It doesn’t matter if your kids grew up next to snowdrifts taller than them or they’ve never seen snow before, when they step on the mountain for the first time you’re going to be a little nervous. While we won’t tell you that there’s nothing to be nervous about, we will tell you that skiing and snowboarding are excellent outdoor activities for kids to pick up while they’re young and enjoy for their entire lives.
To help you and the little shredders in your life start out their experience on the right foot, the team at ASO Mammoth has put together a quick list on how to teach children to ski and snowboard. Check it out below!
Make it About Fun
The number one thing we recommend is to make lessons more about having fun than mastering anything.
If you have a chance before you step on the mountain, taking your kids out in the snow for a snowball fight or sledding is a great way to get them comfortable with snow and the cold. This is especially true for learners who are experiencing snow for the first time, as making sure they are comfortable with the cold and their gear will put them ahead of the ball.
Consider Ski School
Another way to make learning to ski or snowboard about fun is to sign children up for ski school.
Not only are the instructors experienced with teaching children and equipped with games and techniques tailored to them, but children may enjoy the social aspect of learning with a group of peers and ultimately learn better that way instead of in an one-on-one setting with a parent. It should be noted that many ski schools require children to wear helmets when enrolled, and children should have on helmets at all times anyway, so be sure to invest in a helmet before you get on the mountain.
Look at Skiing before Snowboarding for Children Under 7
Everyone is different, but the general recommendation is for younger children to tackle skiing before snowboarding. Specifically, children as early as 4 years old can start skiing while 7 is more typical for snowboarding. As anyone who is learning to snowboard will tell you, going down the hill sideways is an unnatural feeling and that makes it harder for younger learners to grasp. In the interest of having the best first experience on the mountain possible, consider skiing for children under 7 years old.
Find Soft Spots and Keep them Laughing
If a one-on-one lesson with you is the best option for your young rider or skier, the number one thing to keep in mind is to have fun. While having fun is the most important part, it’s also up to you to put your children in the safest conditions possible.
One way to do so is to not push your children when they’re tired. No one rides well when they’re tired or cold, so don’t be afraid to take plenty of breaks for tired feet or cold hands. Another good idea is to make sure that they’re learning on soft snow so the impact from falls are minor and easy to bounce back from.
Lastly, as your child’s skills progress you’ll have to decide whether they’re ready to take a lift or not. It will most likely take a few days to get to this point, but if your child has the fundamentals down and needs a steeper incline to progress then you can take them up the lift. Don’t be afraid to ask the lift operators to call ahead and slow down, never let young children ride the lift alone, and always put them on the outside seat of the chair for easier exits. You can find more lift tips here! If you need to rent or buy ski and snowboard gear for young children, stop by ASO Mammoth today!