Corey is our first dad guest poster and is an avid outdoorsman. Thanks to him for this great article on how to best introduce your kids to downhill skiing. Good tips, good ideas, good dad.
To “real” skiers, spring skiing is the worst. The snow is wet and slow, your high-priced 0-20 degree rated ski wax no longer works, the lift lines and parking lot are packed (since everyone else has been inside for the past three months), and this giant yellow thing in the sky (something that you vaguely remember from last summer) suddenly appears and nearly blinds you at every turn.
For the “new” or “young” skier, there is no better time to ski than the spring. The two biggest obstacles for children (anyone, really) learning to ski are 1) the cold and 2) the thought that this activity will come to me naturally the instant I strap these long devices to my feet. Children have no recollection of how long it took for them to learn how to crawl, walk, and run. They just know how to do it, so they should just already know how to ski as well, right? In the spring, the cold is gone so half the battle of learning to ski is gone, all you have to work on is the “skiing” part of skiing.
How do we start?
Selling skiing to a kid is like selling them on a new Paw Patrol toy. “Son, how would you feel about going to this mountain where you put on all this new equipment that makes you look like a transformer? Then fly on a chair lift high in the sky like a superhero? Then, with a group of other super heroes, complete a set of top secret tasks, like how to properly fall on skis (there really is a right and wrong way) and how to transition an uphill ski edge into a turn? Son, the tasks needing to be completed at this mountain will be told to you directly from one of the coolest people on earth – a ski instructor!” For the first time ever, you’ll see a child begin to put on his or her winter clothes without your pleading.
Fit for what ages?
Anyone over the age of three. Really? That’s pretty young!? Well, kind of. From the age of four to about six, the first time skiing is all about keeping a smile on their face. Just like when you’re in a casino, you’ll need to leave the ski hill while you’re “still ahead.” You don’t want your child to start having a bad time since this first time will stick with them and be what they associate with “skiing” for a long time. So how do you make sure that they have a good time? Lessons! Why even risk it at all? Well, this is Minnesota and winter is not something you can avoid. So unless you want to spend six months of the year inside, it’s best to learn how to enjoy outdoor activities at a young age and skiing is one of the most fun. You don’t want your child to be one of the kids who learns how to ski for the first time on the sixth grade school trip (I should know…I was one of them).
How much are we talkin?
It’s not a cheap activity and each ski hill has its own rates. If your child is young and it’s their first time, buy the four-hour earlybird lift ticket. At Buck Hill it’s $15 during the week and $22 during the weekend. If your child is five or under, they ski for free with your purchase of a lift ticket. Is it worth buying a more expensive lift ticket that lasts all day? Not if your child is under eight years old. If your child is under eight and makes it four hours, you just won the lottery and should start thinking about an Olympic racing development program. Skiing is a blast, but it’s also a lot of work for young muscles that have never been used to control skis before. The ski rental package is $26 per skier and if you don’t own a child’s helmet for the other activities your child may be in, you’ll want to rent one (another $9). Ski lessons are $22 and totally worth it. Depending on what day you go, Buck Hill also offers beginner programs for children ages four to six. The cost is $52 and includes a 90 minute lesson, an all day lift ticket, a progress card, and a snack. Rental equipment would still be extra.
So, depending on when you go and what package you choose, you’ll most likely be north of $100 for both of you to ski, but it’s a lifetime activity and only gets more and more fun and less and less inexpensive every time you go.
Want some tips?
Seriously, have your child take a lesson. A good instructor should be able to make their skiing experience incredible. I’ve personally seen dozens of dads trying to teach their own kids to ski, and the kids are just not having a good time.
Also, set your expectations. Depending on your child’s age and their current balance level, they may not come out of a lesson ready to ski moguls, but they should have a great time and maybe leave the hill addicted to a new sport.
Find a hill in your area:
- Buck Hill | Burnsville
- Welch Village | Welch
- Afton Alps | Hastings
- Hyland | Bloomington
- Wild Mountain | Taylors Falls
Note: Due to the recent warm weather (yay!), many metro ski hills are closing their doors for the season in the next couple of weeks, so get out and play sooner than later!
Thank you to our guest poster, Corey!
Corey resides in the south metro and is dad to two young boys. He enjoys participating in just about any outside activity having to do with nature, and when that’s not an option, watching Wild Kratts.
What does he love most about being a dad? “The fact that my young children are already questioning most of the nonsense stories I tell them and that they’re learning a great lesson about how not everything you’re taught is necessarily true.”