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teaching kids to ski.

curlyfuzzie

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So a lot of resorts/mountains are curtailing group lessons for little kids, just when I'm getting my 4 year old granddaughter on skis, and wanting the 9 year old to progress. I don't want them to miss a whole year of lessons, would rather not pay for private lessons, but even though I've been skiing for decades, I've never taught skiing before. I've been watching a bunch of YouTube videos, and want to at least try to do some lessons. Any advice?
 

Nick

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I'm following this with interest too. my kids had some lessons last year and did great at Wachusett and TBH - I know enough about myself to know that I should not be a teacher.
 

skithetrees

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My kids both wanted me to teach them and weren’t interested in lessons. I have found that mixing in one or two parent/child lessons a year can help you figure out what to work on and how to achieve it. Some mountains even offer lessons specifically geared towards teaching you kids how to ski.
 

bizarrefaith

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A lot of this is very dependent on your personality and the personality of the kid. With that said, here's my two cents:

For the four year old, pretty simple -- in my experience kids aren't going to retain that much in the way of skills at that age anyways, so it's more about generating interest in/enjoyment of the sport and getting accommodated. Take them skiing, make sessions short, with a lot of rewards. Just get them used to wearing the equipment and sliding on snow and doing the pizza. I started taking my oldest around 2/3. Sometimes we'd ski 30 minutes. Sometimes we'd ski 2-3 hours. Skiing was always accompanied with a lot of treats. I wouldn't say he developed much skill wise over the period but he did develop a genuine excitement for going to the mountain.

For the nine year old, that's tougher - I would recommend just skiing with them and having fun and not worrying too much about technique or you risk making it "not fun".

Not much help this year given the limited options, but I highly recommend a seasonal program if you find one with the right fit. It allows the kids to ski with peers, develop friendships around skiing, and it lets you focus your on-mountain time with them on just having fun. Seeing how they develop and form connections with the mountain through a seasonal program is really incredible.
 

Dickc

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I'm following this with interest too. my kids had some lessons last year and did great at Wachusett and TBH - I know enough about myself to know that I should not be a teacher.
It rarely works out well when a family member tries to teach another. Relatives are less objective about your instructing them than a stranger. Relatives tend to take instruction more as criticism. Somehow if it comes from someone with an official jacket and a PSIA badge, its not criticism.

My Dad, a PSIA instructor would NOT teach my kids. He selected another instructor whom he knew was good with kids of the age they were.
 

curlyfuzzie

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Thanks for the replies. My stepfather taught me how to ski, but I was already a teenager at the time. My daughter took lessons at Pico when she was 5, then my stepdad took her on a number of ski trips and she continued to improve. She now has her son, my grandson, on skis at 8 years old, but he has had the benefit of a good school which includes a ski club (but not this year, unfortunately). Hopefully, if skiing is allowed to continue this season, I'll be skiing with and without the kiddos. Next year, back to lesson programs.
 

ss20

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Entering my 7th season as a ski instructor here, specializing in kids.

For the 4yo if they're sliding, they're learning. You say you're "just getting" her on skis so I'm assuming we're talking magic carpets and little slopes. You're not going to get a 4yo into any terribly bad habits on that terrain. Now if she's "skiing" black diamonds in a massive wedge, then you've got a problem that could be a real challenge to fix when she's older.

For the 9yo I would be surprised if you can't find a lesson program at that age this year. As far as I know, most mountains will still be having multi-week sessions for older kids. Perhaps put her on the development race team for a season, if she's not too old/aged out yet for a devo team. At 9yo it's more about the social than the skill building. The skills are certainly being developed, but at 9 she's gonna want to rip it with kids her own age and have the freedom to go off for a few runs after the lessons are over with her new friends. Make her LOVE skiing more than anything.

"Teaching" the 4yo will be a lot easier than teaching the 9yo. I really would not recommend giving much more than a pointer or two to the 9yo, if anything...just because you want to preserve that bond you have with her as skiing being a relaxing time for family. She's 9...there's fierce independence brewing within her and anything you say will be perceived as critical or "drill sergeant grandpa". Also...9-years-old....I'm sorry but you have to start considering hormones, wild emotions, etc.

But even at 4yo I usually don't recommend family members getting involved, simply because I've seen many many many many parents become frustrated, upset, etc while teaching their kid. Don't go to the mountain planning on skiing. If skiing happens, that's great. If you can get there, get the kid dressed, play in the snow, and watch some other kids ski, then buy a $6 pretzel and $4 hot chocolate that's a huuuge win with them being comfortable in the environment. Too many parents rush the kid onto the snow, then get upset when the kid skis for "only" an hour. Then you've got kids crying, parents yelling....nasty stuff I see many times a day on the weekends.
 

drjeff

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If anyone here is choosing for whatever reason to teach their kids vs letting the professionals do it, please, please, please don't be that parent who thinks that after 1 relatively successful run down the bunny slope that your child is ready to go to the top of the mountain!

We've all seen that situation I'm sure where you have the parent who for their own sake (usually boredom from being on the bunny hill) WANTS to go to the top of the mountain with their beginner child, and then within yards of the Summit the child freaks out and is having a meltdown out of fear (and often way more people around going faster than the folks on the bunny hill were) and then you've got a scared kid, and a frustrated parent, with a LONG way to go to get back to the base. Not a good scenario for having one's child want to come back and go skiing again!
 
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BenedictGomez

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I cant wait till my daughter's old enough to ski, and I KNOW I'm not qualified to teach her. I learned this lesson years ago at the top of the bunny slope at Shawnee trying to teach my girlfriend (now wife) how to ski.

HER: How do I turn left?

ME: You just....ummmm....well....it's like....ehhhhh....with your feet....you uhhhh....ummm....

And I instantly realized I had absolutely no idea how to explain to people how to ski. LOL
 

Cornhead

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I got lucky when I took my son for the first time, I believe he was 5. He had a lesson, but was struggling to get down the bunny slope. An instructor happened to notice and skied backwards in front of him, something I definitely couldn't do then, and probably would struggle with today, anyway, he guided him down and he was good to go after that.

Those first couple years were a lot of fun, he was fearless. Later he became a little more reserved when he realized he could get hurt.
 

bizarrefaith

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I got lucky when I took my son for the first time, I believe he was 5. He had a lesson, but was struggling to get down the bunny slope. An instructor happened to notice and skied backwards in front of him, something I definitely couldn't do then, and probably would struggle with today, anyway, he guided him down and he was good to go after that.

Lol this reminds me I was skiing with my kid when he was 4 or 5 and, so I could watch him a bit, I started skiing switch and he decided "hey, that looks a lot more fun than skiing facing frontwards" and promptly yard saled upon making his own attempt to do it.
 

bizarrefaith

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Which reminds me, your kid is, at some point, going to say "You go first this time!" or you will seem them doing fine and be tempted to pick up some speed and ski passed them and let them catch up - DO NOT DO IT. The moment you do, they will fall down and be unable or refuse to get up and you will be stuck trudging back uphill to help them.
 

skithetrees

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First 1-2 years with my kids I spent largely skiing switch. I got quite good and can carve backwards. That at least made it interesting. At 5-6 it’s a mixture of me/them leading. I lead on steeper terrain and do a follow the leader type approach. On milder stuff I send them free and tell them to go faster (with some turns mixed in). Best training tool for really young ones is a harness. But get the one that goes on the boots, not the waist. You can pretty much steer them with the harness such that when you finally remove it they get turning all by themselves. I also found magic carpets to largely be a waste after the first handful of runs. They are just too short for the kids to get into any kind of groove. One thousand foot (not vertical) chairlift ride is worth 20 200 foot magic carpet rides.
 
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