Five Things Parents Should Know About their First Family Ski or Snowboard Experience

 

CONTACT: Mary Jo Tarallo | 212-431-6950 | mjt@learntoskiandsnowboard.com 

November 2017 - There are plenty of unknowns when newcomers start skiing or snowboard and that is especially true for parents who want their kids to learn. There are a few key thinks to consider that will make that first time experience more enjoyable for both parents and kids.

The www.learntoskiandsnowboard.org web site is a good resource for information and programs that encourage snow sports participation among parents and their kids.

Take Lessons from A Pro

@Brave Ski Mom, AKA Kristen Lummis, the well respected blogger from Grand Junction, CO, writes a lot about parents, kids and families who ski or snowboard – or want to ski or snowboard. One thing she advocates especially for parents with kids who are just starting out is to take beginner lessons.

“Kids can start lessons as young as three or four, depending upon the program at their resort,” she says. “No matter how old your child, he or she should be potty-trained and ready to spend time away from mom and dad”.

She has some Tips for Parents Here

Kevin Jordan is a children’s instructor at Aspen-Snowmass so he also has a wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience dealing with parents and kids.

“Many times, students do better when Mom and Dad, whom they are trying to impress, are not around”, he cautions “Let your child have a group experience and make new friends. They can tell you all about their experience after the lesson”.

He has even More Tips for Parents

Eating a Good Breakfast and a Little Prep Exercise is Valuable 

Jordan also advocates that kids eat a proper breakfast that will enable them to better enjoy a day of outdoor exercise. It’s especially important for beginners who are taking lessons

“Make sure they eat a good breakfast. Believe it or not, kids will expend a ton of energy in a lesson,” he says. “If they eat a well-balanced breakfast, they are less likely to crash before lunch and get the most out of the lesson. Make sure they are well fueled”.

Working hand in glove with good nutrition is a simple “get ready” exercise program to home a few muscles commonly used when skiing or snowboarding. “Clever parents might even be able to figure out a way to get ready with their kids by making conditioning a fun thing to do,” said Mary Jo Tarallo, executive director for the Learn to Ski and Snowboard/Bring a Friend initiative. 

Dressing Properly is a Key Ingredient

Say no to jeans. Cotton absorbs water and manifests no insulating qualities. Experienced skiers and snowboarders will tell you that waterproof outerwear is only part of the equation. Layering is the best bet meaning an undergarment as the first layer, a turtleneck or shell as the second layer with a jacket and waterproof pants as the third.

Mittens or gloves are a must. Typically, kids will only need one pair of socks. Chances are that most of the suggested items are already in one’s closet but a quick on-line search or – better yet – a visit to a local ski/snowboard specialty shop can de-mystify the “dressing for success” conundrum. 

FREE4KIDS – Programs for Elementary School Children 

A number of U.S. resort associations run what are called “Passport Programs”. These are not intended to send kids out of the country but to provide affordable opportunities for children in the fourth, fifth and/or sixth grades to ski or snowboard in the states where the programs apply. The programs vary. Some apply only to residents of the specific state but others do not. A fill list of Passport Programs is available

Safety on the Slopes and Helmets

The National Ski Areas Association has a program called Lids on Kids. It outlines the importance of kids wearing them. The Lids on Kids web site goes way beyond why it is important for kids to wear them though. It includes a clever video on “respect for the slopes” and other tips that can make the snow sports experience more enjoyable.

 

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