Most ski-enthusiast parents sooner or later come to ask themselves the question of when their kids will finally be ready to make their first moves on skis.Usually kids can have their first ski lessons from the age of 4yrs, as it’s from around that age that children first possess the physical and motor skills needed to be able to ski.
However, whereas some children may seem to have the required skills from a very early age, others may need more time. Even if ski instructors and friendly local skiing mascots are there to make the kids feel at ease, waiting a little longer to begin with lessons is never a bad decision.
Older children who didn’t learn to ski when they were little can, of course, learn to ski at anytime. Whether you have a preschooler or a teenager at home who’s eager to learn to ski, most ski schools offer beginner lessons from a young age.
In order to help make the decision a little easier, the CheckYeti team has compiled a list of all the ski lesson options for kids:
- Should I teach my child to ski or rather opt for kids’ ski lessons?
- 2-3yrs old: having fun in the snow
- 3-4yrs old: time for the very first ski lesson
- 4-6yrs old: development of motor skills and making first turns
- 7-12yrs old: when things begin to get more serious
- 13-16yrs old: fun & action
Should I teach my child to ski or rather opt for kids’ ski lessons?
In some cases, parents prefer to teach their kids to ski themselves. However, you should only consider doing this if you are an experienced skier and have an excellent technique and patience. Only with these prerequisites can both the child and the parent enjoy the learning & teaching process.
2-3yrs old: having fun in the snow
Numerous ski resorts offer kids’ ski lessons for children younger than 3yrs. However, in most cases these “lessons” take place in local ski nurseries. Kids this young usually don’t have the necessary stamina, coordination and strength for hours of proper training. In the ski nursery, children can have their first playful experiences in the snow and get used to the ski equipment.
Various games are played with children in order to get them used to the equipment. First, the kids get to play in their ski shoes. Once they feel at ease with these, they’ll have their first, and after a while their second ski attached. The ski nursery is also where the little skiers have the opportunity to try out the magic carpet – a type of conveyor belt used as a basic ski lift in kids’ skiing areas.
CheckYeti Tip: The ski area in Courchevel offers lessons for the smallest skiers at the local Piou Piou Club. With the help of the club’s mascot, friendly Piou Piou, the youngest skiers get to know and love skiing.
3-4yrs old: time for the very first ski lesson
In general, 3- to 4yr old kids are ready for their first skiing experience. It is always important to take a child’s individual capability into account and based on this, parents should be able to decide whether or not their child is ready for a ski lesson. It’s always a big advantage for the child if he or she has attended kindergarten or preschool, as it will then be easier to learn within a group of children of the same age.
During the first ski lesson, kids are introduced to skiing in a playful way and begin to get used to the equipment. In order not to overwhelm them, instructors firstly teach kids how to slide on an even surface and afterwards practice the snowplough. Mastering the snowplough is very important as this technique allows the kids to brake and to get a first feeling for speed. The duration of beginners lessons is usually under 3hrs as young children generally don’t have the energy and stamina for longer sessions.
If a child has no previous skiing experience, then it is recommended to firstly book only 1- or 2-days of ski lessons. In doing so, you can see whether your child shows an interest in skiing. If the first days of skiing are a success, then it’s usually no problem to book further lessons.
CheckYeti Tip: The ski resort of La Plagne offers a 1-day ski-trial lesson for beginners, which is a great way for your little skier to discover this new sport.
4-6yrs old: development of motor skills and first turns
When kids are between 4 and 6yrs old, they experience a development push that triggers their motor skills and balance & coordination usually improve a lot during this period. This is the ideal time to start to practice turns – particularly when the kids have already had some skiing experience.
The very first turns are usually made using the snowplough technique. To successfully initiate a snowplough turn, kids have to put their weight on the inside edge of their outer ski. Through the resulting weight shift, the skis will automatically turn. As soon as the turns are mastered, lessons tend to progress from the kids’ areas and move to the beginners’ slopes within the resort.
The beginners’ slopes are accessed by ski lifts, which is why kids are always taught the correct way to use a ski lift. Training lifts in closed areas are available for kids wanting to practice their ski lift rides.
CheckYeti Tip: The Kids Wonderland in Kitzbühel is the perfect place for children who are eager to learn to ski. Here, they’ll get to know the sport in a fun, safe and playful environment. You can decide on site whether you’d like to opt for lunchtime supervision (including a meal) for your child.
7-12yrs old: when things get more serious
When a child reaches the age of 7, their strength, coordination and stamina have usually developed enough for them to begin to optimise their stick usage and parallel turns technique. Lessons for children of this age usually aim to prepare the participants for the correct carving technique through correct weight shifting.
CheckYeti Tip: Kids with no previous skiing experience can, of course, also begin to discover skiing at this age. Ski schools in Tignes offer beginners lessons for children of all levels from the age of 6.
13-16yrs old: fun & action
If a child started skiing at age 3 or 4 and has practised regularly ever since, it’s only logical that he or she will have very advanced skills by the time they reach when they reach their teenage years. Experienced teenage skiers usually master parallel turns very well, carve better than adults and can easily navigate down a black slope.
It’s especially at this age that kids are looking for more fun and action on the slopes. The solution here would be ski lessons that focus on freestyle and jumping technique – both of which will offer the ideal new challenge for an adventurous teenager.
CheckYeti Tip: As a glacier ski region, Sölden offers pistes of all levels. It’s a true skiing paradise for everyone from beginners to professionals! No surprise therefore that the resort offers numerous lessons for kids and teenagers. Whether you’re looking for a ski race training session, freestyle lessons or ski lessons on the local glacier, everyone can be sure to find the lessons of their choice at Sölden!
Whether I’m describing a beautiful ski area or telling you all about the right skiing techniques, writing articles always makes me want to leave for a new adventure, and I hope reading them has the same effect on you!