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Best (or better) ski schools for toddlers to learn in PA, NY, or S.VT

BenedictGomez

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Curious given the significant experience on this board up & down the east coast where some of the best places are to teach little ones?

I spent a number of years working at a well-regarded ski school so I take this subject pretty seriously & realize it can really be a make or break deal. Many people think, "Oh, they're so young it doesn't really matter", but I assure you from experience nothing could be further from the truth.

Geographically, I'm agnostic for this season given the family has decided to move out west, so something PA or NY or S.VT is the target region for this discussion, and frankly, I haven't a flipping clue on that issue. For additional guidance, my kid will be 3.5 years old come next winter.

Thanks in advance,

BG
 

PAabe

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Shawnee has a good ski school. Maybe Montage. I did a weekly program at Roundtop when I was a kid that we really liked but that was some time ago.

As for NY everyone at Plattekill is friendly and knows what they're doing and the lessons I dont think were proced too badly. However truly beginner terrain is somewhat limited
 

Newpylong

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Place me in the camp that there is likely going to be a limited amount of instruction that is going to be both comprehended and then executed. I say this from seeing my now 6 and 9 year olds go throughnit and from teaching the Age 4+ age bracket as a ski instructor myself.

They really just need to get on snow and enjoy it to start, and that may mean just going down the carpet between your legs over and over.
 

deadheadskier

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Having gone through this with my now 7 year old son since he was 2 and starting last season with my 3 year old, here are my thoughts.

Some learn better with one on one instruction. That was the case with my son. He got too distracted in a group setting. My daughter is the opposite. She seems to do better in a group setting where she tries to emulate the other kids.

With both of them however, it was cumulative time on snow that made the difference more than quality instruction with one notable exception. Both kids have a several different instructors over the years. Probably no fewer than a dozen for my son. Most were okay. They were patient and kept it fun. It was effective, but really just the amount of time on snow was what mattered.

The exception was two years ago I invited my friend Phil to join us on vacation at Saddleback. Phil has been teaching kids in MD and PA for 20 years. He knows all the tricks to teach technique, but it's his personality that is over the top and so engaging. Just a master with kids. He's like a big kid himself. Picture Jim Carrey as a ski instructor. My son couldn't keep his eyes off of him and progressed more rapidly in three days than during any other time over his five years of skiing. Phil literally should be hired by every ski area as a consultant on how to teach toddlers. I can't imagine anyone better

He's back at Wisp again this season. Probably not on your radar from Jersey, but if you want the best, he's it. No question
 

BenedictGomez

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Shawnee has a good ski school. Maybe Montage. I did a weekly program at Roundtop when I was a kid that we really liked but that was some time ago.

As for NY everyone at Plattekill is friendly and knows what they're doing and the lessons I dont think were proced too badly. However truly beginner terrain is somewhat limited

Coincidentally, Shawnee is where I learned how to ski (elementary school club), so I'll look into it; it's also the closest area to me so that would be convenient. Plattekill I love; I didn't know their instruction was quality, but as you said the beginner terrain is limited (putting it politely). Though I imagine nothing more's really required for a while than a corral, so perhaps I should at least look into that as well.
 

BenedictGomez

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They really just need to get on snow and enjoy it to start, and that may mean just going down the carpet between your legs over and over.

Yeah, this is a great point too - just getting her on skis for 20 or 30 minutes at a time given she already loves playing in snow (she's been asking when it's going to snow again lately). There's a decent hill right where we live actually that would be great for that sort of play-practice, the problem is it rarely snows in NJ.
 

fbrissette

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Agree with deadhead skier. Cumulative time is what makes them good. When my son was 3 and a half, it needed to be fun. My experience is that girls are better at handling very young kids than boys. At 3 and a half, the highlight of his ski day would be eating snow, having a hot dog at lunch and hugging the local mascot. At 5 and a half, got him into day groups, that, while fun, provide little serious technical teaching. Joined the Jay Peak freeski team around 8-9 years old. The freeski team did not provide much technical training either, but he learned to ski just about anything, and doing it relatively safely. We added some one on one techical coaching here and there, which did not really make him into a better skier, but did make him more elegant on groomers. He's 18 now and he can ski anything, east or west, inbound or outbound with speed and ease. For sure he got help from coaches, but 14 consecutive years of 50+ days will make you really really good no matter what.
 
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Tonyr

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When my wife and son were learning to ski I got them lessons at Stratton, Bromley, Jay Peak, Mad River Glen, Okemo, Killington, and Stowe over a 3 year period give or take. She was around 35 he was 5. Their preferred place for lessons/beginner terrain was Killington followed by Stowe if that makes any difference.

I learned how to ski as a kid in the Poconos but that was a long time ago so I can't help you there.
 
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Newpylong

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The Killington Snow Sports School is actually amazing, and they pamper the person from the minute they walk through the door (actually they are seperate doors hehe) for rentals until they hit the snow. The crowds are another story... can be tough for a novice at times.
 

Tonyr

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That Snowshed area at Killington is pretty flat and spread out, my wife and son never had an issue with crowds and we would go over holiday weekends. The Ramshed area was a little worse crowd wise as they progressed but not horrible either.

The Stowe ski school for kids is about as close as your going to get to being pampered, the facility they use is really nice and so is the run they first train you on. It's similar to what you get at Beaver Creek or Snowmass as far as facilities go and while expensive the Stowe ski school is a fraction of what it costs to send someone for lessons at a nice resort out west. The Sugarbush ski school facility is also really nice as well.
 

KustyTheKlown

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another +1 for snowshed. i more or less learned to ski on snowshed. my sisters definitely did. i had a little experience from windham and vernon valley already.
 

gladerider

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i live in NJ and went through that you are about to go through with my 3 kids over the last 2 decades.
i would not start my kids around NJ/NY resorts. there are too many young yahoos in local slopes. my kids were hit too many times.
here are the best ski schools in my experience in the NE:
  1. Tremblant
  2. Sugarbush
  3. Killington
  4. Whiteface
  5. Stowe
i would start from training her to stand up and take steps in the backyard. help her to get acclimated to the feeling of sliding by taking her to local slopes around in parks on snowy days. you can save a day or two of ski school just by doing this depending on age and strength of your child. once they can slide and balance for like 10 feet, put them on a harness and take them to slopes where there is a dedicated learning area. i put my kids in ski school as soon as they were walking around in skis. around when they were 3 yo. i think they progress the most when they are in ski school for a whole week.
 

KustyTheKlown

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whiteface is prob really great with that bear den area. its so mellow in pitch and removed from the rest of the place.
 

gladerider

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whiteface is prob really great with that bear den area. its so mellow in pitch and removed from the rest of the place.
that's exactly the reason why it's #4 on my list. it is completely separated from the main funnels. kids are safe there. and the ski school does a great job.
killington's beginners area is also great but it is not just for the kids.
 

tumbler

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all of my kids went through Sugarbush starting in the schoolhouse and through blazers or mountaineering. Big exodus of coaches when Egan was let go but program still very good. We opted for this over racing.
 

gladerider

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all of my kids went through Sugarbush starting in the schoolhouse and through blazers or mountaineering. Big exodus of coaches when Egan was let go but program still very good. We opted for this over racing.

when we can't go all the way up to Tremblant, we go to sugarbush ski school.
Win still runs the show there even after the sale.
 

x10003q

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My 2 had instruction at Campgaw, Mt Peter, Belleayre, Gore and Stratton. They all provided decent instruction. Time on the snow is probably the most important part. Campgaw was the closest and reduced car time when they were young. Belleayre's lower slopes might have the best green area for kids after they get through the initial stages. When they were older we put them in weekend morning programs at Gore and later at Stratton. Both were excellent programs. My kids love skiing.
 

gladerider

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Um, no. Win does not run the show anymore.
when did that happen? thought Win was staying on after the sale.

saw him in jackson hole early March this year. he was there with his crew. should have asked him then, lol.
 
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