For Grandparents: Five tips to teach your grandkids to ski

By Yeti Dec 16, 2014
For Grandparents: Five tips to teach your grandkids to ski

By Harriet Wallis

You love to ski or ride – and you're sure your passion is genetic. Here are tips to get things off to a good start.

Look for deals. Some resorts offer free or low cost tickets for youngsters, and that takes the financial pressure off you especially if the day’s weather turns iffy or if your grandkids get whiney at the last minute.


Kids ski and ride free with a paying adult at these resorts:

Brighton. Two kids 7 and under are free.
Powder Mountain. Kids 6 and under are free.
Snowbasin. Kids 6 and under are free.
Snowbird. Kids 6 and under are free on the chairlifts.

Start on flat ground. Kids should start sliding on nearly flat ground, says Jo Garuccio, a Snowbird, Utah, instructor and a PSIA trainer and examiner.

 “A child will not miraculously assume a balanced stance on the beginner hill. It’s imperative that the child stand and slide independently on a flat surface before giving the child a 'downhill experience'. The terrain should be so flat that the child can go straight, lose momentum and stop,” she says.

My friend Larry Green did just that with his granddaughter. He gave little Yoella her first sliding experience on virtually flat snow. “She loved it, and she egged me to pull her up that slight slope again and again so she could slide down. I’m exhausted,” he said. “That three-year-old totally wore me out!”


Cool kids. Pediatric journals say that children cool faster than adults because they have proportionately more skin surface in relation to their body size. Even though you have them bundled up, when kids say they’re cold, it’s time to go into the lodge and thaw them out.


Gizmos. "Aids are not a substitute for skill," says Garuccio. If you use a harness, leash or tip clamp Edgie Wedgie with your youngster, stay on green and easy blue slopes. “Do not take your child onto high level terrain until they can handle it without aids."


Stifle your expectations. Make it fun, fun, fun. Your grandchild might be super athletic and coordinated, but put your expectations aside and make sure it's fun. That way they'll want to do it again. Give them little tips, but back off from the overkill of teaching, teaching, teaching, says Mary Whittke, retired ski school director of  Brighton, Utah.

Warning: Your grandkids will probably catch on a progress so rapidly that they'll ski or ride compatibly with you for only 15 minutes of their lives. After that, they'll leave you behind.


Harriet Wallis has been a ski writer, editor and photographer forever. She learned to ski on a dare when she was in her mid 30s and has been blabbing about it ever since. Read more from Harriet at