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Learning to ski: advice from Moms

Friday, November 15, 2013 Leave a Comment


** It's 2014, and I thought this is worth re-publishing - the deals are out of date, but the mom-advice is not!**

I remember the Christmas morning when I was 12, and we kids all got skis, boots, coats, gloves. We were practicing snapping our boots into the bindings on the frost covered lawn. The next day, we drove 45 minutes to Eldora and enrolled in ski school: Dad, my two little brothers and me.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are the ski trips we took every break from school: my first run all by myself down the slopes of Breckenridge after 3 days of ski school; the music on the lodge deck at lunchtime; insisting on wearing jeans while skiing because the puffy suspender pants were so uncool (hey, everybody was wearing their Levi 501 button-fly's on the slopes); getting caught in a whiteout with my Mom at the top of Steamboat - and being so impressed with my Mom's effortless schussing down the mountain.

My husband and I haven't been skiing in 6 years now - ever since I got pregnant with our first son. Kids will do that to you.

He's 5 now, and this is the year we want to get him on skis, so I asked my fellow moms for their advice. When should we start? Lessons or not? Best kid-friendly areas? Can you even do the daytrip anymore, or is traffic too horrible to even consider it?

Here's the best tips from fellow moms:

1. Start them early. 5 is a great age - they have the attention span, coordination, independence and enthusiasm, they respond well to their peers and they're still kind of fearless. Some start at 3 or 4, but keep their days short.

2. Invest in lessons. Kids respond better to a friendly instructor than they do to Mom or Dad. Trying to teach them yourself will result in frustration for both of you. Probably tears, too.

3. Keep it short & sweet. For younger kids, keep it to one day at a time. Two or three days in a row is just too exhausting. Try skiing one day, a sled ride the next, ski again the third. Half days work well.

4. Nice weather = happy kids. If you can avoid horrible weather days, do it. Nothing can turn a kid off for life like a miserably cold day. And make sure they are dressed warm enough. (A big reason we never wanted to take him before because he couldn't keep mittens or gloves on!)

5. Plan early for the best deals. Mom-recommended ski areas include:
  • Keystone's ski school offers 3-weekend lessons in their Explorers (for kids 3-4) or Kroozers (for kidds 5-15) programs. Moms like the easy pick-up and drop-off, and taking your kid 3 weekends in a row helps the lessons stick without tiring them out. Plus, Kidtopia offers your kids plenty of fun on the mountain - like the snow fort, sledding, crafts and more.
  • Copper Mountain has a friendly kid's ski school - they're the only spot that offers snowboard lessons for kids as young as 3. And check out their lodging deals - kids ski free in some of them.  
  • Eldora has a great ski school at the right price - just $109 for a day's lesson.  even better, lift tickets for kids 5 and under are just $9 - the magic carpet and kids 6 and up are $25. The just right price! Plus, it's a short drive and you avoid the I-70 traffic.
  • Beaver Creek is known for being kid friendly, although not cheap. Their ski school lets you register the kids the night before: forms, gear and jitters get taken care of so the morning is ready to go - on Dec. 18 and 26; Feb. 18-19; and March 10, 11, 18. The mountain has plenty of gentle runs for any beginner, as well as Jack Rabbit Alley, with teepee's, bridges, trees and plenty to explore.
6. Stay overnight. Save yourself from the stress of traffic. VRBO.com.

7. Dress them right. If you can, find some gently used clothes on the Yahoo! StapletonMoms list, or check out clothing rentals a Mountain Threads, a business started by a Mom in Golden.

Also check out Mile High Mamas Guide to 2011 skiing here.

2 comments »

  • Anonymous said:  

    Thanks for the run down - Eldora, in addition to daily lessons for kids, also has Eldorables (week day lessons) and Ski Trek (weekend all day lessons) for kids. You can see more info on the Eldora web site under "Programs"

  • Liz said:  

    Copper Mountain confirms: Kids under 5 ski free! All season long!