Bren's now a "boarder" at 4...first lesson at Brighton!

By Mountain Mama Nov 29, 2011
I'm a skier, not a great one. So, what do you do when your four-year-old only wants to snowboard? I can't teach him. How do you get him to a level to ski with Mom...head to Brighton!
Bren's now a "boarder" at 4...first lesson at Brighton!

I've been fortunate that both my kids got up on skis at 2 years old.  "Up" is relative, as it didn't go a whole lot further than that.  But, at 3 and 4 things the skiing improved ten fold and away we went.  Then...last year just turning 4, Brennan decided he wanted to board.  So, away we went to the Canyons.  Watch out...he's hooked.  Nope, not skiing. Just boarding this year.  It's cool.  I asked him "why"?  He said "because I can jump and it is easier on one board than two.  He watches skateboarders, surfers...  Have I created a "boarder"?  He's got his "boardy" pants, jacket.. (or so he calls them).  And all the advice I have is "let the kid be and embrace it."  OK, here we go...

I know nothing about boarding, so of course lessons are a must!  Most resorts do lessons for little boarders at age 4, but they have to be private lessons. Alta and Deer Valley are still ski only resorts.   Group lessons for snowboarding at most resorts start at age 5 or 6.  Also, when doing lessons, go onto the resorts website and register for the lesson ahead of time, it just saves you time at the end and also ensures you get the time you need. .Brighton will do group lessons, however, for the little guys at age 4.  I would strongly advise getting them a private lesson first.  Have you tried to board?  I haven't, but heard it is certainly a challenge!

I'm going to give you a few links on Brightons web site because they are certainly dialed in with advice and also great interactive stuff for kiddos to make it fun.  My kids first learned to ski at Brighton so why not board.  Check out the Parents Page.  Click around the page and learn about helmets/mountain codes and a really fun to dress.  It is an interactive page where if they are snowboarding or skiing, they can get involved.  Lets face it, kids are better at the computer these days than adults (at least this adult).  So, use this page as a tool wherever you ski and the tips and advice is kid friendly and gets you on your way.

OK, back to the lesson.  We decide to go on a Wednesday.  During the week its quiet and you normally can find a great place to park - no lift lines and a good experience for the kids.  We are set up for a lesson with Chris.  I decide to just observe and ask Chris lots of questions on how I can get Bren up and moving on the board since I know nothing about this.  We have our own Burton board which is a blog to come later this week on the beauty of the LTR boards by Burton and the specialty Riglet Reel.  Chris was impressed with the Riglet Reel in the teaching process.

We need to get Bren doing the heel and toe stops. (What?) Chris teaches Bren how to get on/off the lift.  This board thing is a little different in that Bren needs to clip/unclip from the board to get on the lift and learn to stop.  I don't know anything about this, so Chris walks me through how to do these things.  I think the main thing about boys is not wanting to slow down.  Chris is working with Bren on slowing down on the hill and pulling him back on his heels to stop.  If he can get this mastered, he'll be on his way and I can take him with me.  Something tells me this will take awhile, but I'm willing to wait!  Also, boarding is very tiring for the little ones, so plan on a hour or probably 2 max initially until they get the hang of it.  I'm told once they get some of the techniques, they'll be on their way quickly.  It's all about wanting to do it and being excited!  I think we have that mastered.

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