Think your kiddo is too young to ski? If he’s not walking yet, you’re probably right. So show him how awesome winter is with some snow angel making sessions, sledding, and snow cones. Â
Then, when junior’s ambulatory, it’s time to introduce skiing. We asked Patti Vath, mother and Heavenly ski instructor for tips on how to raise a skier.
“When my own daughter was a toddler, she had a pair of plastic skis that strapped on over her regular snow boots, and we’d go out,” says Vath. “I was on my cross-country skating skis, we’d go to the cross country area and spend an hour or two playing chase and looking for things in the snow.Â SheÂ had very good balance and could get around well on skis before she ever went to a downhill lesson.”
Once you’re ready for the downhill, follow these tips:
1.Â Pick the right time
You’ll know your kid is ready when he or she says they would like to check out that sliding sport you keep talking about. Â The child is excited to join the rest of the family in skiing.Â (This is usually between ages 3-6 years; some might try at age 2).
2. Wait for fair weather
If possible, says Vath, choose a day that is not freezing with blowing wind and snow.Â
3. Dress smart
You want a helmet that’s snug without being tight, a pair of kid goggles, waterproof jacket, pants, and mittens, and one pair of socks.
4. Fuel up
Kids who are hungry, tired, or thirsty do not enjoy skiing. Make sure your little one gets a good breakfast and lunch and send snacks with ski school-bound kids.
5. Quick and easy goodbyes
If the good-byes go well at places like pre-school or gymnastics class, then the child will do well at ski school in group lessons.Â
6. Splurge for privates
Three-year-olds should always have a one hour private ski lesson.Â Private lessons work well, also,Â for 4 and 5 year-oldsÂ who need mom or dad around a little longer.Â Parents andÂ instructor can work closely on strategies to make the separation a success.
7. Make sure the boot fits
Properly fitting boots should go on easily over just one pair of ski socks.Â Tights, long underwear, and ski pant liners should NEVER be stuffed down in the boots.Â If possible, bring the ski boots in a back pack and put them on in the lodge or gondolaÂ just before the children begin skiing.Â
8. Use rentals
HeavenlyÂ kids’ group lessons include equipment(boots, skis, helmet).Â Private lessons need to bring equipment they own or have rented separately.Â Some rental companies will come to a family’s home or condo and set them up with their equipment.
— Rachel Walker