I bet you didn't know this but Veyo Kids is run by two Dads who met years ago while teaching skiing. Yours truly Chris "Jigidy" Jensen and founder/CEO Drake Munson. We've stayed best friends for years now and learned a lot of great tips on how to teach little ones how to ski both from teaching our owns kids how to ski but hundreds or other kids. Here's our top tips for teaching your kids how to ski.
First, if you don't feel comfortable teaching your kids to ski, then don't. Put them in a lesson with other kids their age and a professional ski instructor. They will have a blast, learn a bunch, and you get to go skiing!
Ok, if you're still with me here's some tips to make the process smooth and fun
- Practice at home! Before you even hit the slopes put the skis and boots on at home. Let your little one walk around on the carpet and get used to the weight, balance, and just walking around. Have them practice their "athletic stance" leaning forward with knees slightly bent. You can also practice making "pizza" shapes to stop and "french fries" to go. You'll be miles ahead if you spend just 20 minutes doing this at home.
- It's all about the pizza. Kids love pizza and the pizza shape is how you stop. But, it's not the only way to stop. Make sure you teach your kids the "emergency stop" What's that? Fall down! You want to teach your child that it's not ok to run into trees, signs, or people and to fall down if they are about to hit something. A lot of time it's hard for kids to make a pizza shape and actually stop, here's where a few pointers come in. Get a pair of tip clamps or "edgie wedgies" these little devices hold the tips or your child's skis together so if they push their feet apart they automatically make a pizza. The next tip...knees apart. It's hard to make a pizza unless your knees are apart. Tell your child to imagine they are riding a horse or have a beach ball between their knees...but always leaning forward with knees slightly bent (athletic stance). Pro tip: If you're a good skier and can ski backwards in front of your child then use a ski pole to gently guide, speed up or slow down your child by placing your ski pole tip on the tip clamps. Once your child can stop comfortably on their own take the tip clamps off so they don't get too dependent on it.
- No ropes or harnesses. These things are just silly. Have you seen them? Parents with elaborate harnesses strapped to their kids following them around and pulling on the leash. There are two things very wrong with these. First if you pull on the leash to slow your child down you are pulling them into the "back seat" out of the athletic stance so they lose all control. Second, it's going to take your child a lot longer to learn how to ski if they aren't skiing on their own. Lose the harness and let them learn how to ski. I had both my kids skiing on their own when they were just two years old...they don't need your help.
- Dress warm! Always better to dress warm and lose a layer or two than to have cold kiddos. A good pair of wool socks and a pair of Mittyz go a long ways in keeping hands and fee warm.
- Lastly and most importantly, Make it Fun! If it isn't fun your kids won't want to go so make it the best day ever. Put candy in your pockets, stop for cookies and hot cocoa and as soon as they are having the most fun ever, it's time to go home. Don't wait until they are tired and cold...leave on a high note.
With a bit of practice your little one's will be out skiing you! Here's my 4 year old daughter on "Screaming Cheetah" at Grand Targhee, Wyoming.