Skiing with your family can be a great way to pass on the joys of living the outdoors life. It can also be quite a challenge at the beginning. In this article, we’ll go some tips for skiing with kids for the first time.
Think of it as an Investment
Like most things that are worthwhile in life, getting your kids to become little rippers takes an investment. You have to invest money and time and probably a little frustration. Can you say, “dad rage?” hahah.
That being said, once you get your kids on skis and having fun, it’ll totally be worth it.
So approach it with an investment mindset. Slow things down, lower your expectations for the first couple of times and just settle in — your investment will end up paying dividends.
Find a Kid-Friendly Resort
Finding a child-friendly resort is an important tip for a first-time skier with youngsters. Many resorts design amenities around serving families. From kids ski schools to daycare, to kids zones, many resorts can be a huge boost for skiing with kids for the first time.
Several ski resorts and passes like Ikon and Epic have options for kids as well to make their first times more affordable. A-Basin for instance has children’s seasons passes available for less than the price of a one-day ticket at another resort.
Check into ski school options, family amenities, and pass prices to get a feel for how family friend the resort maybe.
Pack for all situations
Especially with younger kids, make sure you max out your packing list. If a child is too cold or too hungry, it’ll ruin the day for everyone. And while a ski school may be able to help with the food options, they often won’t have the capacity to help the kids dress appropriately.
Just like our other article on how to layer for skiing and snowboarding, make sure the kids layer appropriately. Weather changes, conditions change, our body temperatures change. The right layering will keep the kids comfortable as they are learning. Everyone will thank you for this.
Don’t forget other essentials like tissue packs and sunscreen for their faces.
Make sure also, that you keep your kids hydrated. A kids’ camel pack can be helpful to keep them hydrated enough at higher altitudes and drier winter conditions.
From the beginning of the day, take the time to make sure their socks are pulled uptight, and the boots have a semi-comfortable fit. Let’s be honest ski boots can never be totally comfortable. Ensuring that there’s a good fit and the snaps are tightened the right way will help.
At what age should my kids learn to ski?
At what age are kids welcome to ski depends on motivation desire and physical skill. Most students are ready for ski lessons about 4 years old. Some kids never want to ski or snowboard. That being said, 3-4 can be a good age to start with just familiarizing kids with the idea of skiing. At ages 5-6, a kid starts to develop the motor skills to be able to understand and actually ski.
The younger they are, the lighter their falls and the less fear they usually have. My first child loved skiing at 4 years old and jumped right in. My last child, however, still doesn’t want to ski and screams bloody murder if we go anywhere near skis. It’ll depend on each child.
How long does it take for a child to learn to ski?
The time it takes your kids to learn how to ski will again depend on each child’s motor skills, development level, and motivation. A highly motivated 6 year old can be on blue runs by the end of their second day. Other kids might stay on greens for the entire season. That being said, an average child can do a decent wedge ski technique by the end of the second day.
The transition to parallel skiing will take more time. After about 5-10 days on the mountain, many kids can become pretty independent blue skiers.
Group lessons or private ski instructor?
For younger children that are just beginning, a group lesson may be better. Kids often respond to the energy of other kids and the norming effect of the group can be helpful. As the child progresses, you may want to consider a private lesson to help boost their skiing abilities. This is especially true if the child is showing themselves to be a fast learner on skis. A private instructor may be able to help catalyze further learning. Before you know it, they might be out-skiing you!
What should I keep in mind when buying ski equipment?
The two big ideas for ski equipment and your kids should be – safety, safety, safety and comfort, comfort, comfort.
For safety, clear goggles, a good helmet, and proper skin protection are musts.
For a beginning skier, they won’t need the latest and fanciest equipment. They just need safe, functional equipment that is comfortable. You want the kids to embed positive memories of the skiing so it becomes something that they want to continue to do. Here’s a quick read on how long ski boots last.
Once they progress you may want to consider higher-end equipment.
Another idea to keep in mind with kids is the fact that they grow. Many ski shops have trade-in programs that allow you to save some money each season as you change equipment according to skill level and growth. Check into these if you plan on making this a regular family thing.
Take breaks often
As we said at the beginning, teaching kids to ski is an investment. You want to embed positive memories with the kids about skiing, so make sure you change your expectations about charging hard every second.
Kids will often need breaks for the bathroom, because they feel cold or hot, because they need to adjust equipment, or because they’re just tired.
Keep it light, keep it fun, and be ready to take some breaks for hot chocolate or to build a snowman.
Don’t stress too much!
Consider your first Ski trip with family as an introduction and don’t expect much from it. Invest in professional lessons and make it fun by including other activities if available such as snow tubing, s’mores, or skating. The goal is to get the kids onto slopes and feel comfortable so at your return visit, they can be ready to tackle more challenges. In no time you will ski together and your kids will be ready to rip.