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Lessons for a 6 year old?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking about gettting my 6 year old nephew on some skis this year for the first time. I don't have any experience in teaching skiing however have taught windsurfing. I know the benefits of instruction but wondering whether at the 6 year old level if it's just as productive to get on the rope tow/bunny lift myself? Should I put him in some sort of school or teach him myself?
post #2 of 22
Definately get him with a qualified instructor. (A ski school, private instructor, instructor friend, etc.) Preferredly an instructor who works with kids and enjoys teaching them. You want someone who knows the mechanics of skiing, understands how to teach kids, can make the adjustments for the child based upon the child's wants needs abilities and desires, makes it fun fun fun for the kid, and can get him off to a good start.

This can be the start of a lifelong hobby (addiction). A good start will go a long way to the kid enjoying himself (getting addicted.)

Have fun.
post #3 of 22
I agree with T-Square--while it can be great fun to spend some time with the child, and I recommmend it, you will do both him and yourself a favor by letting a good pro handle most of the instruction. Take the day for yourself--or even better, take a lesson yourself (you don't want him to show you up, at least not right away!)--while the nephew learns from a pro. Then take a run or two at the end of the day with him. Give him a chance to impress you with what he learned, and compare notes!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by farwellbooth
I'm thinking about gettting my 6 year old nephew on some skis this year for the first time. I don't have any experience in teaching skiing however have taught windsurfing. I know the benefits of instruction but wondering whether at the 6 year old level if it's just as productive to get on the rope tow/bunny lift myself? Should I put him in some sort of school or teach him myself?
The only benefit that you'll get by teaching him yourself is financial. Otherwise, think of it as an investment of a different kind. If he learns the right skills and gets enough mileage on the slopes, he'll ski alongside with you before long. And, 6 is a perfect age to start. It could be as early as 4, depending on the kid. Any age younger than that IMHO will be plainly for the experience.

Wai Chan
post #5 of 22

It depends

It depends on the kid what approach you take. Taking him to a "pro" isn't necessarily the right answer. A children's "pro" at many areas is a college kid earning $6 an hour with little or no training and a hangover or an older "experienced" instructor who can't ski or teach well enough to work with adults.

Your relationship as an uncle and not a parent is also an advantage for you. Kids know how to manipulate parents but an uncle is a different story. As long as you are prepared to take it slow and let the hour, day or 15 minutes play out without expectation you should be fine.

Start off just playing and moving in the boots without skis, then put some skis on and move around the flats. Find the magic carpet beginners area. The magic carpet is a great lift for begining kids so try and be at an area that has one. Test the slope and make sure that your nephew will just glide to a stop in a straight run. Let him just straight run up and down. the you can start him on a wedge, then wedge turns. Until he gets to the point of linking wedge turns you may want to be in your boots only. Don't forget to roll around and play in the snow and just have a good time.

A wise investment might also be a tip lock or and edgie wedgie or whatever they are called. This makes it a lot easier for kids to learn the wedge when they are just starting off.

When you get the rentals go ahead and get poles also so that if your nephew is a good athlete he can have them right from the start. The no poles for kids thing is a completely stupid American teaching thing designed more to make the instructors life easier than as a real benefit for the kid.

If you want to do lessons than be sure it's a group that will be a lot more fun.


Have a great time
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidecut
Your relationship as an uncle and not a parent is also an advantage for you. Kids know how to manipulate parents but an uncle is a different story. As long as you are prepared to take it slow and let the hour, day or 15 minutes play out without expectation you should be fine.
The key word here is expectation. If there is no expectation in progression, then it does not matter who teaches him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidecut
Start off just playing and moving in the boots without skis, then put some skis on and move around the flats. Find the magic carpet beginners area. The magic carpet is a great lift for begining kids so try and be at an area that has one. Test the slope and make sure that your nephew will just glide to a stop in a straight run. Let him just straight run up and down. the you can start him on a wedge, then wedge turns.
Hmm... That is a good lesson plan in a general sense. Now, how would the uncle go about coaching any of that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidecut
When you get the rentals go ahead and get poles also so that if your nephew is a good athlete he can have them right from the start. The no poles for kids thing is a completely stupid American teaching thing designed more to make the instructors life easier than as a real benefit for the kid.
That is somewhat controversal. I do see benefits in both, with or without. For the masses of the never ever munchkins though, starting without pole is probably the preferred. Very few newby kids can handle poles without them getting in the way, of themselves and the coaches.
post #7 of 22
My take:

- It probably wouldn't be a disaster if you tried teaching him yourself, but you'll likely be happier putting him in a class (if they have drop in classes), or in a private lesson. For one thing, it'll give you some time to ski on real runs. I suspect there are some crumby ski schools, but the ones I've dealt with all have instructors who are good with kids, both in teaching and making it fun.

- Ski with him a little after he gets out of his class, if he's up for it. That'll give you some uncle-time, and he'll have a chance to show off what he's learned.

- I suspect the tip-lock won't be necessary with a reasonably athletic 6-year-old. I could be wrong. Six-year-olds are lot stronger and more co-ordinated than 4-year-olds.

- Don't give him poles.
post #8 of 22
Not an instructor but I'd say too, it depends on where your going. We have had our nephews in ski school that really was more like babysitting. As sidecut said "A children's "pro" at many areas is a college kid earning $6 an hour with little or no training"
10+ kids to an instructor with little training is money poorly spent.
post #9 of 22
Be specific with the ski school if you want. If you go to the drop in center you are likely to get a person that is not "certified" as a children's specialist but they should have been trained to work with kids. More and more of the ski schools I've talked to or interacted with have been more careful about who teaches the kids. Demand better or the schools will continue to give you the college kid looking for a free lift pass.

If you ask for a private or semi private, tell them you want an ACE (accredited Childrens educator) or at least a level 1 cert instructor. (yes even at level one, we have to prove we have a basic understanding of children's mechanics and the CAP model). Level 2 or 3 would be even better, Not because they can teach at a higher level and ski at a higher level, but most likely they are more experienced. They will have more tricks up their sleeve to get through to a child. Teaching children at that age often takes more patience and more understanding of what is going through a childs head. I'm not saying you won't find a fantastic instructor that does not have the Certs, it's just a better bet. Make friends with the School director or some of the instructors and ask them who they would recommend. Better yet, Ask them who they would send their child to!
post #10 of 22
farwellbooth-
dchan makes an excellent point in asking for a ACE instructor. I will also add that in order to get Childrens Accredition you have to be at least a leval 2 cert(Rocky Mountain Division). I think you are better off getting a lesson for you nephew than trying to teach him yourself. Most important- Make sure your nephew wants to ski!!! This along with a good instructor will make the experience a good one for both you and your nephew. Good luck and have fun.
Tsavo (Katy Perrey)
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kima
Not an instructor but I'd say too, it depends on where your going. We have had our nephews in ski school that really was more like babysitting. As sidecut said "A children's "pro" at many areas is a college kid earning $6 an hour with little or no training"
10+ kids to an instructor with little training is money poorly spent.
It is so true that where one goes make all the difference. However, you'll have a hard time finding an instructor/coach, no matter how good (and what level) and where, that makes much over $6/hour as a BASE pay. Instructors do what they do for two reasons only -- passion and ski benefits, and good pay is not one of them. Furthermore, you will probably find the pay differential between a certified and non-certified instructor being peanets.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr
It is so true that where one goes make all the difference. However, you'll have a hard time finding an instructor/coach, no matter how good (and what level) and where, that makes much over $6/hour as a BASE pay. Instructors do what they do for two reasons only -- passion and ski benefits, and good pay is not one of them. Furthermore, you will probably find the pay differential between a certified and non-certified instructor being peanets.
Also, when one goes. If you go Dec. 26th and there are 500 other kids there, your nephew will be in a group of 12 kids and the instructor's main concern will be not losing him. If you go on Jan 26th, it's a whole different story.
post #13 of 22
if you're eager to ski with your nephew and you are concerned about lifts, etc - then I suggest that you tag along on the lesson and ask the instructor to teach you how to ride lifts with a young child, etc.

kiersten
post #14 of 22
>>>>However, you'll have a hard time finding an instructor/coach, no matter how good (and what level) and where, that makes much over $6/hour as a BASE pay.<<<<

You are kidding, right? In our areas base pay for returning uncertified instructors is $10 an hour and Level III instructors get $15 an hour.

....Ott
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidecut
A wise investment might also be a tip lock or and edgie wedgie or whatever they are called. This makes it a lot easier for kids to learn the wedge when they are just starting off.

When you get the rentals go ahead and get poles also so that if your nephew is a good athlete he can have them right from the start. The no poles for kids thing is a completely stupid American teaching thing designed more to make the instructors life easier than as a real benefit for the kid.
On several counts I disagree.

Don't use an edgie wedgie and ditch the poles.

My $00.02 would be to avoid private instruction and put the kid in ski school. Being around other kids makes the experience fun.

In reference to the college kid......he or she will have a modicum of training which you have stated you do not.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by klkaye
if you're eager to ski with your nephew and you are concerned about lifts, etc - then I suggest that you tag along on the lesson and ask the instructor to teach you how to ride lifts with a young child, etc.

kiersten
A parent or another adult is the WORST possible thing to have around when giving a child a lesson.
post #17 of 22
An edgie wedgie is not something that should automatically be dismissed. Depending on the child it may be beneficial.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ott Gangl
You are kidding, right?
Unfortunately, no.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ott Gangl
In our areas base pay for returning uncertified instructors is $10 an hour and Level III instructors get $15 an hour.
Well, $10 is certainly a lot higher than $6, but it is still not a lot of $$$. It is down right hard work, especially when dealing with really young ones. Even $15 is low for such a highly trained profession. It takes quite a bit of experience, effort and skill to be a Level 3. That speaks a lot about the worth of education in general in this country. But, that is a different program.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth
A parent or another adult is the WORST possible thing to have around when giving a child a lesson.
In a general sense, it's probably true. But, that all depends on the child and the upbringing. No matter what though, the adult must never interfere with the class.

Luckily for me, none of my kids has any problem with me tagging along or observing any of their training/lessons/camp regardless of activity. In fact, they tends to perform better with me being around. Even given that as a fact, still not all parties involved are happy to see me there during the classes in session.
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth
An edgie wedgie is not something that should automatically be dismissed. Depending on the child it may be beneficial.
That is purely a preference. I have seen total success with and without. Smuggs' program always starts out with a tip tie and it gets weened out by the second or third day. And, they are extremely successful with their children program. Most young kids can ski on their own on a not so easy green without any sort of aid by the latter part of the week. OTOH, many other good instructional programs at other resorts never use them. One thing for certain though... It's like a pacifier. It's generally OK to use them as a baby but the goal should be to get rid of the dependency as young as possible.
post #21 of 22
Seth,

I've taught both children and adults and I have found some parents to be quite grateful if you take them for an hour with their child (after the child's lesson) and you work with the parent to teach them how to ride lifts and ski with their child. Lots of adults just don't know where to begin - and it's great to show them how much the child is actually going to help them. "Let's teach daddy how to ride the j-bar"

kiersten
post #22 of 22
When you get the rentals go ahead and get poles also so that if your nephew is a good athlete he can have them right from the start. The no poles for kids thing is a completely stupid American teaching thing designed more to make the instructors life easier than as a real benefit for the kid.

You might think about poles for children this way.

Five to six never evers, five to seven years old, all learning to ride a chair. Probably a few are little too short to land square on the chair seat, an adult helper or two from the lift line to help a few of them, and you. Now, is there a safety lesson in this somewhere? Are the poles so important to their skiing development the munchkins need to worry about themselves, the chair, the new adult they just met, where is mom and dad and my brothers and sisters, I am hungry, I am scared, and will the poles get in the way and trip them out of the chair, be dropped and when they bend over to pick them up the chair bonks them in the head! I guess that is enough to think about on the safety issue. This is not an American issue by any means; it is a SAFETY issue with some children, sometimes; agreed to by munchkin ski instructors around the world.
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