During a long Canadian winter it’s a good idea to pick up a hobby to get you through the season. So why not choose something that lets you enjoy the winter while it’s here! Our family skis. My parents ski, Mike’s parents skied and now we are teaching our kids to ski.
By no means are we world class skiers and by no means are we experts on the subject of teaching youngsters to ski. If fact I am not imparting any ski tips at all. But we are parents who have picked up a trick or two for making the experience a positive and fun one for all involved. After all, the end goal is to have a winter activity that the entire family can enjoy for years to come.
My first piece of advice is visit the hill before you ever strap on a set of skis. Walk around, show your little one how skiers get up the hill, how they get down and how the skiers use their body and their skis to move down the slope. Answer any questions they may have about what they see. Make sure to stop by the bunny slopes to show your child where the other kids their age ski. Nothing motivates better than seeing your peers having a great time trying something new.
Start young. Our oldest got on her skis for the first time at 2 and a half years old. The first 2 seasons we spent most of the time holding her up ourselves. But she had lots of time to get used to the slopes, wearing the equipment, the lifts and all the sights and sounds of a ski hill.
Keep your expectations reasonable (like keep them low). Sure, your little one might hit the ground running but more likely is that you will spend your first season (or two) bent over holding your child up going down the bunny slopes. And that’s fine! Some days they will want to rip down the hill over and over and other days you will spend more time walking from the parking lot than you will skiing.
DON’T PUSH! If they want to do 50 runs in a row, let them! If they want to make a snowman an the bottom of the hill and never get their skis on, let them! The experience should be a positive one when they are this small. Our family always does a handful of runs followed by a long break of hot chocolate and french fries. Even if things aren’t going that well and we call it a day early, we always go in for hot chocolate and french fries. It’s something our little ones enjoy and look forward to. So even on a day where skiing didn’t go so well, we end it on a high note.
Be weather picky. If you decide to ski on a windy, icy, -25 degree day, I promise it’s going to be a lot less enjoyable for everyone than a warmer low wind day. Now in her third season, a blinding snow squall won’t get my kid off the hill, but 2 years ago, it would have been a major deal breaker.
I hope a few of these tips help get your family out and enjoying the winter!