Programs for (very young) kids?
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Scott - DCSki Editor
September 17, 2005
Member since 10/10/1999
1,095 posts
I'm posting this on behalf of my sister, who has twin girls (they'll be about 3.5 years old this ski season):

"I wanted to know if anyone has tried the 'ski with me' program at Liberty. It is a private lesson for parents and their children. Does anyone have tips on the strengths and weaknesses of children's lessons at local resorts, and tips to help a parent decide where to go?"

Thanks,

- (Uncle) Scott
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
September 18, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
3,062 posts
Scott,
It has been a very long time since my kids were starting to ski. I started each of them at about 3.5-4.5. I found that Camelback had the best childrens' program...at the time it was run by a former elementary school teacher. Jack Frost had an excellent program, so did Wintergreen and Snowshoe. Canaan Valley was interesting...the instructor kept telling my 5 year old to "ski perpendicular to the mountain" , keep skis parallel, and to stand at a right angle to the fall line. They never questioned him but obviously had no idea what he was describing. In the mid-eighties I started my youngest and I used the ski harness to help him get used to the enjoyment of skiing down the hill. This sure beat skiing between my legs, or other dangerous techniques. If your sister would like to borrow my kids harness please let me know. The most important thing I would suggest is get the kids in a half or all day program and let the pros do their thing. It works.
The Colonel
warren
September 19, 2005
Member since 07/31/2003
485 posts
I will just echo what the Colonel has said. I started my daughter at age 4. We went to Canaan Valley and put her in the Ski-and-Play program. She loved it! We went there for several seasons and then we started going to Snowshoe where she became a strong black-diamond skier. I let the Pros do their work and I've never regretted it!

-Warren-
Mook
October 24, 2005
Member since 10/24/2005
19 posts
Smugglers Notch is the only way to go! My little boy is now 4 and he can ski on all blues. He just started last winter. This year, I'm putting my 2.5 year old on skis there (that's the youngest that they start them). By the way, the harness works great for little ones!
SCWVA
October 25, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004
1,049 posts
I have four kids under the age of 9yrs old. The three older ones got on skis when they were 3 yrs old. We have put them in ski school at Silver Creek, 7S, & Whitetail. In my kids opinion, they loved the ski school at 7 Springs. 7S's ski school not only taught them how to ski, but kept them fully entertained when they weren't skiing with crafts, face painting, etc. They ask every year to go to 7 Springs.
jimmy
October 25, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Hey Mook, Welcome to DCSki. Where do you ski?
BushwackerinPA
October 26, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
Parents being around usually doesnt help from my experince.

Here are some things to keep in mind, they are going to wear out very very fast. For the first couple times, youd be lucky if they lasted an hour. Second of all they dont have the motor skills to ski yet, but a good instrut can teach motor memory in maybe few lessons. Even after they have learn what a wedge feels like, at the that age being able to hold it very iffy. Also one on one with children this small is the only way to go. the ski school desk will let you assign one instrutor for both, but trust me one instructor can handle this, but one will not be great no matter how good they are.

(*shameless plug for hidden valley*)
At Hidden Valley this year we are offering half hour privates to children this age. Also the instructors that will take this lesson for the most(i wish i could i say all but...) part want to take them. I myself would be glad to take the lesson, but honestly for little girls a 20 something guy can be kinda of a overload no matter how fun and sweet i try to be. They would do best with girl/women if for some reason they come out to over out way PM and will give a list of the best and most willing people to request.
Ullr
October 26, 2005
Member since 11/27/2004
531 posts
Tiny Tots at 7 Springs is the best hands down. I would love to Try Smuggs, but it is just too pricy for me.
therusty
October 27, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005
422 posts
Scott,

I've taught Ski With Me lessons at Whitetail. The premise is that 1/2 the lesson is taught to the child and 1/2 to teach the parent how to teach the child. Most end up with the parents watching the first 1/2 of the lesson and concluding that there is no way that they're going to do anywhere near the job that a pro does. I try to do my best to give such parents coaching tips about praise, positive feedback, expectations vs age, etc. that they can use in "parent mode". Many are so happy with sharing the positive experience with their child and seeing their progress that they don't get much out of their part of the lesson. I have taught a few that went according to design. By the end of the lesson, the parents were teaching their kids and I was just watching. The kids improved and the parents walked away with a toolkit for continuing improvement. The parents should have decent intermediate skiing skills and some ability to slip back and forth between teacher mode and parent mode. In these situations, the ski with me concept is very powerful. Otherwise, a "program" is the better way to go.

Check out resorts ahead of time for age limits. Many will only teach 3 (and a half) year olds via private lessons.
Chad
October 28, 2005
Member since 12/12/2000
270 posts
i have a 7-year-old and 5-year-old that i have been teaching to ski the last few years. they took a lesson once out at wisp and had a great time...

however, i prefer to teach them myself. i am sure the "pros" are much better teachers than myself, and my kids would probably learn faster that way. maybe i am selfish but for me the experience of teaching them this skill is one that i want to have for myself. its been difficult at times, and occasionally frustrating. but watching them get better and better has been very rewarding. now both are comfortable on any blue around these parts. this year we hit the terrain park!

they ski and i ride. only downside is that by the time i get my snowboard boot back in the binding they are halfway down the hill.
jimmy
October 28, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Quote:


they ski and i ride. only downside is that by the time i get my snowboard boot back in the binding they are halfway down the hill.




That's funny chad. Sounds like my brother's kids; my wife won't ski alone with them anymore because she can't keep up, maybe she's the one that needs the lesson.
Reisen
November 21, 2013
Member since 01/25/2005
343 posts

So, I looked through several of the more recent topics, but I thought this one might have the best information.

I'm planning on starting my daughter this year.  She was born in April of 2010, so will be closing in on her 4th birthday.  I was a January birthday, and started the season I turned 4 (back in the early 80's). 

I plan to lease her equipment for a season, so my decision is whether to try to teach her myself, or get her lessons.

Anyone have any updates?  I'm thinking of starting off at either the snowtime resorts, or possibly Timberline or Wisp.  At some point later in the season, we'll probably do a few days at Snowshoe. 

gizmosnow
November 21, 2013
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts

Have to agree with comments by therusty and Bushwackerinpa.... I think one 'objective' of ski-with-me lessons is to 'prove' to the parent that they are not qualified to teach their child and the value of paying for a private lesson.  Parents nearby will often tend to distract the child who will not pay attention to the instructor...kind of like when you drop them off at kindergarten and they cry until the parent leaves then happily join in.   

Having said all that, though, I do have friends who have done ski-with-me and it worked out really well.

Denis - DCSki Supporter
November 21, 2013 (edited November 21, 2013)
Member since 07/12/2004
2,170 posts

Be sure it stays fun.  If they get tired or cold its time to go inside.  If they don't want to ski any more and want to roll in the snow, make snow angels, throw snowballs, whatever, let them.  Interact with them, show interest and enthusiasm.  Above all never show impatience.  It's all common sense really.  Your time to go tear up the slopes is when they are in a lesson, but DONT be late meeting them at lessons end.   It is very discouraging, even alarming, for a little kid to be standing in the cold waiting for a late parent.   In a decade or so you will have the greatest ski buddies you could ever want.  In the meantime enjoy the special reward of seeing them learn and come to love the sport as you do.  

I certainly made mistakes.  Probably the most serious was losing my 7 yr old son in a 5 degree snowing sideways blizzard at Killington.  It was in the Snowdon area, which is mostly blue.  There is a short mogul run in the middle of the area called Mouse Trap with a blue run that goes around.  I had been wanting to do mouse trap all day and convinced him to meet me at the point where it rejoined the blue trail.  Visibility was about 50 feet and I waited with growing alarm as skier after skier who came down said that no, they had not seen a little boy in a brown jacket.  I always gave each kid $5 and told them that if they got lost, go to the nearest base lodge, have a hot chocolate and wait for me.  That's where I found him, having his 3rd hot chocolate.  (This was 30 years ago when a 5 went a bit further.)  He told me with a big grin that it was me who got lost, not him.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
November 21, 2013
Member since 12/10/2008
2,230 posts

Reisen wrote:

So, I looked through several of the more recent topics, but I thought this one might have the best information.

I'm planning on starting my daughter this year.  She was born in April of 2010, so will be closing in on her 4th birthday.  I was a January birthday, and started the season I turned 4 (back in the early 80's). 

I plan to lease her equipment for a season, so my decision is whether to try to teach her myself, or get her lessons.

Anyone have any updates?  I'm thinking of starting off at either the snowtime resorts, or possibly Timberline or Wisp.  At some point later in the season, we'll probably do a few days at Snowshoe. 

I chose to let a good ski school get my daughter started.  For us, Massanutten was a great place since she had turned 4, which is the age requirement for Slopesliders.  There is a very good instructor for private lessons for 3 year olds.  Once she had the basics, then I could help her practice.  Talking with her instructors was helpful to know what to expect.

Mnut is set up in a way that makes it easy to watch classes from the lift or the lodge in a way that young kids don't get distracted by seeing a parent.  The bonus for me was that there is never a lift line at the top of the mountain even on weekends, so I could get in a fair number of runs before picking her up at 2:00.  Even though her lift ticket was good until 4:30, the first couple years she was usually only interested in one or two more runs before calling it a day.  When she was ready to go . . . we left.

Where do you live?

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