Children have an easier time picking up new skills than adults. As a result, children will learn to ski with the most ease and efficiency, making children’s ski lessons one of the most rewarding investments in the ski world. Before signing your kid up for lessons, it is important to understand the variables at play; several characteristics—from age and temperament to interest and expectations—can dramatically impact the likelihood of success. Below, we have listed our top three tips for parents thinking about putting their kids in ski school.
Tip #1: Figure out the right age. Many ski schools impose a minimum age of three years old. At this age, most children are potty-trained and have enough leg balance to stand and slide on their own. However, this age group should be treated more like a childcare resource than a ski lesson; kids at this age don’t have the patience and understanding needed to internalize ski skills. To that end, age matters less than a desire to learn. A good rule of thumb is to sign your kids up for ski school when they explicitly tell you they are ready. Otherwise, you may instill a dislike or fear or the sport before they have time to develop their own interests.
Tip #2: Do your homework. Rent equipment before the first lesson, and help your children put on the skis and boots. If possible, prepare your child for their lesson by allowing them to slide around on snow, grass, or carpet (most skis will slide fairly easily on smooth, non-snow surfaces). Collect the clothing your child will need and allow them to try the outfit on. Most importantly, figure out which nearby resort offers the services you need. Look at ski area maps and figure out where the lesson will take place. Understand that not all children’s ski schools are created equal; if you have a question about the content covered, don’t be afraid to call the resort.
Tip #3: Have realistic expectations. Children can be fickle and difficult to predict. Your patience with the process is nearly as important as theirs. If your child communicates that they didn’t like the lesson, listen to them. Avoid the temptation to push your child onto more difficult terrain before he or she is ready, instead letting them set the pace. After a lesson, talk to the instructor to find out what your child learned and where they skied. Practice with them and begin to create positive memories of skiing.
Being a parent requires a lot of patience but being a ski parent necessitates additional self-control. Take a deep breath, listen to your kid, and talk to the instructor whenever possible.