Starting kids skiing

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Cunningstunts Cunningstunts
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Starting kids skiing

I know a lot of you have kids and have been through this, so looking for tips and advice.  Plus it's just plain rotten skiing weather and this place is going to descend into madness for a few weeks.  Maybe we can talk about something positive

Right now I have 3 pairs of non-metal edged, universal binding, XC skis with fishscales.  I tried my most athletic son on them once, he's only just turned two, and he hated it.  Refused to stand up with them.  I figured if I got him to slide I'd pull/push him around so he got the feeling and would like it.  Couldn't get there.  I'll try him again this winter, but I'm not expecting much this year.  I know some people get their kids going at 2, but maybe it's easier with plastic boots on the carpet runs?  I think next year I'll invest in some dh gear... we'll see.

I'm also concerned about my son who has autism.  He's super clumsy and has a hard time focusing on tasks.  Not sure if I should wait with him or what.  I don't want him to feel left out though.


Oh - for those not in the know, I have triplet boys, turned 2 in October.
PeeTex PeeTex
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Re: Starting kids skiing

Give it time. Not sure where you live but find a small local hill. Put them in a ski school and at that age it will be mostly like day care, but they will be with kids their own age and they will likely play in the snow more than learn to ski but gradually they will teach them how to ski. It beats the hell out of you standing them up on skis and getting frustrated because they are not skiing yet. Teaching you own kids (or your spouse) how to ski is very frustrating for all involved, this is what ski instructors are trained and paid to do.
Don't ski the trees, ski the spaces between the trees.
Cunningstunts Cunningstunts
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Re: Starting kids skiing

That's good advice, thanks.  We have two places locally that do this.  I'll have to look into it some more*


*They don't take kids until they are 5, so perhaps I'll let them play around with the XC skis and not expect much until then.
Turd Ferguson Turd Ferguson
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Re: Starting kids skiing

In reply to this post by Cunningstunts
First off, kudos to you for taking on the task of teaching 3 young kids to ski in the same season!  

I can't comment on the XC part, but I got both of my kids (now 4 and 6) on skis at age 3.  I bought downhill skis, with bindings mounted, from levelninesports.com for around $120 shipped.  Would've bought local but the shop doesn't carry anything that small (75-80cm).  Rented the boots for the season for $50.  My son is size-wise a year behind, but cognitively performing great.  We had a problem finding boots that would fit him properly, which in retrospect made it hard for him to wedge effectively.

We have a gentle hill, maybe 10 vertical feet, in our back yard.  First time ever on skis, I'd get the kid bundled up, and let them walk around the back yard in the boots, then let them stand with the skis on and shuffle around, figure out center of balance on their own that way.  Then, I'd pick them up and carry them, skis on, to the top of our 10ft hill.  First few times I walked down with them, holding them at the waist to keep them upright and centered (told them to keep hands up in front like they were carrying their dinner plate).  Then, after that, I'd set them down, and have them shuffle to where the slope started, and then ski down.  After 4 or 5 times falling, they could French fry down standing up.  We'd practice that a few days, and we still do it each season one day before we head up to the mountain, just to refresh that muscle memory.  The most important part here was that I'd tell my wife 5 minutes before we were done, and she'd have hot chocolate waiting for us.  Let the kids throw snowballs at you, whatever, just make sure they associate it with having fun, regardless of the actual skiing progression.

When we finally hit the mountain, we started on the magic carpet.  I skied backwards in a wedge the first day, on that run and on the bunny slope, bent over and holding the ski tips together.  We never did the edgie-wedgie, after the first day, they understood what the pizza was, and we worked from that.  Skiing backwards and bent over got old real fast.  Went back to the same website and ordered the backpack-style harness that has the tethers with elastic ends that attach by their hips, which keeps you from pulling them around too much.  We used that with my daughter for the first two seasons, we got her out maybe 5x each season.  Just remember to use it sparingly, and make the kids do the work.  Once she was able to demonstrate the ability to turn and stop and control speed on command, we ditched the harness (she was 5 at the time).  The trick to turning for her was a.) making a game out of it (if she only goes straight, daddy can catch her, if she's zig-zagging all over the place, I can't) and b.) teaching her to keep her weight forward and pressure a ski by having her hands in front, and pushing down on the knee she needs to pressure on (that one action will cause the kid to redistribute their weight effectively).  She can now do most of the green runs and started to use a stem Christie at the end of last season.  Occasionally they'd set up gates and/or obstacles on the bunny slope, which is a great tool for teaching them to turn and plan/look ahead.  

Anyways, I think the biggest thing is to make the whole experience fun.  Make games out certain skills.  Bring yummy snacks for the lift.  If the kid is 3 or 4 and wants to take a break flop around in the snow and make a snowman for a half hour, let them (obviously not on a run).  Ample amounts of hot chocolate, high fives and praise.  I've seen parents yelling at young kids halfway down a blue because the kid is in over their head and scared, and the parent is frustrated.  That's a sure-fire way to get your kids to hate skiing.  My kids see the first few snowflakes of the year and get pumped up now, I love it.

When one approach fails, try another.  Let the kids experiment (safely) and figure things out.  Oh, and try to take opportunities to teach your kids skiing/lift etiquette, skiers code, etc.

Good luck!



JTG4eva! JTG4eva!
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Re: Starting kids skiing

In reply to this post by Cunningstunts
There are probably plenty of ways to introduce your kids to skiing.  I’ll tell you what worked for me, and my bothers, and others I know.....

First, notice I said introduce your kids to skiing, not teach them how to ski.  Based on my experiences getting 3 children on skis before age 3, all of whom have become proficient skiers, teaching toddlers is tough, and teaching your own toddlers/kids is even tougher.  I can easily see how putting them on their own skis and trying to get them to ski at 2 could end in disaster.  Heck, are those fish scale XC skis even kid sized?

Anywho, I’m a firm believer that before you can teach them to ski, especially at 2 or 3 years old, you have to get them to love skiing, just the feeling of sliding on snow.  What worked for me was the KidSki harness system.  I don’t know if they make that one any longer, but there are other (more current) systems currently available.  It consisted of plastic skis that could be attached to their snow boots.  It also came with a harness that goes around the kid’s waist and upper body, which has ropes that come out of a pouch.  Mine also had a handle/lift harness to grab the kids up when getting on the ski lift.  To introduce the kids to the concept of pizza wedge the system had tip locks to go on the skis.  Once the kid can understand the pizza wedge and French fry concept, and has the strength/ability to snowplow on their own, you ditch the tip locks.

So, you basically let the ropes out and take the reigns of your little skier.  You get them sliding on the snow, with their skis in a position they will need to learn, while you control their speed and turning.  My kids fell in love with the feeling of independent sliding immediately.  It doesn’t take much time before they start to get the concepts, and they do more and more while you support them less and less.

Once they are hooked, and you are ready to ditch the system, you can start to teach them on your own.  My best advice at that point is to not wait too long to get them into ski school.  The social aspect made learning more fun.  Sure, with three you have a built in class......but, especially with three of them, it’s a whole lot harder for them to say no/I’m cold/whatever to an instructor than it is to dad!
We REALLY need a proper roll eyes emoji!!
JTG4eva! JTG4eva!
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Re: Starting kids skiing

Note regarding the system I used.....I hope your legs are in shape!  Snow plowing behind your toddler on a harness is f’ing HARD!!!
We REALLY need a proper roll eyes emoji!!
Jamesdeluxe Jamesdeluxe
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Re: Starting kids skiing

In reply to this post by Cunningstunts
Cunningstunts wrote
 my son who has autism.  He's super clumsy and has a hard time focusing on tasks.  Not sure if I should wait with him or what.
Our son is now 13 and I could write a book about our experiences over the years; however, each kid on the spectrum has completely different challenges so it's likely apples and oranges. Windham has what most people consider to be the best and most well-equipped adaptive program in NYS, but that's a long haul for you.
Cunningstunts Cunningstunts
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Re: Starting kids skiing

In reply to this post by JTG4eva!
A couple things:

- the skis I have are kid sized.  There are Karhu K'boom or similar with different graphics.  I don't think it would be a good idea for them to try to dh on piste with them, mainly due to using a soft boot.

- yes, I guess I should have said introduce.  That's all I'm doing.  I'm just want to try to get them to like the skis.  I can't really let them play with them because 3, and they will hit each other with them

- ski school for us starts at 5 I guess.  Probably will be better then as I hope all three of them are more on the same level.  Not the case now.

- I know of those devices but I'd need three skiers to use them or take them one at a time.  My wife doesn't ski dh - she can do a wedge, but not good enough to hold a toddler I don't think.  No one else in my family skis.



Cunningstunts Cunningstunts
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Re: Starting kids skiing

In reply to this post by Jamesdeluxe
Jamesdeluxe wrote
Cunningstunts wrote
 my son who has autism.  He's super clumsy and has a hard time focusing on tasks.  Not sure if I should wait with him or what.
Our son is now 13 and I could write a book about our experiences over the years; however, each kid on the spectrum has completely different challenges so it's likely apples and oranges. Windham has what most people consider to be the best and most well-equipped adaptive program in NYS, but that's a long haul for you.
Yeah, I know.  He's so young we don't know how it will go.

Windham is too far for us, but there's probably something we can do locally, I need to look.  I tell my wife this:  there's no better time in history to have autism than now.
JTG4eva! JTG4eva!
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Re: Starting kids skiing

In reply to this post by Cunningstunts
Cunningstunts wrote
- I know of those devices but I'd need three skiers to use them or take them one at a time.  My wife doesn't ski dh - she can do a wedge, but not good enough to hold a toddler I don't think.  No one else in my family skis.
I hear ya....but I’d suggest you just have to work triple time.  Get them out individually, whatever you decide to do.  The idea of trying to herd all three cats, with strange equipment on/attached to their feet, on slippery snow.....that’s the stuff of nightmares, and something I can see not ending well.  But, one way or another it’ll be an adventure!
We REALLY need a proper roll eyes emoji!!
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