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Keys to Kid having a good experience at ski school - Page 2

post #31 of 37
post #32 of 37
Thread Starter 
You would wait to teach a kid to ski until they are at least 8? I'm the thread starter so certainly no expert but that is interesting. I mean using the bike as an example a kid can learn to ride a bike before 4 and I personally didn't find it that maddening teaching me son. Run behind him holding the back of his seat for maybe a couple weeks 20 minutes a day and they crash some and then it clicks

Now whether he actually learns to ski or not isn't all that important. What matters is that he learns to love skiing and being in the snow. Personally don't care whether he progresses as a skier as long as he is out there having fun. All that being said I believe adequately preparing our kid for the activities he is doing greatly increases his chances of enjoying them which is the main purpose behind starting this thread.
post #33 of 37
Originally Posted by browntom View Post

I'd say wait 3 to 5 years but maybe thats an entirely different discussion. 1 hour or less lesson with a private instructor who is good and patient or do it yourself but most parents are not patient teaching their own kid and many mountains dont have a public space available that is appropriate. the 1st timer lesson is pretty straightforward. I suppose its possible to teach a 4 yr old and even with a group but its maddening as many who try to teach their kids to ride a bike will tell you. He can practice some of the drills before hand. Practice side stepping, basically walking sideways. Rotating the ankles, ie make the wedge shape with no boots or skis on and rotate the foot left and right. Thats actually one of the biggies because little kids can't do that. You may notice he cant do that barefoot, he will have to do that to ski but dont force it because he is not developmentally able to do that, (I refer you to my first statement about waiting but many parents claim there kid "skied" at a young age). I've seen people ride their kids down like a chariot with a leashe or have some edgie wedgie on while their parents yelled at them but I'm not sure I've ever seen a little kid actually skiing much. 

Things like standing on skis, turning, sliding on skis kind of need to be done on skis in the snow. you have to start somewhere somehow I guess. He can practice putting them on if you rent from home or have your own. This includes taking them off and pushing the release. Also just walking around in ski boots. Tip the instructor well beforehand and let them know you're more interested in him having fun than getting it (i'm not entirely sure how tipping beforehand will play out). And that depends how they train their instructors. I always/ half always felt pressured to get results and have them ski when really they should have been walking around more, playing duck duck goose, throwing snow at each other or something like that. you can't just send them down and have them pile up in a heap at the bottom. Its one of the bigger money makers for resorts and they overbook like mad, so frustrating and the last place most instructors want to be. kids piling up at the bottom, they fall over just standing in line, they fall over on the magic carpet, they fall getting off the magic carpet. That's why i say get a private with a patient good instructor. 

You've obviously had very different experiences to me.

I skied maybe 5 one or two hour "days" with my son when he was two and a half. We went to a small local hill, and started out with an edgy wedgy and a leash, both of which were gone by day three or so. He needed a lot of help getting on and off, but was riding a chair, and skiing the bunny slope with some control (he could turn and stop when I asked him to) by the end of the season. He was constantly asking me if we could go skiing, and was almost always disappointed when we finished up for the day.

The following season, right after he turned three, we took a couple of private lessons together. He did great in those, learned a lot, and it helped me in terms of how to better communicate concepts to him. We had around ten days together on snow and averaged 3 or 4 hours each day out.

Last year, at age 4, he got around 15 days on snow. The end of season highlight was a trip to Snowbird where he did 4 days in ski school. He had a great time skiing with the other kids, the instructors were fantastic, and his skiing improved immensely. By the time we left, he had skied some of the easier runs in mineral basin, and had a few tram laps under his belt. He left the class having really developed his skills, and is now a (mostly) parallel skier. He had the time of his life being on a boys ski trip with his dad and his god father, and especially loved the hour or two we had together after ski school finished each day where he could show us where he skied, teach us the games he played with his class, and show off what he'd learned.

Different kids are ready to get on the mountain at different stages of their developmeant I guess, but I couldn't disagree more with the sentiment that a four year old is too young for ski school.
post #34 of 37
I've had a five year old in a class that was amazing. Not amazing for a five year old, but a much older kid, even adult. He was only in class where the min age was 7 because his father was involved with ski school. The amazing thing was he skied just like his dad who was a very good skier. He took up snowboarding by 6.

The kids I've worked with in the under 7 category at the upper levels are really good. They'll tire you out. Woods can be tough because they're so small they can go places you can't and at higher speed. It would have been normal or most likely late for them to start at 4.

So 4 is not unusual.
post #35 of 37

Maybe not the best place to rant about the puppy mills. Organized factory process of sending kids down the shoot who have little chance of success. These are common complaints/ criticisms of the process and not what you're interested in. The one guy above took his kid to a small incline in the backyard or somewhere for a year or two then had multiple private lessons and THEN is happy he had an ok time at snow school. "Fantastic and wonderful instructors," that sounds like a sales pitch from a snow sports admin. It's pretty much straight from the brochure. I dont think that much prep is necessary. It can be fine, most go off fairly ok. And I only suggest do one private as a better alternative, would be better than being one of 10+ kids getting some limited attention standing around in an overcrowded line. Certainly do something with your kid. Any kind of play or physical activity. Some kids are good, one thing is if they ever played any sports before or have coordination. Many adults in beginner classes have no balance, coordination or agility. Part of the longer class and daycare is you the parent get some time for yourself which is fine. Focusing on fun is ok but it's not a lot of fun when you can't do something and it's possibly physically impossible. Thats exactly what the edgie wedgie is for which proves the point that they really can't yet. The main thing he'll be doing is simply trying his hardest to make a wedge which shouldn't be that difficult. theres much more to be worrying about and if thats the common place they get stuck i think its too early. It may happen but if the people trying to sell it say the kids were amazing even for adults then that is not your typical situation or it wouldn't be very amazing would it? "If death were so certain I wouldn't be here would i?" Everyones kid is special, thats the dream they're selling you at the puppy mill with the conveyor belt, an assembly line of pitchers, catchers and lift attendants. Sorry a mindless rant to waste time, but i'll defend it if you want to know. Of course i dont think its a good setup for people of any age. 20 minutes a couple days a week would be much better than one crash course in 45 minutes which i guess no ones really expecting they'll learn to ski anyway. if you'd done what wade did 2 years in advance i'd say you got a good shot. Showing up and dropping your kid off is a different experience and being the one in front of 20 kids 5 times a day 5 days a week is a different experience still. but I only did it for one season years ago at a small local place. do as you wish, the mountains encourage it. neither of these testimonials are the typical situation though, both were already trained for years before ski school.   

post #36 of 37
Kids going through "puppy mills" come out pretty good. From what I've seen. Just doing it consistently yields results.

Let's see, a lift is 10 minutes up. That gives you 10 more minutes under your plan.
Go ahead, defend all you want. But use the return key to make paragraphs so the text doesn't look like it's words on the side of a van.
post #37 of 37
Thread Starter 
So we are winding up out time here at Northstar and thought I would share my experience with our almost 4 year old. I certainly made a few mistakes on my approach but he still keeps talking about going skiing and tubing so I'll consider it a success.

First day we had him in ski school all day long which was too much for him. I've never seen him so tired at the end of a day. A bit of misunderstanding on my end as I thought they took more breaks than they did. I think he was on the mountain about 5 hours that first day which quite frankly he never recovered from energy wise.

Second day we almost cancelled because his energy wasn't thefe but he wanted to go back as long as his mom and dad could come with him and the instructor was fine with that. He actually was the only one in his class that morning so it basically was a private lesson but it was snowing like crazy which isn't ideal for such a little guy. He skied for about two hours and then we took him back to condo to play with grandma. Did good and had fun but the conditions were pretty tough for him.

Third day he was super tired so we didn't do ski school. He went tubing in the afternoon and then practiced skiing down a green with mom and dad for about 30 minutes and did great. He had trouble with the wedge in ski school so got the edgie wedgie snd that helped him a lot.

We will hopefully ski a bit more tomorrow and do more tubing.

So my take aways from the trip:

1. Until he has the skiing greens down I plan to hire a private instructor for an hour in the morning to ski with him, mom and dad. We will then work on what we learned for another hour after that and then energy permitting again in afternoon. This will allow us to better monitor his energy levels so he doesn't get so exhausted after one day. After that I'll reconsider ski school.

2. Incorporate plenty of tubing, sledding activities as those are a blast for young kids.

3. Plan longer trips so we don't feel the need to try to cram so much in a short period of time.

Anyways thanks again for all the help.
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