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4 y/o Likes to Point Straight Down Hill

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Most older beginners I see have a healthy respect for out of control speeds.  In fact, most beginners seem to do anything to avoid making that turn through the fall line and will usually get in the backseat and fall well before straighlining a steep trail.

Not so much my normally not so fearless 4.5 y/o.  It's downright scary.  He's fine on most beginner hill and can make pretty good linked turns, stop on command, etc.  Basically total control - our beginner hills are like stock car races and he has no trouble making the often needed emergency turn when people inadvertendly cut him off.  Of course speeds are very reasonable on these trails.

Problem is, when I try to take it up just a notch (say generally easy intermediates that might have a short steep spot), his control vanishes.  He'll get going a little to fast and be unable to turn.  Instead of panicking and falling, he has no problem with point and shoot.  Obviously not something I want as wheelchairs just aren't my thing.

He's had about 10 ski days this year in group lessons and does better when he follows other kids.  Still, the instructor commented to me about his lack of control when things get a little steep (but another instructor commented he was more than ready to move up from the greens - weird spot).

Anyone else have this problem?  As of now, I'm going back to green only for obvious safetly reasons.
post #2 of 23
Show him this video..
he was 4+ at the time..decided to bomb it...you may have seen this movie live already with your boy..
post #3 of 23
goldsbar, if he is following you and you are making what are normal size turns for your size and ability you are probably way down the hill and he might have a tendency to cut off the corners (not finish the turns) to catch up with you. Try to make smaller rounder "C" shaped turns, maybe turn to a stall or stop on the steeper sections until he gets the feeling of turning even more on the steeper sections. Even if you get him in some type of turn is better than straight running it if he cannot maneuver at his dive bomb speed. Play a game on the steeps, who can make the most turns in a given distance? Another one I have been doing with kids is to go down the slope a bit, draw a line in the snow and ask him to ski down to you and stop before he goes off the cliff (line), how close to the line can he get without falling off the cliff?, How fast can he come up to the line and still stop? How much snow can he spray on you? Watch out for your knees on that one. Try anything that will slow him down a bit so as he is not taking off out of control. Trees and  snowmaking equipment don't move or break.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Yes, that video looks familiar.  Unfortunately, my normally non-athletic son has a great ability to stay upright while bombing which is far more dangerous. 

Snowbowler - yes, he does have the tendency to cut corners to catch up.
post #5 of 23
My kids did the same thing.  I think it's just in their nature.  I can still picture my youngest bombing down a steep blue with her hands stuffed in her coat pockets, not out of control, just going as fast as possible.  This was maybe the fourth or fifth trip to the local hill. She told me her hands were cold.  When they were learning I was constantly telling them to turn, but they actually liked flying down the hill as fast as possible.  Now 6-7 years later they can ski beautifully and are currently into "getting air" on small jumps and playing in the trees.  Every time we ski I remind them to keep their head on a swivel, always look uphill when entering a trail, etc...  they give me that "look"; every parent knows what I'm talking about.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldsbar View Post

Problem is, when I try to take it up just a notch (say generally easy intermediates that might have a short steep spot), his control vanishes.  He'll get going a little to fast and be unable to turn.  Instead of panicking and falling, he has no problem with point and shoot.  Obviously not something I want as wheelchairs just aren't my thing.

He's had about 10 ski days this year in group lessons and does better when he follows other kids.  Still, the instructor commented to me about his lack of control when things get a little steep (but another instructor commented he was more than ready to move up from the greens - weird spot).

Anyone else have this problem?  As of now, I'm going back to green only for obvious safetly reasons.


 

Good suggestions from snowbowler. Kids love to play games. Tell him to make ten turns and stop to wait for you, play tractortrailer (you the tractor, he the trailer) get him to ski in your tracks, no passing allowed. Put your ski poles in the snow and ask him to ski around them like gates and stop. Try to teach him a hockey stop. Teach him to ALWAYS stop with his skis across the fall line, not to stop with his skis pointing down the hill using a braking wedge cause that's for babies. Move up to more difficult terrain for a run, tell him you're going fishing, teach him to ski straight down the fall line for a bit and make one turn (fish hook, J turn) across the hill to stop.
post #7 of 23
Sounds like your kids are just like my boy..he started soon after he was 3.5yrs old, the video was when he was 4+ now this is where he is now taken around 6+ years, just finished his second GS run at a race in first racing season with team...what a pleasure , am sure you all will and do experience the same..IMG_1245.JPG
post #8 of 23
based on what you describe, i would say your child is just barely at the blue stage. spend at least 1/2 the time on greens still working on linking and control. the time spent on blues should be slow and controlled. do not tolerate speed. force the follow the leader and work across the mountain particularly on steep sections and/or icey areas. get them slip sliding on really steep/icey sections.

remember given their age you dont want them to get scared....if they bite it going way to fast and get hurt you will regret it.
post #9 of 23
Teach him matching his skis first across the hill and then take him to steeper terrain and have him finish his turns across the hill. He will need edging to hold his position across the hill and it kills the legs of reluctant wedgers that they start to listen after they find it's so much easier to ski matching than wedging on steeper terrain.
When he gets back to green terrain he will probably want to rip down it but that's not any differnt than other kids his age.

It's the steeper stuff that scares the parents (and instructors) of wedgers but learning some edging  and finishing their turns makes us all more comfortable when they head down that hill. Our best tool  for controlling our descent is turn shape and our best way to kill speed is to get out of the fall line .
post #10 of 23
His legs are likely too weak.  My 6-year old can ski a couple of black diamonds well in the morning, but he can lose control in the afternoon when his legs tire.  After lunch we stay off anything expert.  My now 9-year old had no such problem because he is a Taekwondo "nut" who had stronger legs at the same age.

If terms of games, make turning fun.  When boys learn to use the toilet we all throw Cheerios in the bowl and let them try to hit/sink them, right?  I did the same thing using snowballs a few feet apart and had the little guys squash them with what would be their uphill ski after they started to turn.  It got them to turn, make a rounder turn, and weight the downhill ski all at once.  Best of all, they didn't have to know any of the complicated stuff.  They just had to squash the snowballs.
post #11 of 23
I had the same problem trying to teach a 18 year old girl to ski today, tried to explain the fall line, played follow the leader, explained how edges work, she would still end up making one or two traverses and nice snowplow turns at the end then wouldnt finish a turn and just end up straightlining out of control, The guys i was teaching today did excellent and even started working on stem christe turns and parrallel skiing, By the way im just a skier and not an instructor but lessons werent available today so I was their best option.
post #12 of 23
Show him this video of a my 4 yo in a NASTAR course.  He usually pulls silvers.

My ADvise is let him watch a race team making nice arced turns.  Show him how cool the "big kids" look!
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bugs View Post

My kids did the same thing.  I think it's just in their nature.  I can still picture my youngest bombing down a steep blue with her hands stuffed in her coat pockets, not out of control, just going as fast as possible.  This was maybe the fourth or fifth trip to the local hill. She told me her hands were cold.  When they were learning I was constantly telling them to turn, but they actually liked flying down the hill as fast as possible.

Some kids NEVER outgrow that. 

It could be that most kids feel the need to do something about skiing too fast for their comfort level at a slower speed where they can actually do something about it without falling, but your kid doesn't feel that need for more control until it's too late.  He has learned that if he can hang on until the hill levels off he will be ok, but that's not always the case. 

I know a fellow who liked to ski fast, having a natural ability and a lot of experience riding motorcycles at high speeds, but ignored my advise to get a speed-appropriate ski with a speed limit above his personal speed limit.  He got an intermediate ski instead, opting for ease of use.  He pushed the envelope just a little too far one day, and found himself flying down the hill beyond the skis speed limit with  NO control.  He didn't make it to the leveling off portion of the hill, and although the irate ski patroller took his pass from him when he woke up, it was completely unnecessary; this promising skier never skied again.  It was fortunate he didn't hit anyone, or anything.

Obviously you won't find a tot's ski with a high speed limit.  So, you've got to teach your young one to turn uphill, or make good hockey stops at speed (preferably both) and practice it with him so that he is good enough and has enough confidence in the move to use it when he feels things getting hairy.  Fishhook exercise sounds like a good one,  Maybe a stopping contest game where you begin straight lining and see who can stop in the shortest distance when one of you calls stop would be fun.
post #14 of 23
My "problem" is completely the opposite. My 5-y/o has very good balance, stance and technique. Basically, she is totally in control over her speed and direction. She is very observant and reacts quickly to stuff that happens around her. However, she is very cautious and gets rather scared when she thinks the slope is too steep, regardless of the fact that she may have skied down the same slope several times the same day. On the one hand, I'm confident that she's as safe as she can be, which is naturally very important. But on the other hand, it can be quite hard and frustrating to try to convince her that she'll be all right going down the slope.
post #15 of 23
Raceking : that video is priceless! Have seen quite a few of those myself with my boy, especially on steeps, airborne for 10ft plus and then slide over ice , good thing mom was not on the mountain !

anyway, if anyone is interested in seeing how a 6+year old progresses on a racing team, here is video, note it is 10mins long and has a few bad spots (lousy zoom on the camera) and some family&friends bits, but on the whole you will see that the slopes are pretty real, i.e. steep enough (there were races where at the top or close to it, it was really steep and the turns looked tight, as I saw other kids fly out and DNF, your heart is in your mouth for each of those kids and there is a silent prayer no question that all of them are ok and naturally, the tension rises are one's own kid comes out of the starting gates and hits those gates!),

the racing is fun but serious enough and for those of you with kids just beginning,  you can look forward to this, and out here in the northeast, it's a labor of love and passion for skiing, because for most of the season, the kids especially (and you) are "FREEZING" while training and during the races and courses are icy like you will not believe ! Regardless, it was pretty remarkable for this Dad, to see how my normally seriously high-speed skiing son, decided to focus on finishing every race, "I do not want to DNF" is what he said, I let him be; and progressively noticed his technique improving and him getting faster and faster over the season...as I said its 10mins long so..scroll through etc...if interested...it shows the progression of the skiier as he learns what to expect in racing, almost all the races are GS, one was slalom i think, i forget he may have missed that race (violin recital...): this is the 7years and under category, he was the fastest new kid on his team hands down, i did'nt know this, I was told by the coaches and expert parents, and there were second-year kids who were genuinely faster..excellent motivation for him..(reason dad is kind of proud is that he does'nt get where this natural love for skiing and balance comes from..Dad took up skiing 2 years ago to follow son, and Mom does not ski though she is from parts where snow and ice are in her DNA, whereas Dad is from parts where its all heat and dust and sometimes rain!)


post #16 of 23
I remember yelling at my daughter to make turns all the time. When she was 6 and 7 she would race with her friends,not give each other any ski room,and damn near give me a heart attack. Now that she is 9 she turns em all the time. She is quite the bumpaholic and a very controlled skier.Growing up around here is obviously benificial.All these kids ski well and many enter race programs (GMVS) at an early age.I wouldnt worry about your 4 year old not making turns.Its gonna come and very fast I might add.
post #17 of 23
While I dont have the issue with my 4 yo...he can turn well within a snomobile track----no wedge, but he does have a one-two move.    I think his skis are 3 meter.


A guy was watching him and commented about his son--with your son's desire to go straight.   Kid could turn but did not desire to.       What did dad do to cure it.....  ?   Told his son, if you are not in some kind of turn at all times, I will ski up behind you and push you over.    Kid challenged dad once and never again.     Just teach large radius turns----I find the "follow me" technique, with some amount of bribery until the child understands and accepts the fact that he/she can ski fast, while in a turn.   
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Racer256 View Post

Show him this video of a my 4 yo in a NASTAR course.  He usually pulls silvers.

My ADvise is let him watch a race team making nice arced turns.  Show him how cool the "big kids" look!

Its a good things kids that age are made of rubber! I'm always amazed at how flexible they are. And usually they come out of a wreck like that laughing!
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

Some kids NEVER outgrow that. 

 

+1
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiingDad View Post

My "problem" is completely the opposite. My 5-y/o has very good balance, stance and technique. Basically, she is totally in control over her speed and direction. She is very observant and reacts quickly to stuff that happens around her. However, she is very cautious and gets rather scared when she thinks the slope is too steep, regardless of the fact that she may have skied down the same slope several times the same day. On the one hand, I'm confident that she's as safe as she can be, which is naturally very important. But on the other hand, it can be quite hard and frustrating to try to convince her that she'll be all right going down the slope.
 


So let me get this straight: your 5 year old is extremely safe, has very good technique, but doesnt push herself to ski blues (if she is a green) or black (if she is a blue) or double D (if she is a single D)?

WTF is the problem?  You want to ski a Diamond when she is only comfortable on a blue??~?
post #21 of 23
Let him hardness that speed and teach him to roll em on edge, you could have a racer. The US Ski Team needs some skiers for speed event's. Make sure he never gets scared of the speed and let em rip.
post #22 of 23
Steveys, I obviously didn't express myself clearly on this point. Yes, you're right that I should be glad that she's cautious and that she won't over-estimate her abilities. That's not a problem. The problem is that she may get scared when skiing a slope that she's been in several times before. Or she may get scared when skiing a slope which is clearly less steep than the one she just came down. And she just won't believe me when I tell her that the slope is easy and safe. Sometimes she chooses to go down another path, because she thinks it's less steep, although I can clearly see that it's the steeper path.

Well, as long as she's enjoying herself it's OK, but sometimes we have long negotiations if there is only one route down. Sometimes she'll plow straight down an entire slope, because she's convinced that she'll go too fast otherwise. Other times she may stop mid-turn, face straight downhill, and completely freeze in a plow-position and refuse to take up just enough speed to complete the turn. Needless to say, this pins her down in a very awkward position, which she can't get out of without my help.

I know she's mostly tired when this happens, but my main concern is that she's not enjoying herself whenever this happens and it brings her motivation down. I also feel inadequate as a parent, since I can't motivate her and coach her to get the confidence she needs. Oh well, at the end of the day she still enjoys skiing and looks forward to the next ski trip.
post #23 of 23
 My advice: I have raised 4 male skiers to adulthood. Your son is only 4. Tell him if he doesn't  make turns, he is putting himself and others in danger. If he doesn't listen lock up his skis and put him in daycare. He'll make turn after that. You can't responsibly take him on intermediate terrain when he is skiing like this. Next year, when he is 5, it may be different. He is only 4.
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