1. Know that every child is different; some 2-year olds are more mature than
certain 4 or 5-years olds. If they like to play in the snow and have good
coordination – these are signs they will take to skiing.
2. Take your child to Snowmonsters to watch the animated video, sponsored by National Ski Area Association, complete with skiing tigers and powder pigs.
3. Have a fun downhill dress rehearsal before their first day skiing. Acquire rental skis and boots from a ski shop, resort, or buy used from a ski swap to try on and play with inside to familiarize your child before hitting the slippery slopes.
4. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer (see below DIY Ski instructions) , keep the experience happy, safe and positive. As soon as the child’s interest wanes, its time for a rewarding hot cocoa. One run is better than none.
5. Don’t think that you’re not a good parent if you don’t teach them yourself – the opposite could be true. Ski camps are a great parenting decision. Today’s ski areas have experienced instructors and specially designed facilities with a track record of successfully teaching kids.
6. Call ski resorts in advance or go online to get the details on learn to ski programs. See our list of the best family ski resort in the East and the top Western Ski Resorts with family programs. Resorts have all kinds of programs to choose from - privates, half day or all day camps. Reserve space by phone and confirm what’s included (i.e.: lunch, equipment), what to bring, location, times, so your first day is organized. Ask for registration forms in advance to expedite check in.
7. Ask about special deals on lodging packages that include free or discounted learn to ski programs. Avoid peak holidays and school vacations for the best prices, and fewer kids in camp. Smaller areas shouldn’t be overlooked; Gunstock, for example, offers experienced instruction without the big mountain premium.
8. Prepare your child for ski camp by explaining the day ahead, let them know they will be learning to ski like in the video. If you have signed up for ski camp, explain to your small fry that they will be with other children and a teacher while mom and dad go skiing until pick up time. Pack the proper gear and ski clothing for your child going to ski or snowboard lessons and all day camp.
9. Take pictures or observe from afar, but don’t interrupt the ski lesson or distract your child. Family oriented ski resorts like Waterville Valley have private observation area for parents to spy on their kids without being spotted.
10. Be enthusiastic, positive energy is contagious. Conversely, so is anxiety and fear.
For the Do It Yourselfer:
When our kids were tiny, we started them skiing at home. That’s right. You can score baby beginner skis & boots at a rental shop or a ski swap. The first trick is to get your youngster into their gear. We had our son (age 23 months at the time) put on ski boots and skis inside in the carpeted basement to start. Sounds funny, looks even funnier- but it’s a great way to familiarize your child with the foreign ski apparatus.
Letting our son tromp around with his skis attached to those clunky ski boots really helped his coordination. Our daughter loved hats, so putting on the ski outfit got her excited about the adventure, and would later serve to distract her from the real weather once we got her outside.
Once your kids have worn their ski gear inside for a few hours, it’s time to take it outside. Hopefully the blessing of natural snow will grace your backyard. Little kids don’t need much of a slope or much space to get the concept of sliding. In fact, you don’t want a steep slope, or any dangerous hazards so keep the terrain open and tame.