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Lessons for my 5&7 year old sons

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hello all, we're going on our first trip with the kids and wanted to get some thoughts on ski instruction for them.  They are 5 and 7 year old boys and this will be their first time.  We are going to Copper Mountain for Mardi Gras for 3-4 days of skiing.

Should we enroll them in the 5 hour/day ski school for 2 days or go for a 3 hour/day with a private instructor for 2 days?  The price is not a huge difference, we really want whats best for them.  The ski school includes lunch so that's probably 4 hours of lessons.  Also, would it be advisable for both of them to be with one instructor?

post #2 of 11
Hey Jimmy,

You'll probably get much more qualified answers than the one I'm about to give.  That's one of the good things about Epic.  So, here goes.

Much like you, my family made their first ski trip out west last year for Spring Break.  We did SLC resorts for a week.  I enrolled my (then) 5 year old and 8 year old in all day ski school for 3 days @ Solitude.  I was very pleased with the instruction that they recieved.  My 5 yo and 8 yo were never in the same group.  Having observed this dynamic, I think it was a good thing that they weren't together.  Even if their ski level is/was the same, their maturity level is not the same.  BTW, my 8 yo is a girl and my 5 yo is a boy.  So take that for what it's worth.  My daughter is mature for her age and comfortable with kids who are older than her.  She's also very calculating and takes instruction well.  In contrast, my son is very naturally athletic, he's rambunctious, and he's a joker.  It was better for him to be with other 5 yo kids. 

The private lesson is something that I don't have any experience with regarding my children.  I've had a private lesson as has my wife, but my kids only did group for the 3 days. 

Your kids may be different.  The age difference is only two years instead of three and they're both boys.

Good luck.  As a parent I know what your intentions are.  I wanted my kids to have a very positive first experience so skiing would take hold.  And, I don't want to be their teacher.  I would get too frustrated and don't have the patience or the skills for it.
post #3 of 11
Put them in the group lesson.  They'll be in different groups and make friends with kids their own age.  The whole program will be organized to keep them safe, warm and happy.  Peer pressure creates a perfect learning environment.
A 5 year old and a 7 year old are too different developmentally to get the full benefit of a shared lesson,  At best, the younger one will progress well be following his older brother.  At worst, they'll hate their instructor and skiing as well. 

In an all day group lesson, the small kids might be outside 3 hours or less, depending on weather.  That's about all that most of them can tolerate.  In a 3 hour private lesson, the instructor will feel like he needs to keep them outside the whole time, which will leave you with tired kids for half your ski day. 

Have reasonable expectations.  Only the most athletically gifted children ski the whole mountain before they've had hundreds of hours on the slopes.  For kids living in Louisiana, about the best outcome you can expect is that they will have a good time and want to go back next year.  OTOH if they don't enjoy themselves they will form an unholy alliance with mommy and make you take them to Disneyland or Aruba or someplace. 

Edited by Bode Klammer - 1/13/10 at 11:03am
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies, I been going between the two camps and I'm leaning towards the ski school now.  As a Dad who loves skiing, I do want this to be a fun trip and hopefully they'll want to do it again!  I definately don't want to be the teacher and ruin it for them (and the wife and I)!  Great points about the peer pressure/making friends and being at different maturity levels is something I've thought about, so separate classes might be better.
post #5 of 11
 I think groups is the way to go as well.
post #6 of 11
BTW Jim, we're going back to SLC/BCC/LCC again for spring break this year.  So, currently, it's me and the kids against mom who could care less if we went skiing every year.  But so far, she's being a good sport about it, but skiing will never be her thing.  Good luck.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

After my wife and my first trip together, I thought she'd never go again (Taos,NM was tough for her first time).  But we went on a trip a few years later with some friends to Copper Mountain and she took a private lesson with a great instructor and now she's hooked!  Good luck to you and the kids and maybe the wife will change her mind!

post #8 of 11
How independent are they? That would be my only concern with separating them from each other and from you. Surprising them once you're here doesn't work very well in my experience. That's why my advice would be to take the time to talk about the trip and get their opinions before deciding what would be best. I've found that most kids love the idea of playing with other kids as long as they know it's going to happen. If during that discussion you find out that there is anxiety about not being with you and your wife at least you will know about it well in advance. Which gives you an opportunity to sell them on the idea.  
post #9 of 11
Definitely group lessons for these ages (esply the younger). Dependent on how well they adapt, either half or full day would work. If you want private attention, get a private babysitter staying at the unit.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Actually, when we did originally talk with them about ski school and that they would be in different classes or just them with an instructor, they said they'd rather the school so they could make more friends!  I guess they know what they need more than me!
Thanks again
post #11 of 11
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

...get their opinions before deciding what would be best...

As a parent of a 6 and 8 year old, I've found that getting the kids opinions and preferences on things oftentimes backfires.  We've always thoroughly explained the plan to our kids multiple times and to the best of our knowledge what was going to happen.  Most young kids don't really have the decision making capacity to determine whether a 3 hour private lesson or a group lesson is better.  If Jimmy76, a grown adult is asking for opinions, a kid certainly is ill equipped to make that decision.
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