Re: Teaching Kids To Ski

Postby Jinxi on Wed 12/Aug/09 2:10pm

I just wanted to share my experiences with teaching my kids to ski. They are 3 and 5 and have had about 6-8 hrs actual ski time. I'm a ski nut and have been skiing from about the age of 3 and consider myself to be fit, this really helps because it is very taxing.
All the tips I've read about keeping it at the kids level and considering their emotional and physical condition are spot on. It needs to be one to one, high energy and encouragement for everything but if they are getting it you'll both have fun.
The two things I have done that have made things easier is using a harness that goes around the waist with loops on either side to attach tracers( leads/leashes) and completely dropping all notion of the wedge method. There is a great article about this if you google 'kill the snow plough'. This means that you can both slide around on the snow under sufficient control and comfort which at the end of the day is what we all want. It was a learning experience for us both as I had never seen this done before or how my kids would respond. We both did well and it was important to share that you are both trying to get it right.
With this technique I adopted a very natural and intuitive learning for the kids, letting them test out what happens when you try different stuff. I guess it comes down to the fact that both my kids have a good natural sense of balance and that has let them progress in their own time having fun (most of the time). With my youngest (3yo) the instructions are limited to up and legs together so all guidance comes from the traces. The down side to this is that if you are on your own they don't have anyone to follow which can upset them at times. With my eldest about to advance to being able to follow and stop on queue the next stage for the family is to ski as a train with the kids in the middle (ish).
The other thing that is good about the tracers and harness is that the left/ right commands can be reinforced by a gentle tug on the appropriate side. I also used different words for getting the weight on the correct leg for the turn as it sounds more fun and was hopefully more memorable. So now I'm shouting " lean on Frank" or " lean on Beans" and "put the Frank and Beans together" as I ski down after her.
Like with many things the more time you spend at it the quicker you'll get the hang of it, which is why I'm busting a gut teaching my kids now so that they will be safer and happier on the slopes sooner, rather than later.
It's not easy (yet), it's not always fun for yourself, the kids are sometimes reluctant or just plain obstinate and you will wonder why you are there at times but, it can leave you with an overriding sense of achievement and satisfaction when they start to "get it" and makes you want to talk about it and share the joy, (or even write it on a forum). Oh the kids get something out of it too.
My last point is to really understand how skiing works. Read the article ... ough_.html. It isn't aimed at teaching kids but may just help you or a friend start the right way.
Anyone out there that hears "lean on Frank" on the slopes of Hutt will know it's me now, so say hello and try not to laugh too loud.
Good luck to you all trying to do something different and exciting. You only live once :)
Member for: 8 years 2 months

Re: Teaching Kids To Ski

Postby brutalfreeride on Wed 12/Aug/09 2:34pm

Being warm is the biggest thing for kids, I started skiing when I was 2 and went on to work for Turoa as a de icer/ski patroler for 5 years, kids rip around all day in the flying wedge (snowplow) and very realy get hurt kids tend to bounce not break, biggest thing I saw was kids that were realy cold and tired and mum and dad standing over them saying "we paid for the whole day go ski". This puts kids off for a long time, what ma and pa did with us kids was take half a day each with us then the other one would ski, when we had a lesson they would ski together. Lessons are really good idea but I think let them rip round in a snow plow leaning back on their skis for a bit before you throw them into a lesson.
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Member for: 8 years 3 months

Re: Teaching Kids To Ski

Postby dented on Wed 12/Aug/09 6:47pm

When did you work at Turoa? I was at Whakas in 1999, 2000 and 2001, when we came and your sorry asses over!
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Re: Teaching Kids To Ski

Postby brutalfreeride on Wed 12/Aug/09 6:55pm

between 99 and 05......I was the builder there in summer aswell, we were so poor I had to staighten old nails and use them again... :lol: :lol: because They were on stop credit we used to leave 4 boxes on the bacardi T bar and ski till the snow got to thin..some years till February :cool:
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Member for: 8 years 3 months

Re: Teaching Kids To Ski

Postby dented on Sun 16/Aug/09 9:30pm

Hey thanks for the info Jinxi, really can appreciate what you said about the harness now.

I had a bloody great time at Happy Valley on Saturday. We had the weekend trip booked 2 months ago, so were going whatever the weather threw at us. My boy is still 2, but only for another month. Last time we went up was opening day at Turoa, and it didnt go particularly well, so my expectations werent too high this time, but I was blown away happy.

No new snow there for a while it seems, so was quite sugary. For his age, he has good understanding, but I was really trying to concentrate on just getting him to have the skis pointing straight, and knees bent. I dint want to have too many things for him to think about. And my plan was to be running alongside him, holding him as I went. Happy Valley is great now with the chairlift, I couldnt imagine trying to get him on a ropetow, not possible I believe, instead the reward for getting to the bottom was the cool ride on the chairlift.

So, off we started, and at first his skis were wandering off, or crossing at the tips, so a few stops, lift up and plonk back down and try again. Then I noticed he was really leaning back as soon as he started moving, so instead of trying to hold his back, I took to just holding 1 hand, meant he had to stand up straighter, and it worked a treat. By halfway down to the bottom on the first run, he was going along well with his skis staying straight, and I was jogging about as fast as I could.

Back up to the top and the 2 run started very well just like we finished the first. I got about halfway down, we stopped and I explained we were going to try and turn, and he had to lean on one leg and lift the other, amazingly he did it and it worked great. Carried on down to the bottom and I was grinning with pride like an idiot.

The next run, I promised myself I was going to let him go, and I also promised I was going to let him crash, to see that it didnt really hurt. The first time I tried, I was running along and realising that even though I was holding his hand, we were barely touching and he was basically skiing by himself anyway, so I just let go and ran next to him, he went great for like 5 metres until he started to panic a bit so I just grabbed his hand again and we didnt even stop. The next time I told him I was going to let go, and I did. I kept running but could see his balance starting to go after about 10 metres, and he just fell down gently so I laughed with him about how funny it was to have a crash in the snow. We had a few more goes, but he was getting tired, and I had promised him a hot chocolate, so we went to the cafe after that. And he wasnt really keen again, so that was that. But Im rapt, and plan to get down there again in about a month, and maybe next time I can get a better photo than the crap ones we got.

Back to what Jinxi said about the harness, I cant ski to save myself personally, but very proficient on a snowboard, and I see no reason why I couldnt use a harness like that with me on the board, but we might wait till 2010 to try that I think.
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Re: Teaching Kids To Ski

Postby Mr_Jolly on Mon 31/Aug/09 9:52pm

We have been skiiing ( and me boarding) as a family for the last three years. For the first year it was simply mucking about in the snow, toboggans and skiis on the flat. All of us had lessons the second year and lots of play time. This year wee man and Mrs had a private lesson and by the end of the weekend all had mastered Parklane, with the wee man going with a mate of ours but completely by himself.

Things we have picked up so far; if they have a block, don't push it, we heard heaps of "you will have fun dammit!!" type comments. Keep 'em warm and dry. Keep 'em fed and watered; I carried a pocket full of wine gums to keep him ticking over and regular drinks stops.

Most of all have fun!!
Member for: 11 years 1 month

Re: Teaching Kids To Ski

Postby OAP on Tue 1/Sep/09 10:07am

I'm with Mr Jolly

Rules are simple, if they don't enjoy it they won't!

I've worked at ski areas for over 25 years and you see it all the time, miserable kids being cajoled by parents not paying attention to the messages their kids are giving them, its the old "I've paid a lot of money for this any you are going to enjoy it whether you like it or not!" :crazy:

My kids started at 3 1/2 -4 but only cos they wanted to give it a go. When they wanted to stop, we stopped. They are now both older teens and we still go skiing together which is neat.

I didn't teach them, I got an instructor and a bunch of other kids together = fun times.

Make the most of your time in the hills with them, they are only young for so long.
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Re: Teaching Kids To Ski

Postby dented on Tue 1/Sep/09 12:23pm

We are off up to Happy Valley again this Sunday, weather permitting, for some Fathers Day action
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Re: Teaching Kids To Ski

Postby shifty on Sat 20/Aug/11 11:01pm

Ya do it like this!
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Member for: 6 years 11 months

Re: Teaching Kids To Ski

Postby jimmi on Sun 21/Aug/11 11:37am

I started my girls when they were 5 and 7 and have been 3 years in a row now. I got them past the beginner stage without paying for a single lift ticket. Here's how:

Oct School holidays rock as it gets warmer earlier. We would get up to Turoa's Alpine meadow at about 8am with a groomed run and no one around. Park close to the slope and lug all the gear up base camp. Set one up at base camp with a lunchbox and snowman making gear. Then I would tow the other one up to the top and do a 1 on 1 lesson for two runs. Then the kids would swap over and I would take the other one. Repeat until you hear the first grizzles (after about 2-3 hours) then straight to the cafe for hot chips and back down the mountain by 12 for lunch. I found 2 runs at a time was plenty and they were ready for a rest by then. It was a great workout for me too!

Ive skied and boarded, so I just took it REALLY easy with the lessons, teaching them about weighting and unweighting edges, keeping their weight forward and most importantly - controlling their speed. I never rushed the lessons or put any pressure on them to get up the chairlifts, just kept it fun and they can both now link turns together really well.

Roll on October!
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