FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
United

When and How to Start Kids Skiing

by Barbara Rogers

Nov 17, 2017

© Serrnovik | Dreamstime

Age Specific / Kids

What age should kids be when they begin skiing? If the rest of the family skis, a good key is when they seem interested. If skiing is not a regular part of your winter activities, you may want to begin by visiting a ski area so they see other kids skiing. They are ready when they appear excited to learn. Most resorts start at 3 or 4; we chose 4. Go with their interest — if they don’t show any enthusiasm, let it rest. You know your own child — if she is usually reluctant to try something new but likes it once it’s tried, maybe suggest trying it once.

 

Cramore Mountain Resort, GET lessons, snow boarding, New Hampshire, North Conway

Cramore Mountain Resort. Photo: Stillman Rogers

 

What if they don’t like skiing? Don’t let them feel guilty for not enjoying it. Find other things for them to do while others in the family ski, and eventually they will decide to try again. It may take a while: Our youngest was 10 before she decided everyone else seemed to be having fun so she should try another lesson. That time she took to it immediately.

 

Even if you’re a good skier, unless you are a trained instructor (and trained recently), sign kids up for a ski lesson, preferably at a mountain with a full children’s program and instructors specially trained in teaching young kids. Look for dedicated beginner areas, especially those with snow sculpted for learning and “magic carpet” lifts. Above all, don’t load a first-timer onto a lift and try skiing down the mountain with them between your skis. It’s scary for kids, dangerous for you both and doesn’t teach them how to ski.

Mary Rogers, first ski day, Jan 14, 06, Gunstock, Jeffery Thibault instructor

Photo: Stillman Rogers

 

A certified instructor will not only create a good first experience for a child, but also give you good tips on skiing together after the lesson. We found it was worthwhile to choose a private lesson first instead of group lessons. Along with individual attention, a child can progress at his own speed, and won’t be distracted by other kids or intimidated by fear of not doing as well.

 

Mary Rogers, first ski day, Jan 14, 06, Gunstock, Jeffery Thibault instructor

Photo: Stillman Rogers

 

If you opt for a group lesson, ask how many children and instructors are in each group (there should always be two with young kids), how the groups are divided, how children are moved as they progress and how much actual ski time each child gets (as opposed to waiting in line). For very young children, consider a ski-play program that includes skiing part of a day or half-day mixed with playtime.

 

We opted for private lessons to start, and then a half-day ski-play experience a couple of times, followed by our skiing with them for an hour or so before another private lesson. That combined individual attention with a chance to practice a little bit before moving on. It seemed less intimidating than a series of lessons (and less expensive).

 

Mary Rogers, first ski day, Jan 14, 06, Gunstock, Jeffery Thibault instructor

Photo: Stillman Rogers

Most learn-to-ski packages include rental equipment (which should also include a helmet — start kids skiing safely so it will be a lifetime habit). Don’t borrow equipment — boots should be properly fitted and skis correctly adjusted. Be sure kids are dressed warmly enough for the day’s weather — there’s no bigger turn-off than being cold.

 

After the lesson, learn the language before you take them on the mountain yourself. Snowplows are wedges for older kids, pizza slices for preschoolers. Parallel is French fries, and a spider is the best way to get up from a fall. Watch the first lessons, but from a discreet distance, so you’re not in the way, but so you can follow up with what the instructor tells them. Stay on that path — don’t confuse them with “here’s another way to do that” instead of re-enforcing what they learned in the lesson.

 

Prepare to spend some time skiing really boring terrain and resist the temptation to take beginning skiers onto more difficult trails. It’s not the place to learn: They are likely to be scared and they will be a danger to other skiers. Wait until after a few lessons and the instructor says they are ready for steeper terrain.

 

Over the years our kids have taken lessons at a number of mountains in the Northeast, and the ones we thought did the best job are Gunstock and Cranmore Mountain in New Hampshire and Okemo, Smugglers Notch and Bromley in Vermont.

#WhereverFamily

Insta Feed
Destinations / North America
Feb 26, 2024

Add Jacksonville Zoo to Your Family Travel Bucket List

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Northeast Florida is a popular family travel spot for many reasons. From its exciting animal attractions to vibrant gardens to food offerings to seasonal events, the zoo continues to dazzle both locals and visitors alike.

Travel Tips to Help Protect Your Health and Your Trip

Five Tips to Help Minimize Potential Travel Problems

Destinations
Feb 26, 2024

5 Family-Friendly International Spring Break Destinations

Bring your brood abroad this year for spring break. Consider a visit to one of these destinations, perfect for a family-friendly getaway.

Destinations / North America
Feb 23, 2024

Take a Ski Getaway to British Columbia

The western Canadian province of British Columbia is known for its skiing and winter sports, with Whistler Blackcomb often named one of North America’s top ski destinations. But British Columbia has more places to ski and play in the snow, family-friendly resorts with budget-friendly prices, and up to 400 inches of powder snow. An exchange rate of 75 cents to the dollar is an added incentive for American family travelers to travel north for a vacation.

United Airlines Celebrates its First Class of United Aviate Graduates

As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.

North America
Feb 23, 2024

Easter Brunch, Egg Hunts, Bunny Pics and More at Camelback Resort

Make this Easter the best yet and take your family to Camelback Resort. With the holiday quickly approaching, Camelback gears up for a weekend filled with family fun and Easter festivities — perfect for family travelers.