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Kids Skiing Powder

 Poster: A snowHead
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My 12 year old lad is desperate to ski powder. Unfortunately in all the times I've taken him we've never had powder (except when he was very young and learning to ski). I'm hoping that will change next week!. Any particular tips for skiing powder with kids, do they tend to make the same mistakes as adults or is there a particular area they tend to find more difficult? He's a very strong piste skier and quick learner so I hope the transition won't be too tricky
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Just throw him in. Kids don’t have the same hang-ups about not being able to see their feet as we do. Ours learned instinctively. A bigger issue is teaching them off-piste safety, but that's probably for another thread.
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If they can ski, then they will be fine. Most of them can't, mind, and powder tends to make technique weakness more obvious. If your kids are racers then it should be easy; park rats with the upright sit-back stance will be ok between falls.
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@Guernseyfreerider, I suggest to book one or more 2-3 hour private lessons, saying you want to do off piste. Powder or not, you'll have a great time as they'll take you down routes you'd never have found yourselves. Plus they will know where the better snow is.

I kitted the son and I out with transciever, spade, probe. As much to get him the mindset of safety as anything. There are some long threads about this topic, but IMO kids want to and will go off piste, so best to be prepared.
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Where you going that you expect powder?
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@Guernseyfreerider, wider, rockered skis really help and not too stiff. Friend of ours, 9yo great skier really struggled on his race skis in the powder. Put him on some soft composites, similar shape, and he was a different skier. Have convinced his mum to get him some 2nd hand Faction CT 3.0 jr’s now 😉
My boy 7yo is on Volkl Mantra jr which are also great but always keeping an eye out for the next (wider) pair... next week looks like it should deliver the goods for you. Where are you going?
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I guess my fear of taking the little one off piste is always safety. Of course as parents we don't throw our kids influence front of danger (unless they are on Santa's naughty list!) but who's digging who out etc etc.
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PaulC1984 wrote:
I guess my fear of taking the little one off piste is always safety. Of course as parents we don't throw our kids influence front of danger (unless they are on Santa's naughty list!) but who's digging who out etc etc.


We’re not talking big exposed off piste descents here. There is loads of low angle between the piste/side of the piste stuff, which in my opinion is probably lower risk than competing with some of the nutters on the piste!
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@philwig, He's pretty solid, not too fussed about the park, he's been fortunate to have been with some really good instructors and enjoys learning. There's probably an element of wanting to do what I do cos I keep on banging on about how good it is Happy

@Themasterpiece, Re mortgaged the house and booked already - it's just if I ski with him before lessons and I would only be looking a low gradient stuff I know. To be honest the standard of tuition in Serfaus is unbelievable. Even in group lessons a few years ago, they had to tests on piste safety, etiquette and basic avalanche awareness. He's going to have my old transceiver but I'll need to get him shovel and probe in a suitable sized rucksack if you have any recommendations.
Was amazed in Lech the other week how many small kids have ABS, mind you that was Lech!

@under a new name, ok that was a mistake, made the schoolboy error of looking at the forecast for end of next week, so I've obviously blown that - doh!

@BobinCH, Serfaus - it's a great resort the flipside is that it's natural snow record is not great despite being high. He is desperate to go to Verbier and I'm sure we'll do a boys trip at some point - and it doesn't help you keep posting ski porn wink He tends to favour freeride skis and twin tips which probably doesn't always help his piste skiing but he thinks they look cool. My friend was on Mantras in the deep snow in Lech last week and was smashing it.

@PaulC1984, Absolutely, that's why the lessons are going to be so important and the re-inforcement after that.
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@BobinCH, Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Your not wrong there, taking the lad (he is 5) on the mountain for the first time this year, and whilst he's a cracking little skier, I do fear those around him.

I'm not having a pop about safety btw, genuine question as I'll be wanting to take my bundle of snot off piste when he's ready too.

What about local rules on carrying kit - do they make a backpack small enough for younger kids that'll hold shovel, probe etc ??!! Toofy Grin
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@PaulC1984, biggest problem is getting up when they stack in anything deepish. Have had a few lung busting walks back up to untangle him The idea of digging for your child is too terrifying to contemplate but of course there will come a day when they want (and are capable) to go into steeper/exposed terrain and need equipment. He’d need a lot more strength to have any chance of usefully using a probe/shovel
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
PaulC1984 wrote:

What about local rules on carrying kit - do they make a backpack small enough for younger kids that'll hold shovel, probe etc ??!! Toofy Grin


I got my son an Osprey Velocity 13 backpack, which is really a small day trip, walking/hydration pack. Shovel fits in, but not the probe, which is sticking out the helmet pocket thing and cable tied on.
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PaulC1984 wrote:
I guess my fear of taking the little one off piste is always safety. Of course as parents we don't throw our kids influence front of danger (unless they are on Santa's naughty list!) but who's digging who out etc etc.


We ski off piste all the time, but only in zero avalanche and zero fall risk terrain, such as today



Personally I wouldn't be going anywhere with anyone under 18 (at least) where there was the slightest risk of avalanches, falls etc but everyone is free to make their own choices. As Bob says, there is plenty of low angled between the pistes stuff to ski, and plenty of dangerous between the pistes stuff too.

I don't find kids and powder to be a great mix, they lack a bit of mass and strength. I prefer spring snow or tracked snow.
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davidof wrote:
.... I don't find kids and powder to be a great mix, they lack a bit of mass and strength. I prefer spring snow or tracked snow.
I don't have any, and I've nothing against anyone else's, but I think you're right, from what I've seen. I've never seen a kid who was remotely "expert", and I've ridden with kids whose parents are world class. Perhaps obviously it depends how quickly they grow up, but the lower limit for competence in deep powder seems to be about 18.

My main concern would be their ability to rescue me. My experience of kids in training is that they're slow to learn and don't really comprehend why training is required. Today I had to get some to speed up in training by telling them that it could be their dad who was holding his breath ... Overall, if you're taking them, then I'd say you need to count them as a liability if things get tough - they're not going to be good when the chips are down. That's ok, so long as you have sufficient adults to control them and handle the recovery.
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philwig wrote:
Overall, if you're taking them, then I'd say you need to count them as a liability if things get tough


I don't know if it is a teenage boy thing (I don't know many teenage girls to compare[1]) but they seem incapable of any logical thought and have to be told continuously what to do.

[1]Actually a friend with two teenage girls says they are the same but start growing out of it in their mid 20s.
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I’ve been heliskiing in Canada with a Father and two teenage boys, and for common sense and almost certainly liability reasons, we had to have two guides. One lead guide and one who always had to ski after the last boy. As it turned out the boys were way better skiers than their Father, so the skiing part wasn’t the issue.
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I don’t agree for a moment that teenagers shouldn’t do powder.

Our boys had their first powder lessons when they were aged about 10 in a group ski class in Panorama, Canada. They loved it and have never looked back.

The instructor, Derek, was brilliant. He always gave a severe safety talk and a full equipment check before the lesson, and most kids looked terrified by the time they set off. He had two mantras that I still remember: if you don’t scare yourself at least once a day, you’re not trying hard enough; and he would take the kids out of their comfort zone but never into the danger zone.

They’ve since been off piste more times than I can count. They were first roped into a couloir in their mid teens, and they’ve skinned up countless mountains to access deep, Virgin powder on the other side.

Why deny them that pleasure? If you can afford it, hire an experienced mountain guide, say that you just want to have fun and see where they take you.
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A Child?
Off Piste??

Madness!!

https://www.tetongravity.com/video/ski/10-year-old-skier-kai-jones-season-edit-is-an-ode-to-youth
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@rungsp, that kid is very clearly not “remotely expert”. He should be sent back to th nursery slopes to learn proper technique until he’s 18.

How can he hope to control speed and turn radius when his skis are that far above the snow?
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@rungsp Smile
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Well today was the day and I’ve got to say he absolutely smashed it out of the park.


Took the advice of @telford_mike, and just threw him in! He just seemed to be on the money right away this morning.

He had an off piste lesson in the afternoon and I decided to gatecrash it snowHead

Lucked in with a fantastic instructor, qualified at the highest level in Austria aged 18 and also a qualified mountain guide.

Kept it really simple for my lad who just soaked it up, rhythm got much better and as we did more and more laps in the untracked stuff you could just see the improvement. All nice mellow terrain and then some slightly steeper pitches to mix up shorter and longer terms.

We’ve booked to go together again tomorrow morning snowHead
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@Guernseyfreerider, great stuff
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@Guernseyfreerider, 😎😎😎
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@Guernseyfreerider, Love it when a plan comes together Cool Cool Cool
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@Guernseyfreerider, great stuff, kids will learn much better than if they are an adult, SOME adults over think everything. ( me) and lose confidence when confronted with something new, but once you have done something once you can work on improving it.
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@biddpyat, spot on I totally overthought it he just got on with it.

We had another morning with an instructor yesterday a perfect bluebird, great learning curve for him. Our first run of the day was a cracker on the most incredible snow in a great line, he got a bit cocky and tried to do some big freeride turns and ate snow a few times - that'll learn him! We also introduced him to Mr Windpack on some of the higher runs which again was great experience.

He also learnt the thing I always bang on about which is on your last run make your last turn your best turn. I didn't and tore my calf muscle so my skiing is over for this trip and he's going back to ski school tomorrow! Laughing snowHead
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Got back from a short trip to Les C on NY eve.
Some rather odd conditions - some nice boot depth powder early on then lots of rather damp new snow. Looks like they've had a good dump of proper powder since although a fair bit of wind.

Anyway, plenty to agree with on this thread:
I'm with @davidof, that I ski off piste a lot with my kids but only in very low risk terrain. I had them wearing transceivers at times but not carrying probes and shovels. Really the transceivers were superfluous because I was keeping us on low angled terrain but...
I have some sympathy with the comments about kids struggling in real powder but have to say my (just) 15 year old has been skiing it pretty nicely for a couple of years now. He's a light weight so not hugely strong but he often plays around with very two footed skiing on piste and I think that means he can easily dial into to a very balanced, smooth style which works well off piste.
My daughter (just 13) does struggle more (tends to end up sitting back a bit and forcing the skis round) but as @davidof, says - boot top powder or spring snow and she does very well.

I'll be 50 in 3 years and I'm contemplating taking them heliskiing as a huge treat for me. I think the boy could really enjoy it now TBH. My daughter needs to keep improving to make it worthwhile but in 3 years I'd say she should be there.

Was a little intrigued by @Themasterpiece's pic. It's very cute but what would a child of that age actually do with the probes and shovel if the worst happened?
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Good thread. We've skied off piste with ours virtually since day one (now 10 & 12). The last couple of seasons we've started putting a transceiver on but like others have said it's more to introduce the concept. They don't carry shovels and probes. Me and the missus do. It's virtually always me leading anyway so it would be down the wife to dig. You worry about your kids constantly anyhow. Had to do a lot of tree skiing last week because of the vis and keeping sight of them is a b u gger.
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Saw an instructor (ESF) with 3 kids (approx 10-12 I'd say) in Courcheval and the kids had ABS packs on. They weren't doing anything radical at the time. But first time I've seen kids so young with ABS.
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Kids skiing powder:
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http://youtube.com/v/lcXBt7S72wU
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@davidof, thought you'd posted on the wrong thread for a minute (slalom ski reference) Happy

Looks good. I've got a bit of footage of laddo last week in the trees. Will see if I can get it on compooter soon.
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Layne wrote:
@davidof, thought you'd posted on the wrong thread for a minute (slalom ski reference) Happy

Looks good. I've got a bit of footage of laddo last week in the trees. Will see if I can get it on compooter soon.


Yes do that. It is not easy for kids when the snow is "physical".
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@jedster, as you and others have said above, we are skiing very low risk terrain. Kitting him out is as much about him wanting the same stuff as Dad. But we’ve also played in the training area, using the beacons and probes, dug a pit etc. We are usually skiing with friends, also properly equipped. Someone on a different thread once said that there is a chance someone else could use the kit in the worst case (it mortifies me to even think about him being in that situation though).
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@Themasterpiece,

fair enough - think it is actually harder when they are a bit older. Then they are aware enough that the implication is that they might be being expected to dig daddy out of an avalanche. I'm wary of putting that burden on them. My son is now 15 and a level headed lad. I think I'm going to ask him to step up this season.
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Did a morning of knee deep off piste with my son and his instructor last weekend. Knee deep on us was waist deep on him and to be honest he did struggle a bit, mainly through lack of strength. He preferred staying in the instructors tracks on the steep and deep sections and forming his own lines where it was easier. He was using his slalom skis, which probably didn't help.
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Themasterpiece wrote:
@jedster, as you and others have said above, we are skiing very low risk terrain.


In the video I posted I'd like to be clear that it is zero avalanche risk terrain however risk of hitting a tree or other off piste dangers though, hopefully with the speed we go and helmets that's not too serious.
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Time for a reminder about Deep Snow Immersion and Tree wells? Fatality through tree well 3 days ago at Whitefish.
In no way a 'judgmenty' thing; merely information for those who want it... Tree wells just happen to be a thing of mine, and like you say, whats knee deep on us is waist deep on the Jnrs, they are more likely to duck under branches so get closer to hazards we'd avoid by size alone, and 90% of people who get caught in deep snow traps cannot self extract.

http://www.deepsnowsafety.org/index.php/tree-wells
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Richard_Sideways wrote:
Time for a reminder about Deep Snow Immersion and Tree wells?


Yes, why not? Or just trees as obstacles in general.

Deep snow immersion isn't usually a European problem - chance would be fine thing - but this year ?
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