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When to start kids?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
This may have been discussed here but I couldn't find anything. If so, please direct me to a discussion previous.

Okay, here goes:

How old were you/your children when they started snowboarding?

Did you/they ski first?

Did they do both or shift right to boarding and never look back or go back to skiing?

I'm looking for any and all kinds of information from boards, boots, bindings, lessons, size, etc. My daughter (just turned 7 yesterday) informed us at Christmas that she wanted to try snowboarding. This is her 4th year skiing and she is skiing everything at our home hill in Michigan (blacks included). I'm wondering if I should let her tinker with the plastic one she straps onto her own boots that she got for Christmas or if I should splurge and get her a REAL snowboard. She has tried out the plastic one once and of course took to it like a duck to water. Eveything comes a bit too easy. I was actually hoping she would hate it and then I wouldn't have to buy all new stuff. Everywere we have gone for the past 2 years all she wants to do it the terrain park and she gets frustrated with skiis on all the "toys". I don't know if that is her motive or what but she seems set to try it.

What I've learned so far is that she should have a board that is about as tall as her chin and that only Burton bindings fit Burton snowboards. One tech keyed me in on the Chicklet board but I thougth she said that they're revising it for next year? Does anyone know anything about that?

I know NOTHING about snowboarding. I will put her in some lessons to learn basics as I, again, know NOTHING about snowboarding.

Please help a very uninformed mom help to get things set.
post #2 of 11
So . . . your little girl is going to the dark side, heh

Three kids on skis, none on snowboard . . . of course the 4 y.o. doesn't have a clue yet and has only skied once

One of the teens was sure he wanted to board, so we finally gave in and let him rent for a day. Cured him of ever wanting to board again . . . he found it was much more difficult than it appeared to him. He sticks to skiis now. Yours sounds like she has a little more tenacity than my teen, whom has a very low frustration tolerance.

I don't think you should tinker with a plastic one or buy her a board. What you should do is rent one for a day, or days, set up a lesson, and see what happens next. If she tolerates the frustration and is still motivated, then and only then consider a larger investment.

In our area . . . if you are anywhere near Rochester . . . I would think Summit Sports is good middle of road for boards . . . maybe not top end like Boyne but not like Dicks or Sports Authority. John is their best sales guy . . . call ahead and see if/when he is on the schedule as he is student teaching now. At this point there should be good prices, or wait a little longer and get even better off season prices for gear.

IMO, helmet is a must for boarding, esp for terrain park and backward falls. No helmet, no boarding.

Can't help you on the rest as I'm not, nor will I ever be, board savy.
post #3 of 11
Hi, glad you are making yourself an informed parent. I don't have kids but taught them for two years. I started snowboarding when I was 29, I'm in my mid-forties now. I skied first for about 10 years and gradually switched over to snowboarding. I pretty much don't ski anymore, my knees thank me for that. I'm a Level 8 or so rider and ride most anything - including trips into the superpipe. I teach adults at my ski resort. I ride with guys mainly in their 20's and 30's. :

Seven is actually a great age to start learning snowboarding. For one, many resorts traditionally haven't accepted children younger than seven for group lessons. Much of this was equipment related. Children's snowboard equipment has improved and the ages have gotten lower. Snowboarding takes finer muscle control movements than skiing. Children usually start developing these finer muscle control movements at age seven. If she understands edging, and obviously she does, snowboarding is much easier to learn. I've seen kids start out on skis, switch to boarding, and then switch to twin tip skis and keep snowboarding. Parents and friends may or maynot be motivators. I was talking with a snowboarding dad trying to get his 12 year old son into the right level lesson this past weekend. The son really wanted to learn to rip and be able keep up with his dad. Is she competitive? I always competed against my brothers so I was always trying to do what they were doing. What are her friends doing - skis or board? Could be why she wants to be in the park.

I'd dump the plastic board. It doesn't have metal edges that allow for finer edging movements. Second, they are illegal at ski resorts. I'd see if a local shop will rent you kids equipment. They grow fast and you may be buying new equipment sooner than you would like. Don't buy them equipment too large and have them "grow into it". It will be hard for them to control their equipment. I don't know who all has kids equipment these days. Burton is going towards their own system in their higher end equip. I dont' know if this is true for kids equip. I'd look at burton.com

Lessons are an excellent choice. She'll have to learn the basics before she can go hit the features in the park.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Jerry,

Yes, my brother was teasing me that I've "lost her". Crud. I'll check out rentals. Trouble was that where we go (Caberfae) the rentals are something like $35 per day. I wouldn't want to do that too many times before I buy. :

I'm only about 45 minutes north of Rochester so I will check out Summit Sports. Thanks!

Daysailor,

She doesn't have any friends who ski/board except her cousins out by you! We only ski with them once or twice a year and they do ski (but they're even younger than her). For the most part she skis with me (almost 40) and her grandpa Tony (60). No "peer pressure". She has been drawn to the terrain park since she saw one and saw what they were doing there. It's just extra hard on skiis I think as to do the rails you have to hit them JUST in the right spot. :

Again, I think the rental thing might work for a couple of times to see if she has the stick to. Then we'll have to buy. Thankfully the kids equipment isn't TOO expensive. : Sooner or later she's going to have to choose.

Thanks guys. You've given me some excellent points to think about.
post #5 of 11
My son is 9 and I started him at seven. Just this year he is finally linking pretty turns on steeper terrain, and he is able to hit kickers, catch a little air and land without falling.

Go to a second hand sporting goods store and buy a used kids package, board with bindings already mounted (brand is not important at this point), buy the boots at the same time (if you already have them take them with you) and make sure she can crank everything down right there at the store. That's the beauty of snowboard equipment, it's simple and it's cheap, have fun.

Of course, renting is always an option, but if the kid is determined to ride you'll quickly spend as much renting equipment as you would buying it, and when the kids own the equipment they can take it the the local sledding hill and practice on days they can't get to the mountain, that's what my son does.

Since you don't ride yourself, I'd say a lesson is a must.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
I wondered if board brand and such made much of a difference at her age. I found some online with a package deal really cheap. I may go that way as it will be about 3 rentals and she'll be at buying one. I guess I can always sell it if she doesn't like it. (I'm wishful thinking here aren't I?)

Thanks for all the ideas. Please feel free to let me know if anyone can tell me anything else. Oh.... and yes lessons are a must as I know NOTHING about boarding. NOTHING.

She already wears a helmet for skiing (has since the beginning). I'm going to get her some wrist guards as well. I was a nurse in a trauma center near a local ski hill and those upper extremeties can take a beating until they get better. :

Thanks guys!
post #7 of 11
On the helmet. It's much easier to catch the heelside edge on a board, slam backwards, and get a concusion than on skis. This is especially true when learning.

I don't wear wristguards myself. I know some brands are more useful than others. Some just make you break the arm instead of the wrist. Read up on wristguard reviews. If she gets serious about the park, she's going to need a back protector too. Pro-Tec makes some good models. Oh, knee pads are a must too - again Pro-tec.

Get a board that's pretty flexible. She'll learn how to turn quicker. She'll need a flexible board in the terrain park too to do all those pops and spins.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by daysailer1 View Post
On the helmet. It's much easier to catch the heelside edge on a board, slam backwards, and get a concusion than on skis. This is especially true when learning.

I don't wear wristguards myself. I know some brands are more useful than others. Some just make you break the arm instead of the wrist. Read up on wristguard reviews. If she gets serious about the park, she's going to need a back protector too. Pro-Tec makes some good models. Oh, knee pads are a must too - again Pro-tec.

Get a board that's pretty flexible. She'll learn how to turn quicker. She'll need a flexible board in the terrain park too to do all those pops and spins.
Eeeeh gad. I'm SO not ready for this.

How do you find out about flexibility of a board. Is that something that a good salesperson will know or just asking around? I'm really looking at the Burton Chicklet. It's marketed toward girls but I don't know if it's anything past the "decoration". Any help with this one?

http://www.usoutdoorstore.com/outlet...32&PID=1966822

Any help deciphering would be GREAT!

Good thing to know about the wrist guards. We always had so many broken wrists and shoulders where I worked but hadn't thought about just breaking it further up. :

As for the helmet, whew. I took one of those backwards slams in the terrain park on skis Friday and even with my helmet it was a bell ringer. : I had an instant headache and still had one about 4 hours later. I never thought about just how much more likely they are to spill backwards. That hurts.
post #9 of 11
The Burton Chicklet looks good. Burton is really trying to corner the women's market so is really doing their homework. Current growth in the snowboard market is mainly coming from women entering the sport.

Most snowboard salespersons are going to knowledgeable about adult equipment but I think kids gear will be an unknown for most of them. I'd try to find some reviews and ask around.

It's still better to break the arm than the wrist.

Quote:
I never thought about just how much more likely they are to spill backwards. That hurts.
Yes, it does hurt. A good coach will give instruction on how to prevent this, a poor or inexperienced one will let them make those hard slams continuously.

Don't stress this too much. Read up on Gretchen Bleiler. She'd be a good model for your daughter to read up on. Who knows, your daughter could wind up being a great snowboarder like her.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for ALL of your help! You've been MORE than helpful.
post #11 of 11
It's fine (and I strongly encourage this) to start a child on a board as soon as they walk independently.
Remember, just as in skiing, to allow them to stand up tall, as children have much different CM geometry than do adults.
Just walk with them, while holding their hands and occasionally lettting go, increasing the 'free time' as the child's tolerance warrants.
If they become upset, or cry, pick them up (assuming they're yours) and hold them, before even unstrapping their feet. This is an important psycholgical distinction, bewteen unstrapping or simply gathering the waif up and comforting her/him: it takes the onus of discomfort away from the board itself, and makes it much more natural when they're returned to terra firma.
Of course, it they're still scared to the point of tears, remove it IMMEDIATELY.
'Boarding's a snap for tots, as everything, to them, is new, so they're used to swinging at, if not always connecting with, the curves and changeups.
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