New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

3-Year Old?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I have a 3 year old who turned 3 in September. I am thinking about getting a season pass at my local hill this year and teaching him how to ski, plus, I am off on Mondays and this would be a great thing for us to do.

He is 38 inches tall and weighs about 30-35 pounds. Last year I saw 3 year olds on the hill and I really want to get him started early. Any advice on ski sizes (length) and....well any other advice from parents who've done this. My friend has one of those braking leashes for me to use too if I want. Another issue is that they do not have lessons/ski wee program for his age. They only have daycare.
post #2 of 21
Shortest skis you can get.

I'm in the same position now with my son who is the same age to the month. Hopefully you have a lot of patience. I started my daughter (now 6) at the same age and it was a lot of work. She's picked it up very well, probably through little help from me - see need for patience above. I've tried to find the daycare programs that offer some skiing (which I think will be more important with my son since he won't deal so well with my lack of patience)...as long as they're somewhat comfortable with strangers. They both have been more interested in showing me what they've learned from their teachers in a few runs late in the day after picking them up rather than listening to me try to tell them a similar thing.

How close is your local area? Be prepared for the kid to be tired of it in an hour or less. The driving there, getting dressed, etc. routine is likely to be way longer than the actual ski time in the beginning. You may want to make use of that daycare option once they don't want to go anymore to get some time in for yourself if you need to invest any significant time in getting there.

Figure out which parts of it they enjoy the most at first and stress those parts. At the beginning, my kids were way more interested in going up the hill (i.e. magic carpet, beginner lift), than going down, but they were motivated to go down knowing that they'd get to go back up.

I highly recommend keeping some kind of candy/treat in your pocket - one that's not impossible to eat when frozen is a plus.

Oh, and continuously insist on or ask about the need for a bathroom break before leaving the lodge or getting on a lift. My daughter ALWAYS had to go as we got off at the top of the lift. On the plus side, that led to
post #3 of 21
When my daughter was that little, she only did downhill in camps at resorts...I started taking lessons with her when she was about 5, then we started hitting small local hills (I had only done XC up until then). So, I can't help you too much with the instructional aspect. I will say that you can find gobs of lightly used skis for small children at ski swaps for very little money...I ended up buying my daugher used rental skis for $25, and she used them for two years. I don't think that you need to worry too much about the exact performance characteristics of the skis at that age, as long as they're short and safe.
I will recommend to take breaks often, and indulge your son at the lodge a bit if your budget allows it. If you can hit more than one lodge at your hill, even better...he'll be really excited by the variety. My daughter is 9 now, and she still gets really excited about stopping at the various lodges, especially on the slopes. Downside is that it's at least $10 to get a basic snack for both of us, of course.
I would also go with hand and foot warmers by default. Kids won't usually tell you they're cold until it's so bad they're crying, and then they just want to leave. But lots of them cheap at WalMart or wherever and just plan to use them.
post #4 of 21
Three is VERY young and will really test your patience. I started two girls out at that age and put them in ski camp when we were on vacation. I tried teaching both of them myself early on and to be honest they did better when I put them in lessons. As much as they did not listen to me, the really listened to their instructor. Best move I ever made was to get them lessons. I was running out of patience! The great thing is after a few lessons they got the hang of snowplowing (pizza pies) and could then ski with me on most greens and blues.

As for equipment at that age I would rent, not buy. IIRC it was like $75 to rent skis and boots for an entire season. My 11 yo daughter now owns her skis but we still rent boots for her. We still rent the 6 yo skis/boots.
post #5 of 21
all i can say is that i started at 3, im 16 now, and im so glad i started that early. plus, i hated ski school, loved skiing with my parents and basically tought myself to ski over the 13 years
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingathome View Post
I have a 3 year old who turned 3 in September. I am thinking about getting a season pass at my local hill this year and teaching him how to ski, plus, I am off on Mondays and this would be a great thing for us to do.

He is 38 inches tall and weighs about 30-35 pounds. Last year I saw 3 year olds on the hill and I really want to get him started early. Any advice on ski sizes (length) and....well any other advice from parents who've done this. My friend has one of those braking leashes for me to use too if I want. Another issue is that they do not have lessons/ski wee program for his age. They only have daycare.
I would not buy a pass just yet. You are off on Mondays just go then and buy day tickets as needed. Most places let under 5 or 6 ski for free. As others have said you will not be skiing that much yet. There will be times when in 10 minutes he will be done, don't force longer or he will dislike the activity. Mondays are also great in that the weekend crowds are not there, more slope for you two and less worries about people running into him. All the other posters gave you great advice. If you can get through this and your son loves the sport you are going to have fantastic skiing adventures together.

One piece of advice regarding the leases. They can be useful for a ride or 2 but if he is dependent on you holding him and he is going straight down in a power wedge you will be setting him up for bad habits in the future. It will take time but his muscles will develop to turn his skis to form wedge and make turns to change direction and slow down. Don't let him become dependent on you for speed control, just for paying his way to ski.
post #7 of 21
If you do end up putting them in lessons, and they're not the type to get really anxious and nervous when left alone, LEAVE THEM ALONE. The kids that just wouldn't learn (granted, at 4+5, not 3) were the ones whose parents would hang out at the bottom of the hill, then swoop in whenever the kid would throw a tantrum or cry. The kids who were left alone did WAY better, threw fewer (or no) tantrums, cried rarely if ever, and learned a lot more.

Having the safety net of a parent caused a lot of issues.

Some other tips:
Don't put on their skis right off the bat. Put on their boots and just play in the yard in the snow with them for a while. Get them to the point where they're comfortable tromping around in their boots in the snow (and forgetting they're wearing boots). Same with one ski. If you have a small incline in your yard or nearby, you can get them used to sliding around, sliding down, etc. No need to buy a lift ticket.

If they just seem really uncoordinated and can't get the hang of it, don't force them into it. The last thing you want to do is give them bad impressions of it early off!

If you can get them comfortable on the skis it gives them a great base to pick up the actual skiing part much quicker and with less hassle.
post #8 of 21
3 years old is the time to have fun on snow with skis. Just go and have fun with him.
You might try to teach him not to make an x with his skis, but he might have more fun doing that, falling down and laughing about it. Laugh with him.
post #9 of 21
BTW, I think that some places will let you use their bunny slopes without a lift ticket. I would imagine that they figure you'll probably be renting equipment there and will also be inclined to come check the place out for free and then actually buy tickets when you're ready.

I would also encourage you to smile and laugh a lot, and say something like "You did a great job! I'm proud of you!" as much as possible. No matter how frustrated you get.
post #10 of 21
Something between 70-80 cm will be fine. Probably a 15.5 or 16.5 in boots. I just bought used boots and skis for $70 total (no lines or hassles once at the hill!)

Your child will dictate his experience. He is the pilot. You are along for the ride. #1 -- make your son feel confident and in control. Teaching someone who feels he is "getting it done" is far easier. Have no expectations -- that goes for LOW or HIGH. I just started skiing with my 3 year old, and had essentially no expectations. I thought, get his skis on, pull him around a little bit on the flats. Magic Carpet and let him run his skis a little...

He did the rope tow at another hill in the U.P. Michigan (I held the rope and him) his first time on snow and was making parallel turns by his 6th or 8th time down the little bunny hill. On his third day (back "home"), he was going up the chairlift (me obviously lifing him up on it) and turning like crazy. He didn't take a break until after 2.5 hours (bathroom -- thank goodness he asked to go!!!!). I used a "ski wee" harness at first, but lost that soon enough when I saw he could control his speed by making turns (with direction, but he followed every time).

My son is different than my two other sons (who started at 4); who are also different from each other. What do they have in common? They all love to ski already -- even the three year who has gone three times. That is the key. What he does or what hills he does it on or for how long is irrelevant. You want him to come back to the hill again and again and again. Enjoy the ride with him. My skiing with my three year old is bringing back old memories with my other two. And they are great memories, unique in and of themselves and unable to be duplicated in the future.

Have fun!
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmoney24 View Post
My son is different than my two other sons (who started at 4); who are also different from each other. What do they have in common? They all love to ski already -- even the three year who has gone three times. That is the key. What he does or what hills he does it on or for how long is irrelevant. You want him to come back to the hill again and again and again. Enjoy the ride with him. My skiing with my three year old is bringing back old memories with my other two. And they are great memories, unique in and of themselves and unable to be duplicated in the future.

Have fun!
Well said, and that future goes fast, enjoy it now
post #12 of 21
My son started at 5 but he is small. He is 7 now and only weighs 42lbs. Leg strength seems to be the issues with young kids learning. As long as they got enough strength to snow plow they can learn. I let my son and daughter screw around with me one night at the hill and just showed them the basics so they became some what comfortable with being on skis. Then the next time out I got them both seperate lessons for one hour and after that day they where skiing good enough to enjoy themselves on the slopes.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great parenting/skiing advice. I have been skiing for years, but I am still getting used to this whole parenting thing and REALLY new to even imagine taking him on the hill. We are going for the first time with him on Monday, should be interesting. I'll post a Trip Report when all is said and done....if I am still alive and have hair
post #14 of 21
post #15 of 21
I spent my 3rd birthday sledding in my yard. My parents then said they were going to take me skiing in the evening. I asked what skiing was. They said it was like sledding, but on your feet, and you rode a chair to the top. I couldn't wrap my head around "riding a chair to the top." I had no interest in it what-so-ever. "Gimme my sled!"

They took me skiing anyway. My dad held me between his legs. I still remember watching the snow go below my feet while I held his horizontal pole in front of me between his knees.

Instantly hooked.

I tried lessons but hated them. I remember my dad trying to ditch me with lessons. I told him I could follow him. He reversed it and said: "Actually, I can't even follow you... you should just go skiing by yourself." I did, and I learned how to do a spread-eagle that day off a rut into the lift corral. I did like 30 of them.

I hated poles too. I didn't use poles until I was 12... when a cute girl from school asked me why I didn't have any. I said: "Poles slow you down." She asked for a race. I obliged. She won the moment her friend said; "Go!"

I then got poles.

My point? Don't tell your children how to enjoy it... or how to learn it. Expose them to it, and then send them off to find their way.

3 is not too young. The ability to kick a soccer ball is some ski school's primary pre-requisite.
post #16 of 21
snow blades? those are pretty short
post #17 of 21
Get some really short skis for yourself.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
Get some really short skis for yourself.
Key concept; you'll be doing a lot of slow skiing in a backwards wedge/slow skiing uphill sweeping his trajectory for OOC idiots.

Two other ideas:

1) He's tall and thin for his age. Make sure his legs are strong enough for a pizza. If you have stairs around, get him using alternate legs; if not a bicycle with training wheels can be a good workout.

2) Not a big fan of training leashes because I think it encourages bad weight distribution, discourages small muscle group development that aids balance/recovery. Would recommend lessons at a local hill that has a magic carpet, slope with an incline that sends them down at a slow walking speed. Doesn't much matter when they fall...
post #19 of 21
Hire a pro.
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Ok, so today was madhouse at our local hill. I had free passes and that relieved the tension of spending $120+ bucks to ski for an hour and leave. Now to the experience:

Here is the TR:
http://southernskiing.com/winterplace-trip-report

As far as him skiing, it was difficult to do anything because of the 45min lift lines. My son has the patience of a gnat, like all 3 year olds RIGHT! Standing in a line that long WONT work!

We had fun and I took a lot of the advice here and made it a FUN time no matter how disappointed I was with the crowd and not being able to ski. I was amazed how much he liked the lift. We only rode it once after waiting 15-20 min on a short double lift back to the lodge. He skied between my legs just getting used to the snow. At the lodge area we pushed him around a little and once he fell and hurt his shoulder and started crying. I was thinking "oh Lord, I've dislocated his shoulder the first trip!"

We will go back on a weekday when we don't have to wait forever in line. NO SKI-WEE for kids under 4 at Winterplace...that's ok though, his Dad will have a great time with him anyway, regardless of how sore my back gets from picking him up!
post #21 of 21
Sounds good...keep it up! Luckily it's one of those things that generally gets better every time out.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Gear Discussion