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Please don’t teach your own kids to ski!

LucieCZ

Certified Ski Diva
More thoughts on this today, inspired by @LucieCZ and my own day of skiing with a) the kids where we were joined by b) a friend who has elegant parallel turns but no desire for speed. So much of the challenge of teaching small kids is really about letting them set the pace. It's easy for me -- and I presume LucieCZ -- with the mountain being half an hour away to ski only what the kids want because I can get up on my own.

A lot of the parents who get themselves into trouble, I think, are trying to combine their vacation time with their teaching time. So they're pushing the kids so they can explore, and part of teaching kids is being willing to start off a powder day on a green groomed run.

(Or leaving the kids home that day. Potato, potahtoe.)
We've been vacation skiers and can sympathize. We actually moved when our youngest was coming because we love skiing that much and didn't want it to become that stressful. Sometimes we'll just go for a couple runs. Maybe every other week for them when the weather's decent. No kids on powder days!
 

LucieCZ

Certified Ski Diva
At my home hill (not in ski country, 2 hours from a big city), the added issue is that the parents are barely advanced beginners themselves. Meaning they have trouble loading and unloading the chair, even without a kid. Seeing someone like that with a little one between their legs during a busy holiday weekend . . . <sigh>
We feel lucky we can teach our kids because lessons are expensive. It's a curse of loving an expensive sport. I feel a lot of sympathy when I see other parents try, but I agree they shouldn't overdo it.
 

Emski528

Angel Diva
Skiing is so expensive and I think people are overwhelmed by the time and money it costs to build a great skier, even with lessons. I get a lot of questions from parents about how we taught out kids to ski. The answer is always a lot of money and a lot of patience. There were times I felt my money was wasted on an overcrowded ski school with kids not appropriately divided by skill (parents definitely over estimate their kids skill which ruins it for the kids standing around waiting. There’s always that one kid). There were days we did the teaching ourselves and spent a fortune on lift tickets to cruise the greens.
We love skiing so much that it was incredibly important that we build our own ski team to enjoy this together for life, an investment we feel so lucky to be able to afford. My daughters are 10 and 12 now and we can enjoy an amazing full day on the slopes. Time and money.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
Expense is the biggest problem. But do you need to take your kiddo's to a big resort to learn how to ski. NO. They can learn on a local bump. You learn 1 turn at a time. So 200' is just fine. Our local bump, where I once taught, has a 4 or 8 week program. 4 week lessons, Saturday or Sunday, morning or afternoon, is $215.25. 8 total hours of lessons on that program. Just over $50 a day for a 2 hour lesson with a certified CSIA instructor. (this is all moot is you live in Florida or flat lands, but...)

I'm trying to explain this to a friend. "I want the kids to learn at Tremblant." Now this family could afford it, but why spend that amount of money, when there are 3 local places, offering lessons at a 1/4 of the price to get these kids going. And you can drive there in a hour. That's why they are called "breeders and feeders". They breed skiers and feed them to the larger resorts years later.

In my skiing journey, I never got to "big resort" till I finished University and could afford to go on my own. But we did fine on the hills in Eastern Ontario.
 
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Emski528

Angel Diva
Expense is the biggest problem. But do you need to take your kiddo's to a big resort to learn how to ski. NO. They can learn on a local bump. You learn 1 turn at a time. So 200' is just fine. Our local bump, where I once taught, has a 4 or 8 week program. 4 week lessons, Saturday or Sunday, morning or afternoon, is $215.25. 8 total hours of lessons on that program. Just over $50 a day for a 2 hour lesson with a certified CSIA instructor. (this is all moot is you live in Florida or flat lands, but...)

I'm trying to explain this to a friend. "I want the kids to learn at Tremblant." Now this family could afford it, but why spend that amount of money, when there are 3 local places, offering lessons at a 1/4 of the price to get these kids going. And you can drive there in a hour. That's why there are called "breeders and feeders". They breed skiers and feed them to the larger resorts years later.

In my skiing journey, I never got to "big resort" till I finished University and could afford to go on my own. But we did fine on the hills in Eastern Ontario.
10000000% yes. We did it all at small places close to home. The kids are awesome, controlled skiers now but we still aren’t dropping thousands on a winter fly out trip to CO. Can’t wait until they are good enough for that. At this time the fly out trips are for mom and dad only. Earn your turns, kids.
 

Kimmyt

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I taught both my kids the very basic basics, and also spent to put them in a ski lesson program at the local. I think they get benefits from both of those things, if you yourself have experience with lessons and how you should be teaching them. Definitely the hardest thing (and I'll admit we have occasionally been guilty of it to some extent) is resisting the urge to over-terrain your kids, which is sometimes where a larger resort will have benefits. I know I love my local hill and its great for learning to ski on but there seems to be a big gap between comfortably skiing the few greens available and safely skiing the blues. So right now we're taking longer day trips to the big resorts to have a better range of options in that blue-green area.
 

brooksnow

Angel Diva
Definitely the hardest thing (and I'll admit we have occasionally been guilty of it to some extent) is resisting the urge to over-terrain your kids
This!

Kids (and people in general) learn more quickly and become better skiers when they spend enough time on appropriate terrain at each level. Resist the urge to bring kids on more challenging trails. Over-terraining only engrains defensive maneuvers and is incredibly counterproductive.

How can you tell a kid is over-terrained? They ski with a stiff outer leg, braking every turn (or attempt at a turn). Often they can't make an effective turn at all and end up heading straight down in a braking wedge or in a barely controlled flying wedge. Often they brake so hard that they fall backwards between their skis.

We used to have a huge sign at the entrance to the kids program: It's not what you ski, it's how you ski it.
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
Instructors… today I watched a middle aged dad follow his kids’ private lesson all over the hill. I had had an annoying encounter with him at the beginning of the day which involved him being a dick to my kids AND THE HILL STAFF, so I cannot imagine that this was ideal.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
When I see that I politely ask them to leave. You trusted me to teach your child when you paid the money. Leave me to do it. At the local bump, I just ask them to go inside and watch from there. If the kid, depending on age, see a parent, then all learning stops.
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
When I see that I politely ask them to leave. You trusted me to teach your child when you paid the money. Leave me to do it. At the local bump, I just ask them to go inside and watch from there. If the kid, depending on age, see a parent, then all learning stops.
@Jilly, I was so sad for one of the kids. She was clearly the most scared of the 3, and so the first two would be behind the instructor, and to speed her up, douche dad would stay behind her until halfway down, and then zoom by VERY close to her and then between her and the 2nd kid in the train. I was focusing on really tackling a couple of my bad habits/rewiring my pattern before we go for a ski weekend next week, so in order to stay away from the holiday weekend crowd, I was using the same less crowded lift as they were. But as belligerent as he had been at the beginning of the morning, I can’t imagine the instructor was comfortable saying anything to him. In what world would his presence have been helpful? I have been trying to figure this out since yesterday, because in some framework it must make sense, right?

I almost went mama bear on the guy in the morning when he was a jerk to the kids (and then me) for listening to the lifties, but he had moved on to being a jerk to hill staff while I was winding up, and my teenager was giving me the “please don’t” look. :rotf:
 

NWSkiGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
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.
When I was learning to ski on the bunny hill a man and his 3-4 year old kept skiing by me. The kid was crying and crying and crying the entire day. I wanted to yell: "Go home! You kid doesn't HAVE to a be a skier!"
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
We would certainly not allow parents in group lessons. Provates are different. I have had very halpeful and successful lessons where parents quietly followed and helped wee ones if necessary. A lot of mixed lessons where adults and kids are all students and they are mostly fine. I have only ever been yelled at by one student and it was a dad who picked a different kid each day to follow along with. He was an awful human. Poor kids.

I do cringe when I hear parents telling their kids to do whatever it was they were taught 30 years ago. Technique has evolved so much since then. Also, even when their pointer is correct it may be the last thing the kid needs because something more important like looking ahead should be adressed first. Many parents do a great job.

We are all skiers on this forum and know about the costs, but for so many families just buying a pair of used soccer shoes is a big expense. I often think of this for those of us living in ski towns where so many kids never ever get to try the sport at all.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
We would certainly not allow parents in group lessons.
It can be different for beginner group lessons at small hills in the southeast. While the preferred approach is to separate children (under 13) from adults, sometimes that's not possible. That can mean a tween could end up in the same group lesson as a parent when the family are all trying out skiing for the first time. That's not uncommon at my home hilll in northern Virginia. Probably happens in the mid-Atlantic too (PA, Catskills). Especially with the shortage of instructors these days.
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@marzNC. That makes sense and is idfferent. I have taught a 15 year old with 3 middle aged women. But no unpaid tagalong parents in children's group lessons. We are lucky. We split them in 3 age groups. 3 to 4, 5 to 7, and 8 to 15.
 

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