Getting my Little Brother Started
This upcoming season I'm going to start my younger brother (7 1/2 years old) skiing. All throughout last winter he kept asking me about skiing, he followed me into the garage whenever I tuned my skiis, and just showed a general interest in skiing. So last April he told me that he wanted to go skiing with me this upcoming Winter. I was excited that I could finally have someone else in my house to go skiing with. I've got a good deal of money saved up from summer jobs that I can use to get him everything he needs to keep warm, and I'll get him as many lessons as he needs. What I'm looking for is any advice from parents who started their kids skiing, or from kids who remember what their parents did well when they started. Also, which resort would be best for beginners (both terrain and instructors)? Any info would be greatly appreciated.
John there is only 1 thing you have to remember: Have Fun! Be prepared to go out on the first day for only an hour or less. The last thing you want to do is turn him off completely with a task oriented first day.
However, he may only become more and more excited the longer he is on the slopes. Then you can ski all day. Just be flexible and adjust to his mood, not yours.
If this is the type of little brother that wants to tag along on your heels and do everything exactly like you, you may be able to take him out on your own and not do lessons. If you have had challenges in teaching him things, get a lesson. If he tags along, but you are uncomfortable teaching him, get a private lesson called a "Ski With Me" (at Liberty, Whitetail, or Roundtop). The instructor will teach him to ski and also teach you how to ski with him and improve his skiing.
If you decide to go with a lesson (and not the Ski With Me one), you have to decided if he learns better with a group or alone. Some kids do better in a group (they try to keep up with their peers) or some do better alone.
Also, try to pick a day during the week if possible. It will not be as crowded and that will help the experience. If you hit the mountain on a real crowded day, it could be harder (and more dangerous) for him out on the beginner slopes. If you can pick a nice sunny day, that will help.
Remember, the first time needs to be great and fun. If not, you may lose that new ski buddy.
John: What worked for us with our daughter, and I have seen work as well for friends' first-timer kids is to start them off with a couple 2-3 hour private lessons. Going rate is around $50 a session. Since your brother is older (as in not a toddler) he could go a full-day, but if you pack 2 half-day lessons into a weekend trip, it will give him a chance to ski with you at the end of each day. My anecdotal experience watching beginning kids go through group lessons to start out, is that often the group's progress is limited by the least common denominator. If most of the kids are having trouble, they may not get out of the learning area the first lesson. After a weekend, he may not get past the bunny slope. At Timberline, everytime friends have taken our advice and signed their beginner kids up for private lessons - the instructor will usually be able to get them skiing Salamander from the top of the mountain on the first day. That is where the fun really starts. Once he has a taste of skiing from the top (with you) there will be no stopping him.
Also, if you are buying clothes - make sure you outfit him to be warm and dry! If he is not comfortable, he won't learn as well, and may get frustrated. A kid's motivation to ski may be fragile at first, so feeling cold, wet, and miserable might discourage him from going out again.
Lots of good advice here already.
I've found that a professional instructor can teach far more than the average good skier, simply because they know the little tricks.
I can't agree more about warm clothes, and if you can, get him on some fairly new, shaped skis. He'll move up the learning curve a lot quicker on user-friendly gear.
You sound like a great brother. Good on ya buddy!
Sounds like you are well on your way by being a good mentor & role model. I would add though that make sure he gets fit properly for boots and that he gets some good instruction up front. Oh yeah, warm clothing especially ski pants (alot of new skiers think they are not necessary, you can get some fairly cheap)
I never could get my bro into skiing.