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Teaching my 4yo son...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Got #1 out for his second time on the magic carpet bunny slope Sunday morning. On 90 cm Fischers. He is a game little guy and already curious about getting on the bigger lifts - which he has ridden for foliage viewing in the Fall.

He "gets" the whole pizza french fry concept but has some problems getting into pizza position when moving. Leg strength

In french fry postion his stance looks perfect. A little world cupper!

We are working on staying forward and balanced. Hands forward shooting his guns. We have done the me skiing behind him as well as me skiing backwards in front just lightly holding hands. He likes that. We also stop about halfway down (a 100 yd run) and let him ski out the rest of the way. He loves that! He took his first good wipeout Sunday but he was pretty tough about it. He was mostly sad that his new binding "broke" when the ski came off.

So...question is - what other tips / tricks / drills might you suggest for a tough athletic little soccer dude to get the carve feel cooking? Harness? Just pizza pizza pizza pizza - step on the bug? M+Ms or Skittles?

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 8
Tip the train...

With my kids, I actually showed them how tipping works. I did it on terrain that ended with an up-slope, so they could use the outrun. My middle child actually arced the carve on her first run ever (although she was more like 5 or 6 IIRC).

Keep in mind, though, that the little guys have some physiological challenges, including not being able to separate their upper and lower bodies, and that their heads are the highest mass they have. Those two things alone change a lot of options. Don't rush him; he'll get it when he's ready...
post #3 of 8

I'm glad you are taking the responsibility and enjoyment of teaching your son. You mentioned pizza which translates into a wedge position of the skis. Does he turn to cantrol his speed and turn to stop?? Has he learned how to get up from a fall on his own (maybe with a little help)?? Can he follow you as you make round turns down the majic carpet area or stop by turning where you stop?? If he can in a very consistant manner, he may be ready for the next easiest lift. If not, he needs to develope his level of skiing before moving to terrain any more challanging than the MC area.

Putting terrain before technique quite often developes defensive habits that are hard to break and those habits will hinder his development.

post #4 of 8
You need to focus on developing a good sense of Dorsiflexion with him.......:

Now for some reality.

The only focus you should have is FUN. Great skiers love skiing....keep the fun....and the skills will follow.

Now having said above....here is some FUN ideas that will teach a love of skiing, and provide expierance which can latter be used as a foundation for skill development....these are not skills in themselves, just experiences...but extremely valuable at this stage.
  • Ski with your hands in the air
  • Ski with your hands on your knees
  • Ski like an airplane (make the noises)
  • Ski on one ski...see how far you can go (ie lift one off the snow)
  • Take jumps....use your judgment on size and speed...but even a few inches of air is AWESOME for a 4 year old.
  • Ski over bumps
  • Jump up off the snow while skiing
  • ski as tall as you can
  • ski as short as you can
  • play follow the leader
  • play "simon says"
  • there are a million ohers....just use your imagination
A key point thou, is to set time limits for yourself....I see it all too often that parents plan to ski with their child all day. That is usually more then any 4 year old can take....plan on being there for only an hour or so...if they last longer, excellant, you are doing something right....but dont expect him to last all day.

In other words, if he is having fun, he will want to come back, if he comes back, he will learn,,,the more he loves it, the more he comes back, the more he learns, the better he gets.
post #5 of 8
When my son was that age I engaged in a lot of ski play with him. Chasing each other around on the flats. Flinging snow with the tips. Stuff like that. It was a fun way to get him used to getting around on skis. The only other advice I have is mileage, just pure mileage.
post #6 of 8
SkiDude is right; fun games will not only help cultivate the life-long love of skiing, but also improve balance and control.

Perhaps my favorite is animals -- you can do run after run taking turns naming animals then skiing down as that animal, Cheetahs are fast, so wiggle your feet back and forth. Giraffes are tall, so stand up. Mice are small, so get low. Flap your arms for birds, make lots of "squiggly turns" for a snake, etc. You can see how you can incorporate most traditional progressions into this if you think about it.
post #7 of 8
I see nothing wrong with defensive moves at that age and level. Ive seen too many kids and newcombers to the sport get hurt. You mention that you ski in front and hold his hands. That is not such a good ide, better is to let him hold his balance all by himselfe and grab his ski tips insted. Like Skidude72 suggested, let him keep his hands on his knees. Never support the kid above his knees. He needs to be able to balance over his skis. The sooner he learns how to do that the quicker he will actually ski on his own.

Im all for the active weight transfer progression where the turn is initiated by shifting weight to the new outside ski. Other than that, great to hear you two having fun, good luck.

post #8 of 8
Skidude has it, fun is the ticket. Your games should promote desirable movement patterns. A pizza is not necessary, if his french fries will take him left and right. Keep the pitch shallow, keep turning, keep playing.
Do not teach undesirable movements (those you will seek to abolish later), if appropriate levels of safety and fun can be reached without them. Among the best games I've found to promote edge usage in kids is skiing like superman (though they normally have another flying character in mind, they don't even know who Superman is these days), arms extended, hands are out front, leading where you're flying to next. While there is an obvious possible by-product of the upper-body driving the turn, this can be addressed later, at the age when upper/lower body separation can be this can be controlled. I do not suspect you can presently isolate the upper from the lower, the upper body will probably rotate if the hands are moved to the left/right. This game MAY produce a movement of the CM in the direction of the turn, flattening the new inside-ski and edging the new outside ski. Try it while pointing the french fries (or pizza) to "go where you want to". In a perfect world, the hands LEAD (they go left or right before the skis). "They keep the birds from whacking you in the eyes!" Of course at 4 they may not lead.
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