Skiing – 4/5 yr old, how good will they get?
My son is just under 5 and in March I am taking him for his first ski holiday 😀
He is having lesson every afternoon with the ESF, so I assume will start in kindergarten type thing.
I know every kid is different, but am I deluded if I think he will be good enough to ski blues by the end of the week?
TaPosted 3 years agogrowingladMember
You may have to stay with him during the lessons. I know our daughter was okay, but the boys who were similar age weren’t allowed to be left on their own in this particular ski school.
They will love it, but they do tend to get tired towards the end of the week.
I took ours swimming each afternoon as they were getting too knackered being on ski’s for the whole idea.
Our boys after they learnt the snow plough, realised that that slowed them down and decided straight down was much more fun.
If it’s just one child and you can ski, I’m sure you can shepherd him down. I sometimes see some people with a strap around the kids waist and the parent behind, so they let the kid go in front, but have control if they need to stop or something.
Enjoy.Posted 3 years ago
If he is doing lessons then expect him to be riding a poma and coming down the bunny runs on his own by about day three or four.
It’s amazing how quickly they learn at a young age.
My daughter did her first lessons at two and a half. Just an hour a day one-on-one in a kids play area type thing.
Then last year (at three and a half) she did a week of group lessons an got her first “qualification”. She can happily ride the poma, get off, ski down in control then get back on again. Which is basically the point that it gets interesting.
We’re off to France this Friday – she’ll be four and a half, she’s doing group lessons again and she is really excited.
I’m really looking forward to seeing how she does. I may post an annoying proud dad video 😀Posted 3 years agohot_fiatSubscriber
I was 5 when I was taught to ski. We spent two weeks in Wengen in 1981. I hated the first week in ski school, but then really got into it for the second, after my mum (who couldn’t ski), took me onto the nursery slopes during the intervening weekend to play.
Teaching has improved loads since then, with much lighter and shorter kids skis, rear-entry kids boots and a greater emphasis on fun. I would suspect that by the end of the first lesson your son will be doing little gentle plough turns, by the second he’ll be on a slow poma and by thursday will want to come out with you to play in the morning on a gentle green.
Don’t underestimate how tired he’ll get. IME kids ski clothing is either unbelievably faffy (gloves, cuffs, lid, gogles, stupid shoes, what has dad put on my feet?) and restrictive which tires you out through frustration, or not as warm (and dry) as you’d think, which tires you out through keeping warm. Add to that having to concentrate all the time and the physical exertion of plodding about skiing & you have a recipe for a very tired bod.Posted 3 years agostevie750Subscriber
My 4 year old did lessons with ESF last year. They didn’t leave the snow garden, so didn’t do poma’s only magic carpets. Was really impressed with what she could do but wouldn’t expect her to be able to do a blue.Posted 3 years ago
I think 5/6 year olds get onto teh nursery slopes and use the poma’scaptain slowMember
Yes you are deluded. If it happens then fine, but for most kids of that age it will take longer.
And unless the instructors ask you otherwise just drop him off and leave (sneak back and have a look from out of sight later if you must) as there is nothing that makes kids cry more than their parents’ presence. If he knows you are going and coming back in a couple of hours he will be fine.Posted 3 years agocastaneaMember
As mentioned above, the ski school won’t want you hanging around. Gives the kid more than one authority figure and causes them to get distracted.
Ability wise… Who cares! If the kid comes away from the week with a positive vibe and a want to go back because it was fun then I’d say thats the most you can hope for. Doubtless they will learn something through the games at ski school and perhaps wide open blues a few times at the end of the week will be possible with you, if you’re competent.
Soo many parents push too hard for their kids to progress. Mostly selfishly so they can ski the mountain with family etc Physiologically kids under about 7 don’t have the fine motor control needed to steer the feet acurately. A fat plough using the whole legs and a level of comfort with the sliding feeling is doing well for that age on week one.Posted 3 years ago
Guess I’m pushy then 😀
When she was two and half our daughter pleaded saying “If I try really hard at my lessons can I come up the hill with you?”
Her lessons were only an hour a day, but she did very well so on the last day we took her up the hill on the gondy. There was a nice kids bit up there where she could go sledging or be pulled around in a circle on her skis.
She did all that. And slept for a bit. But still desperately wanted a go on a run. We relented. She went up the poma between my mate’s skis then rode halfway down the bunny run between his skis too.
She slammed. There were tears. I brushed her down, gave her a cuddle and she rode the rest of the way down on my board.
She still talks happily about it two years later. 😀Posted 3 years agojambalayaSubscriber
If they take to it an easy blue yes. Biggest issue with one of mine was she hated the chair lifts, first week ski school tends to be just baby tow and short pomma lift as the chairs need an adult one-to-one with the little ones. My biggest tip is don’t push them on too hard. Let them do it at their pace and focus on your time with them doing the fun stuff like a hot chocolate. You want to get them hooked on the whole experience.Posted 3 years agoLady GresleyMember
Reminds me of when I used to teach 3 to 5 year olds at my local dry ski slope – I hope your ESF classes have better ratios of instructor to kids than I did. Someone (clearly NOT an instructor) decided it was ok for me to have 10 of the Little Darlings in one class – fortunately two of the dads were really, really helpful in returning said Little Darlings to the start point and the correct way up! A 3 year old does find it really difficult to side step up a slope, after all they haven’t really been walking that long.Posted 3 years ago
Our four year old is doing 9x1hr at Xscape on Sunday mornings. Four weeks in he’s snow ploughing and starting to turn.
He’s then in lessons at Les Gets at Easter.
His brother did 4hrs at Xscape when he was 5 and following that after a week in the Alps was fine snowploughing blues. Stopping him skiing until he fell asleep was the main issue. Two years later his parallels were still messy but they got him down reds with no scary issues. Needs to tidy those turns.
Offering them the opportunity isn’t being pushy; forcing them to do it when they don’t want to is – and they all learn at different rates and are ready at different times.
One other thing is that our two respond better to male instructors. Don’t know why, maybe its a little boy thing, but the older one is the same with school teachers.Posted 3 years agoboxelderSubscriber
We went for first trip to Les Gets a few weeks ago. ESF were great and our 5 yr (just) daughter was skiing blues by day 5. Morning lessons and with us after lunch. She’s got good balance and is pretty confident physically though. 10 yr old son was onto blue after 3/4 mornings.Posted 3 years agoEdukatorMember
Junior at 5 going on 6. We put him on x-c skis at 22 months so he could get around the start/finish area while we were racing. At 3/4 his feet were big enough for alpine boots so we started pointing him downhill. By 4 he was autonomous on easy drag lifts and blues, the vid shows him at five and at six he could ski the whole resort and the easy off-piste. At six he joined the ski club and started racing at 7.
Edit: digital cameras have come a long way since 03Posted 3 years ago99percentchimpMember
Our first trip was last year (youngest was just 6) and he went from a few previous lessons on dry slopes to a beating me down reds by the end of the first week – we had a few family lessons focussed on the two kids as we’d booked late and missed ski schools. The youngest was just 7 this year and two days ago he managed his first black in clag and falling snow with no falls… he’s been off piste all week by the side of every run! The older one is a bit more technically capable on piste but not as brave! They are all different I guess but mine have taken to it like ducks to water! No lessons this year – just some trips out with the folks from the chalet.Posted 3 years ago
Each year we have done a lot but have made sure we stop each day before they get too knackered/cold etc. Snacks in pockets for them and spare buffs/gloves in case they chill keeps the moral up!TheDTsMember
We have a great harness which makes skiing with small kids much more comfortable for you. It’s got a handle on the back between the shoulders. makes skiing with them between your legs much easier as you don’t have to bend down to hold them under the arms. We will be using it this easter with our girls 3 & 5. My sister used it before us and covered a fair bit of ground with my niece. It dose give them a chance to see a bit more of the mountain and realise there is more to it than the nursery slope and kindergarten. She also used it with an extendable dog lead, when niece got more independent. They had to be carful of other skiers going between them though.Posted 3 years ago
Harness also useful for putting stroppy kid on the bus, whilst you are carrying two pairs of skis and on chailifts without the extra bit on the safety bar.
Thanks for all the shared info.
It means at least towards the start of the week I can go and play all day without feeling guilty!
Although I am sure he will be going down a few runs on my shoulders (already asked if I will), and maybe between my legs.
I used to be an instructor, but it was a few years back, and never such young kids. As some have said above, teaching of young kids has progressed some what, and teaching young kids is very different to teaching adults.
I’m not too sure about any device that controls him,he needs to learn his own limitations IMO.
All good info. Ta
Cant wait to get out son some runs with him and Mrs FDPosted 3 years agosweaman2Subscriber
I’m not too sure about any device that controls him,he needs to learn his own limitations IMO
sweajnr1 is too young currently but he will be on a leash. I can still remember a couple of years ago seeing a kid of ~4 or so making a perfect pizza at terminal velocity down a blue at Lake Louise straight towards the lift line. He couldn’t turn and couldn’t stop (I”m honestly not sure he wanted to do either anyway)… but what I can remember is the father essentially skiing close behind and knocking him over as the only way to stop the impending collision.Posted 3 years ago
To be fair if I didnt think he could stop, or understand the need to stop I would let him out on a piste where he could injure himself.
He was pretty good sledging this last week, took him to a steep slope, with a very steep bit. Was good to see he actually knew when the right time was to bail out 😆Posted 3 years agoantigeeMember
Don’t underestimate how tired
he’llyou’ll get. IME kids ski clothing is either unbelievably faffy (gloves, cuffs, lid, goggles, stupid shoes
getting to the ski lift can challenge parental organisational skills
Ours had a couple of dry ski slope sessions so they didn’t end up falling over and being at the back of the class.Posted 3 years ago
Oldest was skiing reds with nice parallel turns and using chair lifts at age 6 after 2 or 3 days on her first trip – Youngest said just the same as on the wii
Girls though – have style and listen to instructions and laugh at the boys going straight down fast and out of controlBearBackMember
If you have access to any kids sized gear, a huge early boost to your kids learning would be to simply put them in boots and in skis and let them shuffle about in the garden with them on.
Get good clothing (and very good gloves) to keep them warm and dry on the snow to make sure that the experience is only positive!
We are very lucky in that at 3, both our boys started a 2 day a week kids program. 9am-3pm. The fist few days were basically snow play in boots and shuffling about on skis and making their way up 5m of carpet to barely slide back down. Combined with inside play breaks, lunch, hot chocolate and cookies etc.
Once they have that dialled, they progress onto a 20m magic carpet then pizza wedge back down (with or without edgy wedgys depending on strength). From there to a short slow chairlift that serves a great learning zone to work on turns etc. Now they are both up high and exploring the real mountain
If you can get your kid used to shuffling, you’re one step ahead and they will get more value from the lessons.
I’d suggest that the difference between ‘never ever’ and at least being ‘familiar’ with wearing skis is a huge early confidence boost.
Both my kids had their biggest days on Tuesday with my 4.5yr old skiing 6300m vert and my 3yo 3000m vert (gps tracking +/- errors). Youngest then slept for 13 hours. It literally wipes them out!
But, its superb to see them enjoy it and progress, and priceless to let someone else get them through the early stages.Posted 3 years ago
I gave myself a hernia skiing with my eldest between my legs/waist harnessed at 2.5.
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