A love for snow sports can be learnt at any age, but kids definitely have a keen advantage. For starters they have a much lower point of gravity! And with a good start on the hill, basic skills can quickly develop into a lifelong passion. Who knows, your wee speed demon could be the next Jossi Wells!
Most ski schools will teach children as young as age 3. With good instruction, many kids can ski independently on a beginner slope in just a few days. Here are some tips to introduce your kids to the mountain and avoid being THAT parent carrying their crying child and their skis down the bunny slopes.
#1 Have a nice big breakfast
This applies to the whole family. Make sure everybody's tummy is full and happy and ready for a day of action.
#2 Keep them Warm and Dry
Never underestimate the weather. A beautiful sunny day can turn nasty in no time. The beauty of skiing is that you're usually close to a lodge—but with a beginner skier, getting down the mountain can take time.
*Don't forget to take spare mitts, socks beanie etc for them in your bag just in case.
Therm Snowrider Jacket: 9,200mm waterproof with light insulation and fleece lining. Stash pockets, hand pockets, and pass pockets. Adjustable cuffs with built in handwarmers.
Therm Snowrider Pants: 9,200mm waterproof with insulation. Detachable bib and straps, reinforced knees & bum, elasticated ankle gaiters.
#3 Have some fun inside first
All the gear can be very daunting and confusing to a little one. Stiff boots, goggles, planks attached to your feet! Get them used to the idea by playing around inside; gearing up and sliding across the carpet is a fun game. Let them practice putting on and taking off the boots and be sure to demonstrate binding use.
#4 Put them into lessons!
It may be another cost on an already expensive holiday, but there are so many advantages. Ski Instructors are trained in teaching methods and will know the best way to explain moves to your children. Plus they will meet new friends, have so much fun, and be itching to show you their cool new moves when you meet back up with them!
#5 Bribe them with food
A hot chocolate or a pie in the lodge is a great incentive for a full morning of skiing. Pack snacks in your pocket for the chairlift. Treats go a long way when encouraging children to make good turns!
#6 Play games
Eye-Spy on the chairlift, follow the leader down the hill. The leader can pretend to be a favorite animal, and each child picks a different animal. When turning, make noises to imitate that animal.
#7 Take it easy
Remember little legs don't last as long as ours in the pow pow! Once the sprogs start getting tired you day will go downhill pretty quickly, and not in a good way. Keep the experience happy, safe, and positive. Take photos. As soon as the child’s interest wanes, take a break, and refer to point #5 - keep snacks on hand at all times!
Also be wary of the terrain you are approaching and aim to stick within their ability to prevent meltdowns. The old saying “slow and steady wins the race” applies. Take it slow and steady and make sure your kids are getting the foundation they need and, when they're truly ready to take the next step, then take the next step. With learning skiing, the key thing is going slower rather than trying to speed things up.
#8 Safety first
The beginner slopes are more than safe for kids learning to ski. But if they are starting to get a bit zippy, you will be venturing out onto the blue runs and much more vast terrain. Keep them in your sight at all times. In order to be safe rather than sorry also give them a little bit of money and a note with your phone number on it in case they do get lost. Teach them basic mountain safety, IE who has right of way, don't sit where people can't see you, and make sure they understand what all the different ropes and markers mean. Especially the ones that say CLIFF!
Bright, hi-viz jackets are also an advantage, so you can easily spot your children in a crowd, or from far away.
#9 Always Apres
Teach your kids the joy of après ski. That doesn't mean taking them to a loud bar with sticky beer on the floor - although no doubt that time will come one day! Hot chips, a dip in a heated pool, ski stories by a fireplace are the perfect end to your child’s ski day. If you have a drive ahead of you, hot milos and treats in the car (again with the food bribing) go down well. Do this and there's a good chance they will want to repeat the experience.
#10 Have fun!
We don't really need to explain how to do that do we?