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First ski course - tears normal?

happytimes

Diva in Training
Hello everyone,
We moved recently from a country where noone really skis to an alpine area, where the ski culture is huge! I'm 'easy blue run' level, but really unknowledgeable about skiing in general - my question is this...my son who skis about the same level as me (age 10) is on his first school ski course this week & last night, came home in tears, and feeling really nervous for a harder run today (he went this morning though, trying to be positive!). Are tears on ski courses and general nerves a normal thing? I think it'd be a great thing for him to push through and feel proud of himself, and assume that some of these tears might be a normal part of skiing in the early days, but coming from a no-ski culture country, I have no frame of reference! I'd love any insights!
 

Knitjenious

Angel Diva
My daughter started at 7 and I think she sat on the bunny hill crying for half of every single 2-hour lesson the first year. But she definitely asked to return each weekend and finally had her breakthrough moments AFTER the final lesson and could do the bunny hill with lovely turns and in full control.

I think skiing is inherently something that challenges the nervous system, and tears are one form of release valve. Will every person cry when learning to ski? Nope. Is crying a normal reaction to significant stimulus? Definitely!

I would just keep checking in with him about whether he wants to keep at it or not, and remember that "not today" doesn't mean "not ever." (Even just 2 days ago, my daughter froze up with anxiety on our first run. So we stopped, got some food, and decided we were done ... benefit of being members at a little place close to home means we don't feel like we have to ski open to close every time!)
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Have you asked why he is nervous?

I know different countries have very different approaches. Austria and Japan often have the kids progress as a group even when some are clearly not ready.

His fear might be normal or he may realize that he is in danger. Is he normally timid with risky sports or normally assertive? Does he cry often when trying new things? Is it other nice kids or not so nice? Does he trust the coach?

Fear can actually be dangerous for the skier and skiing is a dangerous sport. I wish we knew more...
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Hello everyone,
We moved recently from a country where noone really skis to an alpine area, where the ski culture is huge! I'm 'easy blue run' level, but really unknowledgeable about skiing in general - my question is this...my son who skis about the same level as me (age 10) is on his first school ski course this week & last night, came home in tears, and feeling really nervous for a harder run today (he went this morning though, trying to be positive!). Are tears on ski courses and general nerves a normal thing? I think it'd be a great thing for him to push through and feel proud of himself, and assume that some of these tears might be a normal part of skiing in the early days, but coming from a no-ski culture country, I have no frame of reference! I'd love any insights!
Welcome! As mentioned by @snoWYmonkey , it would help to know a little more. She is a very knowledgeable instructor who has experience teaching children and beginner adults at Jackson Hole. I've been lucky enough to have lessons with her. If you are uncomfortable sharing publicly, consider sending her a private message, which are called Conversations in Xenforo software used by TheSkiDiva (envelope icon).

Your son is a tween. That's a tougher stage of development than people used to think. Was the lesson a group lesson with other tweens? Mostly boys? Were there older tweens or young teens in the group?

What region are you skiing in? A "blue" in the Rockies is very different that a "blue" in the Mid-Atlantic (Pennsylvania, northern Virginia, etc.).

It's a good sign that he went back to class. Hopefully it will go better.
 

happytimes

Diva in Training
My daughter started at 7 and I think she sat on the bunny hill crying for half of every single 2-hour lesson the first year. But she definitely asked to return each weekend and finally had her breakthrough moments AFTER the final lesson and could do the bunny hill with lovely turns and in full control.

I think skiing is inherently something that challenges the nervous system, and tears are one form of release valve. Will every person cry when learning to ski? Nope. Is crying a normal reaction to significant stimulus? Definitely!

I would just keep checking in with him about whether he wants to keep at it or not, and remember that "not today" doesn't mean "not ever." (Even just 2 days ago, my daughter froze up with anxiety on our first run. So we stopped, got some food, and decided we were done ... benefit of being members at a little place close to home means we don't feel like we have to ski open to close every time!)
@Knitjenious Thanks so much for your reassurance and what a brave girl your daughter is! It's really impressive that she kept going. And you're so right - crying is a natural and healthy release. I was ready for the tears today but he came back so much more relaxed. What a difference a day can make! I think we are going to try to keep up the skiing regularly with him now, but really take it slow and not pressure him and try to keep this confidence he seems to have found!
 

happytimes

Diva in Training
Welcome! As mentioned by @snoWYmonkey , it would help to know a little more. She is a very knowledgeable instructor who has experience teaching children and beginner adults at Jackson Hole. I've been lucky enough to have lessons with her. If you are uncomfortable sharing publicly, consider sending her a private message, which are called Conversations in Xenforo software used by TheSkiDiva (envelope icon).

Your son is a tween. That's a tougher stage of development than people used to think. Was the lesson a group lesson with other tweens? Mostly boys? Were there older tweens or young teens in the group?

What region are you skiing in? A "blue" in the Rockies is very different that a "blue" in the Mid-Atlantic (Pennsylvania, northern Virginia, etc.).

It's a good sign that he went back to class. Hopefully it will go better.
Thank you so much for these insights! Yes you nailed it really - the tween aspect was a big part of it, I think. Many of the boys in his class grew up skiing as it is such a cultural thing here and are just so relaxed with it. I think he felt a big pressure to be good on the first day and psyched himself out a bit, but that all seemed to calm down today, and he came back actually feeling proud and so much more confident today, so I'm so glad about that!
 

happytimes

Diva in Training
Thank you so much for these insights! Yes you nailed it really - the tween aspect was a big part of it, I think. Many of the boys in his class grew up skiing as it is such a cultural thing here and are just so relaxed with it. I think he felt a big pressure to be good on the first day and psyched himself out a bit, but that all seemed to calm down today, and he came back actually feeling proud and so much more confident today, so I'm so glad about that!
Sorry, I forgot to add that we are in Austria. There are no greens here, just blues, and tbh the blues seem to differ a LOT from resort to resort!
 

happytimes

Diva in Training
Have you asked why he is nervous?

I know different countries have very different approaches. Austria and Japan often have the kids progress as a group even when some are clearly not ready.

His fear might be normal or he may realize that he is in danger. Is he normally timid with risky sports or normally assertive? Does he cry often when trying new things? Is it other nice kids or not so nice? Does he trust the coach?

Fear can actually be dangerous for the skier and skiing is a dangerous sport. I wish we knew more...
Oh gosh I am so glad you said this - we are in Austria (& we definitely come from a more risk averse culture!!). There was talk of them being taken on the red slopes yesterday when they were clearly all a blue group - and that definitely scared him (and me!!) - which is exactly what you mentioned about groups moving on too fast sometimes. It seems as if they stayed on the blues only today though (thankfully), which was a real relief, and they transitioned instead from the easier to the hardest blue run - & my son really enjoyed himself for the first time and felt way more confident which was such a huge relief.
 

happytimes

Diva in Training
Have you asked why he is nervous?

I know different countries have very different approaches. Austria and Japan often have the kids progress as a group even when some are clearly not ready.

His fear might be normal or he may realize that he is in danger. Is he normally timid with risky sports or normally assertive? Does he cry often when trying new things? Is it other nice kids or not so nice? Does he trust the coach?

Fear can actually be dangerous for the skier and skiing is a dangerous sport. I wish we knew more...
@snoWYmonkey he also has some learning differences which I think makes him more nervous at trying new things, as it generally takes him longer to process things (but once he's got them, he can really progress really well). But I could see why that would make him more nervous when it comes to skiing.
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
@happytimes … my daughter’s first ski experience left her in tears. She swore she would NEVER ski again. She was scared, she was frustrated and she was angry that it wasn’t easier for her than it was for her older brother.

She now skis far better than I, and keeps up with her older brother. I think the key is letting your son know that you’re there, that you want him to learn and also to feel safe, and that lessons are one way to ensure he will be safe. If he is scared, it’s ok. It already sounds like you already did that, and that he knows he is safe sharing his feelings with you and that things are going better…

The beautiful thing about parenting that I’m learning as my kids get older and it’s easier for ME to mess up, is that it’s not about being perfect, but being there for them in the way they need you to be there. It’s a lot less work to think about it … and more work at the same time.

Sending you and your son hugs.
 

happytimes

Diva in Training
@happytimes … my daughter’s first ski experience left her in tears. She swore she would NEVER ski again. She was scared, she was frustrated and she was angry that it wasn’t easier for her than it was for her older brother.

She now skis far better than I, and keeps up with her older brother. I think the key is letting your son know that you’re there, that you want him to learn and also to feel safe, and that lessons are one way to ensure he will be safe. If he is scared, it’s ok. It already sounds like you already did that, and that he knows he is safe sharing his feelings with you and that things are going better…

The beautiful thing about parenting that I’m learning as my kids get older and it’s easier for ME to mess up, is that it’s not about being perfect, but being there for them in the way they need you to be there. It’s a lot less work to think about it … and more work at the same time.

Sending you and your son hugs.
Your post made me a bit teary - thank you! You're so right. And it's lovely to hear that your daughter didn't give up and is now doing so well.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
Thank you so much for these insights! Yes you nailed it really - the tween aspect was a big part of it, I think. Many of the boys in his class grew up skiing as it is such a cultural thing here and are just so relaxed with it. I think he felt a big pressure to be good on the first day and psyched himself out a bit, but that all seemed to calm down today, and he came back actually feeling proud and so much more confident today, so I'm so glad about that!

This is exactly what I thought. He`s come "from away". Yes, he may have skied, but not to the same level as some of his classmates. This is just like someone from Jamaica learning to ice skate when they move to Canada. We've all been doing it since we could walk.

Glad he's keeping at it! Now you're turn Mom!!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Sorry, I forgot to add that we are in Austria. There are no greens here, just blues, and tbh the blues seem to differ a LOT from resort to resort!
In general, trail ratings are specific to a resort. Green is the least difficult and blues are more difficult. At a small hill, the hardest trail can be considered a medium difficulty trail at a bigger mountain. That's true in Europe and anywhere else there are ski resorts.

all seemed to calm down today, and he came back actually feeling proud and so much more confident today, so I'm so glad about that!
Glad to hear it!
 

MouseInLux

Certified Ski Diva
In Austria the blue slope is the lowest level. Some places have green slopes on the map it those are often just for sleds.
my kids have grown up learning to ski in Austria on our vacations, I’ve found all the instructors are super nice and willing to do what they need to help the kids out.
 

JayZeeSquared

Certified Ski Diva
I don’t have children.. but I learned to ski as an adult and I shed a fair number of tears during the first few seasons when things got especially challenging/scary/overwhelming.
THIS. I accidentally went down a black mogul run last season (my first season) and cried the whole way down. I was SO scared and not confident in my abilities in getting down but alas I'm still here lol.
 

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