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

cdskier

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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.
He stepped down effective September 1, 2020. John Hammond has been President/COO of Sugarbush since then...
 

KustyTheKlown

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having to teach your kids how to ski sounds even worse than having kids at all in the first place!
 

BenedictGomez

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here are the best ski schools in my experience in the NE:
  1. Tremblant
  2. Sugarbush
  3. Killington
  4. Whiteface
  5. Stowe

Sadly, most of those are too far for something repeatable. I'm thinking of maybe 5 or 6 straight Saturdays or something like that. Maybe we could swing a Whiteface (about 10 hours of driving), but...ugh... I do imagine their beginner area's absolutely perfect though. I've probably skied Whiteface about 30 times, and I've literally never even been over to Bear, Wolf, etc... even once. And when they graduate from that, the area with Otter, Flying Squirrel etc.... is also remote & always empty & ski on. Might have to do a trip to Whiteface just for this.
 

BenedictGomez

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Just teach them yourself. I taught all 3 of my kids starting at 20 months. Man up and do it.

I've never taught a kid, but I know that I'm absolutely terrible at teaching skiing, at least to an adult. I presume it's probably cheaper to rent a set of kiddie skis & boots for a season than renting a bunch of times, so I'll probably do that, and the handful of times it snows enough in NJ I'll play with her on little hills where we live, but that's about as close to "teaching" as I'll get. I'm not cut out for it!
 

PAabe

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We always did used hand me down 10 year old equipment as kids from the ski swap, I think it worked out quite a bit cheaper than season rentals even, but I guess it would make sense to swing for rentals if you're not sure the hobby will stick or if you think the size will be outgrown by the next year again and can't be handed down.

I would think the Belleayre area is almost as good as the Whiteface bear den, just having a bit more through traffic on the sides going to the gondola or superchief.

Following up on poconos rec. Shawnee has the perfect beginner terrain, they have a massive ski school operation (4,000 sets of rentals) something , the people are friendly, the lifts are easy to get on, and they keep an excellent snow surface quality. They have the lift capacity to keep things moving even when they are busy but the slopes get crowded. Not nearly as bad as Blue or Camelback though.

Montage along with Shawnee are both Indy pass. Montage is possibly the least crowded poconos area and has a lot of gentle beginner terrain up there at the top. I don't know what their ski school is like but the new owner is definitely on top of things. Lifts are older and snow surface can be more typically Pennsylvanian.

Elk doesn't have much beginner terrain along with Blue, and Blue, Camelback, and JFBB are way to crazy crowded to reccomend to beginners.

What about Catamount, Bershire East, or Mohawk? Never been there but have heard good things
 

BenedictGomez

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Following up on poconos rec. Shawnee has the perfect beginner terrain, they have a massive ski school operation (4,000 sets of rentals) something , the people are friendly, the lifts are easy to get on, and they keep an excellent snow surface quality.

Ultimately, this might make the most sense. I need to see if they take 3 year olds though, I'm finding many places restrict it to 4 years old. Looks like they're currently redesigning their website so no info's up yet other than SP pricing.
 

PAabe

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Forgot about a few places. Bear Creek and Spring Mount are nice little operations for beginners if you are near southeast PA, and I also have heard good things about Campgaw. All three are very small though. There is also Big Bear but kind of a weird area, they probably dont have a big ski school.

Shawnee and especially Montage have good enough terrain to keep you interested during a kid's lesson too.
 

cdskier

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There is also Big Bear but kind of a weird area, they probably dont have a big ski school.
It is big enough for beginners. However beginner group lessons require the kid to be 6 and private lessons require a minimum age of 4. So that is out anyway for BG's needs. Also...why do you think it is kind of weird? Just the fact that it is upside down? Or something else?
 

PAabe

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It is big enough for beginners. However beginner group lessons require the kid to be 6 and private lessons require a minimum age of 4. So that is out anyway for BG's needs. Also...why do you think it is kind of weird? Just the fact that it is upside down? Or something else?


I don't have any problem with it, they are just part of a homeowner's assoociation I think so sometimes do things a little differently.
 

cdskier

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I don't have any problem with it, they are just part of a homeowner's assoociation I think so sometimes do things a little differently.
I never really noticed anything. The community is pretty hands off from daily operations. They turn operations over to a company called "Recreation Management Company" (which was founded by 2 brothers that have been involved in the daily operations of Big Bear for probably 25+ years at this point). The community funds the capital improvements and then shares the profits from the operating income with Recreation Management Co. Since a portion of the community dues from every property owner in the community go towards the ski area, the ski area has a pretty good "guaranteed" revenue stream to at least ensure they break even.
 

x10003q

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We rented equipment for my kids seasonally until their feet stopped growing. We used Ski Barn and they would exchange boots/skis mid season for any reason and readjust the bindings. This was included in the seasonal price. I had to exchange boots mid season for each kid a few times due to foot growth. It is the best way to deal with your kid's equipment.
 

ss20

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A minute from the Alta exit off the I-15!
Ultimately, this might make the most sense. I need to see if they take 3 year olds though, I'm finding many places restrict it to 4 years old. Looks like they're currently redesigning their website so no info's up yet other than SP pricing.

Are you looking at privates or groups? Most mountains will let 3yos take private lessons, maybe 30-40% of ski schools will allow them in groups.

I would caution against group lessons with 3yo's involved, even if it's a 1:2 staff to student ratio. We would have 3yos sneak in to our 4-7yo program and 90% of the time kid wouldn't make it 10 minutes.
I know some ski schools run a 3yo/4yo class together but I can't imagine that produces a lot of success.

in my expirence with the littles, 90% of 5yos can handle a group lessons, 4yos 50/50 shot, 90% of 3yos cannot do it without the 1-on-1 attention. The differences in abilities (physical and cognitive) between those ages is absolutely MASSIVE
 

BenedictGomez

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The differences in abilities (physical and cognitive) between those ages is absolutely MASSIVE

From everyone's responses it seems like maybe I should just wait a year until she's 4 then, and perhaps there's a reason why most ski areas don't start until that age. Either rent or buy a cheap ski swap deal to play in NJ when it snows & call it a day.
 

Tonyr

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From everyone's responses it seems like maybe I should just wait a year until she's 4 then, and perhaps there's a reason why most ski areas don't start until that age. Either rent or buy a cheap ski swap deal to play in NJ when it snows & call it a day.
Young kids ski equipment is very cheap. I bought a pair of adjustable ski boots for 99 dollars that my son should still be able to use this season which would be his 4th year in them. Also there are all types of deals you can find on youth skis, he's on his 3rd set and I haven't spent anymore than 300 to 500 dollars on skis for him the last 4 seasons.
 

4aprice

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BG Have you considered going to what I call the "Big Ramp" (ie Big Snow). They have a small beginner area on the left side and If I have seen more then 2 people over there, consider it mobbed. Decent snow, no weather to deal with or mess up the snow. IMG_2228.JPG

Area just to the left of my son and I believe you can see the carpet where the cones are.
 

BenedictGomez

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BG Have you considered going to what I call the "Big Ramp" (ie Big Snow).

This would be a great idea, especially to go maybe once a month after the season so she doesnt forget and/or retains some skills for the next season, but looking at their website they start at 7 years old for daily pass access.
 

chuckstah

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This would be a great idea, especially to go maybe once a month after the season so she doesnt forget and/or retains some skills for the next season, but looking at their website they start at 7 years old for daily pass access.
6 and under are free with a paying adult. It really would be perfect if you can get there during non crowded times.
 

ss20

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A minute from the Alta exit off the I-15!
From everyone's responses it seems like maybe I should just wait a year until she's 4 then, and perhaps there's a reason why most ski areas don't start until that age. Either rent or buy a cheap ski swap deal to play in NJ when it snows & call it a day.

That's what I would recommend.

Not sure what your level of patience is but perhaps take her and just have her supported between your legs for a few runs up/down the carpet if you really want to scratch the itch. Don't worry about teaching her- just a few glides then let her play in the snow and buy some chicken tenders. Go in with the attitude of- if she actually gets on the skis it's a bonus- just get her in the clothes, play in the snow, buy the tenders/hot chocolate, build a snowman, let her watch some other kids go down- it needs to be a positive experience. Some ski areas will let you bring a sled and while you obviously can't bring it up the hill just pull her around a flat part where she can see others having fun.
 
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