Skiing with a 2 Year Old
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8 users
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November 15, 2008
Member since 11/15/2008 🔗
1 posts
Was hoping to take the wife and 2 year old skiing this year. Well, our 2 year old is not quite ready, but had 2 questions.

1) What is earliest age to consider skiing? I think I've seen 3 and 4 previously on the board, but if anyone has experience, I'd appreciate it.

2) Are their any Mid Atlantic ski resorts that offer child care? 1/2 day is all we'd need.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter 
November 15, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,110 posts
Most offer child care. Some have rules about walking or diapers. Best to check first.
You say he is age two. A young two, or nearly three. At nearly three you can fudge his age and put the child in the kid's ski school program at many resorts. You can also buy new or used "play skis" that fit over a child's snow boot, thus allowing the child to experience walking on two boards and perhaps sliding downhill. Do not use this type of equipment for a true skiing experience and riding on a lift.
The Colonel smile
Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter 
November 15, 2008
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
2,040 posts
I had both of my children on skis at two and both just at 24 months but both were early walkers. I used a harness that connects at the hips and a device called an edgie wedgie, a heavy rubber band with clamps on both ends that attach to the ski tips. This keeps the skis from crossing.

Now we spent only small amounts of time on skis, we let the kid determine the length of time. It has got to be about having fun but use your child's natural inclination to want to be with and please you.

We also used a very good kid carrier backpack, Kelty makes a good one, and skied intermediate groomers with child on back. I would not recommend doing this unless you are a very accomplished, confident skier. I usually spend my day on a resort's expert terrain so skiing blues is really easy for me. Check with the resort as many do not allow parents to ski with kids on board.

Some ski schools will give a young toddler a private lesson but most won't include them in a group for kids. Age 5 is usually the youngest for kids programs.

I think all large Mid-Atlantic resorts have daycare and a few even offer by the hour but the best deal is always full day.

Bottom line, keep it fun.

Welcome to DCSki, I hope you come back often.
November 17, 2008
Member since 10/18/2005 🔗
29 posts
Hey! We took our youngest skiing with us at age three...but we're NOT experts by any stretch of the imagination, nor are we physically fit--if you and your wife are--then you're two legs up on us!

Given that we were not expert skiers, merely confident intermediates, we were never confident enough to ski with our toddler upon our we waited until she could be doing the actual standing and balancing herself. We bought a learn to ski system that we still LOVE and would unreservedly recommend, it's called Kid-Ski.

It includes a "tip lock", for keeping the tips together, that harness == connecting at the child's hips, so you can actually steer them later, plus the Kiddie Lift--something we found invaluable at the chair lifts, and an H-Bar--something that she absolutely loved. It allows the child to "ride" it like a stick pony--in other words, not actually sitting on it--but merely holding it for balance, and you then can steer them, or brake them if you're on a gentle slope--it's fantastic for using all over green terrain, where as the harness works for steeper terrain (along with a "wedge lock" which in conjunction with the "tip lock" keeps them in 'pizza' position)

That H-Bar also comes in handy once on the chair lift, just place the rods (that are normally behind their legs and in front of their thighs)---around their body with the handle going across your lap, and it adds some security.

All you'll need until your toddler is actually skiing on their own is the H-Bar, Tip Locks or edgie wedgies, and the Kiddie Lift, and skis--I don't know about your toddler, but our daughter was too small for real ski boots until she was three...before then, we used the practice plastic skis (with plastic bindings that were meant to be used with regular snow boots.) Here's a link so you can see what I'm talking about--again, we absolutely loved everything about this system--and our daughter did too.

lol--I would also heartily recommend checking e-bay...we bought our first package new--it's now up to 119$ it was five dollars less a couple of years ago-but we've since bought a two piece ski-bar (it is easier to pack) we also got her plastic skis on e-bay for much less. If you can find the whole set on e-bay GREAT....if not--obviously, we chose to go with the set--and never regretted it!

I sincerely hope you guys have as much or even more fun than we had! *edited to add--I forgot, here in WV, all the places I know of, 4 is the youngest they'll teach a child to ski, or allow a parent to enroll them in a ski program...if you're just looking for daycare though--yeah, Snowshoe, Winterplace--they both have daycare--but it's very expensive. The good news is though--that their lift tickets are FREE until after age 5!

We let our daughter play in the yard when EVER it snowed...our problem though was that it just barely snowed at she didn't get as much practice as we would have wanted (or she, for that matter) but she loved learning to ski none-the-less...she sang her ABC's or another favorite song at the time all the way down the hill.
November 17, 2008
Member since 08/24/2007 🔗
134 posts
One other must is a backpack. We got ours from luckybum it is very handy to get on and off the lift and for taking leads and edgie wedgie off and on. Our daughter just turned 5 and this is her third year she picked it up right away our son just turned 3 but didn't have the interest in self skiing last year but loved skiing between my legs. One other thing that really helps is short skis it saves your good skis and makes the lifts and backwards skiing very easy. Make sure that the instructor you get is really kid friendly and being a parent helps some younger instructors do not understand the fragile ego of a 3 year old girl
December 1, 2008
Member since 11/10/2007 🔗
2 posts
Largely, skiing with a 2 year old is simply a game of catch. While sliding on the snow may be fun, it requires a lot of physical effort from all involved. Playing in snow, off skis, may be just as much fun for your young one. It may cost less and be more fun for you as well. I personally think the bulk of 2 year olds would be better suited waiting a few years to begin skiing. I except those who are part of a "skiing family": those who spend a lot of time on the slopes. If a child can stand on one foot and rotate the other foot (in the air) without swinging his/her leg side to side her/she likely has a reasonable physical ability to actually control skis. It is possible for a two year old to have this ability, though not exceedingly likely.
Be advised, even then, most children younger than 5-7 will rely on the snow-plow to control speed. This is a skiing movement pattern accomplished skiers avoid. Some instructors teach this unnecessary movement pattern, while calling it a "braking wedge", to everyone regardless of age. Once introduced, it can be a hard habit to break. I am personally conflicted by the question of whether or not to introduce skiing when a child's physical ability demands a braking wedge to steer and stop. Skiing is great fun for many 4-7 year-old braking-wedgers. Well-designed and implemented programs offer new friends, excitement, joy, camaraderie and social growth.
Ultimately, if after consideration, you decide to start your young one skiing this year, I concur with Laurel Hill above; skiing is about having fun. It is better to make snow angels for an hour than force a child to ski against his/her will. Make sure the instructor/school you choose agrees with this. Lying about age to get a child in a class may produce an undesirable result. If you believe your child is significantly advanced in physical abilities for his/her age, discuss that with the instructor/school. If they agree, they will likely make an exception. A skiing class of 5-6 year-olds is seldom a fun place for a "big" 3-4 year old.
December 2, 2008
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
We started my daughter skiing at 2 years 8 months. That season she skied while I held her between my legs. Spent many hours on the bunny slope. I made the mistake of taking her down Salamander at Tline that first year. It was a long ride down - she just did not have the strength to make it all the way to the bottom even while I held her. Still, we were able to get her out skiing a dozen times or so. She would stay out almost all day. She really loved riding the lift and sliding fast down the slope. I enjoyed the experience, though my back and knees ached the whole time from bending over to steady her.

The next season when she was 3 she was able to get private lessons and ski independently. We used the "pizza slicer" to help her keep her skis in a snow plow. She was able to ski from the top easily; however, once she was skiing on her own her endurance went way down - she was usually good for only a couple hours on the slopes before she would be too tired.

At 4 her endurance was back, the pizza slicer retired, and she was skiing all the blacks at Timberline.

December 2, 2008
Member since 11/22/1999 🔗
317 posts
2 years old is a bit young. My wife and I started my son out at 3 and kept expectations low. We would have just been happy if he liked to keep the ski boots on and shuffled around on skis on a flat part of the resort. He ended up loving it and I took him down the bunny slope with him between my legs and me in a wedge position for no more than 2 or 3 runs. By 4, he was more confident and could hang onto my ski poles if I placed them in front of him like a bar, but mostly I was still holding onto him. By 5, he was skiing a decent wedge on beginner and intermediate slopes and by 6 (last season) he was doing all the trails at Liberty. It was amazing to watch his leg strength and coordination take leaps from year to year. Of course, we had him in formal lessons since he was four (about three to six lessons a season) so that helped a lot.

I really believe the key for kids to pick up skiing is letting them go at their own pace, not pushing them too far and most importantly, making it a fun activity. When our son said he was done, we didn't argue or push him. We took him inside and and gave him hot cocoa and snacks. That way, he always associated skiing with having fun.

As far as daycare, Liberty Mountain has child care, including (I believe) care for infants and (for sure) toddlers. You do need reservations as the child care is popular. As you know your child best, its up to you to decide if they are ready to ski, but as a general rule, I would think that a 2 year old would have more fun with the toys in daycare at a resort, than being on skis. Most 2 year old legs aren't strong enough for even a half day of skiing.
December 4, 2008
Member since 08/24/2007 🔗
134 posts
Hidden valley has a good day care as well. We started our kids at young 2. My daughter took right off and my son did not he wanted to ski between my legs more than try on his own. This year ( he turned 3 in late Oct) he started off from a better place than last year and was even snow plowing on day one. The most important thing is it has to be fun when they are done you are done or you spoil it for both of you. Also if it is under 28 or windy I would skip taking them out. One more thing I would buy is a backpack from luckybum. It helps so much on the lifts

Good Luck

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