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Training Equipment/Aids for 4 Year Old?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

My wife and I will be taking our  4yr 9mo old daughter to ski with us at Snowmass in mid-March.  This will be our daughter's second time to ski.  Her first skiing was this Christmas at Beaver Creek.  We put her in 4 days of all day kids' ski school.  The last afternoon, we took her up to the mid-mountain magic carpet, and I just held my poles out in front of her to hold on to ski.  We also used the "edgy-wedgy" made of surgical cord which somewhat held her tips together.

 

At Snowmass we plan to put her in 5 days of kids ski school, but one "full" day and each afternoon, we plan to ski with her.  I was looking at various ski training aids for kids, and wondered which ones would be good to use.  Bending down holding poles in front of her got old quickly.

 

I've found this website which offers a lot of kids aids:  www.applerise.com/merchant2/merchant.mv  I'm thinking that the "leash" turning aid would be good both to help her initiate turns and as runaway prevention.  Any others that you guys think would be beneficial?

 

Many thanks,

Cliff

post #2 of 13

 IMHO the best training aids for a young child are as follows:

 

Good fitting boots

Modern shaped skis in an appropriate size

Appropriate terrain

post #3 of 13

In addition to the proper gear as noted by Epic, an infectious enthusiasm on your part for having fun with your daughter on the mountain playground. Physical aids are often a replacement for exploring appropriate terrain and learning by doing what children do, that is having fun while finding what works. The first goal is to develop a love of sliding and being outside in the snow and learning to accomplish this by following your example of self independence and love of the moment.  

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcarlson View Post

 

In addition to the proper gear as noted by Epic, an infectious enthusiasm on your part for having fun with your daughter on the mountain playground. Physical aids are often a replacement for exploring appropriate terrain and learning by doing what children do, that is having fun while finding what works. The first goal is to develop a love of sliding and being outside in the snow and learning to accomplish this by following your example of self independence and love of the moment.  

I think we're well on our way to accomplishing the first goal (from Beaver Creek this Christmas):

 

After our time "up" the mountain:

Having fun in the snow:

post #5 of 13

cliffk,  epic and gcarlson have given you great advice, another component of skiing with your begginer child is patience. You should watch from a very far off distance, i.e. not seen by your child as they take some part of their lesson. What are the instructors doing, and what type of terrain are they doing it on. You will be doing your child a disservice and probably frustrating them if you rush them to terrain they are not ready for, not to mention probably undoing things the you have paid instructors  teach. At almost 5 years old she might very well be ready to "ski" on her own, Granted it will be on very flat, gentle terrain that will bore you to tears but she will be comfortable on it. Let her show you things she learned, putting on her skis, taking them off, walking around, sliding, getting up by herself after a fall. Let her become independent and you will be cruising around with her soon enough.If she knows one thing make sure it is turn up hill to stop after that its all fun.

post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowbowler View Post

 

You will be doing your child a disservice and probably frustrating them if you rush them to terrain they are not ready for, not to mention probably undoing things the you have paid instructors  teach.


 

I learned this lesson the hard way.  Took my 4 year old down a run when I thought he was "close" to ready and it ended with tears and "I wanna go home".

One more day of lessons then took him down the same run.  This time it ended with "That was AWSOME!!!"

 

 

post #7 of 13

As a father of a 2 and 4 yrs old, I feel it is important to quit before the kids want to quit.  It keeps them coming back for more as they ski for pure enjoyment not the challenge. 

 

We put the 4yr old in lessons on advice from this forum...GREAT Advice!.  The 2 yr old is too young for lessons so I bought a Kid Ski H Bar and did a lot of sliding together.  I thought it was a bit gimmicky, but on advice we purchased it.  Very worthshile for a youngster.  She quickly progressed to the straps, I cant wait until she can stop.

post #8 of 13

Couple thoughts...

 

As for physical equipment:

 

#1 Stickers of her/his favorite characters on ski tips.  Kids have a hard time remembering right from left.  However, they do not have that problem differentiating bewteen Bell and Cinderella or Yoda and Obi Wan.  When you wan to get them to pressure the right or left ski, call out "Bell" and "Cinderella!"

 

#2 Leash.  Use in conjuntion with above.

 

#3 Helmet

 

#4 Peanut M+Ms, Skittles, etc.  A handful of peanut M+Ms make a great reward (doled out 1 at a time)and gives little bodies a boost when energy flags.

 

#5. MITTENS and handwarmers.  Cold little fingers will kill an outing faster than anything,

 

#6 GOOD wool sox.  Do not be cheap.  Cold feet are worse than cold hands.

 

Mentally...

 

#1.  Unless you are enrolling the child in lessons, be prepared to NOT make a single decent turn all morning.  Use equipment that relfects this.  I have some 145cm twin tips that are great for skiing backwards reaching out for little hands.

 

#2,  Instill EARLY that the skier should use the WHOLE hill.  Woods to woods turns are the key to discouraging the super wedgie.

 

#3. Re the leash, holding back a child determined to bomb staight down a trail on a leash is very physically demanding.  Insist the child not "fight" your gentle guidance inputs on the leash.  Then see #2.

 

Teach 'em up.

 

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Racer256 View Post

 

Couple thoughts...

 

As for physical equipment:

 

#1 Stickers of her/his favorite characters on ski tips.  Kids have a hard time remembering right from left.  However, they do not have that problem differentiating bewteen Bell and Cinderella or Yoda and Obi Wan.  When you wan to get them to pressure the right or left ski, call out "Bell" and "Cinderella!"

Awesome!  Never thought of doing that.  Makes total sense!   When we were doing the magic carpet laps at the Beav, I was on her left and my wife was on her right.  I kept telling her to turn towards Daddy, then turn towards Mommy.  This worked, but of course just caused her to twist her hips rather than pressuring her skis. 

 

#2 Leash.  Use in conjuntion with above.

Kind of felt like the leash would be a good idea - glad someone else agrees.

 

#3 Helmet

Check - see pics above, already have it.

 

#4 Peanut M+Ms, Skittles, etc.  A handful of peanut M+Ms make a great reward (doled out 1 at a time)and gives little bodies a boost when energy flags.

Cool - will do!

 

#5. MITTENS and handwarmers.  Cold little fingers will kill an outing faster than anything,

Again, got the mittens, will add the handwarmers.

 

#6 GOOD wool sox.  Do not be cheap.  Cold feet are worse than cold hands.

We bought 2 pair of the kids size SmartWool ski socks.

 

Mentally...

 

#1.  Unless you are enrolling the child in lessons, be prepared to NOT make a single decent turn all morning.  Use equipment that relfects this.  I have some 145cm twin tips that are great for skiing backwards reaching out for little hands.

She did 4 days of lessons at the Beav this Christmas and we will do 5 more days at Snowmass.  Good thing since I can't ride switch!

 

#2,  Instill EARLY that the skier should use the WHOLE hill.  Woods to woods turns are the key to discouraging the super wedgie. 

Check.

 

#3. Re the leash, holding back a child determined to bomb staight down a trail on a leash is very physically demanding.  Insist the child not "fight" your gentle guidance inputs on the leash.  Then see #2.

Gotcha!

 

Teach 'em up.

 

 

Thanks to everyone that has contributed here - I've been taking it all in and learning.  I think Racer256's post really pulled it all together for me, and I feel like I've got a good game plan now!  Really appreciate everyone's help!

 

Take care,

Cliff

post #10 of 13

Just to answer the actual, original question:

 

I used (some of) the exact stuff on the Apple-Rise link for my daughter, who started at age 3-1/2. Specific reactions:

 

- Tip locks. These are kind of controversial, but I think they're useful. Kids of a a certain age just don't have the strength and coordination to maintain a wedge without them. The downside, supposedly, is that they get "addicted" to them. Not an issue in my case. My daughter used them pretty much all the time her first season. She used them one day her second season, then never again. I'm not aware of any particular advantage of one design vs. another, except it is a very good thing to be able to unlock and re-lock them relatively easy. It's very hard to walk in the lift line with your tips locked. After you unlock and lock them a few dozen times, you'll appreciate the relative ease of a some designs vs. others.

 

- Leashes. I actually got one, and never used it. They don't seem like a great idea, as a pedagogical matter. As a purely practical matter, they may be necessary, at least if you've got one of the kids (generally boys) who are intent on taking big air into the parking lot at the first opportunity.

 

- The horizontal bar between the boots to force a wedge. Never used it. I don't think I actually had one, but I wouldn't have used it anyway. Not necessary, once you have the tip locks. Maybe if you've got one the aforementioned kids intent on doing gelandesprungs over SUVs. Otherwise, no.

 

- The handle on the back. Pretty useful, actually, though perhaps a bit demeaning. It allows you to move a kid about like slightly awkward, unusually squirmy, luggage. Useful for loading and unloading chairs and, depending on your wont, cars.

 

- The bar thing, that looks like and upside-down Eastern Orthodox crucifix. Much more useful than you'd think, or at least than I think you'd think. Anyway, I've never seen anyone else using one, and I'm not sure why not. It actually was kind of terrific, in certain circumstances. With it, you can take a kid down the steep parts of real runs within a matter of days, then leave him/her to his/her own devices on  the flat parts. Plus, it's useful for skiing into lift lines in some semblance of unison.

post #11 of 13

My take on kid aids. First, I have never used an edgie-wedgie, and we don't use them in our kids programs either. We had 470 kids on Saturday for our program lessons.

 

In a one on one setting I prefer to use a harness, and have had good results with them. Using a harness does require that you consider how best to use it, so the child doesn't become dependent on it. Obvious benefits of a harness is that they are great for lifting kids on and off the lift and to help them slow down at times. The rest of the time it is easy to unclip the strap to let them ski on their own over gentle terrain, or to just keep the strap slack so the child is on their own even with it attached. Maybe even bigger positives in my experience is the ability for you to steer the child's hips through a turn, and/or draw the child's hips inside the turn without holding their speed back. Used this way they are great tools that allow the child to explore more terrain securely, while reinforcing positive movements, use of the skis, and turn shape for speed control.

 

On the other hand, if all a person does is ski around and hold the child back as they ski straight down the hill in a wedge, the results will be disastrous.

post #12 of 13

Please don't use the harness. It pulls the child back and out of balance. Also, the child won't learn to stop since they know the parent witll stop them. If you have one, use the handle on the back to help pull them up and get on a lift, but drop the tethers.

 

Use the edgy wedgy to help them make the wedge. Tell them to make a bigger "pizza" to stop. They will pick it up after a few tries. Once they can stop, they are safe on their own. Now get them to turn by pointing their toes one direction then the other in a narrow wedge. Now, they are skiing. You can drop the edgy wedgy when they aren't stretching it any longer.

 

I am a certified ski instructor and have been using this method for more than 10 years with lots of success. Make it fun and use Gummy Worms for incentive. LOL.

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by quattrochick View Post
 

Please don't use the harness. It pulls the child back and out of balance. Also, the child won't learn to stop since they know the parent witll stop them. If you have one, use the handle on the back to help pull them up and get on a lift, but drop the tethers.

 

Use the edgy wedgy to help them make the wedge. Tell them to make a bigger "pizza" to stop. They will pick it up after a few tries. Once they can stop, they are safe on their own. Now get them to turn by pointing their toes one direction then the other in a narrow wedge. Now, they are skiing. You can drop the edgy wedgy when they aren't stretching it any longer.

 

I am a certified ski instructor and have been using this method for more than 10 years with lots of success. Make it fun and use Gummy Worms for incentive. LOL.


Welcome to EpicSki!  Note that this thread was from several years ago so I suspect the kids are well past the beginner stage by now.  You can see the date of a thread/post in the top left corner of a post.  The topic has been discussed in other threads as well.

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