How soon can the kids start skiing?


Ironically I am scheduling this maternity cover post as my husband is on a flight to the states for a skiing trip! I don’t have much experience skiing, but I know he would LOVE for our children to become skiing experts at a young age like the children described in this post by Carol and Paul, but when can you realistically start putting them on the slopes? 

How soon can the kids start skiing?

I’m just back from the dry ski slope, where I’ve been busily trying to get my boys into shape for our forthcoming ski holiday. They are 8 and 10, and have been skiing for a few years now. It was the first time I’d allowed them to use their own equipment, as normally they use the old skis and boots from the rental shop because I don’t want the plastic slope ruining their ski bases.

Well, what a transformation, no skidding turns, instead perfectly linked carved parallel turns all the way. Impressive! It was just like watching the local kids skiing on the mountain in the Alps. You know what I mean, you think you’re doing a great job on a steep slope, then all of a sudden a group of young kids come racing past you, totally fearless, and spray you in the face with powder!

I’ve always been jealous of those kids, imagine being born and brought up in a ski resort, learning to ski before you can walk? I was about 17 when I first stepped into  a pair of skis, but I always wondered, would I be a better skier today if I’d been able to start sooner? If so, when would be the ideal age for kids to start skiing?

Here are my thoughts:

  • The received wisdom from most professionals is that kids should start when they are ready, not when you want them to. In other words, all kids are different.
  • Most ski schools start accepting kids from age 4 or 5 in group lessons, but can do private lessons earlier. Just remember, their attention span at this age is very limited, and the last thing you’d want them to do is grow up hating ski lessons because they’re forced into it by pushy parenting.
  • Be mindful that many young children don’t like being with strangers. You know your own kids, but if you put them in a ski school too early and you may get tears and tantrums. The local kids whizzing down the slopes will be with their friends from school. Yours won’t be!
  • We can play our part in encouraging interest. Talk positively and enthusiastically about skiing in front of the kids. Tell them how much enjoyment you’ve had, how it makes you feel good.
  • Buy them a cheap pair of plastic strap on skis that they can play about in, they don’t have metal edges so should be quite safe – but mind they don’t decide to try the slalom down the stairs!
  • Kids love their computer games, and there are plenty of ski games out there. This is a great way to introduce them to the idea of skiing.
  • Make the whole thing about having fun, after all, that’s what recreational skiing is all about!
  • Don’t worry if you decide your children are not ready to ski, it won’t spoil your own enjoyment. Most resorts have absolutely amazing childcare creches where your kids can enjoy indoor and outdoor fun while you’re out on the slopes.

To answer my question above, would I be a better skier today if I’d started when I was 4 or 5? Well, not necessarily. The age at which children start to ski makes very little, if any, difference to how they ski as adults. The most important factor seems to be whether or not they enjoyed their first experience of skiing. And that depends on you much more than it does on them!

Paul and Carol blog with their boys over at Family Makes  where you can find lots more posts about skiing, as well as making things and making memories on various travels both home and abroad.

You can also find them getting social over on Twitter (www.twitter.com/FamilyMakes) , on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FamilyMakes), sharing some photos over on Instagram (www.instagram.com/familymakes), and pinning lots of craft and travel ideas on Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/Familymakes). You can also get to know the family better by watching their YouTube videos, including craft how-to’s and gaming at www.youtube.com/c/familymakes