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Starting a child in skiing

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
Any thoughts on how best to introduce a child to skiing are appreciated. My son is 19 months now, so will be about 2 during ski season. I'd like to get him started this year. Also, there's more to come (right honey?), so I need to educate myself now. I'm an intermediate skiier, maybe starting to advance beyond that. I didn't ski for the first time myself until I was about 15 or 16, so I have no experience in learning when very young. A colleague told me about Kid-Ski, but I have no idea if that's the way to go or, really, even what other good options might be. Help me out: I'd love to create a few ski bums.
post #2 of 50
First, remember he's not a grownup and has no "motivation" to ski like you do. So it's got to be play fun! The minute he doesn't think it's fun, STOP.

The strange environment and weird heavy equipment might nonplus him. Sometimes it's good to play, snowmen and stuff, play with the ski gear, let him see his family in ski gear and skiing. Often little kids want to then try it too.

However you lead him to it, it's crucial that nothing is nasty or unpleasant.
I'm a great fan of those little harnesses they get for kids, with leading strings on them. They are brilliant for parents to let the kid slide along, without hurtling into the carpark.

Little kids often have huge trouble learning to make a wedge, and these harness and reins mean the kid can enjoy it without the struggle and possible failure of trying to wedge.

Remember that little kids conk out quickly (I dread it when parents book a 3 or 4 year old into a 3 hour private lesson!), and cater to that.

If you can make it fun, they'll love it forever.
post #3 of 50
Well, I am not an instructor, this is just based on getting my daughter started.

I didn't start her until she was three -- basically she didn't weigh enough for the rental bindings to release until then. I tried skiing with her between my legs, but decided that this was dangerous for both of us, tiring for me, and not actually helping her. I also did the skiing backwards while she skis to you thing, which was great for my skiing but didn't give us much of a "run" for her because I couldn't cover that much territory if she turned an unexpected direction. Finally, I went with the leash option, which taught her to balance on her own, and turn on her own. To get her to turn, I told her to push with her hands on one knee or the other and it seemed to work. We skied like this the entire first season (12 days for her) and a bit into the second season. She was only allowed off leash when she could stop three ways: snowplow, turning up hill, or falling when I told her to. For the next few years she skied without poles and I would hook her to the leash to get across some of the flat areas of the base in a bit less time than her shuffling. I think it was the fourth season when I allowed her to have poles. By this season, she was up to about 25 to 30 days a year. I found that poles too soon interfered with her timing and balance. We spent a whole season observing people who knew what to do with poles and discussing it before she got them.

Rules:

It must always be FUN. To make sure you don't resent the time lost, get your skiing in early in the day, then have the kid come out when you think you've gotten your fill for the day. If they want hot chocolate, get them hot chocolate. If it's too cold, they won't have fun, leave them home.

Make sure they go to the bathroom before they go out and be prepared to go in about every two hours or less.

Have your spouse help with the dressing, undressing, hauling of equipment, etc. They are too little to carry their own stuff for quite a while.

Be prepared to be exhausted yourself and keep telling yourself it will be worth it in the end. Use the time on the chair to really talk to the kid, not necessarily about skiing. The one-on-one time will be the best part of the next few years.

My daughter is now 18 and a terrific skier. She started beating me in races when she was seven. We took annual Easter vacations together to western ski areas beginning when she was seven and she was able to handle the blacks at Copper the first year.

I personally think that teaching my daughter to ski and not leaving it to someone else was the best thing I ever did.
post #4 of 50
Oh yeah, one other thing. The first year she thought skiing was a way to get on that neat thing, the chairlift. That was like an amusement part ride. Her focus was not on the skiing, but the riding. Whatever works.....
post #5 of 50

Warning, honest opinion!

Im a 43y old certified ski instructor and I have been teaching full time and part time for about 10y now. I also have two boys 8 and 4.

My advise for parrents with small children are:
@ age 2, get your kid accoustomed to snow and sledging
@ age 3, get your kid accoustomed to ice skating, cross country skiing and to ski resorts.
@ age 4, get your kid started on downhill skis and book him/her a few privat lessons, max 1 hour long, with a "good, the best children instructor" you can find.

If you are a ski nut like I am you cannot offcourse wait untill infant is 4y of age before putting him on downhill skis but under no circumstances would I start children up @ 2! I have had 2 students that I can remember that were under 3 and in both cases there was absolutely no sence. One, Viktor, was 2y 9months and hyperactive. No other teacher would ski with him so I became his only option after one successfull first lesson. He was a good customer because I skied with him the whole winter and many years to follow every weekend 2 hours. He generated over the years directly and through networking hundreds of lessons and gave me a solid foundation as a childrens ski-instructor. Thanks Vik

If you have 2 children with less than 2y of age difference I reccomend that you start both at the same time @ 3 and 5. In this case they will learn to ski together and they will also be able to attend group lessons together. Even better would be @ 4 and 6 but I know nobody can wait that long. Younger brothers and sisters learn to ski much quicker than the older ones. They learn everything quicker therefore also skiing. Ive seen hundreds of children and nothing beats this combo.

If you are not a ski-instructor yourself I would reccomend that you get your son a ski-instructor for his first lessons. However, you will have trouble getting a teacher for a 2y old and its not shure your son will want to ski with an outsider. If you are a ski-instructor yourself you will probably wait one more year.

The reason why I speak for a higher age is that kidds are physically and mentally so much more developped at one more year of age when he is that young. And its not a question of individuality, aske any kindergarten teacher. There are a few exeptions, like my kids but spare yourselfe the dissapointment and dont think yours gonna be the one of a thousand. And learning to ski as a 3 or 5 years old has nothing to do with how well you ski when you are 7 or 12. Really, skiing is a life time thing and can be enjoyed through out your entire life. If you wnat my honest opinion I would say wait until kid is 3.

Why you should not teach your kid yourselfe!
Because you cannot really teach a small kid anything. He will learn by dooing and not by you teaching. You can only assist and help him and its most of the time a very frustrating experiance for both of you. When I teach students I dont get as frustrated as with own kids. Thats partly because I dont have that many ambitions for my students. If they cannot get their skis in a wedge on their first lesson I dont take it like a personall failure. If you look at ambitions and expectations the parrent has the most expectations of the 3 parties involved. The teacher has some and the child hardly any. He is just open minded and expects nothing in particular. Many times just to have a good time.

If you want to teach your kid yourselfe here are some pointers:
- dont teach your kid to fall down. Every time he falls there is a risk involved and I have had one kid brake his leg because of unessessary falling and I dont want to relive that experiance. Expecially with own kid!!! If he falls he falls, thats it. He doesent have to learn how to do it. Its an unfroced error not a trick in the bag.
- dont ever ski with your kid between your leggs. Its dangerous for you kid, yourselfe and for everybody else on the hill. And it serves no purpose. Kid will not learn the most important thing, how to balance and how to controll his speed.
- dont use ski poles. You will need your hands for assisting the kid both on the slope and in the lift. And its a hazzard for your kid and for everybody else on the hill. Especially all the other kids standing in the lift line behind you that you are poking in the eyes with your under the arm skipoles.
- kid needs to use helmet and goggles or sun glasses
- kid needs to be well rested before skiing
- kid needs to have warm cloths
- kid needs to have been to the bathroom
- never bribe your kid with candy on the hill
- dont make skiing a game of silly games, skiing in itselfe should be enjoyabel enough.
- dont force your kid in any way, if he wants to quit let him quit
- this plastic gadget for connecting the ski tips is great. This in combination with a leach is well worth trying out. With students I allways ski backwards and hold the ski tips together with my fingers but if the wedge doesent happen very quickly, lets say during a hour, I often nowadays use the tip connector. This usually motivates the kid like nothing else. And the look at parrents faces cannot be described when they see their kid skiing.... this is good for business My older son needed the tip connector for a whole year while my yonger one never used it.
- get your kid proper skis with bindings that "work" and boots that are not too big. Childrens boots are so cheap nowadays that you can afford swapping boots every year.

Good luck woodstocksez and keep us updated.
post #6 of 50
Don't let the ski hill be the first time they use skis! get skis early and get them use to having them on around your yard prior to a day on the slopes--I like pulling them around with my poles in the back yard on snow--get's the little guys used to the unique feeling of multi footed sliding and balance in a safe, fun atmosphere.

Liam
post #7 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant
...I'm a great fan of those little harnesses they get for kids, with leading strings on them. They are brilliant for parents to let the kid slide along, without hurtling into the carpark...
I would add a caveat to the harnesses (and incidentally, skiing with your child between your legs). Don't let the child become dependent on that type of skiing. I have seen way too many children become dependent on Daddy (or Mommy) always being there to hold them up. This can lead to a tendency to lean back, and is a very hard babit to overcome.
post #8 of 50
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the opinions. I definitely agree that you must keep it fun and not force it when it's not. As suggested by some, it's my goal for this year just to get him on skis and introduce him to the idea that it's fun to slide around on those things. This will be part of the broader idea that snow is fun, as also suggested by some. I didn't grow up with skiing, but it's a lifelong sport that I want to give my kids a chance to embrace right from the get-go.

As I mentioned in my original post, someone told me about Kid-Ski, described here: http://www.snowshack.com/kifitrteyoki.html. With that program, apparently you start kids off (at 18-24 months) with plastic skis and bindings. Any thoughts re pros/cons to using plastic skis? (Maybe it doesn't really matter in the beginning.) When can a child start using "regular" skis, boots and bindings?
post #9 of 50
Woodstock, I urge you to feel great responsibility as you introduce your child to skiing, for your approach is likely to color his attitude about skiing for much of his life. First, take a long view: though you start him at 2, he will likely be 4 or 5 before he's actually skiing independently with you. Don't rush him. Do make it quality together time where he can do no wrong. C-A-P are three letters that define children's instruction and all instructors, even amateur parental ones, would do well to define goals and objectives that cover these three areas of child development: cognitive (what will the child know about skiing after today's outing that he didn't know before?), affective (how will the child feel about skiing after today's experience?); physical (what will the child be able to do at the end of the outing that he wasn't able to do before?). The most important area of child development for a beginning skier is AFFECT: developing the love of skiing that will carry him through all the distractions to participation that will crop up in his life.

I've often repeated this recipe for educational success from the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead: Romance, Precision, Generalization. The early years are all about falling in love with the subject, in this case, skiing; the middle years should be focused on attaining precision, honing skills, and anchoring technique; the later years (and certainly many students never arrive at this stage of learning) are about making skiing your own, inventing new ways of skiing (waisteering?), and generally going from a person who skis to a skier, where the person's self-image is so tied to skiing he can't imagine life without it.

So, as the parent of an aspiring athlete, your job is put skiing in the most attractive light to your son and to make your son feel he is uniquely suited to the sport.

My children began skiing at the same tender age and they love skiing at 18 and 20. They both took leave of absence during high school, but came back stronger than ever (nothing like a bit of cross-training).
post #10 of 50
My experience with Kid-Ski stuff, based on starting my daughter at 3-1/2:

I used the ski-bar thing with my daughter and liked it. It's useful for a first introduction to sliding down a hill. After they're skiing independently of it, it's still useful for bringing the kid back into the lift line and stuff. You can use it to maneuver a small kid down a run more challenging than the bunny hill, but I'd advise caution on that: unless you're pretty solid on your skis, you're likely to scare the kid and possibly yourself.

I also used the tip lock. Of course various different companies make versions of the same thing. The Kid-Ski one worked fine. I think you want one that you can fasten and unfasten relatively easily. The Kid-Ski version has a plastic clasp which -- aside from having to bend down to it (hard to avoid) -- was reasonably workable. You need to undo the lock at least to give the kid the chance to walk in the lift-line and on the flats.

Some people are passionately against tip locks. It depends on the kid, I guess, but: until they acquire a certain level of strength and coordination (which I don't think any two-year-old has) it's pretty nearly necessary. I didn't have any difficulty in switching from using the tip lock to no tip lock when the time came.

I also used the Kid-Ski "Kiddie Lift", which doesn't seem to be part of that package your link goes to. What it does, basically, is put a handle on your kid's back, so you can pick him/her up with one hand (a bit like luggage). It's useful for loading chairs and getting up off the ground. If you're so inclined, use it off the slopes for tossing the kid in the car.

It depends on the kid, I suppose, but I never felt any need for the wedge lock or the leash. If you've got a daredevil kid whose apparent goal in life is to carry maximum speed into the parking lot, I suppose they'd be useful. They both have fairly obvious downsides.

As for ski equipment, I used "real" skis, boots and bindings from day 1, rather than the little plastic things. I do think you'll want steel edges and boots with some lateral support if your kid is going to be sliding down a hill, even if it's just the bunny hill. Check around locally: you may find a place that'll rent by the season, which is at least a little less expensive than buying all new stuff every year. If you find a decent place that caters to little kids they should have (and know how to fit) everything so it's appropriate for your kid's weight.

Other stuff is obvious. Warm clothes (a one-piece suit is convenient, at least until you're in the bathroom). A helmet. Mittens (much easier than gloves, which is important, since they'll still be one of the more difficult things you'll deal with). Some sort of leash or clips to keep from losing the mittens. You may not need goggles from day 1, but it might make sense to get the kid used to them.

On the non-sporting-goods issues, I think you've got the right idea, and other posts above emphasize it. Only thing to add: make sure the kid eats enough, and be ready for snack breaks. The energy used in moving around and staying warm can empty the tank fast.

Final note: whether this will really work at age 2, rather than a year later, is probably a bit of crap shoot. Two-year-olds are pretty small. With the possible exception of the skis/boots/binding, the other stuff will still be good a year later, if you try it and it doesn't work.
post #11 of 50
TDK6 has some great points. I agree with his post completely. For most kids the magic age is 4.

I think learning to ski is a gradual process. 2 is too young. But at 2 you can talk skiing, watch skiing (in person, on TV, races, olympics this year is a great opportunity to build excitement -- build up excitement about the idea of skiing). Time on (and in) the snow. Time in the gear. When people ask when my kids started skiing I don't even know the right answer -- is it 2 when they put on skis, 3 skiing a little on the leash (mostly taken for a ride) or 4 when they could really ski. Did the earlier help the experience at 4? I really don't know. I think what made my kids excellent skiers is what happened after 4 not what happened before.

Plastic skis could work for these first experiences. We have shops near us that do reasonably priced seasonal rentals so we rented skis in the beginning and much of it was putting on the gear and walking around the carpet in the skis (and a little sliding on snow in the yard). They knew how to snap in and out of bindings before stepping on snow. They ran around "racing" in the house with helmets on goggles on before they really skied. I see kids show up to ski with gear they can't even move in -- just getting familiarity with what boots feel like, how to move in a pair of skis (even just stepping on a carpet), sliding down a gentle slope (even the backyard) is a very good first step before taking them to the mountain.

So key as others have mentioned keep it fun. The last thing you want to do is turn the child off (a good reason to wait a year or more). But you can't buy a good attitude with bribes. I have friends who had kids skiing very young (2 or 3) for candy bribes on the ski lift. It didn't work very well in the long run -- my kids started later, have more passion and stamina for skiing and quickly passed over the early starting candy bribed friends.

Big advice -- seriously consider lessons (usually you can't get a lesson till they are 3 or 4). I think a blend of lessons (we mixed group with an ocassional 1 hour private) and family time is best. Lessons teach the skills right without the emotional stuff between a parent/child - kids instructors know the words that kids get (we all know the pizza wedges, french fries for parallel, but I've heard edging desribed as squeezing oranges, rolling crayons etc -- things as a parent starting out I'd never think of!). Once kids can ride the lift and ski around they also love cool instructors and other kids to share it with. If you are an intermediate skier you may not really know the best way to teach your child as they progress beyond the basics. That being said, I do think there is a big value to family ski time. Some kids spend all day every day in lessons and never lean to share the joy of skiing together. They aren't really motivated to learn because they don't see the goal. Balance the two. Lessons to learn, family ski to get miles and have fun.

Always Skiing
post #12 of 50
sjjohnson didn't see the need for a leash. My daughter learned to ski at a VERY crowded area -- Camelback in the Poconos. Even the beginner hill (Sunbowl) can be very busy, complete with non-beginners cutting down it to get to another lift. A young child is frequently too busy with turning and controlling his or her skis to be watching traffic. With a leash the parent can keep an eye on traffic and STOP the kid if they are about to cut off another skier. This isn't necessarily about teaching the kid to ski, but about protecting them from others. I also used to act in later years as a lineblocker to protect her from faster skiers coming from behind by snowplowing as large as possible behind her, forming a protected alley way from the speed freaks.
post #13 of 50
The one suggestion above that I'd expand on is to get your kid comfortable ice skating. Purely a parent's perspective - not an instructor's - so (a) take it with a grain of salt, and (b) I'm interested in instructors' perspective.

From seeing my 3 kids take up skiing a few years ago (and joining them as an adult beginner) it was clear that time at the rink and on roller blades translated directly to skiing. A lot of the same concepts and muscles are at work - edging, carving, hockey stops, balance, and hot chocolate bribes. After spending a few hours at the rink most winter weekends for a few years starting around ages 3 or 4 (and I think after a season of hockey for one of them), skiing came pretty easily.

Another advantage to skating over skiing at the earliest ages: less equipment, hassle and expense, in fairly comfortable conditions. Depends where you're located obviously but if you live anywhere but a ski town, chances are it's easier to get to a rink than to a ski slope.
post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by ts01
The one suggestion above that I'd expand on is to get your kid comfortable ice skating. Purely a parent's perspective - not an instructor's - so (a) take it with a grain of salt, and (b) I'm interested in instructors' perspective.

From seeing my 3 kids take up skiing a few years ago (and joining them as an adult beginner) it was clear that time at the rink and on roller blades translated directly to skiing. A lot of the same concepts and muscles are at work - edging, carving, hockey stops, balance, and hot chocolate bribes. After spending a few hours at the rink most winter weekends for a few years starting around ages 3 or 4 (and I think after a season of hockey for one of them), skiing came pretty easily.

Another advantage to skating over skiing at the earliest ages: less equipment, hassle and expense, in fairly comfortable conditions. Depends where you're located obviously but if you live anywhere but a ski town, chances are it's easier to get to a rink than to a ski slope.
Maybe you are refering to my previous post where I mentioned ice scating and cross country skiing. Great observation and from an instructor point of view ice scating is maybe the best thing you can do for balance and laying a solid foundation for alpine skiing. The first thing a kid needs to learn (adult also) is to be able to stand up. Second comes sliding (gliding) forwards. On scates the balance is much much more curucial than on alpine skiis and if they pull it off on ice scates they can consentrate on other things while skiing. Cross country skiing is also a great way to start your future alpine cariere. And much more conviniant than ice scating since this you can do right at your dorstep or even on the lawn during off season. My kids love cross country skiing all year around. Since there is no forward aft support at the feet its good for balance.
post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky
sjjohnson didn't see the need for a leash. My daughter learned to ski at a VERY crowded area -- Camelback in the Poconos. Even the beginner hill (Sunbowl) can be very busy, complete with non-beginners cutting down it to get to another lift. A young child is frequently too busy with turning and controlling his or her skis to be watching traffic. With a leash the parent can keep an eye on traffic and STOP the kid if they are about to cut off another skier. This isn't necessarily about teaching the kid to ski, but about protecting them from others. I also used to act in later years as a lineblocker to protect her from faster skiers coming from behind by snowplowing as large as possible behind her, forming a protected alley way from the speed freaks.
Great stuff here too. I to have developped a way to ski behind my boy in a wide wedge, phase shifted 90deg, allways staying straight uphill behind him. If I follow his tracks I will not be able to block dorks from hitting my son from the back but if I stay straight uphill that hit and run angle is covered.

Plastic skiis and bindings!!!! Forget alpine skiing for kidds under 3y of age. Get them a pair of cross country skiis and try to make them hold their balance gliding down a small hill in your back yard. If they pull it off I will eat my hat and your kid has great balance.
post #16 of 50
get him boots and skis NOW to walk around in the yard and play with in the house!!!!! the only way to fly
post #17 of 50
Much of what we do in "stand-up" adaptive ski instruction can apply to children's instruction. my .02 is as follows:

If you are able to resist yelling, no matter how frustrated you get, you should teach them yourselves until they are old enough to enjoy the camaraderie of other kids and focus for "real" instruction. Skiing can be a great bonding experience for parents and kids. If you like to cross country, ski with them in a sled or pack.

Keep the sessions SHORT. Stop while they're still having fun and begging to do more.

Independence is the goal. Use "implements" only as a last resort and for as little time as possible. Ask an instuctor or ski patroller to show you how to execute a three point hold. With it, you can get anyone still standing down almost anything, even in the middle of a "melt-down" without resorting to harness and reins.

You can ski backward, use your poles to make horse and buggy, lots of options before going to the edgy wedgie or reins. That said, if you do go for reins, IMO, best way is to attach reins to shovels of skis held together with trombone or edgy wedgie. that makes them responsible for balance and when you use the reins for speed control, you don't pull back on their body. Also, you can initiate and contol turns really well that way.

NEVER ski with them between your legs! If you want to this, put one ski in and one ski outside of theirs. prevents tangling.

WAIT to get on a charilift until they can get off by themselves. (unless you literally carry them totally) NEVER hold on to them as they are getting off chairlift. If their snowplow goes over your skis, you will both be out of control and you can really hurt them or youself that way. I have seen some real disasters doing this.

Most of all, enjoy the outdoors with them. Hot chocolate, making snow angels on top of the hill, finding secret places in the woods, catching snowflakes on your nose. What a great experience, to intoduce this wonder to your children!
post #18 of 50
Great suggestions. I had the privilege of introducing a 5 year old to skiing. He's turning 21 this Friday and has been a snowboarder since adolescence, but so it goes.

I tried to control the learning environment to the extent that I picked warm, windless, sunny days for our first outings. I wanted those first memories of skiing to be of bluebird days. Hot chocolate was also part of the package.

Also, I made a game out of falling and getting back up before we ever got on a lift so that he saw that falling was a normal part of learning and wasn't anything to fear.
post #19 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom
If you are able to resist yelling, no matter how frustrated you get, you should teach them yourselves.....
STOP RIGHT THERE.... (Meat Loaf screaming on Dash Board Light from a Bat out of Hell) This one rules out 99% of all parents

Otherwise a very good post my Mom. Read and learn from the real pros
post #20 of 50
woodstocksez,
with my experience, at 18 to 24 months, playing with your child on snow or ice is the best thing you can do (it helps get the child used to the clothing and enviorment). Some children do ok as a young 3 year old, but only done as a 1/2 hour private. I encourage the parent to ski with the child and part of my lesson is teaching you the language used in the lesson, how to assist and when not to assist and when another lesson would be usefull for the child. Being part of your child's learning is a wonderfull thing, either you or your child will ever forget the time spent. I teach in NYS and if you would like more information about the area I teach at, pm me.
post #21 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron White
woodstocksez,
with my experience, at 18 to 24 months, playing with your child on snow or ice is the best thing you can do (it helps get the child used to the clothing and enviorment). Some children do ok as a young 3 year old, but only done as a 1/2 hour private. I encourage the parent to ski with the child and part of my lesson is teaching you the language used in the lesson, how to assist and when not to assist and when another lesson would be usefull for the child. Being part of your child's learning is a wonderfull thing, either you or your child will ever forget the time spent. I teach in NYS and if you would like more information about the area I teach at, pm me.
woodstocksez, this could be the guy you are looking for....
post #22 of 50
Why the attachment to the wedge/snowplow to teach children to ski? I'm not big HH PMTS movement advocate, it's just that the wedge always seemed so dead-end to me as far as skiing skills goes (and I had these thoughts long before I ever new what PMTS was, not that PMTS is the only direct to parallel system devised).

I started my 5 year old last season (he turned 5 last January). I put him on 60cm Salomon mini-Grom skiboards (OK - you can start cringing now). I never mentioned the word snowplow or wedge and taught him how to use his edges through progressive tipping and side slipping. I taught him how to use the shape of his skis to make a turn through simultaneous tipping. I skied backwards and held his hands until he became confident with controlling his skis. We only went out 8 times and by the end of his very short season he understood how to control his speed by finishing his turns more completely and doing more of them. He was able to ski greens without me and some moderate blues with my help.

My 5 year old isn't any kind of special athlete or wiz kid. So why start all kids "in the hole" with their ski technique? Flame away, but I'll never put my other 2 boys in a lesson where they are all taught the "pizza pie" wedge. I'm eagerly anticipating seeing how much of what my 5 year old learned last season has been retained. I just find it hard to accept why most ski schools insist on giving kids dead-end skills. I won't even get into those leashes and tip holder thingies.

I'm not planning on getting into some huge debate over this. I just wanted to post another "viewpoint" on starting a child skiing that may make sense to someone who reads this thread in the future.
post #23 of 50
I taught my daughter the snowplow was for stopping, not turning. But I used a leash until she was able to control her speed on her own. She learned to turn on her own, by applying pressure to one ski or the other, she didn't get turned by the leash. We learned on a VERY crowded mountain and the leash to drag her out of harm's way or across the flats was the best thing I ever did.
post #24 of 50
I think the leash is most useful for starting children who are 3 or maybe 4 - who aren't really ready to really ski but you want to give them some exposure. Take them for a ride more than skiing. We also ocassionally used it at 4 years old as a safety check on hill that was a bit too steep for their ability but that we had to ski to get home. If you start at 4 or 5 I don't think most kids should use a leash under normal circumstances.

As for snowplow, my parents were very proud of teaching me themselves and not teaching me snowplow. They were dismayed when in one group lesson I took they taught me snowplow and set me back (in their view).

That being said, my kids learned in lessons (which I think was the best investment I ever made) -- snowplow then working to parallel. They quickly became pure parallel and can carve turns beautifully. In no way did they cling to the snowplow but it is in their tool kit to slow down in tight woods trails, hold themselves back while waiting to slide into the start gate at a race etc...

Many kids get stuck in the wedge not because the wedge prevents new learning but because nobody teaches them to move beyond it. Many people stop lessons once kids can make it down intermediates in a snowplow -- they don't get expert help to move them to the next level. Many parents can't do it because they don't have the skills or don't have the words to comminicate the techniques to kids.

I have had a few conversations with ski instructors where they mention that one of the biggest mistakes parents make is to "over terrain" the kids. They take them down what the parents want to ski. The kids can make it down so it seems good to the parents. However, by taking them down stuff they aren't really yet skilled for they develop bad habits and cling to them (for example wedging is a survival tactic on something too steep for your abilities). If you are going to ski with your kids when they are beginners you need to ski the terrain they belong on. Use the time to play with your edging, backwards skiing, etc. They need to develop their skills on the right terrain. Then it is awesome when you can ski anything with these great kids -- worth the sacrifices for a year or two.

Always Skiing
post #25 of 50

Skiing reins for children

I believe that the Skiing reins for children can be the best solution for you. They are cheap, very easy to use and you don't have to be a skiing instructor to learn you child how to ski.

Quote from review on a Skiing reins for children web site (www.ski-teacher.com) :

"Children can get first steps accomplishments from their teachers in nursery schools and ski teachers, but in practice it often happens that children get their first knowledge from their parents who alone don't have as much knowledge in skiing as professionally educated chairs of skiing, but they have lots of patience, are good-humoured and have love for children.
In acquiring the most basic information about the knowledge in skiing, children often experience different stressful situations like falling due to uncontrolled speed which often leads to their initial enthusiasm for skiing to considerably decline or they even take dislike to skiing.

Skiing reins for children undeniably represent an important device from a viewpoint of methodology in learning how to ski.

Other ways of learning for example with the help of a rope, ski sticks and a pole consist of many imperfections which we to a great extent do away with skiing reins.

Children maintain their own balance and on the basis of physical feeling for a teacher's command, a child responds on time and properly (loading and discharging).

With the usage of reins a child very quickly perceives his body, manages with it, directs it and defines its position in place. He combines, strengthens and does automatically individual sets of movement.

Learning with the help of reins is in that way faster, nicer and has got more quality than the usual individual learning how to ski."
post #26 of 50
Just my one kid and at 12 he loves skiing.

He was born in May and here's waht we did.

Age 2/12: snow play, sledding, little plastic skis in the yard and between my legs in our yard.

Age 3/12: started skiing in a week-long trip in kide program usind tip-lock (edgie wedgie)

Age 4/12: skied without tip lock, usually enrolled in kids group lesson plans, often just for 1/2 day or less and then we skied with him.


There were a few times I would have liked the leash but it was never absolutely necessary. There were plenty of times I had to ski him down between my legs and even carry him down once or twice when he was 3.

Tips: keep it fun. Carry some candy in your pocket- believe me it can help get them down the last run of the day when they might otherwise have a total meltdown. (give it to them on the ride up.) Don't push them to try harder stuff right off the bat. The key is to get your kid comfortable on skis. I would do things like throw snow at him and then skate away on the flats so that he could chase after me. I would "slingshot" him with my polse on a flat run to get some speed up. Things like that are fun and all the time your child is learning how to control thier skis and refining their balance without even realizing that they are learning.

Also, be careful in the afternoon; not only do the slopes tend to get icy, but kids tend to tire out very suddenly.
post #27 of 50
Oh yeah, one more thing.

When I was skiing with him at age 3 I would leave my poles behind. This made it much easier to help him on and off the lift and ski him down when that became necessary.
post #28 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6
Im a 43y old certified ski instructor and I have been teaching full time and part time for about 10y now. I also have two boys 8 and 4.

My advise for parrents with small children are:
@ age 2, get your kid accoustomed to snow and sledging
@ age 3, get your kid accoustomed to ice skating, cross country skiing and to ski resorts.
@ age 4, get your kid started on downhill skis and book him/her a few privat lessons, max 1 hour long, with a "good, the best children instructor" you can find.
That's about right if you have success at each step. Don't rush your kid. I never took my kids skiing until they were begging me too, but 25 years later they're still skiing with me.
post #29 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant



I'm a great fan of those little harnesses they get for kids, with leading strings on them.
I would never put one of those on my kid. The last thing I want is to be in a nursing home, depending on my 60 year old daughter to take care of me, and she's still thinking about how I put her on a leash when she was 3 years old.

BK
post #30 of 50
Interesting discussion...

I think the most important component is letting the kids decide when they want to try what. For example, my two older kids are girls, the second being the more athletic of the two. I made some mistakes with the oldest, putting her on skis before either of us were ready. We didn't ski a lot, but my first experience with her was not one that encouraged her to try again very quickly... totally my issues.

With my other two, I didn't push them at all, and we spent more time playing than anything else. Megan is an athlete, and could take descriptions and do them. She carved RR tracks her first time on snow. Now, she plays with her friends in the trees, and is having fun with it. We work on technique, but even though she's 9 now, we'll only do it when she wants to.

Gabe (my youngest) was on skis when he was 2 for the first time. I held him, and tried to just make it fun. Last season (when he was 3), I put him on a harness and he loved it. He could stand on his own, turn his skis under his feet, and not worry about going too fast. He laughed and laughed.

When it started to snow (hard!) one day, he got cold. I just picked him up, hugged him to me, and skied to the lodge. I got him hot cocoa and we waited for the others to come in.

The key is to have it be fun. When you're skiing with your kids, it's not a ski day for you; it's a time to be totally with and absorbed in your kids. You'll get to reap later, but for now, it's about them.

I hope this helps...
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