What Is The Best Age to Start Skiing? (Younger Than You Think)

by Anthony Schwabe | Posted On: September 5th, 2022
kids skiing

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Most of us have all seen kids flying down the slopes looking like professionals. It always gets me thinking – what age did they start skiing?

Ages 4 to 6 are possibly the best for young children as they have all they need to learn well. Young adults also generally learn very quickly. While there is no outright best age to learn to ski, there are age ranges that work better than others.

One of the best parts of skiing is that almost anyone can start at almost any age. There have been countless kids starting out as young as 2 years old and becoming skiers or snowboarders in no time at all.  That being said, there are certain benefits to starting out at different ages that are worth considering. 

The Youngest Possible – 2 Years Old

Now, you might be thinking that two years old is simply too young. While there is definitely merit in that sentiment, it doesn’t apply to everyone.  Some children at this age are already starting to show off some coordination and finer motor skills, which could be great for tubing and snowboarding. 

It certainly isn’t the optimum age to start skiing for most kids, but there are ski schools that offer lessons to kids this young.  There are even some kids out there that have started younger, but they’re a bit more of a rarity. 

Young Children (Ages 3 to 6)

kids on ski

A large majority of ski schools like to take in kids starting in this age range of 3-6. This is because kids have started getting a better understanding of their motor skills and coordination.  At this point, kids have pretty much all they need to learn to ski well.

This is great because this is typically the age people like to start going on family vacations together. For skiing parents, it’s a great idea to drop your children off at a ski school while you take a couple of runs on the slopes. 

Another huge factor is that this is when kids are able to communicate and be communicated with more effectively. It’s incredibly difficult to teach a child who hasn’t grasped things like this. 

Physically, children are also more ready at this age as well. There is more energy for playing and learning, and skiing really encapsulates both.

I think it’s worth noting that the vast majority of professional skiers and snowboarders started in this age range, partly because of how long it takes to get to an expert level of skiing.

Kids (Ages 7 to 12)

kids skiing (2)

This is where you can really see great results from ski schools and lessons. Kids this age are usually able to follow instructions well, which speeds up the learning process hugely. 

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The older the child is, the faster the learning process goes generally.

Physical development at this age also means kids have gained a pretty good grasp of their fine motor skills and have reached a solid level of coordination. For kids that haven’t quite nailed their coordination, snowboarding is also a great option. 

Mental focus and energy levels are also higher at this age, which means the kids can better apply themselves to their lessons.  All of this means kids in this age range will be able to apply all of their excited energy to learning either skiing or snowboarding. 

Adolescents (Ages 12 to 20) 

Ski Lesson 2
Photo by Simon Hannaford under CC BY 2.0

The teen years are an interesting age group, not just for learning skiing. You’ll find kids have all the prerequisites like good coordination and communication, but learning can still be tough. 

Teen angst can definitely play a factor, particularly if your teen doesn’t actually want to learn to ski in the first place.  It might require a bit of encouragement, but generally, most teens are quite keen to give it ago.

In fact, if skiing or snowboarding is something your teen is interested in, their teenage energy might be the perfect way to fuel the learning process.  I remember it was very tough to keep me off the slopes when I was learning at this age. 

One very important aspect to note when it comes to the teen years is the accompanying growth spurts. If you are planning on having your teens learn to ski or snowboard, remember that they are still growing. 

Buying gear and hoping it lasts long at this age is a losing battle. You could buy the best ski boots out there, only for them to not fit anymore in a few months. In this case it might be best to rent or buy in the summer sales to save.

Young Adults (Ages 21 to 30) 

teenager skiing

Another great time to start skiing is as a young adult. There are plenty of reasons that make this potentially the best time to learn, especially in terms of recreational skiing. 

In terms of physicality, young healthy adults typically have it all. They’re fully developed, while still being free from any of the niggling injuries that can build up over the years (for the most part). 

Most people in this age range will start to have a disposable income, which will certainly be used to fuel your newfound skiing addiction. It also means you won’t be beholden to someone else choosing when and where you get to ski. 

Finally, most young adults have a desire to explore the world and travel, and skiing is great way to explore more places. You can ski all year round if you really want to.

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Adults (Ages 30+)

Cross Country Skiing
Cross Country or Nordic Skiing

As they say, it’s never too late to learn. If you’ve made it this far in your life without skiing once, you’ve definitely missed out and it’s time to rectify that.  While learning as an adult comes with its own unique set of challenges, the benefits definitely outweigh them. 

One of the biggest difficulties comes from any preexisting injuries that may have accrued over the years. Thankfully, with the right care, most injuries won’t prevent you from learning to ski or snowboard.

Once this has been overcome, there are a host of benefits to learning to ski at this age. Many people this age will have more disposable income that they can use to fund their newfound hobby. 

If you have kids, now it might be a great time for you to start learning to ski together as a family. Taking your family on a ski adventure is a great vacation option. It can be expensive and fair amount of effort to organize – but boy is it worth it. It can make for precious memories of learning to ski or snowboard with your children.  Learning a new sport together can be incredibly rewarding.

The Best Time To Learn To Ski For Children

The best time for kids to start learning is between 4 and 6 years old. Teenagers also take to snow well and are fast learners. Have lessons, wear all the right gear, and take it slow. Stick to green groomers and build confidence over time.

kids helmet

The young adult stage (20+ years old) is another great age to start learning. More disposable income and adult freedom mean a person can pursue their hobby as much as they are able, which really speeds up learning. 

That being said, almost anyone, young or old can (and should if your so inclined) learn how to ski or snowboard. It’s one of the best things you can do in life and there isn’t much stopping most people once they’ve had their first experience.  

When Shouldn’t You Start Skiing? 

Unfortunately, there are some reasons you shouldn’t start skiing, regardless of age. 

Of course, if you’ve never skied before, it might not be the best idea to jump onto the slopes after a certain age, but that varies from person to person greatly. There are definitely some elderly folks ripping it up well into their golden years. 

Another one to consider is those who are severely overweight. Skiing is a very physical activity and can be hard on the body, especially for those who aren’t particularly fit. 

It might be wise to train and work your way up to skiing later down the line. This will reduce the possibility of injury and set you up for a much more enjoyable experience.

yellow jacket

The last consideration worth noting is your general well-being. Serious knee, hip, back, or ankle issues can mean going skiing is just asking for trouble. Doctors advise pregnant women to avoid skiing.

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Skiing can put a lot of pressure on joints in the lower body and the back. This is particularly true when jumping or falling. Unfortunately, bailing is sometimes unavoidable, so it’s worth considering the consequences and possible injuries you could sustain.  These should definitely be considered, but they don’t have to stop you outright.

Check with your doctor beforehand if you have any preexisting injuries or medical concerns. If possible, they’ll clear you for the slopes and you’ll be good to go.

Medical Disclaimer: The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

Is 30 Too Old to Start Skiing?

Blue Skier Pants

Absolutely not. The list of reasons not to start skiing is very short, and being over 30 is not on that list.  As an adult skier, there are some steps you should take before starting out like checking with your doctor. This is particularly true for anyone with back or joint issues in their lower bodies.

Other than that, 30 is a great time to learn. Many people at this age start to have kids, and learning to ski together with your children is a special experience unique to learning later in life

Should My Child Ski or Snowboard First?

kid snowboard

Choosing between skiing and snowboarding is the first challenge in learning either one. So how do you decide which sport to choose?

Comparing the two, skiing is a little easier than snowboarding in the very beginning. Skiing mimics standing up, while snowboarding is like surfing. But once you’re standing, snowboarding is noticeably easier than skiing. 

Other factors are things like the child’s preference. If they say they want to snowboard, perhaps that’s what they should try first.  Another factor is what you as a parent do. If you are an avid snowboarder, it’s probably best that they start on a board so that you can help them progress. That said, skiers and snowboards can ride together.

Just remember, whichever of the two you or your child chooses isn’t permanent. The switch can easily be made at a later stage if it becomes clear the wrong choice was made. 

kids learning to ski

Article Recap

Learning to ski or snowboard is an amazing experience that should be near the top of your to-do list. One of the best parts is that anyone can learn at almost any age. It’s incredibly fun for most people.

Young children between the ages of 4 and 6 usually excel in their learning and have the potential to become avid & skilled skiers. Young adults can also use their physical fitness and disposable income to fund their passions, and skiing should be one of them. 

Older adults shouldn’t be perturbed, though – it’s almost never too late to learn.

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NewToSki.com is where over 1 million people a year come to learn more about skiing. I founded this website so I could share everything that I wish someone had told me, when I started learning to ski in 2005. As seen in Yahoo, HowStuffWorks, MSN. Learn More

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