Preparing Your Children for Their First Time in Ski School

Posted by Amber on December 13, 2009

Gearing up for the first time on the slopes!  (kid_sig)I have fond memories of ski school. I learned at Calgary’s local hill Paskapoo, which was later named Canada Olympic Park for the 1988 Olympic Games.

Yes, I really am that old.

My daughter Hadley is a lot like me: fearless, spirited and stubborn. That combination can sometimes breed success; other times disaster.

Enrolling her in Park City’s ski school was a no-brainer. I did not have the tools or patience to teach her myself and I knew she would have a better time learning with her peers. Plus, one of the glories of ski school was a day alone on the slopes with my husband.

I did not take her entrance into ski school lightly. If she took to it, our family would have many glorious ski vacations ahead of us. Her disdain would translate into vacations to Kansas. Some of my recommendations include:

1) Watch YouTube. It sounds ridiculous but YouTube has some great tutorials. Of course, I did not expect my 4-year-old daughter to learn to ski from them but they did familiarize her with ski terms she would learn in class. Most importantly, she saw how it was done and she was excited to try.

2) Familiarize your child with the snow and equipment. On the first day of the Kids Signature Program, we arrived early to check out the bunny slope and magic carpet. If your child is not familiar with the mountains, let them play in the snow. This will help them get comfortable before introducing them to their skis and boots. If you have your own equipment, let them play around in them.

3) Make sure your child is well rested and eats a large breakfast. Learning to ski is hard work. It will be better for everyone if your child is not tired and hungry. Though the ski school does a great job feeding the kids, I always give my daughter some healthy snacks to keep in her jacket pocket.

4) Talk to the ski school prior to enrolling your children. Find out the schedule and let your child know how they will be spending their day. Park City Mountain Resort’s program has a good balance of time spent on the slopes and time playing games inside. By the end of the day, my daughter was exhausted but said she had a great time doing both.

5) Be encouraging and realistic. Your child won’t be skiing like Bode Miller by the end of the day (though I did christen my son after that skiing great). My daughter’s first few experiences did not go very smoothly but she still had a good attitude about it. By the time we enrolled her in ski school at PCMR, she picked it up very quickly and was getting on and off the chairlift by herself. Every child is different and let them learn at their own pace while being upbeat and encouraging about their triumphs and struggles.

6) Be available. Give extra support if your child needs it but don’t be a helicopter parent hovering around. The staff is well trained to teach your children. My daughter is an independent spirit so did not want us to hang around. I’m sure when my timid 3-year-old  Bode learns to ski this winter he will want me to be more accessible.

Though with a namesake like Bode Miller, my little mama’s boy may just surprise me in the end.


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Comment posted by tester on August 5, 2010 4:40 PM MDT


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The views expressed on Snowmamas are those of the individual authors, who are independent contractors of Park City Mountain Resort, Copper Mountain Resort and Killiington Resort and may not be factually accurate. These views are not intended to reflect the opinions of Park City Mountain Resort, Copper Mountain Resort, Killington Resort, its owners, its management or its employees. Snowmamas' will receive compensation for their participation as an author.