My kids have been fortunate in that they started lessons when they were 3. To be able to learn the basics of skiing in the correct, safe way will make them great, confident skiers. I am so happy to report the love of the sport has grown every year.
So I took another "alone" ski day over the weekend, but this time made some friends. It was a powder day which is really a whole different way to ski. All the things you learn kind of go out the window as you plow through the snow and try to stay above the snow.
I observed some parents with kids and some conversations yelled at the kids:
"You wanted to go this way, now we're stuck. FIND YOUR SKIS! We should have gone another way!"
"Stay in the tracks!!! What are you doing? You're not listening!!!"
Case in point...turn your kids over to a lesson first. There are many lessons for kids.
You can do a private lesson with a one on one with an instructor: these can be a bit pricey, but will get them on their way pretty quick so you can take over.
Semi-private is when there are other kids. Advantage of this is they watch the others and want to keep up and be as good, not left behind.
Weekly lessons in which case if you are local or here in the area for awhile, the kids will show up every week at the same time with the same instructor and group for a 3-6 week course. We did many of these which is very cost effective and builds confidence.
Things instructors will teach:
1. Safety: Learning the rules of the mountain to get down safely in a lot of ski traffic, merging, slowing and stopping.
2. Stopping: Most important. How to come to a stop when you approach the end of the run. The instructor won't scream but do it calmly. As parents, we tend to panic and start flailing around.
3. Getting on and off the chairlift: How stressful is this? I remember one of the first times I took Brennan. We got off, his ski AND boot came off and I fell and my ski came off. Luckily nobody had a camera. The kids learn how to slide on and off the chair and if you need it, the lift operator will slow the lift to do this. Don't be afraid to ask for the chair to be slowed down, that is why they are there.
4. Knowing when the kids are ready to advance to the next chairlift: We all think we're great skiers and so are our kids. Hey, newsflash, don't push it! If they need to stay on the bunny slope for a week, who cares. The worse thing you can do is tell them "hey, you're ready to head to the top of the mountain!" and then they are so scared it is a bad experience for all. You want the first few times on the mountain to be fantastic! You want them to want to go again and look at it as a positive experience, not a scary one.
5. Best of all: They won't whine to the instructors like they will to you!!! I can't tell you how many times my kids have gone with me, even in the later years, and whined about cold feet, sore legs, being tired....BUT when with a team or lesson...nothing! They don't want to be different than the other kids, so they will tough it out.
These instructions apply to teaching your spouse or friends as well. They will try to "impress" you and go fast and look "cool". But they may get hurt; twist a knee, have a hard fall or get lost on the mountain as well. While you are cruising on down, they may not know which way to go and end up on a slope they have no business being on. At lease one or two adult lessons will make a world of difference on the slopes and in your relationship!
This being said, it is the BEST month to learn for everyone. It is learn to ski and snowboard month where there are deals a plenty! Most all resorts offer deals for people to take a lesson, get rentals and lift tickets for bargain prices. It is a chance to get out there and give it a try. What's the worse that can happen? You don't like it and move on. At least you can cross it off your bucket list anyway.
Here is a link to all resorts and their ski schools:
I will leave you with a fun GoPro video with powder shots from Brennan at Snowbird!
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