Tips for Teaching Kids to Ski

Skiing is a family activity that has the power to unite several generations on a vacation or weekend getaway. Getting the youngest members of the family ready to take up the hobby takes a bit of planning and foresight; other must-have items are age- and height-appropriate skiing equipment. Once you and your child are fully outfitted and ready to hit the slopes, use a number of easy-to-follow tips for teaching kids to ski, and before long your youngster will follow right along.
 

Pick the Right Slopes and Weather Conditions

Start off your child in a ski area that offers a bunny slope and beginner's area. Avoid resorts and slopes that are frequented primarily by boisterous youngsters already well-versed in skiing and snowboarding, who might scare your child with their antics. Investigate ski areas prior to your trip, and choose one that specifically advertises a child-friendly beginner's section.

Choose a day when the sun is shining and there is no cold wind, recent warming trend that turned snow into mush, or wet snowfall. A child may connect skiing with feeling cold or being uncomfortable, and this makes it harder to encourage a youngster to keep learning.

 
 

Provide Age- and Height-appropriate Skis

Trails.com (see the Resources section below) provides a number of child-appropriate ski equipment options. Purchase or rent skis in keeping with your child's ability level in mind, and also consider which length is appropriate. It is a good idea to bring your child to a winter sports outfitter to get the right measurements. Allow your child to try on the skis at home and get a feel for them before actually heading to the slopes.

Start With One Ski

Once on the slopes, show your child how to step into the binding of one ski. Teach your child how to slide and encourage her to experience the feel of the snow under the ski. Switch the lesson around by taking off the ski and putting a ski on the other foot. Once the child feels comfortable, put on both skis at the same time and encourage the child to stand tall, with her feet shoulder wide apart and knees just a little bent.

Practice Basic Moves

Encourage your child to practice lifting one ski-clad foot, put it down and then lift the other. The goal is to teach the child how to move forward with the skis being parallel, while at the same time enhancing her sense of balance. Some professional ski instructors refer to this as the "French fry" position. Next comes the "pizza position," which has your child forming a triangle with the skis being the two long sides coming to a point. This skill allows the youngster to practice slowing down as needed. When you are confident that the child mastered these basic skills, take him to the kiddie slope for his first test run.

Invest in Skiing Lessons

Enroll your child in a skiing school, if you find that she is afraid of falling in spite of your encouragement. Trained ski instructors and the presence of peers make it easier to overcome this hurdle, and if you notice that your child is reluctant, the lessons might be just what she needs to get over the hump and conquer her fears.

 

Article Written By Sylvia Cochran

Based in the Los Angeles area, Sylvia Cochran is a seasoned freelance writer focusing on home and garden, travel and parenting articles. Her work has appeared in "Families Online Magazine" and assorted print and Internet publications.

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