Time to hit the slopes!
Ski season is on its way and your kids need to be ready. What will you pack? Is ski school right for them? What do you need to know before you hit the slopes this year? It’s not an easy task, but with the right information you will be on your way to a bit of winter fun. Now is the time to introduce your child to winter sports. Little ones as young as 3 years old can strap on a pair of skis and go speeding down a mountain. You can learn as a family if you have never done it before, or you can start your child on the path to being able to join you on a Black Diamond run.
One of the biggest concerns as a parent is that you want to keep your child safe and protected. Keeping warm but limber is a big part of the ski experience. You don’t want your child so overloaded with layers that they can barely move. Here are the key elements you will need when outfitting your child for winter sports.
- Water-resistant winter jacket/ ski jacket
- Snow pants
- Water-resistant mittens
- Ski socks
- Long underwear or thermal shirt and pants
- Helmet (you can usually rent one or it comes with your rental skis)
If you are just taking a day trip up to the mountain you will want an extra change of clothes, a ski cap/hat and extra mittens for your kid. If you are staying at a mountain resort you can always run back to your room or leave these extra items at ski school. When picking out your child’s gear, let them have a say in what you buy. Your child’s personality can really shine through with the gear they wear. Adorable pink goggles or a helmet with flames may give your child the confidence they need to hit the slopes. Definitely have your child try on a few pairs of goggles before you buy. Each will fit a little differently — you want a pair your child will actually wear or they will be left on the mountain for the bears to find in the spring.
Should my child be enrolled in ski school?
The short answer? Yes. Yes, they should go to ski school. Unless you are an expert skier and you have the patience of a saint (the major ones, not the minor ones) your child should definitely take a few ski classes. The ski instructors really know their stuff when it comes to motivating a child to strap two boards to their legs and plummet down a hill. More importantly, when a child is around their peers and sees other kids doing something new, they are more likely to do it themselves. Even if you opt for a private lesson for your child, chances are they will see other kids on the “magic carpet” riding up the hill with them.
Will my child love skiing from the start?
This is always a tricky question. It all depends on your child’s personality. If you are nervous about signing them up for ski school try tubing, sledding and ice skating first. Oftentimes these are cheaper activities you can do to get your child used to snow, falling down and having fun in cold weather. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and watch the skiers and snowboarders race down the mountain. The younger your child is the more they may want to give it a go. Let your child surprise you — they may love it. Then again, they may hate it. Even if you sign your child up for ski school and they do OK they may decide it isn’t the activity for them. That is all right. You need to make sure they know it is fine. Forcing your child won’t make them love skiing the next year, especially if you are trying it for the first time. Your child may just be too young, or maybe downhill skiing isn’t their thing. Wait another year and give it a second try. You can also give Nordic skiing a go or wait until your child is about 7 or 8 years old, when most ski schools allow students to try snowboarding.
Above all else, remember that winter sports are supposed to be fun. This could be a life-long passion for your child or it may be something you do every now and then. Either way, this is family time you can have outside together and a way to beat those winter blues.
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