Learning to ski or snowboard at an early age is the perfect way to help young children instill a love for winter. Exploring the slopes helps kids build self-confidence, meet new friends and develop a lifelong affinity for the outdoors.
Living in Upstate New York, the winters are long and cold and I have vowed that we will not spend it inside developing serious cases of cabin fever. This season we are introducing our 3 and 6 year old kids to skiing!
I’ve been pumping up our ski trips to Vermont for weeks, explaining what skiing is and what they’ll be experiencing all in an effort to give them some familiarity before we even set foot on the mountain. They’re young and it will very likely be cold, a mix that doesn’t always bode well with little kids so I know keeping them pumped for the trip will help. Here are some of the ways I’ve been getting our kids psyched to ski that will hopefully help you introduce the mountain to your kids. Bring on the snow!
After talking up skiing to the kids, I wanted them to feel those awkward first steps in ski boots and for them to actually see real skis. Spending an hour at a local ski expo was a gold mine for this. The kids were able to try on boots, helmets and goggles. They loaded up on stickers (always a kid pleaser in our house) and watched videos of kids taking lessons at the various resort tables. For the weeks after that my three year old kept asking for us to “read about skiing” which translated to “let’s go through the brochures again”.
Used Sporting Goods Sale
We are fortunate to have an awesome annual Boy Scouts fundraiser, specifically geared towards selling used winter sporting gear. We were in the market for ice skates and gloves but this trip was another great example of showing our kids what skis look like and to explain to them how the skis attach to their boots. It’s small moments like these that build up an excitement level in kids.
Kids love watching other kids and what better way for them to see what their first ski lesson might be like than to watch videos of kids skiing. Also, many ski resorts, including Smugglers’ Notch in Vermont, have great videos on their website that are also great kid pleaser.
Turn your bed time reading routine into another opportunity to plug skiing. I found that the books with real images and not illustrated stories really got my kids excited, especially when they realized that they would soon look like those kids in the pictures. Let’s Downhill Ski from the Pebble Plus series provides great photographs of kids skiing and explains various aspects of skiing from riding a chair lift to wearing goggles. For new readers I would recommend I Can Ski by Melanie Davis Jones which is a great first read on attending ski school. Lastly, for kids who at a chapter book reading level, The Little Rippers – Here Come the Little Rippers is sweet story about an annual visit to Vermont to ski and visit family which turns into a great adventure for a brother and sister.
Last and most the important tip…
Visit Your Local Ski Shop and Get Your Kids Some Gear
After the expo we knew we needed to get some serious gear to protect the kid’s precious little heads and bodies. We went to a local ski shop to have the kids properly fitted for ski helmets. As soon as our girly girl found herself a pink helmet, she was sold. The kids have been eating breakfast while wearing their new ski goggles and watching Phineas and Ferb with helmets on.
I hope you find these tips useful and let us know if you’ve found other ways to build real skiing enthusiasts with your kids.