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3.5 Y/O But Programs Start at 4

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've been web surfing for some potential ski school programs for my 3.5 y/o but all of the programs I see in the area (NJ - so checked some resorts in NJ, PA & Catskills NY) start at 4. Is this standard? Anyone know of any programs in the area that start earlier? He's potty trained but would probably have trouble putting the gear on, etc. - as I'm sure most 4 y/o's would.

I really want to see if he likes the sport but I'm loath to try teaching him myself as I know what the result will be!
post #2 of 11
Hunter and Windham both have short lessons attached to their day care programs for 3 y/o. I'm also aware of the following that have 3 y/o programs either partial or full day:

Elk
Jack Frost/Big Boulder
Mount Snow
Bromley
Okemo
Sugarbush
Stowe
(I'll stop there only because I'm probably well out of "the area" by now)

I've made use of several of these in the past and I'll be doing so again this season.
post #3 of 11
anywill do a private lesson and to get an hour on the hill would be awesome for such a young kid.

or you kid can be the kid in the ski school group that when the intructors ask them their age their response could be "my parents said for me to say I am 4" .
post #4 of 11
Try to get used to the idea that your kid will be in a ski program, not quite "lessons" or "instruction".

Do not have high hopes or ... any hopes at this point ... be ready to go with the flow, take the chill pill and any other other cliche that works at the moment.

Gawd! They are so tiny and fragile at that age. They are also tough as nails. They are all things .... all different yet so much the same.

Physical development varies wildly, endurance or attatchment issues ... holy cow.

Get him or her into a program for the wee ones and just let them have fun. This year and next year too! Don't set that bar too high with your (or any), expectations. If they are out there building snowmen, rolling in it .... or learning pizza, squishing grapes .... it is what it is ....

Leave the job of teaching to those who can. Your job as dad or mom is to get them to the hill. Believe it or not, even those of us who did teach .... rarely if ever give lessons to wives, kids, friends.

You can be a pretty respectable skier and do lots of harm trying to teach ..... and you never develop an appreciation of this till you start teaching for real.
post #5 of 11
BWPA is correct. Do privates.

Both HB Jr. and HB Juniorette were started in private lessons at 2.5 years old.

I had also stated them before hand, with them skiing in-between my legs, they having a "swedish seat" (1" webbing formed to be a climbing harness) which I grabbed onto while I was in a permenant snowplow.

The main thing is to make sure that they have fun and understand that falling on the snow is ok. Several can jump in, but we used a very, very short (cut to about 2" in length) "Edgee-Wedgee" and then progressively got longer as they got better. Pizzas and French Fries are what they need to learn.

Also, stay out of site and don't let them see you. It will be much better for them and for the instructor.


Typically, the lesson lasted around 1.5-2 hours (2-3 runs) and then they were spent.

Hats off to all of the instructors who teach at this level.

HB
post #6 of 11

expectations

As you work with them, imagine you are working with one of their friends instead of them:
what i mean is, focus on having fun while out in the snow,
not "skiing" or technique or progess

dont be hard on them, dont let frustration creep into your voice etc. pick em up, let em slide, repeat. you may not even have your skis on.

snow angels, snowball fights, hot chocolate breaks, eating snow, etc. they are part of what you should expect. if they
have a smile at the end, they will want to go again.

its a marathon, not a sprint
post #7 of 11
Gotta go a bit further north. Here is a full-day program sure worth mentioning (lots of Jersey-ians visit there):

http://www.smuggs.com/pages/winter/kids/3-5-years.php

Just keep in mind that with a 3.5yo, no matter how good the program, don't expect much out of the child. However, unless your kid doesn't like snow he'll have a great time being a part of this (check out the entertainment lineup). Smuggs (still) runs some of the best children program anywhere.
post #8 of 11
Lots of good advice here. I just taught my grand daughter this weekend, she's 4 and more athletic then any child I've ever known.

I have two boys that are now 22 and 25 and I taught them. I put my first boy in lesson's at 2.5 years old (they took them from 2 to 5) and i was so mad at the instructor when he didn't ski at the end of 8 weeks. My bad; kids that age don't learn and i expected a lot. I didnt' teach then. 2 years later I was an instructor and my second boy played in the kinder ski park until he was 4.5, when I then taught him in an hour. He had been dying to go up the big hill with the rest of us for prior two years and was atheletic and learned. The he passed the first child's ability quickly. So...don't push it, make sure they have fun. My first son we swtiched to snow boarding when it was obvious skiing would never be his thing.

Children tend to learn in one hour at the age of 5. Prior to 5 the rare one learns that quickly, most don't. I know this now, because I'm an instructor who taught lots of kids!

I had one group of 3 year olds for 8 weeks once and promised all parents they likely wouldn't ski by the end of it but would have a great time playing in the snow, standing and walking around, sliding on gradual slopes. i had all 8 children going down all hills at the end of 8 weeks. That is the only 3 year olds I ever got going so well and I taught for over 10 years. It was at a private club, i had two assistants who did lots of picking up kids and playing and helping on lifts. The parents of these children went home every week asking what they could do at home during the week and all put their kids out in the yard on skis daily to play. I'm sure this helped.

Aside from this, any child I did teach prior to the age of 5, including my own, seemed to need re taught at the beginning of each year. AT 5 they seem to retain the prior year and advance. So those 3 year olds came back at 4 and had to get a lesson on turning and stopping and spend a few days learning again. The 5 year old seems to come back at 6 and need a run or two on the baby hill to get comfy and away he goes, advancing for the year and not relearning anything.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post

Leave the job of teaching to those who can. Your job as dad or mom is to get them to the hill. Believe it or not, even those of us who did teach .... rarely if ever give lessons to wives, kids, friends.

You can be a pretty respectable skier and do lots of harm trying to teach ..... and you never develop an appreciation of this till you start teaching for real.
Lots of good advice in this thread, but what Yuki said above is far and away the best, hands down. It's my opinion that there are very few hard and fast rules in ski and snowboard instruction, but one of the few is [i]never teach your significant other to ride[i] - at least don't if you'd like to stay together! Kids are a little different in that they can't break up with you over a crappy lesson, but the principle is the same...
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
anywill do a private lesson and to get an hour on the hill would be awesome for such a young kid.

or you kid can be the kid in the ski school group that when the intructors ask them their age their response could be "my parents said for me to say I am 4" .

I would agree... I put my son in a one hour lesson to get on the right track. They showed him how to ride the lift, snowplow and even ran around some gates. Basically at that age there is only so much to teach them. Make it fun and keep the poles away so they gain better balance.
post #11 of 11
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