The first day is usually the worst day...
All of my children, for various reasons, have spent considerable time in ski school. When they were first-timers, I felt that ski school was definitely the best place for them to learn the fundamentals of skiing, and I certainly wasn’t confident enough in my own ability when they were so raw. What if I couldn’t help them or myself get down that mountain? I was certain that if they followed my lead they would definitely end up with some really bad habits. And what's more, teaching little kids to ski is HARD work.
Over the years, my kids had to endure some terrible starts at ski school. One year, my beginner had been telling me he was feeling sick all morning. I tried to convince myself that he was just tired and that it was a case of nerves. Then, standing in the middle of the crowded registration line, he proceeded to vomit EVERYWHERE! Shame on me! Not a good start.
I did, however, learn from my mistakes. Here are some first-day tactics that I developed to get us all through, and that I hope might help your beginner get off to a great start.
1. Create a sense of anticipation and familiarity. Do you have photos /videos of previous family ski trips you can share with your little beginner? Do you have some ski boots or outfits that they can wear around the house beforehand? Have you shown them all the photos of smiling happy kids in ski school on the Snowmama website? This all creates a sense of anticipation and a little bit of familiarity so that, come their first visit to ski school, they are not completely FREAKED out.
2. Organization is everything. I'm sure that every ski family you speak to can tell you a tale of 'first morning' hiccups. They usually sound like “forgot our gloves”, “lost our lift tickets”, “got to the ski base and realised we were missing a child who was happily at home watching TV” – you get the picture. None of the above is conducive to creating a calm and relaxed introduction to skiing for your beginner. So, for everyone’s benefit, try to be as organised as possible:
Ð Place name tags on all of your beginners equipment
Ð Where possible, have any necessary paperwork completed and ready to go before you get there in the morning
Ð Make sure there is a little snack/treat in their pocket
Ð Pack a set of hand warmers for them
Ð Does your beginner need a comforter? Pack it just in case
3. Where possible, try to be as early as possible. This assists in the calm and relaxed introduction I spoke of above. You may find that you have been a rock star parent in the anticipation and organisation stakes, but this can all come undone in the line up for registration to ski school. When your well-organised and excited beginner has to wait for too long in the check-in line, getting hotter by the second, listening to other beginners who are not so happy to be there screaming “MUM, DON'T GOOOOOOO!” all your energies could be wasted. I find if you can get there early, it is usually a much calmer and less stressful process.
4. Repeat after me…the first day is the worst day, the first day is the worst day!
It is a big thing for little kids going into ski school for the very first time. Unfamiliar surrounds, unfamiliar clothing, unfamiliar faces, sometimes in an unfamiliar country! But the good news is that they are usually far more excited the following day because they had such a fun time and they are always super happy to show off their new tricks.
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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.