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Tips for adults skiing with little kids

marzNC

Angel Diva
Since I spent a couple weekends in January with my friend's little ones (ages 4 and 6) who were skiing for the first time, wondering what tips we can collect together for skiing with young kids. In particular, kids who can ski unassisted but are young enough that they are always skiing with an adult.

Ran across a video series out of the UK that includes one with basic advice for parents of young kids who are learning to ski. Talks about the best way to load a chairlift when the kid is small enough to need help.


Happens to be at a ski resort with conveyor loading. Massanutten installed conveyor loading for their beginner lifts in recent years. Alta added it for the Supreme lift. Definitely makes it easier for parents skiing with younger kids, as well as adult beginners. Have you run across conveyor loading? If so, what ski area?
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
I don't have any tips, but I'd be interested in hearing what others have to say, since it's something I'm probably going to be doing in the next few years.

As for conveyor loading, Okemo has it on the lifts right in front of the main base lodge.
 

Perty

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
[Ahem!] Re the clip-He's not Australian-he's English, called Darren Turner and teaches in Serre Chevalier, France. There's a whole series of Apps featuring the instructor you can download if you search Ski School. There are quite a few replicated on Youtube. I guess the mountains in the clip are Serre Chevalier-I think Aussies would be delighted if their mountains were as extensive and snow sure!

Not really got any tips for skiing with younger children. I get the impression that they will basically go anywhere with confidence unless someone puts the idea in their head that they might not be able to ski a particular run. I see kids quite confidently snow-ploughing their way down red runs in a way that their parents would never manage.
They do get cold more quickly than adults so need to be warmed up more frequently on a cold day.

Lots of conveyor chairlifts all over the Alps. No bangs in the back of the legs and lovely and speedy! However-I suffered some embarrassment the other day in France, was on the second gondola up to mid station at 9am. Beautiful day, fresh snow, a handful of people crossing to the next chairlift up. Being determined to be first or second to the top, I whizzed round them towards the lift, saw the entry gates for the conveyor were open, poled hard and nipped through at speed before they shut....but rather too fast....hit the conveyor belt-skis stopped dead- I didn't. Splat! Flew out of my bindings flat on my face. Thankfully only thing that was damaged was my dignity!:redface:

I pretended that I was someone different when I came through 15 mins later having done a quick lap of my favourite run! (Hard to do in a bright green jacket!)
:ski3:
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
[Ahem!] Re the clip-He's not Australian-he's English, called Darren Turner and teaches in Serre Chevalier, France. There's a whole series of Apps featuring the instructor you can download if you search Ski School. There are quite a few replicated on Youtube. I guess the mountains in the clip are Serre Chevalier-I think Aussies would be delighted if their mountains were as extensive and snow sure!
. . .
Oops, thanks for the correction. Post #1 edited.

I'd found the series a few months ago when looking for info for beginners. Darren has a vid that covers the basics of how to put on ski boots. Helping my friend who has never been skiing before has made me think about all sorts of stuff that is second nature by now.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
My friend's 6 year old son, let's call him A6, picked up skiing quickly partially because he plays ice hockey. On the second ski weekend, he started with a third day of ski school. His instructor recommended another day of ski school before a full day of free skiing. Mostly to make sure he would be closer to doing parallel turns on slightly steeper (easy blue) terrain. The instructor has seen plenty of kids who wedge (snowplough, pizza) down steeper slopes because that's the only way for them to get down comfortably, and then it takes them longer to move on to consistent parallel (french fries) turns.

I saw a lot of difference after the fourth day of ski school. A6 was in a Green class that went up to the easy blue runs, so it was clear that free skiing on those runs was fine at that point. We had a grand time skiing together after ski school. Most of the time he had his ski parallel. We only stopped because his lift ticket was only good until 5:30pm. Good thing for me . . . I needed rest!
 

HeidiInTheAlps

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Kids are awesome.

My daughter, when she was 8, so bummed the lift line was closed, hiked up the mountain to get another run in. I tried to stop her, but she was quicker than me...

The little one, I think she was also 8 at the time, snowplowing her way down a mogul field on a black run where the moguls were taller than her!

It's just all pure inspiration.

My only tip: Make sure they have helmet. My kids now, 10 and 11, ski with phones, just in case.
 

marymack

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Kids learn by feeling and doing, you're never going to get them to stop and listen and watch for longer than a few seconds. Keep any tips or corrections short and very clear. Play games: Red light/green light, Simon Says and Follow-the-leader are all great. If there are cones set up in the learning terrain, encourage kids to steer around them. Watch the "keep your hands forward", sometimes it actually drives kids into the backseat more. Having them hold a snowball in front of them can be very helpful though. And finally, always bring cash for hot coco!
 

diymom

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Or if your hill charges $3 a cocoa like mine, powdered cocoa packs in my pocket because they don't charge for a cup of hot water.
DD1 now volunteers in the ski school apprentice program (basically lift rider, kid picker-upper, trailing the lessons) says they often hold handfuls of snow in front of them, like the snowball thing. Or airplane for turns. Or dribble and shoot an invisible basket ball for turns.
I didn't start mine very young, they were 7 and 10. But definitely go in when they are cold. Stop when they are tired. Be prepared to step back to an easier hill after a fall or a scary run. Two steps forward, one step back is to be expected. Well, I guess all of these are the same for adults too.
When I'm asked to ride a lift with a little one from a lesson, I always talk them through the on and off of the lift. "Ready, almost our turn, ok, scoot scoot, look for the lift.... almost at the top, I'm going to raise the bar soon, tips up, 1,2, stand" that kind of thing.
 

SKIbell

Certified Ski Diva
OMG! I just adore Darren Turner. I have watched some of his videos recently on YOUTube. I had to say that first, LOL!

I have done a great deal of skiing with young children. You are getting great tips/advice here so far. Try to have the child load on the side where the lift operator is standing. That way they have you and the lift operator available to assist the child if they need help. The biggest thing is keeping them focused, so they are paying attention especially when getting on and off the lift. DIY Mom is so right...talking them through it works really well. It keeps you focused, too.

While on the trail, DH and I used to have one of us ski ahead of the children, and the other would stay behind in case they fell or needed help. It's much easier to ski down to them to help when they fall, then to have to hike up to them. Plus, you can keep eyes on them from behind. This should probably go without saying, but make sure everyone has visited the bathroom before heading out....and be prepared with tissues, lip balm, etc. for them in your pockets. Most of all have fun! Before you know it, you won't be able to catch up to them.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
When the kids are a little older, say 6 and up, have a backup plan for a time and place to meet if you get separated. Heard a story of a father who put $5 in his young son's pocket, with the instruction to go to the nearest place for hot chocolate if necessary. One time the father missed the son as they came down a run for some reason. After waiting a bit at the bottom of the run, went in to find the boy happily working on his second cup.

Before we decided it was worth adding a cell phone to our family plan for our daughter, I went ahead and got one that could be turned on for a few days. Then if we were on a ski trip, she could have a phone. Also the reason I started texting. Works much better than voice mail on a ski hill.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
The main reason I learned to ski backwards was so I could both lead and watch my daughter when she was getting started. By her third season, she was six. So by then I could lead with no worries about her falling. :dance:
 

patoswiss

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I have a tip! I have decided that when I am skiing with my kids (5&8), I am not out there for me really, it is for them. I need to know that my patience will be rewarded in the near future, when I can ski without them! It makes me less irritable. When I want to practice my technique and my 5 year old is going down like a bat out of H-E-parallel skis, or my 8 year old creeping down the hill with an extra-large pizza, I can accept that I will recover lost technique when I am alone for awhile.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
It was in the teens last Sunday when I was skiing with my friend's 6yo son. What it's that cold, good to suggest going in to warm up sooner rather than later. If the kid isn't ready, can just say that you need to go in.
 

Mama Sue

Certified Ski Diva
I've got two sons, 4 and 8, that both started last year, and this year have really taken off with their skiing. One thing I learned is that it really helps to mix up some family skiing with lessons and organized kids programs. I saw first hand yesterday that my 8 year old really benefits from skiing with others his age, it gives him lots of confidence. There's something good about seeing other young kids doing the hard stuff that does a lot for him.
 

marymack

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I would like to add, from an instructor standpoint, if you are signing your kids up for lessons....PLEASE make sure they eat something before they come to class. There is nothing worse than the 6 year old that is in a 12-2pm lesson that at 12:45 starts complaining they are hungary because they haven't eaten since they left the house at 8am.
 

Eli

Diva in Training
I have a 7 year old girl who is in her 3rd season. When the littles say they're done and want to go in for the day, go. Don't try to make one extra run. Always end on a good note while the child is still in a good mood. If you have a really young one who just wants to play in the snow rather than ski...let them. They have plenty of years ahead of them to learn to be an awesome skier.

Give LOTS of positive reinforcement and try not to correct every little thing. Try not to make a big deal out of falls (unless there is an injury, of course). Try to stay behind your child if at all possible because, like someone else said, it's MUCH easier to ski down to a child that has fallen than it is to hike back up. It never fails...the second I decide to lead my daughter down, that's the time she'll fall and her skis will be everywhere.

Carry small snacks in your pockets (granola bars, etc.). These can be lifesavers for kids who get hungry between breakfast and lunch. Carry hand warmers on cold days for cold hands.

Keep it fun! If the child is not having fun they'll be much more reluctant to go out the next time. :smile:
 

HeidiInTheAlps

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Yes, yes... and eventually all the patience is rewarded by your daughter of 11 telling you that the hardest part of that double black mogul field you just skied, was having the patience to wait for her mom at the bottom ....

So maybe the pay-off comes when we have grandchildren? Just asking.
 

eSki

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
In skiing with DS 8. We pick periodic stopping points on a trail so I'm not racing downhill trying to catch him.

We also have signals when he falls - hands or poles up means I'm ok even if it hurts. No hands or poles means come quick and/or call ski patrol. This has saved me many a heart attach when my speed demon finds death cookies or takes on too much air behind the blowers.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
My DD and I usually have a back up meeting time and place in case we lose track of each other, or we are at a small mountain where she is skiing with a friend. We have a back up plan even if we are somewhere that our cell phones work. The main reason we added texting to the family plan was for ski trips.

Read a story of a father who had a backup plan for his young son, about first grade. The boy had $5 with instructions to go to the nearest place on the mountain for hot chocolate if they got separated. One time the father was ahead, stopped at the bottom, and missed the boy going past him due to low visibility. Father waited for a while and was getting worried when he remembered the plan. His son was happily on his second hot chocolate in the lodge.
 

RuthB

Angel Diva
DS has a list of key contact numbers and the name of where we are staying in his jacket pocket, especially when we are overseas. Domestically we don't worry so much as he knows our cell phone numbers off by heart, but internationally we have found that there are often several hotels / condos with similar sounding names; and to call our cell phones he needs to know the international dialing code.

It's an idea we poached from a combination of school requirements and ski school emergency contacts.
 

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