It’s January, the height of winter.
In the United States January is also Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, while around the world, 21 January 2018 is World Snow Day.
With these celebrations come discounted lift tickets, lesson packages and other promotions geared toward skiers and snowboarders.
This makes January the perfect month to put your children in ski or snowboard lessons.
Prepare Your Kids For Ski School
Whether your young children are ski school veterans or they’ll be taking their first lessons this winter, here are some easy ways to help them prepare so that they can get the most out of each lesson.
Thanks to the Internet, it’s easy to prepare your child before you even get to the mountain.
Together, visit the resort or ski area website and read about lessons. This will help your child understand what he or she will be doing.
Look at the trail map. Point out the ski school and show your child where you will be during the lesson. For example, “while you’re skiing with your teacher, I’ll be skiing over here.”
Let you child know that although you won’t be with him or her, you’ll still be nearby.
Talk It Over
It’s a good idea to explain to your child that although ski school is called school it’s not like regular school. While there will be other students and a teacher, ski and ride school is more like recess.
Explain that the instructor will teach your child how to use skis or a snowboard. The instructor will also teach your child how to move on skis or a snowboard. Explain that the purpose of the lesson is to have fun!
Show Up Early
On the day before your child’s first lesson, visit the ski and ride school if you can. Walk by and point it out. Go inside and introduce yourself and your child to the staff. Ask any questions and take a look around.
If you can’t do this the day before, be sure to arrive early on the day of the lesson, so that your child doesn’t feel rushed.
Bring Some Extras
Young children sometimes get wet and wet children get cold. Many ski and ride schools have cubbies or bins where you can leave extra socks and mittens for your child.
On the day of the lesson, dress your child in layers for the coldest weather of the day. If your child gets too hot, an instructor can help her remove and stow a layer. Warm children always learn better than cold children.
Set the Tone
If possible, introduce yourself and your child to the instructor before the lesson. Even if you, the parent, are nervous, don’t let this show. If you appear relaxed, your child will be relaxed.
After the Lesson
After your child’s lesson, talk with the instructor if possible. Find out where your child skied and what you can reasonably expect the child to have learned.
Many ski schools will give you a written report, either in person or online.
Also, ask the instructor to recommend some runs for you and your child to ski together. Stick to the instructor’s recommendations and let your child take the lead.
If he or she is hungry, have lunch or a snack before skiing together. If he or she is tired, postpone family ski time for another day.
How Many Lessons?
How many lessons your child will take depends upon your child and your family. Some kids prefer lessons, others would rather ski with mom and dad or with friends.
At a minimum, beginners, of any age, will benefit from three lessons.
If your child is a “never ever” skier or rider, a typical first lesson is spent getting comfortable with and learning how to use equipment. He or she will also learn how to slide.
During the next lesson, the child will build on these new skills, repeating what was learned and growing in confidence.
By lesson three, most children feel like they know what they’re doing. During this lesson, the focus will be on anchoring and practicing skills.
Keep It Fun
Sometimes a child’s idea of fun isn’t the same as a parent’s.
After lessons, or whenever you’re skiing and riding with your child, avoid the temptation to push your child to try new and more difficult terrain.
Instead, let your child take the lead, set the pace and show off what he learned in his lesson.
Gradually, and only when your child is game, move onto new terrain. For some kids, this happens quickly. For others, it takes more time.
Every child is different. But the number one rule for family skiing stays the same: have fun!
Hailing from Colorado (USA) Kristen Lummis, or as she is better known, the Brave Ski Mom, is an avid skier and true family mum in every sense of the word. www.thebraveskimom.com