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Kids falling off lifts - Page 3

post #61 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamon98
BigE it is clear to me that we do have differing ideas of the activity. For a child that is being shooed into competition, sure i can see how starting at 2 or 3 years old is an advantage. but for the average kid who's parents make the once a year trip for vacation, it just doesn't make much sense to me.

I could go on, but it's clear neither of us will convert the other. Interesting discussion.

EDIT: oh, and who ski's to school at 3? i guess the austrians start school earlier than us lowly americans as well... guess we should get on that one too... ;-)
I tried that angle once too. The response I got was that it was actually sufficient for the child to ski just one week/year at that early age. Full time slope access was not strictly necessary, and retention that makes a difference still occurs. I find that very interesting indeed.

In my case, I started "skating" an extremely early age. Just a couple of times at the local park on two bladed runners. I was between 2 and 3 yrs old. Shuffle, shuffle fall... It's one of my earliest and fondest childhood memories.

I must say that regardless of how well I learn to ski, (starting much later), I will always feel far more at home on ice than on the slopes. There is no question in my mind at all that this verly early childhood experience makes a huge difference.

Re: The Austrians -- Mom takes the older kids to school, while jr tags along. They have an entirely different view of teaching young ones. "Follow me" is good enough, especially if the leader is world class. The young ones "remember" and mimic as best they can what they saw.
post #62 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
...
Also, as a side note, if you take small kids, who's upper legs are too short for their butts to reach the back of the seat, and push them back until their backs touch the seat, you're asking for a serious accident. the kid will be leaning so far back, they they can just slip right under the safety bar, especially if the seat is somewhat slippery. Always have the kid sit upright, with their calves all the way back, touching the front of the seat. Have them put their hands on the bar. If you ever need to slide a kid back on the seat, do it from the knees or pulling from the back of the belt/waist. Do not push the chest or abdomen toward the back of the seat. All you'll do is straighten them out, and when their back hits the seatback, the downward momentum of their shoulders will push their butt forward.
Sorry, JohnH, I've got to disagree, here. I teach probably an average of 6 kids this age every day during the winter. It's way too easy for them to slip out when they're up by the bar. (They have a lot less distance to travel before you're grabbing on, and hoping you get to the top before you both end up on the ground.) I make an exception when I have a bar with foot rests, and they're old enough to sit by the bar, and their feet actually rest on the footrest.
post #63 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
Jamon,

I one-week-a-year skiing family is not going to try to introduce their kid to skiing at 2-3 years old.
You'd be quite suprised what you get from the DC crowd... I've seen far too many things that make absolutely no sense from normal sane individuals. Some people are just of the opinion that anything is possible if you throw money at it... but that's another story. These things do happen though.

Quote:
However, you need to consider your audience here. We're the 1%ers. My daughter first skied at 2.5, and skied 10+ days at 3.5 years old, then again at 4.5. FYI, she loved it. She loved the one-on-one time with Dad, the pride of accomplishment, the feeedom, etc. I taught my daughter not only how to ski, but how to love the outdoors, how to love physical activity, the love of winter, and a whole host of physical accomplishments, which otherwise she may have never learned because she is otherwise somewhat unathletic. If I let her sit around and watch tv until she was 6-8 years old, she may never have never even opened up to the idea of being physically active.
I do aplaude your effort, and I'm a firm believer that if you have the time to spend to do it, it can be a rewarding experience and invaluable as a bonding experience. My dad grew up in vermont but his first experience skiing was at the age of 55 when i first got lessons. I still try to ski with him at least once a year and it's some of the best quality time i've ever had.

You may be right, I probably have not properly considered my audience and could have framed my arguments in a better context. I'm from a hill where most of the clientelle is weekend warriers from the DC metro area. The majority are not season long skiers so i can only speak from that experience. Many are not familiar with the risks involved or that it is an athletic activity in skiing and view it much like playing in the pool or throwing horse shoes (not trying to get into a risk analysis).

Quote:
Also, as a side note, if you take small kids, who's upper legs are too short for their butts to reach the back of the seat, and push them back until their backs touch the seat, you're asking for a serious accident. the kid will be leaning so far back, they they can just slip right under the safety bar, especially if the seat is somewhat slippery. Always have the kid sit upright, with their calves all the way back, touching the front of the seat. Have them put their hands on the bar. If you ever need to slide a kid back on the seat, do it from the knees or pulling from the back of the belt/waist. Do not push the chest or abdomen toward the back of the seat. All you'll do is straighten them out, and when their back hits the seatback, the downward momentum of their shoulders will push their butt forward.
I've had plenty of experience riding with the kids and never take my eyes off of them when we're in the chair. I have noticed that when they hold on to the bar they tend to want to lean down and out over the edge of the chair more. When i have a very small one they usually need assistance getting into the chair anyway so i place them with their backs upright, not just touching against the back of the chair. most times this means that their legs are straight out, usually with these small ones there's not much hanging out over the edge of the chair, just boots and skis. I have never had a problem, and feel much safer than if the kid were sitting with maybe 8-12 inches on a seat with his legs dangling and the wieght of his skis trying to pull him out of a chair. It may be a seat design issue, but all of our chairs slope backwards and force you to the back making it much harder for the child to slide out with his back upright against the chair.
post #64 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamon98
You'd be quite suprised what you get from the DC crowd...
Jamon,

I realize you are new here, and probably don't know me, but I've been teaching skiing in the mid atlantic (Liberty and Whitetail, and a little time at Breckenridge after college) since 1983. I've taught thousands of children to ski, including one of my own. I've never had one fall out of a chair lift, and the only close calls have been when loading or unloading.
post #65 of 77
Jamon - JohnH is being modest, so I'll add a bit more to what he said. He is an L-III cert and trains other ski instructors.

Tom / PM
post #66 of 77
Reasons to have a kid ski at age 3:

- Because it's something parents can do with their kids. Okay, that may not be a great one for the one-week-a-year people, as you're likely to spend the bulk of your one week on the bunny hill. But still ....

- Because it's a strength/balance/body-sense development activity. I'm pretty sure that there's no correlation between time spent on gymnastics at age 2 and Olympic success, but I still see lots of kids in Gymboree classes. I think most parents would like to see their 3-year-olds doing a little walking, or even running, though very few are likely to earn college scholarships for track, and even fewer to make a living at it.

- Because it also develops a sense of adventure, independence, accomplishment and capability.

- Because, even if you pooh-pooh the previous two items, it still beats sitting in a dingy room watching Disney videos with a bored, sub-minimum-wage 16-year-old.

- Because the kid may mentally adopt skiing as one of "his" activities, and be enthusiastic at age 6 or 10 when you say that's what you're doing for the weekend.

- Because it's fun.
post #67 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
Jamon,

I realize you are new here, and probably don't know me, but I've been teaching skiing in the mid atlantic (Liberty and Whitetail, and a little time at Breckenridge after college) since 1983. I've taught thousands of children to ski, including one of my own. I've never had one fall out of a chair lift, and the only close calls have been when loading or unloading.
Please know that i was not personally attacking you in my post. I was merely commenting on your assertion that the once-a-year family will not have their 2 y/o in lessons. It was an absolute statement and my response was merely defending that it does happen.

I have never had one fall either and have only heard of maybe 2-3 cases at my hill where someone has fallen out of a chair (most due to horseplay or inattention by fellow riders or attendants). I still think having the child's back flat against the back of the seat sitting upright is a good choice and I understand your concern about pressing on the chest/abtomen area. I do believe that our thoughts on this issue are compatible and have more in agreement than not.

I also agree that loading/unloading is one of the most perilous times in regards to the lift.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston
Reasons to have a kid ski at age 3:
I started out trying to add my opinion to the mix. Up to that point beyond was the only one advocating something other than the status quo. And the other side was quite emphatic. I am still kinda in the same camp with him in many aspects. I also realize that the issue is clouded with many other issues concerning child rearing and other philosophies. It is further complicated by deep emotions inherent in debates about these issues.

My thoughts on the "When/how should a child learn to ski" and surrounding issues are quite complex and sometimes contradictory. Please know that I'm not trying to present a black and white approach. Thanks for the input and clear minded opinions. I feel like i've presented my view point sufficiently enough and also agree with most here that there are benefits from starting young. I suspect most of the remaining differences lie in the "how to go about it" arena. I don't have anything further to add but i'll continue watching the discussions.

EDIT: I found a post by tdk6 that i'm pretty much in agreement to and offers some good advice. http://forums.epicski.com/showpost.p...76&postcount=5
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post #68 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamon98
...I don't have anything further to add but i'll continue watching the discussions.

...
Please don't stop contributing. There's few childrens' instructors that contribute on a continuous basis. Remember, lots (not ALL) of the L3's that you read here don't teach children, and haven't in years.
post #69 of 77
I’m a veteran of 40 yrs of chairlift riding, many with safety bars, many without. Usually I am very comfortable on chairs without safety bars, just sit a little further back in the saddle and resist any impulse to bend over or mess with boot buckles, etc.
There are two chair rides I recall from recent years on lifts without safety bars that were somewhat memorably hairy, first ride ever on Wagonwheel chair at Kirkwood and the main chair (#2) out of Loveland base towards upper mtn. Both of these chairs get pretty high off the ground and/or cover steep terrain. At Kirkwood I was alone on the chair and it was real windy, I hung onto the side pole with a very unmanly death grip. Once after I had ridden the Loveland Chair a few times I used the pole-across-the-lap technique on a young 6yr old Japanese child with her mother’s permission. The mother was hanging onto the side pole for dear life, child was between us.

The safety bar question has been discussed here before. It's kind of a regional thing. Ironically, out West where the lifts arguably cover hairier terrain, they are less common than in the East. Some people like you combat this by going to resorts with lengthy enclosed lifts such as gondolas and trams that serve plenty of terrain for them to enjoy.
post #70 of 77
It really is a regional thing.

People in Colorado and Utah for some reason,don't care to use the lift restraint bar.

Here in New York, it's mandated by every Resort insurance company, andin fact is law here.

I don't know about the New England areas.

It's a personal thing for me. All those years of Ski and Safety Patrol. I use the bar and don't feel like a whimp for doing so. Always when there are children with me.

Why wouldn't you use it?
post #71 of 77
I starting skiing with my 3-4 year old son last year out in Colorado. I taught him. We probably went about 30 days or so.

I explained to him how dangerous it is if you fall off the lift way before we went on any chair lift.

A lot of the time I would put my arm around him (mostly at the beginning of the season). I never put poles across him. He seems more secure if I let him sit up enough..so his legs can bend over the edge of the seat and hold onto the safety bar. If he is sitting back against the back of the seat, he slides around too much. Also, on a lot of the newer 4-6 passenger chairs, there is a big gap at the back of the chair.

He was pretty comfortable on the lift by the end of the season. Once in the middle of the season he smacked his feet together and ejected a ski. He was actually pretty upset about it (much more then me). He never smacked his skiis together on the lift the rest of the season.

We went up this summer with his mom to do some hiking. Needless to say, my son and I enjoyed the view... Mom (non-skier) was scared to death.
post #72 of 77
Best way to keep your kids safe: teach them the importance of listening when an adult tells them how to be safe.
post #73 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
It really is a regional thing.

People in Colorado and Utah for some reason,don't care to use the lift restraint bar.

Here in New York, it's mandated by every Resort insurance company, andin fact is law here.

I don't know about the New England areas.

It's a personal thing for me. All those years of Ski and Safety Patrol. I use the bar and don't feel like a whimp for doing so. Always when there are children with me.

Why wouldn't you use it?

We used to say when we went skiing in CO that "You're on your own". That includes the drive up Wolf Creek Pass with no guardrails next to the canyon or the drive to Ouray with the drop-offs next to the road. You would never find that in NYS. The same goes for the safety bars on the chairs...."You're on your own". In CO, if you fall off....too bad. To be honest though, you really aren't giving up THAT much safety. What are the odds of falling off....not very high....for an adult with any sense.

I still can't get past the thought that's being put for forth that safety bars are hazardous for kids. If the kid is taught to sit in the seat with their butt back as far as they can get it, I can't see the bar being a hazard. It's something in front of them that they can use to push themselves BACK in the seat and that's how it should be used. If they're so small that they need to sit with their legs straight out so they can get their butt back in the seat, then that's how they need to ride and they will need adult help when it comes time to get off. Not having a bar gives them NOTHING in front of them to push against to get them back into the seat. If you really think about it, safety bars only really provide a marked increase in safety in the event of a lift malfunction....if you're riding the lift the way you're supposed to and paying attention....like you're supposed to. Imagine being on a chair when the cable comes off the sheaves at a lift tower and the whole cable bounces up and down 20 ft. Granted it doesn't happen much (thank you Lift Maintenance) but if it did I would be eternally grateful for the NYS mandated bar. Assuming the whole string of chairs doesn't smack the ground first.:
post #74 of 77
Thread Starter 
I still find it amazing how many (mostly) young people don't lower the safety bar. They think that by leaving it up they are thumbing there nose at the rules. When in fact all they are doing is putting the rest of there live in jeopardy. If they fall off they are the ones that will suffer, alone with there family.

Yea, I guess that makes it worth it to them. After all they know everything, just ask them.
post #75 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
People in Colorado and Utah for some reason,don't care to use the lift restraint bar.
Well Alta doesn't even have safety bars. Don't you think that if you were REALLY safer with them that EVERY resort would have them. The fact is, they provide no REAL protection (except in case of lift malfunction as mentioned above).

EDIT: Most people, including kids, have a pretty good sense of self preservation. Millions of years of evolution has taught us instinctively that heights are bad. In all my years of skiing, I have only know of 1 kid that has falled off a lift (outside of the loading/unloading zone). It was on a lift with a safety bar, that was down.
post #76 of 77
I'm new to these boards but you guys have some great discussions! I'm one who travels out west once or maybe twice a year for a week of skiing. 2 years ago I started my daughter (3 at the time) and she was fantastic! Yep... 2 days of skiing for the past 2 years. Now we're looking at getting closer to home and spending some time on the slopes here (she's 5) in Michigan. What better to teach her on than ice? :

I have to say that the death grip I have on here when we're going up a big lift in CO is incredible! I don't care if the safety bar is up,down,off, or nonexistant. I'm not letting go of her for a minute.
post #77 of 77
No safety bars where we ski, at Badger Pass in Yosemite Nat'l Park or at Sierra Summit. We taught our daughter (then 6), now 7, to ski with poles from the beginning and once she showed she could get on and off the chair successfully, using the mantra "tips up, poles up", we let her ride the beginner chair alone. When riding with her on the big chairs, we've always done the pole-across-the-front trick.

Skiing kids early, or getting them involved with other sports early is the only way to go in my opinion. Teach 'em these values young, and make it part of their core. They learn to believe in themselves and that "I can do it" attitude will never leave.
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