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how young is too young?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
A couple weeks ago, at an east coast mountain, my husband and I were paired with 2 pee-wee snowboarders for a quad lift ride to the top. We joked with the lift operator whether we had to help them on and he replied with "oh no, they're pros!" meaning he's seen them all day and probably all season.

On the lift, we chatted with the two brothers, aged 6 and 8. They had a walkie talkie and were connected to their sister, somewhere else on the mtn. Their family had one of the condos on the mountain, and I'm sure they knew the place top to bottom. They said this was their first season snowboarding, but they had skiied for "years" they said.

My question is: how young would YOU turn your own littlest ones loose on a mountain without an adult or at least an older sibling? :
post #2 of 9
Depends on the "mountain". If it's small enough for them to find their way around, no problem. If it's too big, or new, that's way too young.

The other thing I did was tail them the first time or two. I wanted to see how they'd behave. They were good, no line cutting, speed controlled in busy areas, and so on.

Now, if they want to go, away they go....
post #3 of 9
They really weren't "alone" on the mountain.

First, they were together.

Second, they had instant communications with an older sibling.

Third, it's their "neighborhood".

Fourth, every employe on the mountain, especially the lifties, probably seems like some sort of relative to them.

I'd say if they didn't have a "home" in the "neighborhood" that they visited routinely year after year, the freedom would be a bit much. I was dropped off at the local ski hill from about age eight, but that was well more than 50 years ago.
post #4 of 9
sounds about right to me!

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
I agree. It is their neighborhood. It's a fairly large mountain, yet they probably know every employee there and every bump and dip in the trails better than the rest of us!

And there's no mom around to bug them about wiping their noses!
post #6 of 9
What mountain was it?
post #7 of 9
Man I have a different problem. I can't ditch my kids. Go sreaming down a blue . . . yep there they are right behind me. Go bashing through the bumps to lose them . . . nope . . .still there.

Geez either I'm getting slower or they are getting better.

post #8 of 9
a little story:

when my youngest had just turned 5, the various patrol-mom-spouses would take turns watching the little ones while the other spouses skied. My little guy was inside, he was allowed to ski only on the bunny hill by himself. He told the mom watching him that he was going out there, and then took off. I came in an hour later, to find him gone. I'm freaking out, patrollers are laughing at me saying things like" I remember when my kids used to do that s**t".

Two hours later, I nab him by the coat at the bottom of one of the lifts. He'd been on the whole mountain, even to the advanced chair, riding up and taking the cat tracks around. We peiced together what happened based on reports from people who had seen him, and ridding the lift with him and so on... he rode with the race coaches, and even gave someone visiting the mountain directions back to the lodge from one of the lifts.

At 5.

I would totally agree that on home mountains, we all look out for the kids.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Okemo. Which I think has the best/friendliest customer service around.

Those Motorola walkie talkies are a huge family dysfunction saver. Especially on extended family trips where we become kids again and want to ditch our own parents for the afternoon!

p.s. these guys were definitely cutting the line, by waiting in the ski school line, but I don't think that's wrong in their case. Better chance of riding up with an employee or other kids and better chance of getting priority attention from the lift staff.
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