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Starting a child in skiing - Page 2

post #31 of 50
This thread sure brings back some warm'n'fuzzy memories of skiing with my two little girls, now both off to college (sniff!). I took one to race camp and the other to Interski in utero. They loved the skiing--they'd kick all the way up the chair and dream all the way down. I think the Baby Einstein approach worked well: both were born skiers.
post #32 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.
I think it really depends on the kids.

My kids started at less than 2 1/2 years and 3 1/2 years old. We had no problems with it, and they had no problems either paying attention or doing it -- they both refused to use the edgy wedgy. We never taught them a thing ourselves, we used pros only. Our only problem came when it was time to go home.... the youngest would point to the hill and cry.
post #33 of 50
I wish I had known about EpicSki LAST year. Great advice all around. My only advantage is that I needed to learn at the same time. Jane and I spent a LOT of time just goofing off in the snow before trying to ski and then a lot more time goofing off with skis on our feet.

While I agree with Noodler's comments re:wedge, the best thing we did for Jane was to put her in a group lesson. Lyndsey at Copper Mountain - great. By the time she was done, I literally couldn't keep up with her any more.

Jane realized that she was better than her dad and I have never seen her so excited.
post #34 of 50
Woodstocksez:

Lots of kids start to ski at about 2yrs. When I say ski, its really about having fun and getting the feeling of gentle gliding on a very gentle slope. At first, he will need you for EVERYTHING except standing up on the skis and taking some steps. In fact he will probably need you for these things too, at least right at the beginning.

Like others in this thread, I suggest you give him a private lesson to get started. Ask the instructor after the lesson for a couple of suggestions so that you can "ski" with him. It will probably be just repetition of what was done in the lesson.

I'm a ski instructor, and although I didn't teach my daughter (she learned later) I did teach my grandson. He was 2 years. A synopsis of lesson one: After walking around a bit and sliding on skis, he noticed that his mother had departed and was getting on the chair lift. He pointed and said:"chair...in the air"! ( so smart!!) So up we went. Fortunately, the lift served the very beginner hill. I just kept him between my legs-I provided all the turning and speed control-his job was to stand up. Which he did magnificently! We had 7 runs. The last two he held a bamboo pole and "skied" beside me. Then he said "that's enough". We went in and had hot chocolat. Mission accomplished. And I had the time of my life!

cdnguy
post #35 of 50
Nolo,
Me too, one is a Junior in college and the other will be a freshman next fall. The good thing about the freshman is she will be attending a college very near Killington.

woodstocksez,
This is a very exciting time in your life with the very young ones, enjoy every minute of it.

RW
post #36 of 50
It is great to start kids very young. Benefits them in so many ways! My daughter learned at 3 yrs of age the same as I did. She just turned 8 and is already a pretty competent skier. Strong little girl.
She also takes acrobatic classes and is a ballerina. All these things combined helps her strength, balance, and agility greatly. She has me make her a jump every winter down the hill by our house. She starts up on top of the plowed snow banks by the driveway and bombs down to the jump over and over. Now we have a boy due at the end of march wooHoo
post #37 of 50
I just wrote this huge post in response to this (I'm a Level 3 cert with 21 years teaching and a 4 year old that got on snow the first time at 2, but really took to it last year), but I got some bizzare error, and it's gone!:

Anyway, I posted something very similar near the end of last season, including some pics of my daughter skiing. I'm sure you can find it if you search for it. I haven't posted much in the past year, so even searhing by author name could turn it up without too much effort.

GRRRRRR

-JohnH
post #38 of 50
I found the post I was referring to in my last message. It was in response to someone else's post, so some of my references are invalid. It was posted last April.

***************
This past winter (or current winter for some of you), my daughter learned to ski at age 3. The previous winter, we tried it a couple of times on the plastic skis in the side yard and once at the ski area. She didn't really take to it then. Here are some things I did to prepare her prior to this past ski season:
  • Found some Rossi Princess skis on eBay (new). She saw those and was dying to go skiing .
  • Got her out on rollerblades on the driveway to teach her balance, keeping the feet pointed where she wanted to go, and gliding without stepping.
  • Put her in her ski boots and let her walk around the family room
  • Put her on the skis and walk around the family room
  • Went out with her to the local shop and let her help pick out a helmet, goggles, ski suit, etc
  • Put her in ALL of her ski gear in the family room and let her walk around
  • Taught her a wedge on the family room carpet
  • Carried her aound on my shoulders a lot to get her acclimated to heights. Because of this, riding the chairlift was at least as much fun as skiing for her.
So this season, she spent about 10 days skiing, once a week. I used a harness, but only for safety. You don't want to constantly keep it taught, because it teaches bad habits and doesn't let them experience what happens when they hit a roll in the hill or steeper terrain. The only way my daughter knows how to stop is by turning, not by power wedging, because that's how I taught her.

Because of all of the rollerblading and indoor work, the edgie-wedgies were more harm than good. We tried them for less than half a run, then put them away for good. Not once all season did she cross a ski or walk on a ski tip or tail. Teach her what a wedge (or Pizza, or in our case, an "A") is in the family room.

She would spend about 90 minutes on the hill at a time. Most ski days were comprised of skiing for 90 minutes, an hour for lunch, then another 90 minutes on the hill.

After about the 4th or 5th time out, there was no use for the harness, but she wouldn't let me let go of it until day 8, even though I would ski beside her and show her that I didn't need to slow her down because she could do it herself. Then, those last few days, she would ski without even taking the harness out of the pouch. She can even unload the chair herself, but there is no way she would be able to get on herself because she's too short.

I do NOT think that kids learn skiing more quickly than adults. I've been teaching for over 20 years, and if it took me 8 days of private instruction to get an adult to go solo down a 300 yard long beginner run holding a wedge and making turns, I'd deserve to be shot. You need to have low expectaions. If your kid doesn't want to do it, or is taking longer, don't force it!! You have too much to lose. Make sure you leave the hill before the kid gets too tired and cranky. Think of the old addage "leave them wanting more". There were many days, that after our second break, I would tell my daughter we had to go home, and she would be in tears because she wanted to stay and ski more. But I know that she was too tired, and I also know that come next week, she'll be super pumped to go skiing again.

A buddy of mine, who had about the same experience with his 3 year old daughter a few years ago (now 7) had the exact opposite happen with his 5 year old son last winter. They tried to put him in ski school, and the kid went totally postal. He's also an instructor and taught his daughter himself.

Good luck, and have fun. You'll find that you never thought you could have so much fun making the slowest possible wedge turns down a beginner run until you do it with your own kid.

I think that teaching my daughter myself was a big plus over putting her in ski school. Granted, I wouldn't recommend it if you don't have a lot of years of teaching experience. But my wife is a stay-at-home mom, and I think my daughter (and I) got a lot of good quality one-on-one bonding time when we went skiing together (wife only came twice). I think that having me all to herself for a whole day might have been one of my daughter's motivations for wanting to go skiing.

So once your kid can ski the easiest hills, I highly recommend you putting your desire to ski the rest of the hill aside, and spend quality time with the kid. Bring a camera! I found that using my digital camera in video mode was a good way to go most days because it is so small.
******************

One other thing I'll say about the harness, is that when you are at the top or bottom of the hill, or need to cross a flat section, you can just ski past your kid, and use the harness as a tow rope. It works really well for that. One issue I had, was that my daughter would sometimes be in a wedge when I was trying to pull her. That makes it a bit tough....
post #39 of 50

ditto

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
I think that having me all to herself for a whole day might have been one of my daughter's motivations for wanting to go skiing.
Ditto
post #40 of 50
Thread Starter 
For anyone interested in another kid ski-intro experience, here's an update on introducing my son (who turned 2 at the end of February) to snow and skiing:

I really didn't get in much skiing (I live in the Bay Area and ski at any of the ski areas around Lake Tahoe) until near the end of the season and that's when my wife and son finally came along with me. My wife doesn't ski at all (and she's now 5 months pregnant with #2, so she wouldn't even if she did), so on the days that she and he were along, they hung out around the lodge while I skiied. Typically, I'd ski for awhile, then come down and hang out with them for a half hour or an hour. We went to at least one place (Soda Springs near Lake Tahoe) that has a special play area for little kids, so we let him do that. We also bought some cheap plastic skis that I could strap on to his boots and we'd pull him between us down the shallow grades near the lodge. I also skiied him down those grades standing on the front of my skis. He dug it. What he really dug, though, was his Mom or Dad making snowballs for him with one of those plastic snowball makers (highly recommended) that he could then throw wherever. (Note to plastic snowball maker manufacturers: if you don't already, please make a model that makes small snowballs that will fit in a toddlers hand; they'll love you for it.) This not only made him happy, it fills his Brooks-Robinson-wanna-be (wishes-he-had-been) Dad with great joy: my son WILL play third base for the Baltimore Orioles ... what an arm! He also dug sliding down sledding hills on the new plastic tobaggan that we bought this year. (Man, one lady made me feel so ancient when I brought out the Flexible Flyer that I or my brother used when we were kids. Well, this boy is old school no more!) At home, we occasionally brought out his plastic skis, strapped them on, and let him walk around the living room, which he, being small and of strange habit (as toddlers are prone to be), thought was a very cool thing to do. The upshot is that all in all I think we had a successful introduction to snow and skiing. I've been spending some time at ski web sites recently and he gets so excited when he sees the pictures of snow ("no! no!) or skis ("skis" - he's much better with that one). It really heartens me: he seems to be developing some enthusiasm for winter sports and I count that a groovy thing.

It was certainly true for me that, as advised by many in this thread, the main thing at this age is to let them have fun and get excited about being out in the snow. I can't wait for next year. I may try to get him on a pair of "real skis" near the end of the season, but I should at least be able to build on this year and whet his appetite further for fun in the snow. Truly, kids are really fun - sometimes a pain in the ass, but really fun.
post #41 of 50
I haven't read all the posts, just skimmed a few...so maybe someone mentioned this already...JohnH above nailed a bunch of good points....

But here is another simple little one that I think works great. Start in your back yard!!! Basic premise is skiing must be fun or what is the point...second kids don't last long...if you get'em to last an hour you did great....having said that I think alot of parents mess up by taking their kids to the ski hill for their first go...why?

It is often expensive, crowded and abit scary for a child...assuming you live somewhere where snow is...the backyard is the place to start....shovel up a little hill, pack it down....and go ski....if the child is only 2......a 4 ft hill in the backyard would be awesome for at least the first few go's.....once they get used to it...take em to a real hill....but the backyard thing helps them get over those first jitters in a fun and relaxed way .... for the child and the parent!

All too often I see the parents push the kids to stay out all day, etc etc becuase often the parents feel that unless the kid has a full day they wasted their time/money/holiday etc.....backyard on weekends or even in the evenings takes that all away...again even if it works for only the first few times....I think it is worth it!

Remember this little fact: Alberto Tomba learned this way!
post #42 of 50
I took my 8 year old up for the first time this season...Although he said he liked it and want's to go again, he didn't do well in ski school (SkiBowl) do to his mild Autism/ADHD. He didn't/couldn't follow the instructors instruction (the instructor didn't speak very clearly anyways) and although I was there w/him the instructor kicked us out after only fifteen minutes because he was spending too much time w/my son.

I wasn't upset at the teacher or the ski area about this mainly because being the parent of a ADHD/Autististic child I've grown used to this sort of thing and expected it. What it showed me was that I'm going to have to teach him myself, at least until he reaches a point where private lessons can benefit him.

I've taught many people, both young and old, to ski at the beginner level before w/good success, but my son will be a challenge for several reasons including just the fact that he's my son and doesn't like to listen to daddy.

I prefer not to teach family members due to the relationship factor and the frustration/conflict it can bring. For this reason alone I refused to teach my wife for her first couple of times as well. She didn't take out her frustration on me and now she doesn't get ticked if I make a suggestion or two.

Now I'm faced with having to deal w/my son, giving him lessons and I can already tell that I'm going to have to do the same w/my daughter who at three is exhibiting the same symptoms.

What I would like to know is have any of you other parents had to deal w/this, or how about you instructors? How did you go about it and how succesfull?

I don't get enough snow at home to try the "backyard" method (how I and my brothers, learned by the way), so it's not an option.

On the plus side, his biggest complaint about the lesson was that he didn't see the point in learning the snowplow because it just slowed him down.

Thank's in advance.
post #43 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by memosteve
I took my 8 year old up for the first time this season...Although he said he liked it and want's to go again, he didn't do well in ski school (SkiBowl) do to his mild Autism/ADHD. He didn't/couldn't follow the instructors instruction (the instructor didn't speak very clearly anyways) and although I was there w/him the instructor kicked us out after only fifteen minutes because he was spending too much time w/my son.

I wasn't upset at the teacher or the ski area about this mainly because being the parent of a ADHD/Autististic child I've grown used to this sort of thing and expected it. What it showed me was that I'm going to have to teach him myself, at least until he reaches a point where private lessons can benefit him.

I've taught many people, both young and old, to ski at the beginner level before w/good success, but my son will be a challenge for several reasons including just the fact that he's my son and doesn't like to listen to daddy.

I prefer not to teach family members due to the relationship factor and the frustration/conflict it can bring. For this reason alone I refused to teach my wife for her first couple of times as well. She didn't take out her frustration on me and now she doesn't get ticked if I make a suggestion or two.

Now I'm faced with having to deal w/my son, giving him lessons and I can already tell that I'm going to have to do the same w/my daughter who at three is exhibiting the same symptoms.

What I would like to know is have any of you other parents had to deal w/this, or how about you instructors? How did you go about it and how succesfull?

I don't get enough snow at home to try the "backyard" method (how I and my brothers, learned by the way), so it's not an option.

On the plus side, his biggest complaint about the lesson was that he didn't see the point in learning the snowplow because it just slowed him down.

Thank's in advance.
Not sure the exact details of your situation but alot of resorts have special programs (often referred to as "Adaptive") for kids with special needs. They are usually run independent of the ski schools and use specially trained instructors....and since it is all non-profit the cost is usually reasonable...if any.
post #44 of 50
Thank's for the tips, and I'll look it to the possibilities.

The issue is that my understanding of "adaptive" programs are that they are more aimed at helping kids w/physical and diminished mental capacity (retardadation for example).

My son doesn't have any physical limitations at all and his mental capacity is actually well above normal for his age (has tested to mental capacity of the average 16 year old, and he's only 8), which is fairly typical of Autistic children...The issue is more that he hyperfocuses and has a hard time w/change and listening, which has the tendency to manifest into behavioral problems to the point of a complete lack of control of emotions.

Autism is still fairly misunderstood and takes very well trained professionals to deal with in a positive way, which is acutely different than diminished mental capacity or physical limitation.
post #45 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by memosteve
Thank's for the tips, and I'll look it to the possibilities.

The issue is that my understanding of "adaptive" programs are that they are more aimed at helping kids w/physical and diminished mental capacity (retardadation for example).

My son doesn't have any physical limitations at all and his mental capacity is actually well above normal for his age (has tested to mental capacity of the average 16 year old, and he's only 8), which is fairly typical of Autistic children...The issue is more that he hyperfocuses and has a hard time w/change and listening, which has the tendency to manifest into behavioral problems to the point of a complete lack of control of emotions.

Autism is still fairly misunderstood and takes very well trained professionals to deal with in a positive way, which is acutely different than diminished mental capacity or physical limitation.

Not necessarily true. I have taught autistic children in both adaptive programs and mainstreamed in alpine schools. Large adaptive programs (such as NSCD and Durango's ASA) train their instructors. I believe that with a population base the size of Portland's, there must be an adaptive program in that area.

try this url: http://www.websensedesign.com/oas/index.html
post #46 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by icanseeformiles(andmiles)
Not necessarily true. I have taught autistic children in both adaptive programs and mainstreamed in alpine schools. Large adaptive programs (such as NSCD and Durango's ASA) train their instructors. I believe that with a population base the size of Portland's, there must be an adaptive program in that area.

try this url: http://www.websensedesign.com/oas/index.html
Thank you very much for the info and the more I found out the more I'm encouraged.
post #47 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by memosteve
Thank you very much for the info and the more I found out the more I'm encouraged.
This is also a great story about a high-functioning autistic child and skiing. It's in Vermont, but it does show that some adaptive programs have the wherewithal to handle the needs of autistic kids. http://www.autismspeaks.org/communit...ords_jesse.php

Good luck! My cousin's son is also high-functioning autistic (I think he is now about 10 or 11 years old), and strenous physical activity (when they can get him to do it) really seems to add to his ability to cope with some things that might otherwise be overwhelming and improve his overall quality of life.
post #48 of 50
The Adaptive Ski Program in New Mexico, which operates at Santa Fe and Sandia Peak ski areas, has more people with various cognitive disabilties than physical ones. We have many autistic kids in the program. You shouldn't have any trouble finding an adaptive program that can handle this. Also, our program, and I suppose others, offer lessons at a significantly reduced rate over regular private lessons and even scholarships for those who otherwise could not afford it.
post #49 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by memosteve
Thank's for the tips, and I'll look it to the possibilities.

The issue is that my understanding of "adaptive" programs are that they are more aimed at helping kids w/physical and diminished mental capacity (retardadation for example).

My son doesn't have any physical limitations at all and his mental capacity is actually well above normal for his age (has tested to mental capacity of the average 16 year old, and he's only 8), which is fairly typical of Autistic children...The issue is more that he hyperfocuses and has a hard time w/change and listening, which has the tendency to manifest into behavioral problems to the point of a complete lack of control of emotions.

Autism is still fairly misunderstood and takes very well trained professionals to deal with in a positive way, which is acutely different than diminished mental capacity or physical limitation.
I've been an adaptive instructor for quite a bit now. Most adaptive ski programs would love to work with a child like this. They have the training and know how to work around the issues that you describe.

I've worked with kids with emotional control issues. When you get an outbreak, you just handle it, get things back in focus and then go back to the fun of skiing. No big deals; for the most part, sometimes you do have a day that just doesn't work out the way you planned.

I've seen some really neat things with autistic children and adults skiing. Well worth the effort to bring them the joy of being out in the snow and dancing with gravity.

I've checked the internet the following places offer adaptive ski lessons in the Oregon area:

- Mount Hood http://www.skihood.com/ Check on the ski lessons area
- Oregon Adaptive Sports http://www.oregon-adaptive-skiing.org/
[ http://www.spokesnmotion.com/program...esource_id=120 (This is a link at Spoke N Motion with contact info)]

That should give you a start. Most bigger mountains have an adaptive program. Just call them and ask.

Hope this helps.

Terry
post #50 of 50
If you are a member of PSIA or know one---ask to borrow the most recent 2006 Spring "Professional Skier" magizine. In it there an article prepared by a Vail instructor who did a masters thesis by studying 4-6 yr olds against FMP (fundamental movement patterns), sport specific skills and BMI. To make a long story short--BMI makes no or little difference. The most important factor was the child's ability to internally and externally rotate their feet. Practiced and tested---ON DRY LAND. He advises children must first own FMPs--Jumping, hopping and skipping.


In addition to most of the info posted here. I might suggest you and anyone else considering this, review the article or contact the writer directly at Richie.Edeen@athletics.utexas.edu (he offered his email in the article)

Once the child is ready for advanced skills--beyond FMPs. He recommonds 1) doing the chubby checker "twist"---heels on ground toes twisting. 2) practice wizzard of oz--Dorothy move. Toes on the ground--heels twisting. Then on plastic skid sheets--or paper on a slippy wood floor---both at the same time. If you child owns this in the Kitchen, he/she will be better of on the hill. NOTE: Not one of the 21 students tested passed all points of the twisting dryland skill. Those that did best--were moving to parallel in 3 days.

NOTE: This is my interpretation of the article. I am better at math than english, or so said my SATs 25 yrs ago. Damm bias tests.:
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