The first order of business, if you want to teach kids to ski, is to have patience. Most kids won’t pick up the knack for it right away, and you might get a little bored, preferring to rush things along before they are ready. The process, in terms of steps, is fairly straightforward.
It starts with balance, which includes more than just staying centered on their skis. It involves standing up with skis on as well and getting on or off the lift. Control and paying attention to their surroundings comes next. One step at a time, and you’ll get them there.
A lot of parents use harnesses, which is completely fine, and it does a lot of good helping youngsters get on or off the lift (especially off). But you do have to exercise caution. If there’s one thing we learn quickly about getting off a ski lift—don’t get tangled up. Keep that in mind with the harnesses.
5 Tips for Teaching Kids to Ski
When you stop and think about it, there are a lot more than five things that go into properly teaching kids to ski. Every teacher is different though, so it’s best to walk through a series of tips instead. We all have our own method of teaching, but these five tips will expedite the process.
1. Keep things nice and slow
It’s never a good idea to rush them along. Remember, you’re not on your time, you’re on their time. If you rush them through the process, the odds are good they will end up hating the entire experience.
That’s a good way to ensure they will never want to attempt it again. Let them progress at their own pace. You already know how to ski, after all. Now, it’s their turn to learn the ropes.
Ultimately, you want it to be a fun learning experience that not only will your kids cherish, but they’ll also want to repeat in the near future.
2. Let them take the next step
There’s no point in teaching balance if you jump over to learn about getting on and off the lifts when they can barely stand up straight without support. They’ll let you know when they are ready to tackle the next milestone.
One of the things that often conquers a child’s advancement is fear. Fear of getting hurt and fear of underperforming in front of you. Teaching them balance is not the only thing to teach them. Helping them conquer their fears is also important. That means not rushing them through at your pace but guiding them at theirs.
3. Teaching them control
It’s one thing to fall in the soft snow of spring season and quite another to plow into a tree or another person. Once they’ve learned to balance themselves and start moving, control is the natural step that follows.
Teaching them the wedge technique is one of the quickest ways for kids to learn to control their movement, especially forward momentum. This takes time, and you’ll likely have to go through it with them multiple times until they get the hang of it.
4. Spring season is the best time to learn
Spring season equals soft snow, and soft snow makes for a more cushioned fall. Odds are, your kids are going to fall, and they’ll do it quite a bit. Fortunately, Spring usually means the snow is softer.
Softer snow also creates more friction under the skis, so you can’t move as fast as you can during the winter.
5. Teach them to pay attention
Kids are often so difficult when it comes to focusing. When you’re on skis, though, being focused is very important. This doesn’t just mean keeping their heads on a swivel. They need to know how to turn at this point, how to form a wedge, and how to come to a complete stop without falling over.
Knowing how to maneuver on a pair of skis goes with the territory of paying attention. They need to see and react. It’s not enough to see the tree coming if they haven’t learned how to move out of the way.
What’s the best age to teach a child to ski?
This one is a bit harder to answer because every child is different. Some have skis on their feet at age three, and others won’t make their first attempt until they are ten.
It really depends on the kid. If you have a ten-year-old that’s not interested, getting them on skis isn’t a good idea. A three-year-old that’s ready to rip down the side of a mountain is far easier to teach right now.
No matter what age they decide to get started, patience is the keyword. They’ll let you know when they are ready. Ultimately, you may never see them on a pair of skis because it just might not be their cup of tea.
Teaching a child to ski should be a fun and exciting family experience, not a hodgepodge series of frustrating, angry attempts. As soon as they are interested, you can get started teaching them the basics.
Never mind how old they are. Kids learn to swim at one and two years old. If they’re ready and they can stand and walk on their own, strap the skis to their feet and let them work through it, along with your guiding hand.
So long as you have patience and move at their speed, everything else will take care of itself.
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