The six-year-old couldn't quite grasp how he'd get to the top of the snow-covered hill.
"Do you fly up?" Max asked during the drive to the mountain. "Drive a truck?"
Any way he could get to the top of the hill, Max was determined to ski down. And just a day after putting on skis and boots for the first time, helmet securely buckled, my little six-year-old cousin was riding a chairlift, practicing turns. “Look at me!” he yelled.
The learning curve certainly is quicker with today's skis. And instructors at Park City Mountain Resort get special training to teach kids. A lot of the kids who are new to skiing have taken part in other activities that emphasize balance, giving them a head start on the slopes. And with the Kids Signature 5 Program, the resort guarantees there won’t be more than five children in a class whether they are six or fourteen (just three kids when they are younger than five.)
Every parent knows that the key to family-vacation nirvana is making sure the kids have fun. For more on skiing with the kids, visit www.takingthekids.com. Here’s how to make that first time on the slopes one that will make them beg for more:
• Choose an age-appropriate program. Resist the temptation to put younger kids with older siblings.
• Opt for a time when the ski school won’t be packed—during the week, for example, not during the holidays. A tip: Go midweek, before or after the holidays, to get the best deals.
• Rent their gear on the mountain so they’ll not only have the latest gear, but if there’s a problem, it can be quickly replaced.
• Make sure they’re well rested and well-fed. If you’ve just arrived after a long flight, give them a day or a morning to acclimate, visiting the ski school first.
• Outfit them properly with long underwear, moisture-wicking hiking socks, fleece sweatshirts, and waterproof pants, mittens and jackets, and goggles. Stash a power bar in their pocket “just in case.”
• Smear sunscreen on their faces and give them a tube to use at lunch. Stash lip balm in a pocket, too.
• Rent or buy a helmet to protect their head. Research shows that helmets can reduce the risk of brain injury by as much as 75 percent; for more information on helmet use, visit www.lidsonkids.org.
The worst mistake parents can make when introducing their children to snow sports is setting expectations too high, ski school directors say. Just remember, there's always next year.
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The views expressed on Snowmamas are those of the individual authors, who are independent contractors of Park City Mountain Resort, and may not be factually accurate. These views are not intended to reflect the opinions of Park City Mountain Resort, its owners, its management or its employees. Snowmamas' authors have or will receive a paid trip to Park City Mountain Resort or will receive other compensation for their participation as an author.