Few sports are as exciting as skiing. Carving up some snow on your way down a brilliant mountain is a nearly-unmatched experience. If you love skiing and the joy and adrenaline it brings you, it’s only natural to want to get your children involved in the sport as well.
The good news is, children of almost any age can be taught how to ski. While skiing can be difficult to master, it can be easy to learn in only a few sessions. But how do you go about teaching your child the right way and give them a good chance of success?
With that in mind, this article is going to guide you through some methods and tips for effectively and safely teaching your child to ski.
1. Start Slow and Take Your Time
When teaching your child to ski, it is important to start slow and begin with the basics. Begin with first making sure they know and understand the fundamentals and basic skills needed. This includes things like helping them to balance by practicing walking in skis, teaching them how to get up after falls and the best way to stop and control their movement (the wedge is often the best for beginners).
They won’t be doing tricks within the first few days anyway, so be sure to give them time to learn the fundamentals before moving on. We all want them to learn quickly and effectively, but everyone learns at their own pace. If you try to push your child too quickly, it could lead to injury or to them growing sour about the sport. Even with taking your time, skiing is a skill that can be learned relatively fast.
2. Make it Fun
When a child is young, one of their primary goals and interests is having fun. As a result, you need to make learning to ski a fun activity for them. Create and incorporate some games with your child to make learning to ski more engaging. This could be a “follow the leader” type game, coming up with songs on the slopes, or even taking some cool pictures and videos.
Better yet, ask your child if there is anything fun they’d like to try or do while learning. Also, some treats or lunch after a morning of skiing can be great ways to encourage children to learn. Children often respond well to incentives, so don’t hesitate to use them if need be.
3. Consider Booking a Private Lesson
While you might fancy yourself a great skier, that doesn’t always translate into being a good instructor. Your technique might not be the best and you might struggle with explaining certain skills and tactics, despite knowing how to implement them. Another issue many parents struggle with when teaching their child is patience.
Some parents just don’t have the patience to teach their child something new like skiing. As a result, it could be worthwhile to book a private lesson to help them learn. These can be a good investment and really help the skills of your child develop. Some ski schools even have instructor profiles online that you can browse like Airbnb to pick the perfect instructor for your son or daughter.
If you live in an area with lots of access to ski hills and resorts, there are likely many instructors to choose from. Be sure to take time to do some research on which instructor seems to offer great lessons, without costing you an arm and a leg.
4. Ensure You Have the Right Gear
Of course, in order to be successful as a skier, you need to make sure your child has all of the gear they need. Learning without certain types of gear can be difficult and even potentially dangerous. Your child will need a variety of different types of gear including a helmet, skis, bindings, boots and eventually poles.
However, before you go out and spend hundreds of dollars on brand new gear for your child, consider borrowing or renting some. Children’s interests and wants can change on a dime, and you don’t want to waste all of that money on ski gear only to have your child lose interest in the sport.
5. Make Sure Your Child is Warm
When out skiing with your child, be sure to consider the weather. It is often very cold up on the slopes, and the snow only makes it colder. As a result, be sure to have your child bundled up in weather appropriate clothing. They should have a jacket, ski pants, thick socks, mittens, a scarf or neck warmer and potentially even an insulating layer of clothing.
If a child is cold, they will certainly be more difficult to deal with and teaching them to ski successfully will become much more of a challenge. Even if the weather looks good, that can always change. It is better to be a little too warm than freezing cold, so always prepare for cold weather.
6. Help Them Build Confidence
Confidence is without a doubt one of the most important aspects of skiing successfully. Skiing down a hill can be a frightening idea for some, but having confidence in yourself can make it easier. Now, confidence won’t come easy for many children, but it can certainly be developed.
Be sure to offer positive feedback to your child, and reassure them when things aren’t going their way. Smiling and maintaining a positive outlook, even when they fall or are struggling, can go a long way. The more confident your child is on the slopes, the better they will be and the quicker they will learn.
Skiing is not only a great way to stay healthy and active but is also incredibly fun. Children of almost any age can learn to ski, with the right instruction and guidance. If you take your time, make learning fun and focus on the basics, your child will be skiing in no time! It will take a lot of patience, but be well worth it in the end.