Learning to ski? Here are my 8 tips to make your pre-schoolers experience more enjoyable.
My seven year old boy and six year old girl first donned their first skis when they were four years old. They did exceptionally well.
The twins are four and a half. We avoided taking them last year because they were a bit too young.
The twins seem to always get a late start on everything… skating, swimming, dance. They seem a tad more immature because there are two of them, it cost more money! They also seem to feed off eachother… mostly in a negative way. One cries, the other will cry, and then start the tantrum mode. Two kids flailing around and screaming in public…. ummm ya…not fun.
So this year we took them on the Ottawa ski trip. We went to Calaboogie Ski Resort. We always go a few days before March break begins because it gets way too busy. Beginners hate dodging over ambitious skiers. I am mainly speaking for myself. I never really “officially” learned how to ski. My husband made me take a lesson for the first time two years ago with my son…and I ended up crashing into him and he will never let me live it down.
So we arrive at Calaboogie early in the morning. The kids paired up. The oldest and the seven year old, and Grace, the 6 year old and dad. The twins got a private lesson. Two on one. Big mistake.
The two instructors fought over who would get the girls…. he asked the girls “do you want a girl teacher or boy teacher?”… Haha of course they said “girl!”.
The young female instructor seemed energetic and well rounded and seemed to have control of the situation.
Once they took off, I went to get my skis on to enjoy some quiet moments on the slopes. However, my eyes kept wandering to where the twins were. For their first time, I was definately anxious for them. Intially, they really wanted to go. They did not cry when I skated away…. so I thought they would do really well. Boy, was I wrong. I don’t think they even got to the top of the hill on the crazy carpet.
The times I looked over at the girls- one was being helped, one was on the ground, one was skiing away. It looked so chaotic. I felt horrible for the instructor because clearly, the girls were not cooperating. The hour lesson went by quick. I was only able to ski once down the huge hill. When I returned, I saw my seven year old and my teen at the bunny hill where the twins were. They told me the girls were crying and they stopped to be with them. How sweet.
The girls would not stop talking about skiing. How they hated it and how they never want to ski again. Fail.
We went again the following week, but to a “ski school”.
This was in Barrie, Ontario. They have a fantastic program for preschoolers. It is mainly based on first come first serve. They enroll about 20 kids maximum. Some days there are more or less children. They have about ten or more instructors, all standing on different parts of the hill just waiting and guiding the kids as they came down the hill. So the kids got the full experience. The class time ran from 10-12 with a hot chocolate break inbetween.
Here is the link to get an idea of what it entailed –Snow Valley Pre-School Ski Lessons.
I got to see the girls from the sidelines and they appeared to have enjoyed it a lot more.
When they were finished, one still complained that she did not like skiing because her feet hurt, but it was a miserable complaint. I think that all of my kids complained at one time or another.
So, here are my EIGHT tips to make your preschoolers first time sking experience more enjoyable.
- Talk about skiing! Show them videos and photos so they know what to expect. OR not…my kids are worse when they anticipate something new.
- Plan on going on kind warmer day. Most times it will be miserable for them. Having frigid tempurature slap you in the face, hands and toes will make it worse.
- Arrive early. Avoid those long lines and get it over with before they get tired and cranky.
- Pack snacks and food. Chalet food is so good, but darn expensive!
- Make sure you have extra gloves, socks, a face shield, and your goggles. You can also purchase handwarmers. Therefore you will not have to spend money there for important items.
- If you are renting equipment, ask for help. It is better to have someone who knows what they are doing help you, rather than you winging it if you have never skied before.
- Definately go a few times! We always get so busy with hockey season that our weekends are overbooked. We usually have time for one or two ski trips for a day. If you dedicate a series of lessons, it will increase their confidence much more. THEN when they get older, all you have to do is sit in the chalet, next to the fireplace with a hot chocolate! Also, they have discounted packages when you book a series of lessons.
- Have a beverage! Beforehand to calm your nerves and afterhand to celebrate successes. Yayyyy!
Don’t be like myself, who is afraid of skiing. Who, can only “PIZZA” going down hill, and will not follow my kids down any slope other than “easy!”
Love the great outdoors! Get active, get your kids active! Getting your kids outside and away from electronics is almost like pulling teeth now-a-days.
Skiing is such a peaceful, exhilarating hobby… once you get over the fear!