Brennan loves snowboarding! He has his own board and lets me know all the time he's going to the Olympics and doing the half pipe. Ok...I guess. He is 1 1/2 weeks away from turning 5 and this has continued for a year. He has done consecutive ski lessons at Snowbird and Deer Valley but has been waiting very patiently for his 5 weeks at Brighton on his board. In fact, on his last day at Deer Valley with his instructor Brett, he drew a picture of the both of them...on a board. I said "Bren, you skiied with Brett", he said "I know, but in my picuture Brett is boarding with me". 2 lessons here: he loved his instructor Brett (a blog to come on the importance of great instructors) and he loves to snowboard.
With that said, Brighton is the only resort to offer consecutive weekly lessons to kids as young as 4 to snowboard. Bren is officially a Little Shredder! Many of the resorts offer daily private snowboard lessons to kids at age 4, but Brighton is the only one that offers it for the 5 week program. I know you've heard it from me a million times, but the same instructor and kids grouped for consecutive weeks in the way to go! You don't have to go through the "so, how do they ski, how many times have they skied...." You just show up after the first day, drop and go! Brighton has this part down to a science!!
I'll get back to that. I want to get back to the ongoing debate on how old to start to board. It still amazes me that Bren pulling his snowboard along by the riglet is a sight for many. People literally stop, watch and say...that is amazing! Why? Because people are still accustomed to seeing kids start boarding at age 7 or 8. If they have the interest, let them start at 3, 4... Should they ski first? Up to you the parents. There is no rulebook in the sky that says " a child must ski first, then snowboard later!" Brennan has certainly become a good little skier, but the fact that he now can do both is great. A few things I've learned; his muscles are definitely used a little differently in boarding. By the end of the day, he was exhausted..much more than I've see in skiing. But..he has an excitement about his board. It "lives" in his room. He walks around the house in his board boots, he has a "boardy jacket and pants". The board is developed for a 3 year old, as mentioned above in his love for boarding. The technology is there, so if your young child wants to board, let them! But, they need lessons. Since I don't board, it would be impossible for me do anything with Bren, but even if you do board, let the pros get the little ones up first.
Now, back to Brighton. I have a lovefest with Brighton. It is so easy....parking, people, eating, getting there. It is so chill! When you sign the kids up, do it online! Get everything sorted out so when you arrive, you're ready!! Guess what? No bumping into grownups, going through buildings...just walk up by the Explorer chairlift (the beginner lift) and you will be greeted by a supervisor. He looks up the childs name and tells you what number or letter you go to. That's it!!! Bren heads to his number and just like school, you wonder "who will be in my class". Guess what? NOBODY! His instructor, Marco, arrives and Bren is the only one! Really? Must be no one else his age, ability... the beauty of weekly or even daily lessons is when you sign up for group lessons, you pay the group rate, but may luck out and have a small group...or in our case..no group! I find out Marco is awesome! We chat for a little while about Brens ability, how many times he's done it and tell Marco to use "tough love" if necessary. You see, Bren is cute and he kind of knows that (yes, at age 4). Lay down the law and he follows you to a tee. Marco appreciates this. Feel free to tell your instructor anything that will help in their teaching. They want your child to be as successful as you do! I also inform him Bren likes to go fast and crash. Yep, he's on this trick. So, I say goodbye. The lesson is 3 hours, I'll check back in a bit. Meanwhile, I've got Emily with me and she has opted out of lessons. She wants to ski! OK, off we go. Or...off she goes! I've got a tear on this day as my 6 year old rips ahead of me with beautiful turns, parallel skis, hockey stops and a speed I can't quite understand. We go everywhere I can go at this stage as I'm only a blue skier. She is either on my heels or in front of me. To the top of Snake Creek Express, through the trees, up Great Western! Really? So if you're thinking "I'll just teach my kids". No, worth the lessons, worth the the money to let someone else teach them. They learn the right way to ski, the ski etiquette of the mountain and the confidence needed to tackle any slope. Something I never had.
After many runs, we're back to find Bren. Who is this little guy coming down the mountain on his snowboard, slowly, turning, heel stopping, watching his direction? In 2 hours? I ask Marco how that happened?? He said he got the rules straight in the beginning with the speed and what to work on...that's all it took! I've included the videos because I am so proud how much progress he made in one afternoon. What happens in 5 weeks? Which leads me to a subject I'm going to cover in an upcoming blog...instructors! Who's good, which resort is good, what about training? A good ski/board instructor is like a good teacher at school...it can make or break the experience for sure! I later find out Marco is one of the trainers! We're so lucky and I am so happy Bren is off to such a great start to his "real" board experience. We've done the hour or 2 here and there but I believe this 5 weeks will make a big impact on him going forward!
Check out this months deals at Ski' N See! A great time to buy new skis for your little guys or deals on rentals!