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Starting a 4 year old in skiing

lerops

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Hi all and happy new year.

I am planning to get my daughter start skiing this year. I was actually hoping this Friday, but it will be really cold. I want her to like it and not build a resistance the first time we are out. May skip Friday, and start her on Saturday. Any tips based on your experiences?

Which mountains have good kids beginner lessons? I love the sport, but I am not good enough to teach her. Even if I were, I wouldn't teach her myself, anyway. Trying to keep it under 4 hrs driving each way this weekend, so Northern NY, Northern VT, etc. are out.

Any recommendations appreciated!
 

fbrissette

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Get your daughter with a ski instructor until she masters the snow plows.

Expect to stop frequently and have short days.

The goal should NOT be to ski but to have outdoor fun. It that means having to stop in the middle of the run to eat snow, than so be it.
 
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Get your daughter with a ski instructor until she masters the snow plows.

Expect to stop frequently and have short days.

The goal should NOT be to ski but to have outdoor fun. It that means having to stop in the middle of the run to eat snow, than so be it.

^this

took my 4 year old out yesterday to a local hill...spent time in the magic carpet area working on balance and getting a feel for sliding...he enjoyed the carpet rides more than the skiing, i think, and that's ok...we were out there a little over an hour with a snack break halfway through
 

MadMadWorld

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Hi all and happy new year.

I am planning to get my daughter start skiing this year. I was actually hoping this Friday, but it will be really cold. I want her to like it and not build a resistance the first time we are out. May skip Friday, and start her on Saturday. Any tips based on your experiences?

Which mountains have good kids beginner lessons? I love the sport, but I am not good enough to teach her. Even if I were, I wouldn't teach her myself, anyway. Trying to keep it under 4 hrs driving each way this weekend, so Northern NY, Northern VT, etc. are out.

Any recommendations appreciated!

Please don't take her on Friday she will hate skiing for the rest of her life. Find a nice sunny day where it will be more fun and enjoyable for the both of you. I would take her somewhere small where it isn't overcrowded and has a dedicated learning area that will allow her to feel safe and not overwhelmed. And it's very smart of you to realize that it's sometimes better to have someone else teach your child. Let her ski with someone else and then go off together after class and let her show you everything she learned. Keep your expectations reasonable...if she had fun and can stop at the end of the day it's an accomplishment!
 

drjeff

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Kids group lesson! Seriously! Having a few other kids around, of the same age level is often a great thing as it then turns into not just learning some basics about how to ski, but also having fun with kids their own age.

My 2 kids went through the Mount Snow ski school, from Age 3 on up to where they are now (age 8 and 10). The 4 year old program there is called Snow Camp, and the only kids in that program are aged 4 to 6. They have age appropriate everything from equipment to the size of the chairs in the lunch area, etc. The entire "first time" area is right outside the door to the building it's located in, with it's own separate magic carpet. It is designed around the kids having a fun time while learning!

I would also fully agree with don't even bother this Friday! Far too cold for a 4yr old to learn, with a high risk of it becoming a scenario where skiing is associated with being cold, and then that's an issue you'll be dealing with as a parent for years to come. If your child could already ski, and likes it, then Friday *might* be a possibility

All in all, some of the best days that I've ever had in my now 35 ski seasons were some days spent on the learning area magic carpets at Mount Snow watching my kids make some of their first turns (even if a few "walking" steps were needed in between turns :) )
 

Smellytele

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I know others have said put her in a lesson which can be a good idea but if she is only 4 having her with someone else maybe an issue. Each child is different and if she has not but on snow before dropping the cash and having her have some anxiety and not being with a parent maybe an issue.
Bring her out in the morning on the magic carpet or let her just walk her up a small incline at the hill and put the skis on. Either walk in front of her backwards or ski down behind her holding her. If she passes this part then get her into an afternoon class. Nothing worse than dumping her into a class where she knows no one where she hadn't even put the skis on.
 

Savemeasammy

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My .02

I am also getting my 4 year old on skis. My son happens to be of the shy and timid variety, so I am working with him 1 on 1. Of utmost importance to me is that he has fun, otherwise it's a lost cause! I've basically been snowplowing around with him in between my legs. When possible, I let go so that he can glide on his own and get a feel for it. He has absolutely no concept of turning or stopping yet, but he thinks "skiing is awesome", so I consider it mission accomplished so far. Next up, I think I will bring him to Sunapee where a friend assures me that they have a great beginners area with runouts, so that I can let him safely glide along on his own without fear of getting out of control. I will play it by ear from there!

Good luck to you and your little one!


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4aprice

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Please don't take her on Friday she will hate skiing for the rest of her life. Find a nice sunny day where it will be more fun and enjoyable for the both of you. I would take her somewhere small where it isn't overcrowded and has a dedicated learning area that will allow her to feel safe and not overwhelmed. And it's very smart of you to realize that it's sometimes better to have someone else teach your child. Let her ski with someone else and then go off together after class and let her show you everything she learned. Keep your expectations reasonable...if she had fun and can stop at the end of the day it's an accomplishment!

^This. I'm not even going to go out Friday, and maybe Sat either. (see what the winds have in store for us).

Alex

Lake Hopatcong, NJ
 

ceo

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I second starting with some gentle 1:1 runs on the magic carpet before putting him in lessons. I did this at Nashoba when I started my elder son, and it worked well (though both he and I thought the lesson was kind of useless; I wasn't impressed with their ski school).
 

HD333

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Unless you put her in a lesson there won't be much real skiing on your part that day so I wouldn't worry about hitting a BIG place since you may only see the bunny slope, unless you have others who ski that you need to keep happy.

Not sure where you are located but the Wa Wa Wachusett ski school was great when we started our girls out.

As others have said, keep it fun for her, stop when she wants to stop, bring plenty of treats. It is amazing what the promise of Swedish Fish and a Rootbeer will do.

Good luck and have fun.


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KD7000

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My first couple days out with my small kids were: 1 run, hot chocolate break, 1 run, day over.
 

fbrissette

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My first couple days out with my small kids were: 1 run, hot chocolate break, 1 run, day over.

That's why a small resort and a family season's pass is the way to go with small kids. Once it's paid out, you don't care if you go out for only 2 or 3 runs.
 

dlague

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Hi all and happy new year.

I am planning to get my daughter start skiing this year. I was actually hoping this Friday, but it will be really cold. I want her to like it and not build a resistance the first time we are out. May skip Friday, and start her on Saturday. Any tips based on your experiences?

Which mountains have good kids beginner lessons? I love the sport, but I am not good enough to teach her. Even if I were, I wouldn't teach her myself, anyway. Trying to keep it under 4 hrs driving each way this weekend, so Northern NY, Northern VT, etc. are out.

Any recommendations appreciated!

  • I would try and find a feeder resort where private lessons are less expensive.
  • Then follow that up with group lessons if and only if they are catching on.
  • Some resorts like Gunstock have half day and full day camps for children that age which is really nice and cost effective!
  • I would also try to go to a resort that is not a tourist trap to avoid high traffic (if possible - Easy to do from Central NH maybe not so easy from NYC)
  • Stick to outings of half day sessions preferably in the Mornings - they can get cranky in the PM.
  • Do not push them into terrain they are uncomfortable on - so many parents take their young kids on advanced terrain which is bad.
  • Make sure they are dressed comfortably and wear a helmet
  • Lastly, be a role model for them so they learn respect on the slopes!

We raised for boys this way starting them at 3!
 

steamboat1

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My daughter is now 24 & I don't really remember how I started her out. Think she was 3 1/2-4 at the time. One thing I do remember is she really didn't learn how to ski good until I put her into a week long class at Sugarloaf. She still must of been very young at the time because they would take the kids up the mountain on a long bench sled pulled by a snowmobile. They called it the Moose Cabbose, I wonder if they still have it. It was an all day program that included lunch for the kids. From that week forward she was an excellent skier & still is. What I'm trying to say is one day skiing here & there they won't progress as quickly but if you can get her in a class for several consecutive days or more they should improve more rapidly.
 

4aprice

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I didn't closely read your op originally and missed that your in NYC. (I'm also at the opposite end of the children spectrum and was thinking about starting a thread on Empty Nest skiing) I also in no means am trying to dissuade you from going to VT but do want to put in a plug for Camelback PA for teaching young children. My daughter teaches there on her college break and at Killington during the Semester. They have a great area for kids with it own Magic Carpet safely segregated from any other traffic and they actually teach them. One thing they do I love is paint lines on the snow from long arcs to short muti direction short arcs and progress the kids before they ever get out to the traffic laden public slopes. (lots and lots of reps)

Good luck with getting them into it and my sympathies to your bank account. Started mine at 3 1/2. The greatest family sport.

Alex

Lake Hopatcong, NJ
 

twinplanx

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Have you considered Bromley? I've never been there but from what I gather it may fit your bill. Not a MAJOR resort, decent learning program(IIRC) and some of the challenge YOU may desire...

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JohnQ

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New member but relevant experience, I think. Agree with many, don't go on Friday or Saturday morning. Will be far too cold and definitely not fun. Shoot for either Saturday afternoon or Sunday.

I started my twin girls just before their 4th birthday, 3 years ago, at Mohawk Mountain in Cornwall, CT. The only requirement was that it was close to home and it be a sunny day. I knew that they wouldn't care how big or fancy the resort was, and I knew that I wouldn't be doing any skiing and would spend all my time with them. So, recommendation number one is go as close to home as possible so if she lasts only 2 hours you won't be annoyed.

Rather than lessons, I simply put them on skis, helped them up the magic carpet and skied backward in front of them as they went straight down the hill. Didn't care about turns, tried to show them how to snowplow but it really was about having fun and being comfortable sliding. That was probably an hour at most and there were liberal hot chocolate rewards from a thermos at the bottom.

Took them on the really short beginner's lift and used my poles as an outrigger so they could experience some more speed and generally have a blast. Again, not much teaching, more about associating skiing with fun. I could tell when they got tired when there was a whole lot of weight on the poles. That was the cue for a break. That first day lasted from about 9:30 to 2:00, including 45 mins for lunch. I was surprised it lasted as long as it did.

Now, they are pretty good skiers, able to ride the lifts comfortably and doing a ski club every Saturday with 2 hour lessons and then skiing with me afterward. We have a blast and can handle more challenging weather conditions without too much complaining. Put in the effort now to give her a good experience and you'll have a great ski buddy going forward.
 
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