Taking the Kids – by Kristen Lummis (@BraveSkiMom)
Congratulations! You’re starting your child in skiing or snowboarding. This is an exciting time!
To make it easier for everyone, here are some tips.
Take A Lesson
As you might expect, here at Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, we believe in professional instruction. Start your child off right with a one-or two-hour private lesson. Group lessons are also an effective, and fun, way to learn.
Many resorts offer exceptional deals on lessons, lift tickets and gear rentals for new skiers and snowboarders in January and throughout the season. To find lessons in your area, check out the Find Lessons tab on our homepage.
Kids can start lessons as young as three or four, depending upon the program at their resort. No matter how old your child, he or she should be potty-trained and ready to spend time away from mom and dad.
Whether you choose a shorter private lesson or a longer group lesson for your beginner, take the time to show your young skier or rider a map of the resort before you go. When you get to the mountain, point out where you will be. Show them where they will be and talk about how much fun they’re going to have! Help them get comfortable in this new adventure before the lesson even starts.
Snowsports schools go out of their way to make learning as fun as possible. There will be games, super-friendly instructors and plenty of time for hot chocolate and snack breaks. Lunch is usually included for all day sessions.
For younger children, resorts often have day care facilities that will take babies and toddlers. Some day care programs also incorporate a short “learn to ski or ride” component.
Get the Gear
Many children’s ski and snowboard schools provide rental equipment in the children’s learning center. Others may have rental shops located a short walk away. If you prefer to rent before going to the mountain (or you want to rent gear for the entire season) check out your local ski and snowboard shop.
If you do get your gear early, let your young child wear the boots around the house to get used to them. Go out in the yard with the skis or board and practice putting them on. Try sliding on snow in your backyard!
Most of all, don’t forget a helmet! Many ski shops and resorts have them for rent and many won’t let your child on the mountain without one. For more information on helmets, check out Lids On Kids.
Dress for Success!
Wearing the right clothing is essential. Nothing ruins a ski or snowboard day like being cold. While a cute “school” coat may look warm and waterproof, it may not be. Your best bet is to use a coat and snow pants designed for skiing or sledding. Also, while it may be tempting to use your child’s cotton pajamas as a base layer, cotton is cold, especially if it gets wet. Invest in proper long underwear and ski or snowboard socks.
Mittens are usually much easier to put on, and warmer, than gloves, but no matter which you choose, make sure they’re waterproof. Some resorts rent ski pants and coats, while investing in good mittens and warm base layers will pay off whenever your kids are out playing in the snow!
Other items you may wish to consider: a neck gaiter to keep out the wind and cold and disposable hand warmers for really cold days.
Don’t worry, though. Children’s ski and snowboard instructors are pros at keeping kids warm and happy. They’ll make sure your child has the best time possible and never gets uncomfortably cold. If you have any concerns or questions, just ask them for advice.
Finally, don’t forget the helmet and goggles. They’re warm. The goggles offer excellent eye protection, and together, they’ll keep your little loved one extra safe and comfortable!
Get In Shape!
Kids are much more able than adults to jump right into a sport or activity without any conditioning. Still, you may want to try these fun games (or make up your own) to make
“getting in shape” a fun family affair.
To work on balance and strengthen your quads, have contests jumping up and down on one leg. Who can do the most hops? Switch legs. Try both legs, but make sure you’re squatting down before jumping up. No stiff legs allowed!
Next, create your own dryland “slalom” course. Race one another, weaving in and out among trees, bushes, plastic cones, or whatever you have in your yard that allows you to simulate turning on skis or a snowboard.
If your kids are older and don’t mind a workout routine, check out our tips here.
Finally, for general fitness and family fun, nothing beats a family bike outing!
Take a look at the kinds of activities listed as part of the President’s Challenge.