I have a 14 yr. old nephew that loves skiing. He lives in Hong Kong and Feb.this year was the 1st time he travelled by himself from HK to Vancouver to spend a week skiing with me at Whistler (WB).
Before WB, he skied twice on a wk long school arranged ski trip to Verbier. WB was the 1st time I ever skied with him and on the 1st day, I realized he clearly was a better and faster skier than me. We spent 6 days at WB, he skied with me 3 days and took 3 day group lessons. Originally I signed up 1 day lesson for him and was planning to ski w/ him the remaining 5 days. He enjoyed his 1st lesson so much that he asked me to sign him up for 2 more lessons, which I happily obliged.
During the 3 days I skied w/ him,I felt bad for the following reasons: 1) that I was such a slow poke and he always had to wait for me at the trial split or chair lift. Sometimes, he waited for a long time because I got stuck on a slope and took me forever to ski down. 2) He only gets to ski once a year. Of course I want him to maximize the time on the slope. I figured for all these time that he wasted to wait for me, he could have taken the time to ski by himself and got few more runs out of it.
Another problem is I have bad knees and on our last day, my knees were hurting and I asked if he wanted to ski by himself for a run or two and I could just wait for him at the chair lift. He said no, he rather stick with me, he said it's ok if we just called it a day.... I know in my heart that he wanted to ski until the last chair.
I felt guilty that with my limited ability, I "deprived" his time on ski slopes.
So my question to you is:
1) How old is old enough for a kid (or teen) to ski alone?
2) If you let the kid to ski alone, what measure(s) do you take to make sure he/she is safe and not in any harms way?
At WB, he took the teen group lesson (age 13-17) and he could advance to level 4 if he returns there next year. But he said he is not interested in level 4 lesson because the materials they cover is more focused on terrain park (how to do jumps and tricks). In this case, what are other options? Do resorts allow teen to join adult lesson even though he is not adult?
Also, I don't have many ski friends and they don't have kids. So it is not like I can pair him up with a friend or something... It will only be him and me to go on ski trip. I doubt we can quickly find a buddy or friend to ski with during our trip.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts!