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How Young to Start?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all, I have a 12 day old future skier, when is the earliest he can start skiing? Any tips on resorts? And /or schools?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Actually within the first month you can normally fit them in a single ski boot. Works fine up to moderate reds as long as they’re nice and straight.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Laughing
Steve77 wrote:
Actually within the first month you can normally fit them in a single ski boot. Works fine up to moderate reds as long as they’re nice and straight.
Laughing
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Around 3-5yo.

Go to Austria in early March.

Low altitude and sunny.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Thanks. Anywhere in Austria you’d recommend?
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The Snowheads' resident Val d'Isere expert, Steve Angus, started his 18 month old son today:
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=3384264#3384264
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Somewhere gentle and family-friendly, like Alpbach, Westendorf, or Soll.

Those resorts are low, so best to go in first week of Mar, while snow is still good.

Lower is better for sealevel babies. Less chance of altitude problems.

You may have to shop around for a ski school. Some will take 3yo, but some won't.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Whitegold, Thank you for taking time to respond.
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sj1608 wrote:
The Snowheads' resident Val d'Isere expert, Steve Angus, started his 18 month old son today:
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=3384264#3384264
Wow! Very Happy
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My son started lessons at 5, and my daughter at 3. They both bumbled around before then with us, but “proper” skiing was at that point. Broadly, before age 5 I was told kids don’t make huge progress, and after that there is a huge acceleration; this was certainly my experience.

My daughter therefore had about 12 weeks skiing by age 6, and my son had 6, yet age for age they are indistinguishable, and have progressed thereafter at identical rates (one of the good things about the highly structured approach in France is that progress is easy to measure relatively objectively).

Before age 3, private instructors here will take them, but none of the 4 ski schools will.
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@snowdave, Thank you, so about 4 seems a good age?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I agree with posters above. My girls started at 3 and 5 yrs old, in Austria. They had 2 hour lessons a day, we did private lessons but Austrian ski school do take from 3. After 5 yrs old they both suddenly had the stamina to ski with us. There is nothing more joyful than skiing en famille for the first time!
Give it a go and be guided by how much they enjoy it. Having skied with other families at the time with littles, response was variable amongst them. Being aware of temperature, keeping it short sweet and fun, skiing sweets (my way of getting my girls down a piste with fog!), and access to a pool for the PM helped a lot.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Started both ours at a few months under 5. First holiday was a bit of an effort each time but both girls were able to ski well enough by end of first week to have fun with them. Now 10yr old can manage reds and blacks in good conditions and her older sister is unstoppable. All the effort of first few weeks SO worth it.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Some ski schools will start them from 2 but I think they only do 1:1 at that age and it’s more snow play than skiing.
My son started at 3. Agree with above - he’s now 6 and done 6 weeks on snow but at ESF 1 star level as only really started to progress in the last year or so. Age 3 and 4 was more about having fun in the snow.
We went to Puy St Vincent and Avoriaz when he was still in the snow garden (Club Piou Piou/Snowbizz in Puy and Village des Enfants In Avoriaz) and would recommend both resorts and schools for littlies just starting to ski.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@DJAT, Thank you Madeye-Smiley
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Gattabianca, Thank you for the advice and the resort recommendations
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Once they reach school age they get a lot of experience learning things in a class, and that makes ski school type lessons much more successful. Before school age, that type of lesson won't work so well, but they can still learn a lot by playing on snow. The most important thing is for them to have fun, rather than targeting any kind of achievement: if they're enjoying it they'll want to come back and do it again, and progress will come naturally. There's a huge difference between age 3 and 5 for example in strength, dexterity, and endurance. So I would recommend taking every opportunity to play on snow with them, and by all means book short private lessons if you want some professional input, but not worry about ski school until they've started regular school.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Mine started at 2 1/2, but it wasn't really 'skiing' yet. Riding the magic carpet and using one of those little wedge things, no more than an hour at a time. She couldn't turn or stop until she was 3 1/2, and then it was about 2 hours at a time.
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Arc-en-ciel in Siviez (Nendaz) took ours in groups of 2 at age 2 1/2. I think it was from 9:30-12 with about 1 hour skiing and playing at each end. One of the days we were waiting for our daughter to come down and we spotted her. The instructor used a pole with one child on each side of her leaning on it. Went to greet our daughter at the bottom only to find out she’d nodded off on the way down Very Happy
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
One thing worth considering is ice skating - our daughter started at 2, and it really helped the early stages of her skiing. If you're near a rink in the UK it's an easy, cheap (vs skiing!) year-round sport.

Our instructors always said they immediately could spot kids who ice skated - not least it gives them the skill to skate around on their skis, vs trying to walk on them without poles.

I've just been looking at the various ESF badges they achieved and it's uncanny how its so closely correlated with age rather than weeks skiing. They both had private lessons as well, so it's not as if there was a difference in tuition standard.
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I hate to be the cynic here but when the kids are under 6 it is an awful lot of bother. Lost gloves, carrying skis, tantrums (and thats just the parents). Once they hit 6 they are better able to participate in lessons and you can ski with them in the afternoon. With under sixes they are happy to do a bit of sledding, snow angels and hot chocolate if you can manage a minder.
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@GarryC, I loved skiing with my daughter when 3-5. But then she loved it too and I had to keep my expectations low, that's probably the key Smile
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Canuck, Your point is well made and I prefaced my remark by labelling myself a cynic. I have friends who brought multiple small children on a skiing holiday and had a wretched time mainly because of their expectations that the children would ski and they would have a similar time to when they went sans enfants. We had an incident where our 4 year old wandered off from ski school in the Chaudanne and was found a hour later by a fellow chalet resident in hysterics.

If you can afford it the Club Med or Chalet experience with a childminder is worth it if you want to enjoy your skiing. For the amount you pay for the holiday the cost of a childminder is relatively reasonable. it is also the time the second tier resorts such as Puy St Vincent are well worth a look as you will not be able to stray too far from the ranch.
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@GarryC @Canuck, I completely agree. Once we had reset expectations that we wouldn’t ski until 4pm, as we did pre children, and spend afternoons in the pool or sledging, it was lovely. I remember the clammy faff (cursing internally) in boot rooms...not my favourite time. Second Club Med, the GO’s do it for you! However you do it, it is time worth investing. My girls love it now.
@Canuck, what a frightening incident for your 4 yr old.
I’ve just re-read the OP, goodness 12 days....congratulations on your newborn!
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As above really - last year skiing with junior (3.75 - 4.25) was a lot of magic carpets to begin with a progressing to skiing down the easiest green by the end of the season. All snowplow all the time. Lots of breaks. Before that we'd tried a few goes on the magic carpets but nothing even stuck. This year (so 4.75 to 5.25) it's completely different - greens and blues with skis parallel at least some of the time and even the odd blue mogul field.

Beyond physical skill there's also an emotional maturity thing. Last couple of years he's had the odd private lesson as part of a child care arrangement but mostly skied with us. This year he's in the local Nancy Green program for 2 hours as he is now at the age where we are confident if we leave him with an instructor we won't be called back for some melt down for other. Even that program doesn't really start in earnest until they are 6 though.
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GarryC wrote:
@Canuck, Your point is well made and I prefaced my remark by labelling myself a cynic. I have friends who brought multiple small children on a skiing holiday and had a wretched time mainly because of their expectations that the children would ski and they would have a similar time to when they went sans enfants. We had an incident where our 4 year old wandered off from ski school in the Chaudanne and was found a hour later by a fellow chalet resident in hysterics.


I think it depends on how you do it. If you take said infant on a skiing holiday then you need to be prepared to not do much skiing, which makes it more difficult to start them early. But if you are able to do day trips (e.g if you live somewhere near snow) then it's much easier. My nephew started when he'd just turned 3, but initially it was 30 minutes or so on a magic carpet fed nursery slope, then a bit of a rest before doing another 30 minutes or so. Because my brother lives in Toronto they were able to do this on a Saturday afternoon/evening and at short notice (so easier to avoid terrible weather). It was only later that they enrolled him on proper lessons. The upshot is an 8 year old that will chuck himself down all sorts of runs.

I echo the comment about ice skating, my brother's lad has also been skating quite a bit (much easier/cheaper/less time consuming) and you can see it in his skiing, in fact I said several times during the holiday that it looked like he was chasing a puck.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
We started our two at three and four. TBH at three it was just creche in the snow but they really started learning at 4.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Started both ours at 3, in ESF group lessons, which meant we skied for a couple of hours each day on our own and then went home. My daughter is now 7 and still goes home 80% of the time after her 2 hour lesson, if she comes out at all. My son who is 8 skis a lot longer most days, but still goes home straight after his lesson sometimes. For us the mountains are just somewhere to spend the school holidays, skiing being an added bonus as and when the kids feel like it.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Anything less than 6 yrs old, for a once a year ski family, is just alternative child care. Physically and mentally most kids struggle with a ski school scenario.
Certain exceptions apply obvs.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
not a simple question and all the above may or may not be true!

Depends on; both parents- you need to agree, the temperament of the child, the weather, the ski school policies, the character and personality of the instructor, continence / incontinence (when it is very cold and when darling child is trussed up in pants, long johns and salopettes- this is not the same as continence when swimming. Also depends on the attitudes of any other parents / children on the same holiday, how much you (both ) like / dislike skiing and are prepared to ski (much much much) less to get the nippers into it.

So- if you and significant other / wife / coparent- both love skiing, are prepared to put up with all the agro of getting a 3 yr old kitted up, the expense of ski kit, hire, tuition, creche etc, to forego valuable ski time to get back for pick ups then mess about in the afternoon, and if your nipper has been primed with ski DVDs, been fed up in creche and wanted to join the big boys and girls on previous holidays, and if you find an instructor who is not only happy, able to communicate with kids with ease and simplicity, fine with ruining his / her back and if you can both just leave the instructor to get on with it, and if your nipper is continent of urine and faeces even in -10C, has good balance and is a happy soul, and if the weather gods are kind, and if you are not all struck down by norovirus- then it will be great.

alternatively- if one of you loves skiing and the other resents the expense, and if your child mostly pees down their leg and into his / her boot whenever it's a bit cold- and then asks the instructor- who hates kids and can't communicate with them, and if one or both of you hovers round the ski garden anxiously whilst the other takes off at 08;30 for the fisrt bin somewhere steep only to return at 21;30 having skied and apred vigorously, and if the creche staff aren't bothered and if the chalet hotel is riven with pox ridden seasonaires who can't remember to wash their hands and if half the hotel is puking- different story.

Best of luck.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
...have posted this before but it is amusing and can be done...we certainly used this approach to very good effect...


http://youtube.com/v/Z_F01eV0Iqw
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Mine both started on plastic ski's at 18 months old just sliding about or mainly stomping around in them Very Happy
But remember the early they start the sooner they will be leaving you behind Toofy Grin
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Frosty the Snowman wrote:
Anything less than 6 yrs old, for a once a year ski family, is just alternative child care. Physically and mentally most kids struggle with a ski school scenario.
Certain exceptions apply obvs.


I think it depends on the child and on the ski school. Our youngest started aged 3. His first year was a write off he lasted 2 days in he ESF factory and spend one of those crying for most of the 3 hour lesson. He wasn't alone, there were a number of kids crying. We pulled him out an let him enjoy he snow and left him with the childcare at the chalet we were staying. He had a ball!

Last year we put him into ski school with New Gen at Meribel. Group of 6 children and there were 3 instructors, essentially a 2-1 ratio. Completely different experience. He loved it. The lessons were 3 hours, 10 to 1, but with heaps of breaks and down time. he had a ball and whilst he still couldn't really ski, he was keen for next season.

This year we skied in Tignes and he was in the White Wizards class with Ultimate Ski School. There were 3 kids in the class and 2 instructors. Lessons were 2 hours and went from half 12 to half 2. Again he loved it and at the end of the week he was able to ski down the Rosset (green/Blue) in Tigne Le Lac village.

Getting the right school is more important I think than age. The school has to fit our kids personality. I would say don't push it. We set really low expectations on our kids and they love skiing. Lessons aren't a chore and they actually get themselves ready to go. They don't do that for school.
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@Langers Utd, ..the ValaisGrom started in ski school when he was 2.5ish.

1 he clung onto my leg rather than leave with his coach (remedy...escort to lift and wave goodbye - all fine)
2 he absolutely refused to move from the top station, kicking the coach whilst clinging to a large sign (remedy, Yves, Director of school, took him for the day)
3 his first report: '...turbulent and capricious..' (remedy..they stuck with him, giving him to Carole The Nicest Human Being in the Universe...top skier)

Now, age 13, he's competition standard ... listens to everything which any coach says, and immediately puts into practice; all coaches comment on how committed he is and a pleasure to be with.

Overall lessons:

A brilliant school
B you never can tell
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
FrediKanoute wrote:
I think it depends on the child and on the ski school.


Definitely going to depend on the child, not every one will be like the kids in this video:
https://vimeo.com/139500574

Incidentally, I tend to think that skiing should always have those moments that make you react like the lad going over the jump in slow-mo (about 1:30 in), if it didn't still do that for me then I think I'd feel quite sad.
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