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Please don’t teach your own kids to ski!

Iwannaski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
I’m in no way qualified to teach anyone to ski, but I teach people to do a lof of things. SO... if you’re just a random person, looking online for advice on how to teach your lovely child to do something you enjoy, and you’re not an instructor, please don’t think you can. Unless you KNOW WHAT you’re doing.

Why?

Today, from my peaceful lift ride, I saw a 6 year old tearing down a fairly long green, about 3 feet from the edge. Her parents, who both appeared to be skiers, were behind her. She was flailing and screaming. Her dad, STANDING STILL ON THE HILL was yelling, at his 6 year old daughter that she needed to turn. She sat down on her skis, fell, and proceeded to slide another 10 feet towards the trees. I could hear her crying from the lift.

As a parent and a teacher (of adults) I can tell you multiple things that went wrong. But that’s not the point. The point is, you have to start with the goal. You want your kid to love the sport? Don’t put them in that situation.

Side note, even if you’re an instructor, ask yourself if your relationship is going to be strengthened by a teacher student relationship. There are things I teach other people that I will never try to teach my husband. Not because I can’t, but because it’s not helpful. Other people can teach him that. Not everyone can be his wife... ;)

ARGH. Thank goodness there wasn’t another learner there at that time.
 
#2
I suspect that the dad you speak of would make a terrible ski instructor even if it was not his own child!

Most people should probably hand over teaching of their loved ones to a non loved one, but I have also seen many a parent patiently and lovingly share their passion well with their kids, or spouse. They are just the ones we never seem to hear about because they quietly fly under the radar.

I always dread the lessons where mom or dad say they will join. About half are a nightmare and start yelling the wrong pointer at the wrong time mid lesson, while the other half quietly are there to truly help me with the child and offer little pointers about what works and does not work.
 
#3
I knew someone who coached girls' basketball. Each year, she would hold "fan school," to teach the parents why "coaching" from the bleachers is not only unhelpful, but sometimes contradicting what she, the head coach, was trying to accomplish. She insisted they cheer only, never criticize, and stop trying to coach.

As a parent, I can say this with authority. Many of us get a little crazy when our kids are in sports.
 
#5
The money spent on ski school, clinics, lessons over the years on kiddos and DH (I'm forever grateful for his willingness to learn as an adult) has been a very worthwhile sacrifice. Every family is different but a motto in ours is: family members don't teach family members how to ski. Mostly for the same reason homeschooling was never something that would have worked for us. Best left to the professionals.
 
#7
I see the wedge-kids with a parent on blue and black trails all the time. Why? Wouldn't it be better to help them learn to ski on a trail designed for beginners? Some of them are oblivious, but others are scared out of their wits. Either they're straightlining too fast and Dad is screaming at them to turn, or they are making multiple and irregular turns awkwardly. Sharing a trail with them makes me nervous.
 

brooksnow

Certified Ski Diva
#8
Or even crazier, kids on leashes on blue and even black trails!

Kids (and adults) will progress significantly more quickly if they are kept on appropriate terrain where they do not develop defensive habits. No one learns anything good on a trail where they have to resort to a huge breaking wedge in an attempt to maintain control. The worst part is that kids will hang onto that huge breaking wedge even on terrain where they were previously using a confident gliding wedge or even beginning to match edges. The fix? Lots more time retraining on very very easy terrain.
 
#9
@brooksnow - I think this is true for adults, too! (Not involving leashes, though. At least not usually!) It's certainly a dumb way to teach.
 

Cyclone6

Certified Ski Diva
#10
Don't try to teach your boyfriend to ski either. It doesn't work out.

He did so good on his first day, at least in the beginning. He didn't even fall on the bunny hill. He roller skates, so he seemed to pick up the form really easily. Stupidly, I took him off the bunny hill to a green, and he crashed in some powder. Lost a ski and couldn't find it for 15 minutes. He got so frustrated, he walked down the hill and refused to try again. I felt really bad about that one. Before this trip, I suggested he get a lesson, but he refused and wanted me to teach him. I should have bought him a lesson anyway.
 

brooksnow

Certified Ski Diva
#11
A few thoughts on why parents bring kids on trails they shouldn't be on:
  • Conditions have changed and the trail the kid enjoyed the day before is too much.
  • Parents don't know the mountain and end up somewhere the kid shouldn't be.
  • Parents who are expert skiers often don't notice the different difficulty levels on trails that they consider very easy. Beginners are challenged by small changes in pitch, conditions, etc.
  • Parents overestimate the kid's ability.
  • Parents want to please the kid who asks to go on a fun trail they've heard about.
  • Parents want the family to ski together and don't want to spend the whole time on the trails that are appropriate for the newest skier.
  • Parents give in to the kid who wants to ski a harder trail for bragging rights.
  • Parents want to be able brag that their kid skied x trail at y age.

I skied with my kids, but I didn't teach them.
 

Buttmonki

Certified Ski Diva
#13
Well I am constantly disagreeing with my kids ski instructor, never in Canada or the UK but always here. I won’t teach my kid to ski but I can see what is going wrong and I’m not seeing what they’re seeing!

Furthermore I want them to use ski drills, they just ski 2 hours of slalom and GS gates every training session. No drills and nothing outside the gates. (UK do drills, Canada do drills, I don’t understand why they don’t do drills here?)

In fact about to post a query on her as to what is wrong with one of her turn directions post to come soon.
 
#14
So, guilty as charged, I guess? I'm not a ski instructor, and I've taught my kids. This meant I spent all of last year at the magic carpet and bunny hill. I have a killer mom squat from holding leashes.

This year the 4yo graduated to greens, but she had her sights set on "skiing the gondola" like the 7yo (Snowbasin) and we've done it a handful of times (including yesterday during an unexpected glorious mid-afternoon powder dump.) She is good at following some else's turns, so usually either I lead (if another adult is there to sweep - we have a preschool friends group) or she follows the 7yo and I sweep.

I'm planning to put her in lessons next season, when she's old enough for lessons (and when there are lessons for littles post COVID). We also do try to ski midweek/late afternoons when we can and are mindful of crowds - and when 7yo wants to push it, she stays home and he and I go.

Does she wedge down hills sometimes? Sure - usually not out of fear but she does not have perfect parallel turns yet and she has a very strong wedge that is reliable. (So do the adults we see sometimes, but no one's telling them they have to spend their vacation on the magic carpet until they can carve turns.) I feel like the most nerve-wracking parts of the day are on the green runs that's the feeder back to the base. Quiet midweek blues - like yesterday - comparatively are a lot easier to manage.

So, I see your point! But... I think I'll kill her love of skiing if she's not allowed to push her boundaries a little - and I know from being cautious myself that sometimes finding that attainable challenge is the key to gaining confidence.

Totally not teaching my husband, tho.
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#15
So, guilty as charged, I guess? I'm not a ski instructor, and I've taught my kids. This meant I spent all of last year at the magic carpet and bunny hill. I have a killer mom squat from holding leashes.
I don't have kids and have never taught a child how to ski, but as someone who volunteers as a liftie at a community T-bar, I just want to say how much I admire the parents squatting down the whole long, steep ride so the bar reaches their child's legs. Or riding up with their kids in-between their legs. I've seen some incredible dismount maneuvers involving picking up the child with one hand or pushing them ahead and throwing the bar with the other hand. I'm in awe of the patience and effort I see parents make to get their kids out skiing!
 
#16
This year the 4yo graduated to greens, but she had her sights set on "skiing the gondola" like the 7yo (Snowbasin) and we've done it a handful of times (including yesterday during an unexpected glorious mid-afternoon powder dump.) She is good at following some else's turns, so usually either I lead (if another adult is there to sweep - we have a preschool friends group) or she follows the 7yo and I sweep.

I'm planning to put her in lessons next season, when she's old enough for lessons (and when there are lessons for littles post COVID). We also do try to ski midweek/late afternoons when we can and are mindful of crowds - and when 7yo wants to push it, she stays home and he and I go.
Kids learning to ski with parents who are good skiers is one thing. Parents who are themselves barely intermediates but are intent on teaching their kids to ski to avoid paying for ski school are a completely different situation. I've seen that a lot at my home hill in the southeast in the last couple decades. They don't know enough to model good form or even deal with loading/unloading the lift properly. They have no idea how much they don't know.
 

Sheena

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
I dunno, hard to say from that specific situation. My kids have been in lessons as soon as they were able to be - so about 4 or more years now (they are 8,8 and 10). And there are days when we are skiing that I will be that parent sometimes *yelling* (more like saying loud enough they can hear me though not angry yelling - lol) after them to remember to turn (cause they like to go fast), watch out for others and for my oldest to remember to move her hands forward. Though sometimes we just ski and they do what they want, depends on where on the mountain we are.

Despite the lessons, I will still try to work with them on things their instructors have told me they have been working on so we can continue to work on things between lessons. So though I am not an expert, I do still talk to me kids on the slopes about working on things. So I do have a hard time judging based on something I see from the lift.

Not trying to be ornery or contrary here, just offering a different perspective.
 
#18
Kids learning to ski with parents who are good skiers is one thing. Parents who are themselves barely intermediates but are intent on teaching their kids to ski to avoid paying for ski school are a completely different situation. I've seen that a lot at my home hill in the southeast in the last couple decades. They don't know enough to model good form or even deal with loading/unloading the lift properly. They have no idea how much they don't know.
So, it's possible I'm better than I think I am, but I think "intermediate" is a good description of me? But I think part of my success with the kids is being very conscious of my own limits to supervise (and I'm sure, as the meme says, I've been the a-hole in someone else's story) - I wouldn't take both kids, for example, until I was certain we could manage the lifts together with no drama. And the 7yo is pushing to ski blacks but that's not happening until he gets lessons and can get on edge - I can ski blacks but not while supervising.

I'm fine with paying for ski school next year minus COVID and also because I want my Saturdays back for my own skiing!

I will say that with my friend group, that includes one former instructor and one extremely talented skier, we often have success most by teaching each other's children, because sometimes Mom is clearly not cool enough to teach.
 
#19
@floatingyardsale - It appears that you've been spending hours on the magic carpet and do not scream at your kids after bringing them on terrain they can't ski. I imagine you won't get many arguments here. Surely you've seen the tiny kids on leashes on ridiculously steep trails? Or in a wedge on a steep black? The red-faced dads bellowing at their kids? I think these examples prompted our responses, and certainly mine.

I had the experience as an older adult of being terrified/paralyzed (while speeding downhill) on a trail I was told was easy (despite its blue square), having someone (who shall remain nameless) scream at me, "Finish your turns!" (Major yard sale followed.) I'm glad it didn't happen to me as a young child, or I might have quit right there. Wow, my heart rate goes up just remembering.

Maybe the name of this thread over-generalizes a bit.
 

brooksnow

Certified Ski Diva
#20
Despite the lessons, I will still try to work with them on things their instructors have told me they have been working on so we can continue to work on things between lessons. So though I am not an expert, I do still talk to me kids on the slopes about working on things.
Absolutely! This is what I would hope all parents would be doing, along with keeping kids on appropriate terrain.

And the 7yo is pushing to ski blacks but that's not happening until he gets lessons and can get on edge - I can ski blacks but not while supervising.
This too! Blacks in a wedge are not a good idea for anyone.

It works great to learn new skills from instructors then practice them and get mileage with parents.
 

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