostly in control, until she loses it toward the bottom once in a while).

 

I know this season is pretty much over, but what should I do for next season?  And how do I get her to make turns?  On the green runs, I was criss-crossing across the slope, and she did OK following me.  I know she learned pizza wedge, and pizza-type turns (not sure what thats called), and can ski "french fries".  I just think the blues and blacks get her going too fast too quickly, so she just plows it the whole way down.  

 

Should I find her a resort with a lot of green runs so she can practice turns and not get bored (boredom is why she agreed to going down the blue run and suggested the other black/blue run), or have her keep working on blue runs to get comfortable with the speed enough that she'll consider making turns?  Or put her in intermediate lesson (group or private) at the start of the new season (she doesn't take well to learning stuff from me; either that or I'm just impatient)?

 

Thanks, and sorry so wordy!

 

Mod note: moved from Beginner Zone to Family Skiing Oct 2015

post #2 of 12
Do you have a ski area near your house? If so go three times a week and start with green runs when she has good technique and can keep parallel then hit blue runs and when she has good form then go to blacks. If you have a ski area nearby check into a children's program or race program. Let the professionals teach her one day per week and go have fun a couple other days or nights. Keep it fun.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

We're in the SF Bay Area, so the closest is Tahoe at 3.5+ hrs away.  Not terribly far, but not something I want to do every weekend (let alone 3x a week!).  We made it out 3 times this year, and I expect that to be about what we'll average, assuming we have a normal rain/snow year next year (we hope!).  It's been a terrible snow year this season, so I think that has helped in that the resorts haven't been super busy when we've gone.  I know my daughter gets a bit nervous when she hears someone carving down the hill behind her.

 

Sounds like my best plan will be to find a larger resort with lots of greens so she doesnt get bored and get her to do more practice following my trail so she gets turning down better.

post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by lljc00 View Post
 

Hi, 

New to the forum.  

 

My 6 year old daughter learned to ski this year.  She took 2 1/2 day lessons in early-Feb (Alta), then 2 1/2 day lessons in early-March (Boreal), and pretty much "graduated" from the beginner lessons.  We went this last weekend for two days (Bear Valley), so she could continue practicing.  

 

We spent the first day almost exclusively on the green runs.  We tried a blue run twice, but since it had just snowed a couple of inches and wasn't groomed, she had some difficulty with the run, and said she wanted to go back to the green runs we were doing earlier.  On the second day, we did a few runs on the greens, and I told her I thought the blue run would have been groomed based on seeing the grooming done to the green runs we were on.  So she went on the blue and loved it.  Then she said "Mommy, why don't we go that way next time?'"  So I check the map, and see that to get to the blue, we'd have to pass through a short black.  She say "OK".  So we go down it.  Falls a bit, but pretty much hops back up.  

 

So when I get down and turn around to take a video, I see that she's plowing straight down the hill.  Doesn't know enough to complain, says she loves it, let's do that again!  

 

But I know she can't keep that up over the course of a couple days ski trip (for the future), plus I'm sure it's not safe just to come barreling down (mostly in control, until she loses it toward the bottom once in a while).

 

I know this season is pretty much over, but what should I do for next season?  And how do I get her to make turns?  On the green runs, I was criss-crossing across the slope, and she did OK following me.  I know she learned pizza wedge, and pizza-type turns (not sure what thats called), and can ski "french fries".  I just think the blues and blacks get her going too fast too quickly, so she just plows it the whole way down.  

 

Should I find her a resort with a lot of green runs so she can practice turns and not get bored (boredom is why she agreed to going down the blue run and suggested the other black/blue run), or have her keep working on blue runs to get comfortable with the speed enough that she'll consider making turns?  Or put her in intermediate lesson (group or private) at the start of the new season (she doesn't take well to learning stuff from me; either that or I'm just impatient)?

 

Thanks, and sorry so wordy!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lljc00 View Post
 

We're in the SF Bay Area, so the closest is Tahoe at 3.5+ hrs away.  Not terribly far, but not something I want to do every weekend (let alone 3x a week!).  We made it out 3 times this year, and I expect that to be about what we'll average, assuming we have a normal rain/snow year next year (we hope!).  It's been a terrible snow year this season, so I think that has helped in that the resorts haven't been super busy when we've gone.  I know my daughter gets a bit nervous when she hears someone carving down the hill behind her.

 

Sounds like my best plan will be to find a larger resort with lots of greens so she doesnt get bored and get her to do more practice following my trail so she gets turning down better.


Welcome to EpicSki!  I started my daughter at a small mountain in northern VA when she was 4.  Happily she was ready for blues at Alta by the time she was 7 for a spring break trips with friends.  The Alta Ski School is wonderful.

 

Early season is a good time for lessons.  Definitely worth starting the season with lessons.  I would spend the week before Christmas at our home hill.  Had my daughter in ski school 2-3 times that week until about age 8.  After that I would have her do a group lesson once or twice that week, plus one more time the first weekend we went.  By then she usually had a friend to ski with, as well as skiing with me.  Of course, as a tween she was happy to ski all day with a friend but not quite as enthusiastic skiing with Mom. :rolleyes

 

Certainly do not need a big mountain.  There are a few small places in north Tahoe like Homewood.  Of course, definitely need a better winter to open up options.

 

I did not teach my daughter.  (I'm an older parent.)  But I did get advice from her instructors of what to help her practice.  Playing follow-the-leader to make turns, as well as Red-Yellow-Green light are what I remember most before she was skiing the harder blacks with parallel turns all the time.  I would only make comments about her skiing a few times during a day we were free skiing.  Usually just re-enforcing whatever her latest instructor mentioned.  As she got older, sometimes she wanted me to watch and give a "grade" (A/B/C) after she skied for a short section.  Even at that point, I would only do that a few times on a given day. 

post #5 of 12

About the lack of turning . . . very common with younger kids.  Especially those who like to go fast.

 

Have you tried challenging her to make X turns before a clearly visible landmark down the slope?

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

So sounds like I need to learn some good games for her to play that make turning fun.  I hadn't gotten any suggestions from her instructor before we parted ways - I guess I was just thinking that the rest of the year/next year would be just following me on the green runs, and then the season after, step it up with lessons.  I didn't anticipate that she'd be interested in the blues (let alone blacks!) so soon.  Kids know no fear!

 

She has one friend that can ski blues, and almost blacks, so I'm hoping she catches up to her level in a couple years (like, when she's 8) when I feel better about letting her go partner up with her friend.  Of course, if she catches up with her, then she's caught up with me, and it'll be more fun for me to ski what she is (cuz skiing greens, and having to slow down for her to catch up, kinda bites :-(  )

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by lljc00 View Post
 

So sounds like I need to learn some good games for her to play that make turning fun.  I hadn't gotten any suggestions from her instructor before we parted ways - I guess I was just thinking that the rest of the year/next year would be just following me on the green runs, and then the season after, step it up with lessons.  I didn't anticipate that she'd be interested in the blues (let alone blacks!) so soon.  Kids know no fear!

 

She has one friend that can ski blues, and almost blacks, so I'm hoping she catches up to her level in a couple years (like, when she's 8) when I feel better about letting her go partner up with her friend.  Of course, if she catches up with her, then she's caught up with me, and it'll be more fun for me to ski what she is (cuz skiing greens, and having to slow down for her to catch up, kinda bites :-(  )


If you invest the time and money in lessons and time on snow, my guess is that she is going to surprise you next season.  Especially if she has a friend who is a little better.

 

There is a good reason why my ski area allows 7 year olds to take group adv. beginner/intemediate lessons.  By then, they are much stronger and more ready to listen and learn.  I went through that phase with my daughter, and seeing it again with my friend's children who started at age 4 and 6 two seasons ago.  What the now 8yo can do is way more than just easy blues.  And he only gets to ski a couple weekends a season.

 

I had to work on my own skiing to stay ahead of my daughter by the time she was 10-11. :)

post #8 of 12

If you would like specific suggestions from instructors of fun ways to help your daughter ski better, considering starting a thread in Ski Instruction.

 

Here's an example by a parent of a 4yo:

http://www.epicski.com/t/132803/my-4-year-old-likes-skiing-best-practices

 

Another example for a parent of a 4yo and 7yo.  An old thread but still has some useful ideas.

http://www.epicski.com/t/8416/teaching-children-to-ski

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestions and links.  Follow the leader sounds like my first activity for next season.  

 

So it's it a bad idea to think about getting some sort of rear-view mirror to attach to my helmet?  When she was following me, she'd really surprise me with how close or far behind me she was.  On the steep slopes, where she just plowed straight down, I was surprised at how close behind me she was.  But then on the green runs where she was criss-crossing more, or even some of the narrower blue cross-mountain trail, I'd turn back and she was a mile away! I was telling her to french fry through the flat areas, but often she'd slow down so much that she stopped, and it would take her a while to get to me (no poles yet) or I'd hike back a bit so I could pull her with my pole (these spots werent completely flat, but she seemed not to be able to build up the glide by skating it out).  It would be nice to regulate my speed better with hers, and turning around all the time is kind of awkward (and I can't ski backwards).

post #10 of 12

When my daughter was following me (age 7 or less), I didn't go that far before stopping.  Especially after she was taught to do a hockey stop.  It was great practice for her to try to spray me, so stopping was a fun activity.  On flat sections, I would have her go in front of me.  I was far more interested in having her keep going than worrying about turns.  Then I could easily give her a push or pull as needed.  A pull means having her grab the end of a pole and get a "slingshot" assist.  Note that this only happens was going really slow.

 

For what it's worth, I learned to glance behind me while doing a turn without stopping.  Also eventually learned to ski backwards and to do a 360 for a quick look.  Became obvious watching instructors that those are really useful skills when dealing with kids.  At least the ones who are young enough to actually be slower than their parent.

 

As for poles, I didn't get poles until she was a solid blue skier (remember, small ski area so a blue is more like a harder western green).  Even after she had her own poles, she didn't use them for lessons for another season.  I left it up to her instructors to decide when she was ready for poles.  My friend's son started using them when he was 7.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

She did learn about hockey stops, so next time I'll slow down and have her hockey stop and get snow on me.  I do think she'll like playing that game :-)

 

She almost always wanted me to go first, even on the flats, so I didn't get a chance to give her a push.  Maybe next season, she'll have matured enough that she gets predicting the slow spots and planning to not get stuck.  

 

Thanks so much for your help!  

post #12 of 12

Three requirements for kids---safety, fun, skills, in that order.

 

Do lots of follow-me games with her.  Don't put her in a place where she feels at advantage to power-wedge straight down hill.  Play follow-me across hills, lots of little turns, tell her to follow the tracks your skis make, not follow you so she doesn't short-cut the tracks across the hill.  Find easy paths through trees on the sides of the runs where she can make tight little turns, ups & downs, and lots of fun while the skills develop.  Make a game of carrying something safe between her boots to prevent the wedge, such as a dog-bone shaped car wash sponge, extra mitten, etc.

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