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As a parent, it may sometimes be difficult to determine whether or not your child is ready to ski more challenging terrain. There are a few questions you can ask yourself and your child before taking on intermediate terrain.
When moving toward the blue terrain, ask your child if they feel ready to advance. If the answer is positive, then try a gently sloping hill and see how they do. At this point, you can expand their skills with sideslips and parallel turns before they move to steeper hills.
How to Determine If Your Child is Ready to Advance
Key Takeaway: Remember, downhill skiing has the potential to be a lifelong sport.
Children will often be able to determine their skill level, whether they feel comfortable sticking to the bunny hills, or if they’re ready for a bit more of a challenge. Children wary of the green runs are likely not prepared to ski down a black diamond with their parents.
If your child seems on the verge of being ready to advance, you can find a beginner to intermediate-level blue run.
The last thing you want to do is rush your child to the point that they no longer enjoy the activity.
When you notice your child consistently improving and showing interest in expanding their skill set, this may be an appropriate time to take them off the bunny hills. There’s no shame in allowing your kid to ski the green terrain all season long if they’re not growing bored with it.
Kids who have their stops and turns down will be better suited to trying out some blue terrain. However, if your child is still struggling with these components of skiing, they may require a few more practice rounds or perhaps a refresher lesson.
Reminder: Every child is different and while one may run towards the blue terrain with a grin on their face, another may be scared and uneasy to try a steeper run.
That’s okay and at the end of the day, skiing should be a positive experience for everyone. Patience is key, even in skiing.
Moving From Green Ski Runs to Blue
When it comes time to advance to blue runs, skiers may feel anxious and excited at the same time. After all, it’s not every day that beginners get to put their skills to the test at the next level. This requires them to bring together everything they’ve learned and ski on hills with a bit more adrenaline to them.
Naturally, many novice skiers will resort back to wedge and sideslip maneuvers when they get to the blue runs. If needed, intermediate lessons can teach you how to lose these tactics and, instead, keep your skis parallel.
Blue runs are all about gaining a sense of self-control, as they’re where skiers can simultaneously challenge themselves while still building their skills. Encouraging your child when they inevitably fall and help them back up before trying again.
How to Improve Your Child’s Skiing
If you’ve determined that your little one is ready to try the blue terrain, make sure you scope out an easy blue hill.
Tip: Not all intermediate terrain is created equally and some are significantly more challenging than others.
Take your kid to a gently sloping hill and allow them the chance to get a feel for it. Have them practice their stops and turns. For the most part, young skiers can get away with wedge turns on these types of easy blues. If you’re unsure which slope you should take them to, feel free to stop in and ask the local ski school, and they’ll be able to provide pointers.
Due to their young age, kids often have fewer fears than their parents. This can be both exciting from a learning perspective and also a bit nerve-wracking from a parent’s point of view. They’re prone to picking things up quickly and perhaps even outperforming their parents at times.
Some ski schools will begin with children as young as 3-4 years old. This is quite the feat, considering they’ll potentially have 15 years of skiing under their belt by the time they become an adult. This is more skiing than many people get in a lifetime.
Oftentimes, skiing is just as much a mental game as it is a physical activity. Helping your child to overcome any mental barriers, such as a fear of falling, can allow them to spread their wings and improve their skiing skills. Falls are bound to happen at some point, after all.
How to Make Skiing Fun for Kids
If skiing begins to feel like a chore, kids are prone to losing interest. Ski instructors and parents alike shouldn’t run drills for hours a day, as this can cause the winter sport to quickly lose its charm.
Instead, there happens to be a multitude of ski games that can turn practice time into an exciting competition. Games such as Red light, Green light, and Simon Says can help to motivate them to practice their movements and become more comfortable in their boots.
Every child has their own particular set of interests, whether that be animals, sports, or food. Jokingly tell your child to make a slice of pizza with their skills to teach them how to lay the foundation for turning and controlling their speed.
Nothing turns a child’s mood quite like hunger striking at an inopportune time. Make sure to pack snacks with a boost of protein and plenty of hydration to ensure they’re up to the task of absorbing new skills.
There’s no shame in dropping your child off at day camp at the ski resort while you hit up some challenging runs. After all, your kid may enjoy learning from a new instructor and meeting other children who are in the same boat as them. It’s a win-win for everybody involved.
How To Make Your Child a Better Skier Than You
For some adults, especially those who got into the sport well into adulthood, the question is how to make their little one’s better skiers than they are. After all, you don’t want to cause your kid to plateau at the level you’re at.
If this is the case, investing in some ski lessons with an experienced ski instructor can work wonders. This allows a third party to teach your child skills and who knows, maybe you can pick up a thing or two as well.
Kids are often daring enough to try new tricks and stunts that may leave their parents biting their fingernails. While safety is key in skiing, it’s also acceptable to allow your child the freedom to experiment in a controlled environment. This is often where the best learning happens.
Advice: Once you’ve taught your child the basics of what you know, allow them the mobility to learn from other, more experienced skiers.
As they advance through the stages, you may find that they soon leave you in the dust. However, this is a proud moment for many parents.
Why You Shouldn’t Rush Your Kid to Ski Challenging Terrain
The most important thing is to ensure that your child has the skills necessary to safely ski down a more difficult slope. The last thing any parent wants to do is send their kid down terrain that they’re completely unprepared for as this leads to feelings of overwhelm and fear.
Rushing a child to ski terrain that they’re not ready for can create disillusionment with the sport as a whole. Instead, allowing your child to move at their own pace can build a lifelong enjoyment of the winter activity, that they may eventually pass down to their future kids.
If you can tell that your child is tired of skiing that day, head back to the lodge and enjoy that warm cup of hot chocolate. After all, they deserve a treat after learning how to persevere and test their endurance on the slopes.
For those who travel to the mountains once a year, it may feel frustrating if your child isn’t advancing quite as quickly as you had hoped. It can be difficult for a child to refresh what they learned on the last ski vacation while adding new skills on top of that.
To ensure fun is had by all, don’t set preconceived expectations for the ski vacation. Instead, allow it to unfold as it goes. This keeps everyone calm, cool and collected while having a great time enjoying the fluffy white snow and making memories that will last a lifetime.
Ready For Your Next Family Vacation?
Skiing can be fun for the entire family, even the little ones who haven’t quite found their legs yet. Teaching younger kids how to ski requires time and patience and sometimes, many ski sessions on green terrain learning how to stop, fall, and make basic turns.
When making the move to intermediate terrain, take things slow to allow your child to acclimate to the difficulty increase. Many ski resorts have lessons and daycares that allow the younger visitors time and space to practice while allowing the parents to ski some black diamonds before heading home.