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Has anyone used a "ski-pal" for young ones?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Was looking for a harness for 4 yr. old and came across this. Wondering if anyone has any experience with one, especially compared to a harness.


Note: not looking for "how do I start my kid in skiing" as that topic has been well discussed in other threads. Looking for experience or comments on this product, or this vs. harness. Thanks.
post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerry5757 View Post
Was looking for a harness for 4 yr. old and came across this. Wondering if anyone has any experience with one, especially compared to a harness.


Note: not looking for "how do I start my kid in skiing" as that topic has been well discussed in other threads. Looking for experience or comments on this product, or this vs. harness. Thanks.
No real experience with that but reading the website my take would be:

That device is better for never-evers, or kids with very little snow experience. It would be used on the bunny hill but not to take them out on a longer green or easier blue.

The harness is more for kids with a fair amount of experience but are a little too young to control themselves effectively (3 years old for each of my kids). Once they get to that stage, I wouldn't want to be _that_ close to them (with the Ski Pal).

FWIW.
post #3 of 16
No experience with that, but my two cents is save time and money, use a Hula Hoop!!!. About $2 and available almost anywhere.
I used one with both my kids when they were 3 years old and it was the bomb! Also helpful pulling them along to and from the bunny hill or lift. Make sure you remove the metal staple at the seam and instead duct tape this seam so the hoop does not pull apart. The staple is probably enough, but should it happen to come apart could be sharp.

I have a photo of my son and I, if I can remember I will post it up when I get home.
post #4 of 16
You ski pal should be your 4-yo and not a harness.

Harnesses are bad because it promotes being even more in the bad seat. Based on my observation, ski schools never use them. Instead, use a tip tie until he can manage to control speed and turn on his/her own. A 4-yo should be able to ski on a moderate green without any kind of aid after say no more than 2-4 days with good lessons (juding by places like Smuggs).

If you're worrying about him/her going too fast and/or not being able to control his speed/balance, keep him on a gentler terrain until he/she can.

Good luck.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJB View Post
No experience with that, but my two cents is save time and money, use a Hula Hoop!!!. About $2 and available almost anywhere.
I used one with both my kids when they were 3 years old and it was the bomb! Also helpful pulling them along to and from the bunny hill or lift. Make sure you remove the metal staple at the seam and instead duct tape this seam so the hoop does not pull apart. The staple is probably enough, but should it happen to come apart could be sharp.

I have a photo of my son and I, if I can remember I will post it up when I get home.
FWIW, right after I posted it I realized that if I decide to go this way it will take me about 20 minutes to make one out of pvc piping, and I already likely have all the piping and fittings, except maybe the 45's for the part where it narrows. Probably $5 vs. $75 or whatever they are selling at.
post #6 of 16
Be careful with PVC as I believe* it can get brittle in the cold. Last thing you want is you or your ski buddy getting hurt!

*Maybe not..I'm no plumber or engineer!
post #7 of 16
My dude (4) in our improvised harness. (weight lifting belt and rope.) Keep the ropes LONG. I have lengthened what you see here.

http://i140.photobucket.com/albums/r...012cropped.jpg

Good form!
http://i140.photobucket.com/albums/r...06cropped2.jpg
post #8 of 16
I like harness + leash better. When I used harness with my daughter, I used it in a way to make it "slack" as much as possible so that she is skiing on her own and only put gentle pressure on when necessary so that she wouldn't go out of control. With leash, you have that control but looks like with Ski Pal, your kid would be pulled back all the time since it will drop to the ground unless there is pressure applied (or you have to be holding it up). Also, because of its
solid structure, I can imagine it would interfere more with your kids skiing than leash.

A few videos of my daughter on leash.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...37980648&hl=en
http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...95708916&hl=en
http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...69153988&hl=en
post #9 of 16
Used this for the first time this weekend in training (adaptive program) and really liked it because it's so versatile. Better than a hula hoop (which we also use a lot) because you can make it longer or shorter and it is rigid unlike a hula hoop that bends under pressure and being longer, there's less chance of getting yours skis tangled up. (note we use these on big people as well as little ones.)

I like it better than a harness also and think it would be easier to promote early independence because you can make it as close or far as you like or even just each holding on to one end like holding a ski pole only without risk of being poked and can easily have the student 'let go' when ready or for short bursts. It's easy to ditch.

We experimented with using it cross-wise and having the 'student' in the middle and two 'instructors' one on either side for maximum support. Also you can ski backward while your little one is holding on to the other end. you can pull them gently when it gets flat or help keep them from going too fast when the pitch increases and when facing them you can say "look at me" if they have the typical habit of staring at their ski tips. Or gesture to encourage weight transfer, first turns, whatever.

That said, if this is an able-bodied little kid, the chances are you will only use if for one season maximum, so maybe a hula hoop would suffice. I'd worry about PVC if you do not have the pieces stuck together well enough; if they came apart while you were in back, you'd have a real disaster. Also this device has some padding and non-skid sections on the arms which is nice and it comes apart and fits in a bag really easily.

you can see their video at www.ski-pal.com

I have no affiliation with this product whatsoever.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for your replies. You've given me some things to think about.

Hiroto - I loved your videos, inspiring seeing a little one get out there on skis.

Mom and SJB - I've worked a lot with pvc piping and very confident that for this situation it would work great. Though it does get brittle when cold and breaks easier, it needs a pretty good impact on something hard to break. I've done dozens of pvc joint over the years and have gotten pretty good with the stuff. (Swimming pool owner and former engineer)

This weekend will be our first time out, and I'm going without aids, as she will only be in the area accessible from the magic carpet, which has very little slope and thus slow speeds. Once she masters gets her bearings then I'll figure out the next step, which might involve a "ski-pal" type device at first and then graduating to a harness possibly.

Thanks again.
post #11 of 16
Hula hoop works well for me and my 5 year old twins
post #12 of 16

SKI-PAL is AWESOME!

I bought a Ski-Pal last month and absolutely LOVE IT. I too, like you others, started by using a hula hoop. Yes, they are cheaper, but the also kink very often, causing them to lose their rigidity. The hula hoop isn't adjustable and portable like the Ski-Pal either. Keep this in mind when comparing value.

I saw the SKI-PAL up on the PSIA-E(Professional Ski Instructors of America) website(http://www.psia-e.org/ms/eastbenefit...otional/skipal). If ski schools are using it, it must be GREAT. I don't see them supporting harnesses on their website!

I used it with my 2.5 year old. He loved it. We're happy with the Ski-Pal and would recommend it to everyone out there.
post #13 of 16
we have been using the kid ski training devices http://www.kid-ski.com and have been very happy with all of the pieces.

we started 2 toddlers on plastic skis, pulling them around at the base of the mountain when they were 2 and 3 a couple of times that winter. they loved it. unfortunately we missed the next winter entirely at ages 3/4. So we started all over this winter at ages 4/5. we did 3 day trips to local hills with real skis/boots, tip locks and wedge lock using the ski bar. they moved to the carpet lift on the 1st day and were soon skiing.

next trip was 3 days and we upped the ante - we finally put skis on and headed to a real run with the ski leash, tip locks and NO wedge lock. they already understood the wedge (pizza vs french fries) and we had 2 great days skiing greens from top to bottom (1500 vertical). the straps gave us just enough room to keep our distance and maintain control while allowing the straps to go slack as much as possible. My 4 yr old had perfect posture and pulling on the straps to help turn her or slow her down did not cause her to sit back at all. my 5 yr old was determined to go faster so the straps were tighter slowing her down more and her posture was not as good - knees not bent enough and she would let the pull of the straps put her on here heels more. All in all the straps let them progress in a big way over the 2 days. They can now shift their weight to turn very well on their own and they move from pizza to ff on command. the 3yr old has a strong pizza and is ready to be let off the leash on a nice wide green. the 4 yr old needs a stronger pizza still and to listen better to slow down and turn on command before she gets let off the leash - i will deal with some bad posture til i trust her to be "free". I expect the tip lock will stay on for a little while - these little girls just dont have much leg strength and they tire so fast skiing (4500 vertical feet and they were spent!).

unfortunately for us the season is over so we will pick it up again next winter....

while we are big proponents of ski school, teaching our girls was/is something that we really wanted to do rather than just leaving them with someone else. that said, our goal is to get the fundamentals down and to turn them over to a top ski school out west next winter so that they can really advance. we have begun to lay a solid groundwork for getting them dressed, out the door, dealing with the equipment, balance, the cold, respect for lifts, listening etc.....any and all things that can cause a toddler to melt down or throw a fit. and yes we used quite a few candy bribes on the hill and the promise of a new barbie on the way home!
post #14 of 16

True. But the SKI-PAL can be adjusted to different lengths, depending on the instructor's needs. Also, be careful. PVC is brittle in the cold and could snap when being used. Your child's safety is worth the extra money. I've personally used the Ski-Pal with all three kids. So 75 bucks diveded by 3. Good deal!

post #15 of 16

Actually Jerry, the opposite. With the SKI-PAL, I was able to take my kids immediately(DAY 1) to a green slope with the SKI-PAL. I have three kids and not one of them spent one minute on the bunny slopes thanks to the SKI-PAL. That's their selling point ... skip the bunny slopes and let the kids experience the real slopes on their first day out. You are right about not using the SKI-PAL once they are older. It's best for kids from ages 2 to 5 who have never ever skied before. Even better for mom/dad ... It totally saves your back and leg fatigue!

post #16 of 16

I'm going to take my 4yrs old daughter skiing this winter for the first time, and I plan on buying as well a ski-pal, because it looks as the most versatile for the intended use.

 

Apart from the couple of youtube videos ( or ski-pal one ), are there any other resources online on how to use one ? I'm only an intermediate skier, so I try to figure out any problems that I might experience and be prepared, so I could focus only on my kid once on the slopes.

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