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!