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Teaching yer own kid

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
So eight or nine years ago I became a ski instructor so that when I had my own kid, I'd be able to teach him right instead of some of these bonehead parents I see that I wanna whack upside the head with my pole.

When he was real little, we'd play on our skis in the yard, I'd tow him around. When he as about three, at the end of the season when the snow was slow, I'd take him to a magic carpet area and basically give him a ride, letting him hold my pole or let him slide a little bit and then catch him.

This year, he's four and time to learn on his own. So I take him up and try all the make a pizza stuff that works with other kids I teach. Thing is, when you're Daddy, "make a pizza" sounds like "brush your teeth, time to go to bed, get ready for school or you're not allowed to watch TV tonight". All he wanted to do is slide fast but then he got scared and didn't want to go back. So after about two weeks, we say we are going to take him to the "snow playground" this time not "the mountain" and he will just play with a bunch of kids.

So last week, I shelled out $60 for a 2.5 hour kids program (essentially what was called SkiWee in years past). Now $60 is what I make teaching for a whole Saturday, before taxes. He cries for 1/2 hour in the kids room while my wfie get's him dressed. He spends the first 1/2 hour in the lesson glued to Mom's leg before she can pry him loose and we sneak off. By the end of the lesson, he's making laps with all the kids in on the little 40' magic carpet like little ducks following momma duck. He skis down and when the teacher tell him to, he makes a pizza and stops. And ... he's smiling ! ! !

Now here's the kicker, I watch him make his pizza and he is actively steering the tips of the skis together. He's technically make the pizza the correct way by steering the tips of the skis; not pushing his heels out. Holly crap. This 16 year old kid taught him to make a pizza the right way.

So I give my wife the first green piece paper that comes out of my wallet and say give this to that 16yo kid when you go back to pick up our son. (Please please, if an instructor does a good job with your kid; give him/her something even if it's only $5. It will really make they day, if nothing else, it make them feel appreciated).

And today, he says he want to go back to the snow playground this weekend so we have a reservation for Monday afternoon. As soon as he has confidence making laps on the real trail, we'll start skiing as a family and then I'll get him a lesson like every third of fourth time. Definitely he'll do the ski playground a few more times before then.
post #2 of 24
Thats awsome!
post #3 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by learn2turn
So I give my wife the first green piece paper that comes out of my wallet and say give this to that 16yo kid when you go back to pick up our son. (Please please, if an instructor does a good job with your kid; give him/her something even if it's only $5. It will really make they day, if nothing else, it make them feel appreciated).
Great observation, l2t...as far as I'm concerned, the $ amount of a tip does not matter. To use an old cliche, it's the thought that counts...

Glad your son had a good time!
post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by learn2turn
... Thing is, when you're Daddy, "make a pizza" sounds like "brush your teeth, time to go to bed, get ready for school or you're not allowed to watch TV tonight". ....
That is, unfortunately, so true. We didn't even try to teach our kids -- just sucked it up and ski-schooled them, and they learned really fast.

More power to anyone who can successfully teach their own, and I know there are many of you out there, but not us. I do try with tennis, but it's like banging my head against the wall. Then a pro will tell them the EXACT same thing I have been telling them, and it's like night and day. Sigh.
post #5 of 24
If only all those parents I see trying to teach their kids who don't know how to ski very well AND certainly don't know how to teach skiing would wake up and see things like you did!

Often kids just don't want to listed to their parents -- even if you are an expert on the subject! I personally found a blend of group and some private ski lessons (mine hated the group on the carpet -- didn't like it till they were on the chair lift) and having fun skiing as a family (versus teaching as a family) were the key.

Enjoy it!

Always Skiing
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Always Skiing
If only all those parents I see trying to teach their kids who don't know how to ski very well AND certainly don't know how to teach skiing would wake up and see things like you did!
Yeah, I know how to ski well and teach well and gave up teaching my own kid.
post #7 of 24
This discussion is really timely - we put our oldest daughter in the local hill's "Puffin" program, a weeklong hour group lesson for the little ones. She started last winter when she was 4, and did it again this winter at 5 years old.

I've taken her out skiing several times and resist the urge to "teach" - as one of the instructors told me, I'm the "mileage coach", I love that concept. She's taken a private lesson too, and I plan to keep doing that every once in a while.

She's at the point that she's comfortable with some speed, can handle any green trail, but is still stuck in a wedge. The "problem" is that she doesn't really turn enough, tends to get going a little too fast and out of control, and that's dangerous for all concerned. How can I get her to turn some more without having to shout "turn" every time?! I really enjoy skiing with her and she's having a blast too, but I need to keep it safe.
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Well I'm not there yet (and who am I to talk) but I totally agree on the milage thing. I intend to be the milage coach when my kids graduates from the snow playground to the trail.

On not turning and too much wedge. I can tell you from lots of kids I've taught that kids revert like that, even when they are not your own kids. Particularly, if you can out in front of them. They stop during and head right at you in the pizza. I have seven and eight year olds in my group that are ninety percent parallel and still revert like that when not pushed to turn.

Two points--

Of critical importance is to keep the terrain easy almost all of the time.

Come up with stuff to make him turn. Make up games. Have him chase you. Play cat and mouse. Find twisty trails. Ski around big snowmaking mounds (great for sponteneious matching). Just be creative and make things up but come up with reasons to turn.
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catul
I've taken her out skiing several times and resist the urge to "teach" - as one of the instructors told me, I'm the "mileage coach", I love that concept. She's taken a private lesson too, and I plan to keep doing that every once in a while..
I really like the term "mileage coach". That mean we parents aren't completely useful when it comes to coaching our own. Seriously though, other than being a companion on the slopes, we can probably inject reminders and pointer everyone so often. Repetition of instruction is coaching only when it comes from people who aren't their parents. Otherwise, it's just nagging to them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catul
She's at the point that she's comfortable with some speed, can handle any green trail, but is still stuck in a wedge. The "problem" is that she doesn't really turn enough, tends to get going a little too fast and out of control, and that's dangerous for all concerned. How can I get her to turn some more without having to shout "turn" every time?! I really enjoy skiing with her and she's having a blast too, but I need to keep it safe.
Without getting into the actual drills, good effective use of stimulation and distraction is the key. Commands and reminders when it comes to skill learning does little to a 5 year old.
post #10 of 24
A few weeks ago at Mammoth I saw a group of 8 or so 4-5 year old girls following the instructor down a green run making succesful little hop turns instead of using the wedge. I thought that was great and watched for a bit. The girls looked to be maybe at day 3-4. Not never evers but not real confident either. Can any instructors shed light on this lesson?
post #11 of 24
Thanks for the comments, learn2turn and chanwmr; I will try some games and other non-instructional ways of keeping things fun. I know she loves turning around cones (or poles/gates) - I'll have to see if I can bring/use a few cones on the bunny slopes, that's a really fun game for her and she does well at it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottys
A few weeks ago at Mammoth I saw a group of 8 or so 4-5 year old girls following the instructor down a green run making succesful little hop turns instead of using the wedge. I thought that was great and watched for a bit. The girls looked to be maybe at day 3-4. Not never evers but not real confident either. Can any instructors shed light on this lesson?
My daughter mentioned "hopping" and similar activities during her classes, but I never saw it and don't know the exact methods. She said she really enjoyed it and did well, I think it appears to be a great way to get them away from wedges and into parallel skiing, will have to look this up.
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I will try some games and other non-instructional ways of keeping things fun. I know she loves turning around cones (or poles/gates) -
Here's one, have the kid give you and another skier (spouse, friend, partner) high fives. You move down the trail and keep one on either side and the kid will have to ski back and forth to alternate high fives with the two of you. As safety concern, only use 1/2 the width of the trail.

Quote:
My daughter mentioned "hopping" and similar activities during her classes
Hopping helps balance and matching skis. So does stomping one foot, shuffling, etc. Make up popcorn cames, everytime you yell "pop" the kid hops. Everytime the kid yells, you hop. Alternate, have fun.
post #13 of 24
I just took my son, not yet 3, in the back yard down a very small hill. He was very excited when we started. I got him to go down on his own , with grand daddy leting him go he would ski down into my arms. He seemed to have a lot of fun. He did it 4 or 5 times and then he was done. I did not push him to do more thinking if he gets upset and crying he will not want to do it. It seemed a lot of work to get him out there; getting him dressed, packing the little hill, and ect, for only 5 little runs but I think it is worth it.

I think it is great that you are starting him so young. I hope when mine is 4 he will be dong as good as yours.
post #14 of 24
My brother has twins who are almost 4. Two years ago they got them "toddler" nordic gear and just had them walk around the yard and up and down the road to get used to it. (They lived in Breck at the time, so there was lots of snow all the time.)

Last year, when they were 2/almost 3, they got "real" nordic gear, and alpine gear, and just spent lots of play time on skis. They have some seriously good balance by now, and moving around on skis is second nature.
post #15 of 24
I bought those little plastic kiddie skis a couple of years ago, the one where your kid puts his/her shoes into a little strap on the ski and then you can pull her around using a long pole. It's not exactly "stable" or supportive compared to real boots and skis, but is a good start.

I used it with my 3 year old last month for the first time, she had a blast being pulled around the backyard. Having seen her older sister (the 5 year old) go skiing with the real stuff, the younger one wanted to try it too. So a few weeks ago I put the 3 year old in the 5 year old's boots (yeah, they were pretty loose) and skis and pulled her around a few times again. Then I let her slide down a very gentle slope in the backyard, she really enjoyed it! She's already asking me to take her along when I go with the 5 year old, it's fun to see the eagerness at such a young age!

I can't wait till both of them are skiing comfortably on intermediate terrain (another two years maybe?), it'll be such a blast to enjoy the mountain with them. Probably a couple of years after that I'll be wishing they'd wait up for their old man
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
You mean like this? It's great practice to pull the kid around on flats on toys skis. My kid did it at 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5 years old. Now he's taking lessons since it's time to really learn to ski. Don't even bother with pitch. Just tow around the yard.

At 18mo-

post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catul
I bought those little plastic kiddie skis a couple of years ago, the one where your kid puts his/her shoes into a little strap on the ski and then you can pull her around using a long pole. It's not exactly "stable" or supportive compared to real boots and skis, but is a good start.
Actually this is probably better than hard boots for a child this young.

Kids that young have joints that are not yet fully developed and muscle groups that don't perform well in hard boots. Having hard boots makes it possible for them to lever back against the backs of the boots. If they were in soft shoes they would have to figure out how to stand up and would develop better balance than if you put them "adult" designed boots.
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottys
A few weeks ago at Mammoth I saw a group of 8 or so 4-5 year old girls following the instructor down a green run making succesful little hop turns instead of using the wedge. I thought that was great and watched for a bit. The girls looked to be maybe at day 3-4. Not never evers but not real confident either. Can any instructors shed light on this lesson?
Hopping does several things.

It's fun
It forces a centered stance. You can't get off the ground sitting back or leaning forwards.
It encourages extension and flexion.
It teaches Rotary skills and some separation of upper and lower body movement.

All this without filling the kids heads with what they are doing.

I use this in lessons all the time.

DC
post #19 of 24
l2t,

I had the oposite experience. My daughter (3 1/2 last winter) only wanted to ski with me, and for some unknown reason, listened to everything I said. I skied about 10 days with her last season (only once so far this year), and she did really well on both the majic carpet and the chairs on the beginner hill.

Then again, I also taught my wife to ski, and she actually learned.

Maybe there's something wrong with me.
post #20 of 24
Some things I have done while teaching little ones 3-6 to turn more.

One is red light green light but instead you point left or right and have them turn as you piont, they love it. One important thing it teaches is to look down hill no matter what way you are going, and you can vary there turn completeness. Which in some case will narrow the size of the wedge with out ever actually "teaching" this.

Cat and mouse is great but kids this age dont get the turn to shake the cat concept as well as older kids, and ended up straightlining the hill in alot of cases.
post #21 of 24
Pizza (Snow Plow) and French Fries (parallel ski). Using those terms really helped! From there, we proceeded on to hamburger and popcorn (but I'm still trying to figure out what those terms mean!)
post #22 of 24
No doubt skiing with your kids is fun, for all. But, as my 6 y/o says, "I have more fun with the teacher, he takes us to forests, bumps, terrain parks etc." Hurts my feelings (until I realize now it's now my time to rip...), but let them be kids, with other kids.

Plus, they socialize and learn to interact more. I gues it boils down to a balance: x% ski school, x% parents, a happy compromise.
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
I had the oposite experience. My daughter (3 1/2 last winter) only wanted to ski with me, and for some unknown reason, listened to everything I said. I skied about 10 days with her last season (only once so far this year), and she did really well on both the majic carpet and the chairs on the beginner hill.
My almost 4 yo (5 yo in March) son is the same. He only wants to ski with me. We've successfully put him in a private lesson one time. He's refused group lessons and we've actually been called via electronic message board a couple of times to pick him up early out of group lessons b/c he was crying. He'll then happily ski with me for the rest of the day. He no longer wants to ski the magic carpet (thinks its for 3 year olds). Apart from getting less time to ski what I want, I'm having a blast skiing with him and watching him improve just about everytime we go out. I can't wait to ski with him again. It's just so much fun!
post #24 of 24
Great games to play while skiing with wee ones.. Thanks

My 2 cents. although I likely could have taught my daughter all I worried about was getting her playing and used to skis. chase me, i'm gonna get you, I'll race you over there etc... sure we skied down the hill but I concentrated on just having fun and making it a positive fun experiance. this was for age 3 and 4

Now at 5 I handed her off to the ski school. Why? when with mommy or daddy you are the safety net. they don't need to ski, Daddy will save me. Daddy won't make me do hard stuff. I don't neccasarily have to listen to daddy.

Best money I ever spent was on ski lesson (actually three free lessons with seasons pass of a whole $30)

Went to a mountain resort for 7 days over xmas and skied 3 days with her just having fun making turns etc.. total this year 7 days (well kiddie days) for her.

Yesterday we enjoyed a day together just skiing. Just her and pops lovin life. I hardly had to tend to her at all. She even insisted she do the tbar alone. She made it 3/4 the way up wiped and insisted she do it again.

I am a big beleiver that the parents job is to get them used to being on skis, NOT skiing. Let the pro's do their job and you will benefit forever more from it. I know I am and will be for a long time.
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