This is the first post in a series I am going to write called Kids and Skiing 101. Taking your children skiing can be daunting, especially for the first time, but it can also be very rewarding. Skiing should be fun for the whole family so hopefully if you take your children skiing you will find this series of posts helpful.
When to Start?
This is an age-old question (excuse the pun) and really depends on the child, but as a general rule of thumb a big three-year-old or four-year-old is the earliest I’d recommend. Most kids younger than that just don’t have the size, coordination and strength to ski. I have seen people out with two-year-olds just to get them used to snow and the environment which is fine, just don’t expect them to ski downhill.
The main thing is that when you introduce a child to skiing it needs to be fun. For this reason I highly recommend putting children into ski school until they have the basics and can stop and turn by themselves at the least. Mammoth has a morning half day program for three and four-year-olds (3 hours) and full day (6 hours) programs for five years and older.
One consideration for ski school is that it can be the first time children are away from their parents. In general, I like it if parents drop their children off and then make a break for it. This way the parents get to go skiing and 95% of the time an upset child will perk up once they get moving and are distracted by skiing rather than distracted by well intentioned parents!
Another thing to be aware of is the amount of time that your child is capable of going skiing. Obviously it is common sense that the younger they are the shorter the duration should be. For some three-year-olds, three hours skiing is a very long time. When first starting to ski a lot of energy and concentration is required. Once the basics are mastered though it gets easier and so the child can start skiing for longer.
Lastly on the flip side I don’t think there is an age when children, or adults for that matter, are too old to learn. I learnt to ski when I was sixteen and I’ve taught first timers in their seventies.
Other topics to keep an eye out for that Kids and Skiing 101 will include are; where to go, equipment, ski school and lots of cool stuff.
Good luck and have fun!