This is key. Equipment is so essential for skiing and is probably the most important factor in whether or not your child even has the capability to enjoy themself. There are several important
aspects of equipment to consider. First, check the weather and make sure you bring a warm jacket and enough layers. Not just children, adults too, aren’t going to enjoy themselves if they’re miserably cold while trying to learn. So if it’s a stormy, windy, sub 20 degree fahrenheit day, bring warm, cozy mits and heavily consider a face mask. When it comes to safety, a helmet is a necessity. There’s zero benefits for not wearing a helmet, only injuries. For a snowy day, goggles are needed to keep your face warm and eyes protected. On sunny days, either sunglasses or goggles are crucial for eye protection, since the reflection of sunlight off the snow is very dangerous. Next comes comfort. You must make sure the gloves, helmet, and ski boots are comfortable and fit. Ski boots can be very uncomfortable, so make sure your child has enough space to be able to wiggle their toes. Also, make sure to wear ski socks and pull them up as high as they can go, ensuring no shin pain, which occurs when socks get scrunched up in the boot. Rent your skis and boots from a highly regarded rental shop, as they will tell you which ski is designed for your child the best.
Children develop their limb motor functions at different ages, as well as their emotional maturity, and every child is different, and you know your children best. Somewhere between four and five years old is generally the time to get them out there. As a parent, you have to set yourself the correct expectations for what they will accomplish. At that age you’re hoping for them to be able to go down a hill straight and stop with what is called a pizza/wedge stop. Four year olds accomplish this about 40-50% of the time and five year olds closer to 60-70%. However, don’t judge your own child’s coordination and physical abilities too harshly when deciding whether or not they’re ready for ski school. What’s much more key to their success in a lesson is their ability to listen to authority and seperate from you for an extended period of time in uncertain circumstances. Many times children act out, making it impossible for anything to be accomplished during a lesson. Additionally, if a child is crying the whole time because they are scared and are begging for Mom and Dad nothing can get done either. When it comes to three year olds, they’re not necessarily too young either, as they often have very fun lessons. They often lack the motor function necessary to make a breaking wedge stop. At that point what’s most important is that they have a fun time with their coach, as it’s unlikely that they will have as much success getting down the hill as a five year old. Often their coach will use edgie wedgies, a device used to connect the front tips of their skis, making it easier for them to form a wedge. If you’re wondering about your two year old, it is very rare for them to do lessons. However, if they are potty trained and love an uncertain adventure it’s not unheard of. Overall, it’s important that your child has developed physically enough, but much more of a deciding factor on judging if they can both listen to a coach and be without the parents.
Different ski schools offer different types of lessons, both private and group, and lesson lengths. Depending on when your kid has the most energy, this is the time to sign up for. Snowschoolers offers Early Bird morning lessons, regular morning lessons, and afternoon lessons. There are 1hr and 2hr 45min lessons. See this link for the website and scroll down for lesson options: http://www.snowschoolers.com/. With a 3-7 year old it is very important to have a private lesson, so the instructor can focus their undivided attention on the student. Often an hour is the best fit for this age as skiing is very tiring work and will require a large amount of your child’s attention span. Also, one hour is enough to accomplish a successful lesson for this age, where your child may very likely go straight down the hill and be able to stop. However, if you’re child is a super-trooper and very athletic, then the three hour lesson is also a great option. You can expect to advance further in these lessons, very likely beginning to learn turning.
On the Snowschoolers website there is a page that displays all of the ski instructors profiles, with a photo and a brief bio.http://www.snowschoolers.com/browse For each instructor, you can read all of the reviews prior clients left. When choosing your child’sinstructor it’s very important there is a personality fit. If you have an energetic little boy then you may be looking for a goofy male ski instructor with a lot of experience coaching young kids. It’s important to sift through all of the reviews and base your decision off of what looks to be the right fit. Maybe one instructor receives perfect,raving reviews from one specific gender or age group. Also, no need to worry if no one coach stands out. All options are great options!
And finally, to the long debated question… skiing or snowboarding. For a young child, skiing is generally easier to learn, since their weight is displaced over both feet and it’s easier to balance. Some people say skiing is easier to learn and harder to master, while snowboarding is the opposite. Most kids do ski lessons rather than snowboard lessons. However, if you yourself are looking to raise a snowboarding family, then there’s your answer. Also, if your child is around eight years old and has a burning desire to attempt snowboarding, then it can never hurt to let them pursue their dream. Both are great options and ski school is the place where all great skiers begin!