How to Teach Kids to Ski Without Losing Your Mind

kids skiingSo, you’ve got kids. Or nieces and nephews. Or your friends have kids. Either way, there are kids cur­rent­ly hap­pen­ing in your life and, if not prop­er­ly trained, they can put a major damper on your ski sea­son. Not only are the lit­tler ones typ­i­cal­ly slow, but they’re also winey, acci­dent prone, and dirty. Right?

They don’t have to be. If you start them young, have a lit­tle patience and a good sense of humor, you might find that you actu­al­ly like ski­ing with kids, you own or not.

Here’s how.

Teach Dili­gence

If kid­dos are gonna ski with you, they have to under­stand that it’s a fun but seri­ous thing that takes plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion. No mat­ter how young, there are a few things you can do to help them be proac­tive about skiing:

  • Have them help with food prep for moun­tain lunches.
  • Involve them in pack­ing their ski bags and main­tain­ing their gear.
  • Help them get into a good rou­tine of going to bed ear­ly so they can wake up ear­ly for skiing.

Teach Them the Language 

If they’re old enough to speak, then they’re old enough to start adding ski relat­ed words to their vocab­u­lary. In the doc­u­men­tary “McConkey”, Shane McConkey’s moth­er lov­ing­ly remem­bers how she would strap Shane to her body on pow­der days and he would coo, “Pow, mom­my, pow!” and “Bump, mom­my, bump!”

Giv­ing them the lan­guage of ski­ing ear­ly-on will help to instill a love for ski­ing that they can draw upon later.

Start with these terms:

  • Boots, bind­ings, poles, hel­met, and goggles
  • Greens, blues, blacks, dou­ble blacks
  • Moguls
  • Tree ski­ing

And, the most beau­ti­ful word of all…

  • Pow­der

First Things First 

So, you’ve built a base but where do you start?

Start with safe­ty and respect.
When you get them on the hill, talk about who has the right-of-way and teach them to always make sure they’re pay­ing atten­tion to their sur­round­ings. Set bound­aries for them so they know where they need to stay in rela­tion to you. Be calm. Then do this:

Teach them to pizza-pie
Then buy them an edgie-wedgie. It’s the most won­der­ful thing you’ll ever do for your kid and it will prob­a­bly make your life a lot eas­i­er. They may only need it for two or three days, but the $5 is worth it). In fact, the author of this arti­cle learned to ski at the age of 27 and rocked an edgie-wedgie for the first 3 days with­out shame.

Teach This Later 

After they’ve got their piz­za-pie and their edgie-wedgie is pro­duc­ing flu­id turns with ski tips togeth­er, now is the time to remove the edgie wedgie and teach them the following:

  • Prop­er ski form
  • How to uti­lize their edges
  • How to con­trol their speed

One of the best visu­al aids out there for this is Ski School by Elate Media which has dozens of videos bro­ken into ski­er lev­el: begin­ner, inter­me­di­ate, expert, etc. Watch these before tak­ing your kid­do out to see how these begin­ner tech­niques can be bro­ken down and practiced.

Instill Safe­ty and Independence 

At first, they’re going to be com­plete­ly depen­dent on you but you’ll be sur­prised at how quick­ly kids pick up var­i­ous tech­niques. Once they’re ski­ing becomes more con­fi­dent, their flu­id­i­ty improves, and you’re notic­ing few­er falls on green and blue runs, it’s time to cul­ti­vate some inde­pen­dence by doing the following:

  • Show them ski maps and quiz them on what the sym­bols mean so that, even­tu­al­ly, they can ski safe­ly and inde­pen­dent­ly on the mountain.
  • Have them show you, on the resort map, the route they would take to get to the base of the moun­tain should you get separated.
  • If they’re old enough and car­ry a cell­phone, make sure they have ski-patrol’s num­ber for all of the moun­tains you frequent.

Final­ly, if they’ve demon­strat­ed enough skill and matu­ri­ty, let them go on few runs alone. Set up an agreed upon ren­dezvous point and meet there after. Your heart might skip a few beats wait­ing for them but, in the end, you’re rais­ing a rip­per.