Google this title and you’ll find there’s a lot of information on how to teach your kids to ski or ride, but little on why it’s a good idea. Getting kids involved in winter sports benefits the whole family in ways that may surprise you. Read on to learn why it’s a good idea to get your kids out this season.
1. Skiing and riding are great outdoor activity options in winter.
With the rise of video games and childhood obesity, getting kids off the couch is a hot issue. This can be a tough challenge in winter depending on where you live.
Getting kids involved in snow sports gives them active options in winter months. While this post focuses on skiing and riding, winter sports can include skating, snowshoeing and more. The key is to keep children active year-round.
2. Kids are the perfect age to learn new skills.
Let’s face it… young dogs, and kids, learn new tricks faster. This holds true for everything from learning languages, to physical skills such as dance, biking, and skiing. Most ski schools offer lessons beginning at age three, some even younger.
3. Active kids keep you young.
I want to do a face palm every time I hear a parent say, “I used to do that before having kids, but that’s over now…” as they look sadly off in the distance for paradise lost. I’m sorry, but having kids means your life has changed, not ended. I have two kids of my own and raised four (two step-sons). I can speak from a place of experience.
You can stay active with children – the key is adaptation and balance. Look for ways to include kids in your day, such as skiing easy runs, but also keep some “me” time in the mix. Options include: enrolling them in lessons, slipping away without them occasionally (while they are in school, at a friend’s, or with a sitter), or partnering with friends who will step in to ski with the little ones for a few runs, then switch.
If you haven’t learned to ski or ride yet you could even learn together. Raise your kids living an active lifestyle, and the next thing you know, they’ll be pulling you off the couch to go outside and play!
4. Family bonding
Adopting a sport as a family not only increases the recreational time you spend together, but also gives you something to share between adventures. For example, a fun ski film watched together with cocoa in hand is an inexpensive way to spend an evening.
If you’re all learning together, you’ll get to share the frustration, giggles, and excitement of your experiences. Trust me, there’s nothing quite like a kid saying, “and dad had this epic yard-sale on the run today and I had to help him get his skis back on.” It’s moments like that, along with more stellar runs, which build memories.
5. More couple (or “me”) time
Riding on the Majestic Lift at Brighton, the couple next to me looked over and said, “excuse us while we make out…” Initially I laughed until I realized they weren’t kidding. Later they explained that the only couple-time they get is while their kids take ski lessons, so they make the most of every minute.
Ski resorts know parents occasionally want a break. In response they’ve worked hard to meet the need. Logically this benefits their bottom line, but why not take advantage? Day care and ski-school programs are designed to free-up parents to spend time alone and worry less about drop-offs, pick-ups, or the dreaded, “please return to retrieve your child,” call.
6. Discounts on lessons and tickets
The snow sport industry is aware that kids are the future of the sport. Collectively they promote programs to introduce people to the sport, especially the next generation. By offering discounted family packages, lessons, and rentals, they can encourage parents to visit and cultivate new customers at the same time.
Resorts across the nation offer special packages for adults and children to learn the sport during Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month in January. Additionally most have packages available throughout the season. For example, Utah offers the 5th and 6th Grade Passport to students from all states. The Passport allows 5th graders to ski three times at each of Utah’s resorts FREE. For 6th graders the benefit is one FREE pass at every resort.
Whether it’s skiing, snowboarding, or another winter sport, get your kids outside this season. Not only will they benefit from staying active, but they will also get to socialize with other kids in the sport. The big plus for you…quality family time, perhaps some free time, and staying more active yourself.
See you on the slopes!