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How Young is too young to start skiing.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
For any of you with kids or experience, at what age did you start to let your kids try skiing. I know all of the ski schools won't take kids until they are 3 years old. My wife and I are planning a trip to Colorado with our soon to be 2 year old. I am wondering if she is old enough to slap skis on yet, or if that would be a mistake.

Additionally, any advice on how to go about introducing skiing to a toddler would also be great.

Thanks for your help!

Best Regards,

post #2 of 17
I feel strongly six is a good age.

Get a sitter until then and let kids play in the snow.
post #3 of 17
When my kids were 3 or 4, I taught them to ice skate, and I gave them cross country skis to play with in the back yard. I never took them skiing until they begged to go with me. Both of them picked it up pretty quickly when they were about 5. More important, they are both still enthusiastic adult skiers. The main skiing skill they need to learn is to enjoy themselves in a cold environment. Not many kids can actually ski much until they are 5 or 6, and 2 is way too young to actually strap on skis for any length of time.
post #4 of 17
Why not give it a try? I started skiing at age 3 and both my kids went out on skis at the age of 2 (for brief periods) and loved it. I found them a pair of tiny edged skis with moleskin inserted into the base for friction on uphill climbs and a pair of great little soft boots at a used sporting goods store.

Of course, I skied up until my due date and was back on skis within a week, so those kids were skiing before they touched down.

You should have seen the kids ski when they were 3 and 4. Amazing! The ski area used them in TV commercials to market their kids' programs.

If your child doesn't take to it at two, don't force it. Try again next year.
post #5 of 17
I started Sking at 3 yr's young.

I'm still Sking 43 yr's later!

Had alot of lessons (Yardsales) Throughout the year's
But wouldn't trade it for anything else!!

Be Good or Eat Wood!!
post #6 of 17
To add to the list, I also started my daughter at 3 + a couple of months, and she's still going strong at 10.

The topic of introducing young kids to skiing has been discussed several times b4 on Epic, and lots of people have contributed a huge number of great suggestions/hints/etc.. Doing a quick search using the strategy, "kid + years + old", produced 23 hits in just the general skiing section including threads titled:

Children: When is a good time to start?

Passing skiing on to your children

I'm sure there are lots more.

Tom / PM
post #7 of 17
our soon to be 2 year old
IMHO it would be a mistake if the motive was "to try skiing". On the other hand if the motive was simply for the family to have fun together in the snow then why not.

As Nolo said find some soft boots and some kids "velcro" skis and just play around lots.

Ya know whats fun for little kids in the snow ... find a playground with swings etc that is "snowed in" and play. Nothing like swings with powder hits at the bottom to get a smile.

Kids also love it when the "big kids" roll around in the snow and build snow .... people etc

Enjoy the family mountain holiday.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ November 27, 2002, 03:48 AM: Message edited by: man from oz ]
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the great sugestions. Our primary goal is to have fun regardless if it is on skis or not. I certainly recall seeing lots of very little munchkins scooting all over the bunny slopes and it always brought a smile to my face.

We had her out to CO last year and she thought the snow was great, until she touched it with her bare hands, that was a interesting expression!
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks Tom for the links to other posts, I forgot about the search feature. [img]redface.gif[/img]

Overall some good stuff. I grew up in the northeast and now live in Florida. People say I am crazy, but I miss winter. My wife is a Florida girl, but now loves skiing and I want to get our daughter hooked as early as possible. No ulterior motives here.

[ November 27, 2002, 06:32 AM: Message edited by: Mike__P ]
post #10 of 17
Don't forget that little people are closer to that really cold snow surface than the rest of us. That means their fingers and noses are more likely to get cold more quickly than adults just because they're closer to the snow.

My "test" question when folks ask whether their child is ready to ski: Can (s)he skip rope? If your child can manipulate the rope AND jump it successfully, your child can learn real skiing skills. If not, your child's ski experience now should be having fun on the flats around the lodge/condo/back yard WITH you, not taking lessons.
post #11 of 17
don't forget to pack the edgie wedgie
post #12 of 17
Originally posted by Kneale Brownson:
.... My "test" question when folks ask whether their child is ready to ski: Can (s)he skip rope? If your child can manipulate the rope AND jump it successfully, your child can learn real skiing skills. If not, your child's ski experience now should be having fun on the flats around the lodge/condo/back yard WITH you, not taking lessons.
Jumping rope? Really? My son is almost 8, skiing easy blacks with confidence, but still struggles with rope skipping. Part of that may be lack of experience (kids don't jump rope that much anymore). He didn't start skiing until he was 6, but we hadn't moved back to Colorado yet and skiing wasn't really accessible. I would have started him sooner otherwise.

My daughter will be 5 in a couple of months. She skied once or twice at age 3, and graduated to beginner lifts at age 4. She can ski any green now, and many blues. I KNOW she can't skip rope.

I think everything is dependent on the particular child, and his or her muscle control and development. Both of my kids were walking by 9 months, so I guess balance and leg strength were present early.

[ December 03, 2002, 08:47 AM: Message edited by: segbrown ]
post #13 of 17
I think kids of almost any age can learn to ski, really ski. However, the experience must be fun and paced for the child, not the adult.

Here is a web site with gear and some information on teaching very young children ages 1 and up.


post #14 of 17
Get her out by all means. I used to ski with my kids in a back pack carrier. Kelty and Tough Traveler make excellent kid carriers. Check with Ski Patrol to see if it's ok. Be sure of your skills and stay on the easy stuff. My kids loved it. The kids are in a deep seat with shoulder harnesses. In fact I'll sell you mine as my kids are now 5 and 12.

At age 2 I used a harness that attached to a belt at the hips with staps that clip on the sides. It was easy to initiate a turn by a gentle pull on one side. If balance is still a struggle you can reel her in and keep her between your skis and you can still stand up right. If she can keep her balance and lean into the harness you can reel her out and ski parallel. I also used the previosly mentioned edgie wedgie. A thick rubber band with clamps that attach to the tips of the skis(prevents skis from crossing). In fact I'll sell you my harness and edgie wedgie cheap.

If all that sounds like too much, just stay on the beginner slope and snow play. If they have a 'magic carpet' great. Just slide up, step on and away you go. A rope tow or chair would be my second choice. I've carried them on and off chairs to load and unload safely. Tell the lift attendent to slow the chair to load and unload. You'll have to get the lifties attention at the top. I've never had problems with slowing the lift. In fact most lifties slow it as soon as they see us sliding up in line.

Also, most ski resorts will give private lessons to young ones. Age limits are usually for group lessons. I know I've given a few privates to some really small '5 year olds'.

So keep it fun, keep it brief and use daycare to provide alternative fun for the kids while mom and dad take some runs.
post #15 of 17
Mike P-
Welcome to Epicski!

You've heard a lot of great suggestions, but allow me to add another.

Just as important as physical skills, is the state of psychological development. Is she becoming independent? Can she begin to make very basic decisions on her own? Is your little one is capable of falling, and getting up on her own (not necessarily with skis on) with out crying for mom and dad to pick her up? If so- she's ready! Sometimes we see kids at 2 that are ready, and kids that are 12 not be ready!

But make it HER day! When she's done- she's done! Don't try to force any more out of her. Make snow angels, play, etc to keep her enjoying the snow, but remember- they don't have nearly the endurance, nor are young children capable of dealing with colder temps, as adults.

Good luck!

post #16 of 17
When my son was just 2, I would ski the beginner slope with him between my skis, holding him under his arms. I would gradually lower his weight down onto his skis and, if he felt like he was stable and standing on his own, I would let him move out from between my skis. I would ski down about twenty feet ahead of him, turn around and catch him - if he got down to me. About half the time he would make it - the other half of the time he would tip over. Not really fall, just tip over to one side. And he'd laugh. And I'd pick him up and hug him either way.

That first year a "day of skiing" could consist of about an hour outside, a break for hot chocolate and french fries, and maybe another 45 minutes to an hour. Then I'd take him home where he'd nap for at least three hours. Luckily we lived only a mile from a little municipal ski area.

As others have said, playing in the snow is what it's all about. Snow angels and eating snow (unless the man-made stuff is particularly nasty that day) are all part of the experience. Expectations of lotsa control, wedge turns, and stamina should NOT be part of the experience.

Ski schools that do a good job with small kids will usually take four-year-olds (and occasional threes who lie about their age). In addition to testimonials from satisfied parents, you can tell if a school is good with small kids by the way they answer your question "what age is a good age....etc." If they get into a pseudo-intellectual speech about "comparative developmental stages" you might want to go elsewhere. If the answer includes something about "just as long as they're having fun", and it's said with a smile and a twinkle in the eye, go for it!

[ December 03, 2002, 08:08 PM: Message edited by: David7 ]
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank You for all of the great responses.

The bottom line is that we will focus on having Fun! We booked the trip, so weather permitting, we'll give it a shot, even if it is towing her around in the back yard.

Best Regards,

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