Most ski-enthusiastic parents sooner or later come to ask themselves when their kids are finally ready for their first step into the skiing world. Usually, kids can start learning to ski from the age of 4. At that age, children possess the necessary physical and motor skills such as body strength, coordination and stamina.
However, it is important to mind the kids’ individual needs and skills. Whereas some may show motor skills appropriate for skiing early, others may need some more time to be ready and motivated to ski. Even if ski instructors and friendly local skiing mascots are always there to make the kids feel at ease, waiting is never a bad decision.
Older children who haven’t learned to ski when they were little can, of course, learn to ski anytime as well. Whether you have a toddler or a teenager at home who’s eager to learn to ski, ski schools offer beginners lessons for all ages.
The team at CheckYeti has compiled a list of all the possible ski lessons for kids in order for parents to firstly have a better overview and secondly decide what lesson would be most appropriate for their kids.
- Should I teach my child to ski or rather opt for a kids’ ski lesson?
- 2-3 years old: having fun in the snow
- 3-4 years old: time for the very first ski lesson
- 4-6 years old: development of motor skills and first turns
- 7-12 years old: when things get serious
- 13-16 years old: fun & action
Should I teach my child to ski or rather opt for a kids’ ski lesson?
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. Ideally, one should also have basic knowledge of children’s motor skills and on pedagogical teaching methods. Only that way, both child and parent, will have fun learning and teaching to ski.
If you prefer to go the safe way and want your child to learn the basic skiing techniques correctly and effectively while having fun with age-mates, then a kids’ ski lesson is just the right thing for you! During kids’ ski lessons, trained instructors focus on each child’s individual needs. What is more, kids have the opportunity to ski on freshly groomed slopes away from the resort’s busy pistes as they’ll be skiing in a safe kids’ ski area. This guarantees the kids’ security and a fast learning progress, as the kids can slowly get used to the environment.
2-3 years old: having fun in the snow
Numerous ski areas offer kids’ ski lesson for children younger than 3 years old. 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 a ski lesson. And that’s where the ski nursery comes in: here, children can make their first playful experiences in the snow and get used to the skiing equipment. This is the perfect way to prepare for the very first ski lesson.
Several 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 in them, they’ll get their first and after a while, their second ski attached. The ski nursery is also where the little skiers will have the opportunity to try out the magic carpet – a conveyor belt used as a ski lift in kids’ skiing areas.
CheckYeti Tip: The ski area in Courchevel offers lessons for the littlest athletes-in-training at the local Piou Piou Club. Together with the club’s mascot, friendly Piou Piou, the youngest skiers will easily get to know and love skiing.
3-4 years old: time for the very first ski lesson
In general, 3- to 4-year-old kids are ready for their first skiing experience. It is always important to take a child’s individual skills and needs into account. 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 preschool as it will then be easier to learn around a bigger group of children the same age.
During a first ski lesson, kids are taught in a playful way and get used to the skiing equipment. In order not to overwhelm them, instructors first 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 feeling for speed. The duration of beginners lessons is usually under 3 hours as young children don’t have the energy and stamina for longer sessions.
If a child has no prior skiing experience, then it is recommended to book a 1- or 2-day ski lesson first. In doing so, you can see and test whether your child shows interest in skiing. If the first days of skiing are a success, then it’s usually no problem to extend the ski lesson.
CheckYeti Tip: In La Plagne, you’ll find the perfect lesson for your child. They even offer a 1-day ski-trial lesson for beginners, which is a great way for your little skier to discover this new sport.
4-6 years old: development of motor skills and first turns
When kids are between 4 and 6 years old, they experience a true development push that triggers their motor skills: balance and coordination usually improve a lot during this period. Especially when kids already have a little bit of experience, that is the right time to practice turns.
The very first turns are usually done using the snowplough technique. To successfully initiate a snowplough turn, kids have to put their weight on the inside edge of their outside ski. The skis will automatically turn through the weight shift. As soon as the turns are mastered, kids tend to leave the kids’ areas to try out their new skills on beginners’ slopes.
To get to the beginners’ slopes, kids have to use a ski lift which is why they 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 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.
7-12 years old: when things get serious
When a child reaches the age of 7, the necessary strength, coordination and stamina are usually developed to a point where one’s own skiing technique can be practised. It’s around this time that experienced skiers can push their stick usage and parallel turns to perfection. Lessons for children that age usually aim to prepare the participants for the right carving technique through learning to shift the skis from one edge to the other as well as the correct weight shifting.
CheckYeti Tip: Kids with no prior skiing experience can, of course, also discover this unique winter sport. Ski schools in Tignes offer beginners lessons for children of all levels from the age of 6.
13-16 years old: fun & action
If a child started skiing at 3 or 4 years old and practised regularly ever since, it’s only logical that he or she has similar skills to a highly advanced skier when they reach their teenage years. Experienced teenage skiers usually master parallel turns very well, carve better than adults and can easily slide down a black slope (difficult).
It’s especially at this age that kids are looking for more fun and action on the slopes. The perfect option for this would be a ski lesson that offers freestyle and jump technique teaching – a perfect new challenge for a curious and adventurous teenager.
CheckYeti Tip: As a glacier ski region, Sölden offers slopes of every difficulty level – a true skiing paradise for beginners, experienced skiers and professionals! It’s no surprise that numerous lessons for kids and teenagers are offered here. 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 something of their taste here!
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!