Winter sports are a curious affliction experienced by nearly 8 percent of Americans yearly. If you want to prevent your children from having a lifelong addiction to sliding down snow with a giant grin on their face, employ the following tips:
1. Decide you are teaching your kids to ski yourself.
The number one reason I see families fighting on the slopes? Mom and Dad take one look that the ski school prices and decide to teach the kids themselves. Very few of us were taught to ski solely by our parents. And yet it is common for all of us at one time or another to assume we are going to teach our kids to ski or snowboard, come hell or high water.
And usually both do come.
Rather, invest in a few half-day lessons from a professional instructor. Let another adult coax them on the magic carpet, break their back helping them up, and pick up the pieces after the first epic chairlift dismount.
After they have become more comfortable on their skis, then take the cheap route. Enjoy the slopes together, give an occasional tip, but leave those full day lessons to those full time instructors.
2. Skimp on Outerwear.
Nothing turns a family around quicker than a cold kid. Come unprepared for blowing snow, cold faces, and icy hands and you’ll ensure a relaxing day sipping hot chocolate and watching the hoards of other skiers and snowboarders enjoy the slopes from the comfort of your own lunch table in the lodge.
While every parent focuses on a warm jacket and waterproof pants (a good thing), kids are usually sent indoors due to cold hands and cold faces.
Rather, keep a duffel bag with these go-to layers to combat the cold: balaclava, Buff, or neck warmer (for the face), and mittens that stay on and do not allow snow up the cuff (we like Stonz Wear Mitts). And toss in some Hothands Hand Warmers for good measure.
3. Make sure your kid’s first time on the slopes is also the first time your kid has ever put their gear on.
Nothing saps the stoke of a ski day than dealing with gear malfunctions. Refusing to take time out of your busy week to pull out the ski gear will also ensure mishaps like this: bindings that aren’t adjusted correctly, boots that fit last year but now don’t, skis that won’t slide on the snow because you cannot remember the last time they were tuned.
Rather, pull out those skis and boots you grabbed at the last ski swap. Get your kid walking around in them and clipping in and out of their bindings in the comfort of your home. If you are renting skis or snowboards for your family, do it the night before so you aren’t waiting in line while others steal your first tracks.
4. “C’mon, kids! We are skiing from open to close!”
It can be truly difficult as a parent to put the effort and money into skiing or snowboarding with your kids, only to have them declare they are ready to go home by lunchtime.
But this will happen. Especially if they are young and new to the sport. No matter how active and in-shape we are during the rest of the year, the first couple days on the slopes are taxing on those leg muscles.
Rather, plan to only ski a half of a day with your young ones at first. Many resorts offer economical beginner lift passes that only allow access the easy terrain. The first day of skiing is less about exploring and more about getting your feet under you again.
What are your tips for skiing with kids? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!