AT WHAT AGE SHOULD YOU INTRODUCE YOUR CHILDREN TO SKIING
‘My kid started skiing at 2 years old and was skiing in nappies through all of the season’, we hear them say, but that’s not the case for most children. Not that the age is important, but more the temperament and the motor skills of the child.
For a child to ski on a voluntary basis, they must walk and run steadily, associate the snow and the winter with pleasure and witness your personal example – how you go skiing with a smile on your face.
Sledging, tobogganing, snow tubing, snowball fights, snowman making, baby-skiing.. you need to share these experiences with your child to help develop an adventurous spirit, confidence and a positive attitude to winter sports. Only then is it advisable to allow your child to ski. As a general rule the child should be at least three and a half years old.
Most parent-skiers prefer to give their child’s first ski lessons, but it’s good not to be the only teacher. Let a professional instructor teach them the basic skills at the beginning. Success depends upon how well your child tolerates separation from you and for how long; how they communicate with less familiar people; whether they listen and follow guidance; and last but not least, at what intervals they need the toilet.
Children should begin skiing on a slope with a very gentle gradient. First the children learn to ski a few metres with parallel skis and then how to stop alone on a small incline of snow. It is too early to attempt turns right now. Once the child has more control over the skis, they can start doing the snow-plough and go for a longer ski down a green run (the beginner’s run). Here, the ski instructor keeps the ski poles parallel to the ground and at the child’s level, the child rests on them for balance and so stays close to him whilst moving. There are several variations of this technique.
You will see that children make rapid progress – they are not afraid of falling, and when they fall down do not make a drama of it. They quickly get back to their feet and carry on. With a lot of praise and encouragement, children quickly find the pleasure in skiing and snow. If there are positive results, try to keep up the pace for three consecutive days, but not more than 2 hours a day.
The thing is that children easily get distracted and prefer to explore another fun activities. So you will have to stop often for hot chocolate at the tearooms, have pastries for the chair-lifts, and try to encourage and advance the ski-training in the form of a game. Do everything with the rhythm of the child, without pushing too hard and without reproach. And most importantly, the idea is to have fun together and enjoy a good time with your child in the mountains. There is plenty of time ahead to achieve ski-proficiency!
One of the Grand Monastery’s advantages is that there is a beginner’s ski slope suitable for sledging and skiing only 100 metres from the entrance. If your child is trained there by a ski instructor, and you are skiing yourself, you will be able to see them every 20 minutes, if you ski in a circuit. Or you can both go out and go back to the hotel several times a day – not too difficult given the easy access to the kids slope and no need of a lift. The Slavi Ski School will be happy to include your child in a small group of beginner children. Call us on +359 889 002020 for the rest!
Is there another sport where you can hear ‘Grandpa, I was faster than you today …’? Skiing is the only family sport where 3 generations can have fun side by side and measure skills along the same tracks. The best thing is that you can always start to learn to ski. The family memories of every skiing holiday are invaluable!