I sent the following email to my friend Amber the other day:
I’m thinking of doing a blog post about teaching kids to ski. I was wondering if you could help me out since my kids don’t really ski (yet). Will you send me your 5 best tips/advice when it comes to getting kids off on the right track? Please. Pretty please?
This was her original reply…
I can see why our kids are such good friends, they both speak the (probably universal) kid language of ‘snacks’.
Then she sent me a few more ideas. I was thoroughly impressed, and think that a lot of her ideas could actually apply to teaching your kids pretty much any new outdoor sport.
Also, FYI: She has 3 kids. Ages: 0, 4 and 7.
So you want to teach your kid how to ski? Nothing else can provide so much outdoor enjoyment during the cold, and hopefully snowy, winter months. But how to begin? I had to consult the practical, organized one in the family (my husband, Alex) to make sure all of the bases were covered and we came up with the following list… (Listed in order of importance. According to me).
For our children, everything is more enjoyable when there are snacks involved. Actually, everything’s more enjoyable for me when there are snacks involved!
The adults are in charge of stuffing the pockets of their coats with snacks of various kinds. The key to choosing an appropriate snack is taking into consideration the “sticky when damp” factor. Fruit snacks hold up surprisingly well, candy cane pieces, not so well. It’s also best not to take along candy that is individually wrapped (ex. Starburst), It’s no fun explaining to your little skier that you can’t go pick up the litter that is fluttering down to rest on the steep cliff beneath you on the lift.
We’ve found that it is necessary to be strategic with where snacks are administered: Ski lift…yes, ski run…no (it makes the run interminably long). Lodge…maybe (depending on how cold the day is). The lodge can be a black hole, once you venture in, the likelihood of getting back out onto the slope is poor. Our kids are usually good for only 2-4 hours of skiing. We feed them a good breakfast then tide them over with snacks until lunch time. We usually save the lodge for hot chocolate and lunch after the skiing is over. Or, if they let us get away with it, lunch in the car on the way back home.
Timing of snacks is key. Too many snacks and you have no leverage to encourage your tike to take one more run. Our system is to give 2 pieces of candy on the “baby lift”, 3-4 on the “big kid” lift. It’s amazing what kids will do for 1 or 2 more pieces of candy!
As with any new activity you start with your child, patience is key to success (success in skiing = your child has fun and makes it home in 1 piece, you keep your sanity). (more…)