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Little Boarders

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Morning boarders! I have crossed the divide - yes it is true, I'm a confirmed skier, who has made the brave move of stepping into your hallowed forum. So please treat me kind (I'm kinda scared). Question is this: I love skiing, and I can't see me ever being interested in boarding. But my 7 year old daughter (who skies pretty well - she nagged me into taking her on a black run last week) keeps asking to go boarding. Now my problem is I know naff all about boarding, other than it looks tricky, seems to require a lot of sitting down (hard, or not so depending on ability), and it looks like the board is heavy and difficult to maneouvre onto lifts.

So my question is, when is a good age to start boarding? Am I being unreasonable to tell her "wait till you're 12", on the basis that at least then she can carry her own gear and work out the problems herself (cos, as I said, I know nothing about boarding and won't be able to help her).

Cheers.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Possibly wait till early teens as the physical demands of learning to board for the first week are quite tough. I must admit you don't see too many munchkins on boards at that age. More teens I think.
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Hi Steve - hope you enjoyed Andorra.

Unlike your kids, mine are dedicated skiers who mock the idea of boarding - so I have even less right than you to enter these hallowed halls. But when skiing last week, I did notice a large number of nippers boarding who seemed to be aged no more than 7-8. Some of them were pretty good, too.

Most ski schools (should that be snowsport schools?) teach boarding from age 7. Why not start her early, let her get completely discouraged when it's too difficult, and then welcome her back into the real world of skiing?
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Good thread here about the same subject.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
My own view is that kids are far better off learning to ski than to board. It can take months of skiing to become a good skier, but only a few weeks to become a good boarder. Therefore, given that kids learn quicker than adults, she would be better off perfecting her skiing skills and then making the relatively easy switch to boarding when she feels that she needs to have two strings to her bow.

But given that she has already expressed an interest in boarding, what do you do? She is still very young and so still has plenty of years to learn both (esp now that she apparently has the skiing basics) and so maybe you could let her try boarding and see where that takes her. However, if she drops skiing until her mid twenties, she may live to regret that choice.

Boards for kids are obviously smaller and lighter than adult boards and so I'm not sure that they are any harder to carry than kids skis - but if you carry her skis as well as your own then I can see that it would be difficult to carry skis and a board, however small the board is.

If you an find any way of convincing her to stick with skiing, I would do that. As you say, maybe the "wait until you can carry your own kit" argument is a good one. However, if she is strong willed and determined, maybe she should be allowed to give it a go and see how she likes it.

One other point which is pure conjecture as I have no idea whether this is true or not - boarding can be physically tough in that you are constantly trying to maintain balance on one edge and if you go over bumps you cannot distribute your weight over two feet separately. I have heard a theory that kids do not have the physical strength to cope with this and so will not be able to do as much on a board as they can on skis. This is not a reason to stop her trying it, but maybe it is a reason why she might prefer skiing until she is bigger and stronger.
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Jonny: a bit up and down - see my thread on the Resorts forum for more, suffice to say that once we did get skiing it was awesome.

Lager: thanks for the link. Some useful opinions there.

Tony: nice one - I think I agree with that by and large and will probably wait till she's at least 10 before giving her a go.

Oh, and thanks for being friendly to two "gatecrashing" skiers!!
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I don't know if you live near any Dry/Real Slopes.But i know my local dry slope (Christchurch,Bournemouth) Do what they call Snowboard taster lessons,which is usually about an hour.
I've seen a lot of younsters doing them who ski,as i've talked to a few of there parents.
They prefer to have them waste an hour or 2 in the uk, for them to have a go,rather than waste a day of paid up holiday.
What ever you do,just make sure they have wrist guards & impact shorts (Or Similar),as although kids seem bendy,snowboarding does tend to break a few people!
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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!
I would say let her give it a try - my little cousin started at 7 and was fine. She may not want to do it again after the first try - as boarding does invlove alot of falling on your bum, and general low-level pain on the first day. If she perseveres she'll probably get it worked out pretty fast - likely comfortable turning on greens by day 2-3.
Boards are not actually that heavy, especially little boards for 7 year olds. If she can carry her skis I don't see why she wouldn't be able to carry her board. And the boots are more comfortable, which is nice.
Last tip - a helmet and wristguards would be a great idea. When you start out boarding you often "catch an edge." This is where your downhill edge engages by mistake, flinging you into the snow extremely quickly. Catching a heel edge can mean smacking the back of your head hard on the slope, and catching your toe edge can mean pain for your wrists if you try to stop your fall. The wrists and head take alot of abuse on begginer boarders, much more so than on begginer skiers.
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If she wants to try let her!

There is continual debate as to what age kids should start to snowboard and I've often heard that 7 or 8 is about the earliest (try telling that to Shaun White), but lately Intrawest and Burton have started kids programmes for children from the age of 3.

I suspect that attitude is far more important than age.
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i agree with tony lane on this one. Although my key argument for waiting to learn to board is to do with size and weight. Having noticed a lot of little'uns on boards one holiday it became very obvious that their size/weight limits their abilities significantly as they don't get that much speed up and also lose speed very quickly (a small board sheds speed quicker than a big board) so they spend a lot of time having to unstrap and push/walk along - not much fun at all. Ok if dad is there to give you a tow maybe but if dad is a boarder then you don't get any help.
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I have noticed far more little kids on boards this year, often with boarding parents (they're having the most fun) but also in ski school groups, where some seem no older than 7 or 8. I think a lot depends on motivation - kids will put up with a lot if it's something they really want to do. Lots of kids skateboard on hard surfaces at home - worse than falling off a snowboard - and as an ageing beginner boarder (and long confirmed skier) I have a lot of respect and admiration for the sheer grit which the kids show, acquiring their skills. If she wants to do it, let her have a go. And why don't you have a go too? If you are a stronger skier than she is, it would be nice for a little girl to be in a position of improving quicker than dad (as she almost certainly would). It's also very good for skiers to remember what it is to be scared of things like getting off lifts, and to understand why boarders are always sitting around in the middle of the slope. But if she has a go, but is put off by the pain of the first few days, PLEASE tell her you are proud of her, for having the guts to give it a try. And don't say "I told you so" with satisfied smirk, as you jet off on your two planks down the nursery slope!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I asked my ESF boarding instructor what age I could start my kids boarding. He said they really couldn't get their heads round it younger than 7/8, though he knew of kids who just by plenty of sheer trial and error were pretty good at 5/6. He said that though kids can start learning to ski usefully at 3, skiing was more difficult to get good at, so try to get them skiing well, and only then let them board.

My plan is first to get myself reasonable on a board, as it's fun, and so I'm not too ignorant about it, and get a head start on them. They'll be second week on skis 4.5 yr.olds this season and have already asked (having seen me) to try boarding. I'll try to resist until they are (hopefully) reasonably natural/instinctive/relaxed skiers maybe when they're 8/9. The image (and reality) of boarding is still seductive at the moment but I really hope they don' t give up their skiing.


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Mon 16-05-05 9:20; edited 1 time in total
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Check out this thread on another forum
http://www.bomberonline.com/VBulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=5624

There is a link to a movie of a 4 year old boy doing some very smooth turns on a board.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Indeed, pretty nice turns for a 4 year old. I doubt most 4 year olds would be this good, but you never know.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
All my kids started when they were about 7, no regrets whatsoever.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Legal Steve, Come on steve let her do it, and i think you should take board lessons with her only for moral support of coarse. Who knows while your learning you might feel a dark force over come you and there will be no way back for either of you. Good luck!!!!!
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snowboading is about attitude rather than age. If your kid has attitude let her go for it. she will need to be VERY determined so be prepared to whip her back onto 2 sticks if she is struggling. It has nothing to do we strength - like ski-ing technique and good instruction is everything. Stamina and determination will, however, be required. It is often the parents who have these qualities, rather than the kids so test her out. No doubt about it, if she can already ski, it will make it MUCH easier.

I am going to leave it until my boy is about 10 but if he is really determined, I'll let him go sooner.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
As a reasonable boarder I do wish I had learned when young because it would probably make me feel even more natural whilst riding. Kind of like talking a foreign language or something - the younger you learn the more "natural ability" you will have...
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The younger they learn the better I should think, they won't have time to worry about how hard it might be. Kids are far more resiliant and falls are less likely to hurt or hinder than when they are older.

I learned to ski when i was three and can't remember not being able to do it. It made it much harder to learn to board because I expected it to be just as easy!

I guess it depends on the kid, a twiny kid could make your life a misery if its not what they expected. Why not let her have a go near the end of the hol and go from there.

My sister (instructor at Fort William winter before last) taught a five year old linked turns on his first day. I also saw a class of little boarders in Valloire who looked to range from about 4 to 8...... tiny, but they were all doing fine down all grades of run as well as paths with no complaining
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Several people have made comments (Tony Lane + others) that boarding is easier [to learn] than skiing.

I learned to snowboard before I learnt to ski, although I learnt both in my twenties (and in the last 5 years). From my experience and having watched (and in some cases involving skiers taught) various friends learn to ski and board, I think skiing is far easier to learn than boarding - at least to the point of what I'd call basic competence (e.g. ability to go down an easy red comfortably without falling over).

If you learn to board you spend most of the time falling over, and not 3 or 4 times a day as you might learning to ski, but 30-40 time a day. I can almost always get someone who is semi-sporty to the basic-competence level within 2-3 days on skis. With the modern equipment we have today, and the stability of having two skis, my first and second hand experience, is that skiing is an awful lot easier.

I think in terms of progression from basic competence (as defined above) to being able to able to ride the entire mountain is potentially easier on a board than on skis. But that's only because boarders that have got that far have already learned to overcome all fear and learnt to fall such that they don't have the same comfort zone that some skiers develop once they've learnt some basic cruising.

Legal Steve - my advice would be to check your daughter into some boarding lessons. If she's a competent skier than am sure she'll pick up some of the basics of boarding quickly, and let her then decide what she wants to do. I would though, strongly agreed wither ponder, and make sure she has wristguards and a helmet. Having watched 3 friends break wrists in their first week of snowboarding, I now carry a set of wristguards whenever I go skiing, and lend them to anyone learning to board in my group.
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kamikaze, Depends on the person if a person is timid the progression on skis will come, if you are anything but agressive and determined you wont progress too quickly on a board. I learned to ski first and after 5 weeks on snow i was just starting to look like a fairly decent skier carving well, never falling etc. To get to that standard on a board took about 6 days. My wife was something similar too.
Though i did go skiing with a girl a couple of years ago who within 1 week with private tuition was at a comparable standard as i was after 3 or 4 weeks skiing.
Maybe i was just a rubbish skier????
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I think different people take to boarding/skiing at different speeds. I used to ski, and now board. The first few days of boarding were much harder than the first few days of skiing, but other than that I found the pregression for both to happen at a very similar rate.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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I'm not a good enough boarder to be sure of this, but maybe it's not that boarding is easier to learn, just quicker. The problem with skiing is that there is usually a progression, making turns by effectively different methods, through to being able to execute a good carved turn. The learning curve is shallow and long and whilst learning to snowplough and wedge turn doesn't take long and is less painful than learning to board, many weeks are needed to look like a competent skier (I think has lessened since the advent of carving skis). With snowboarding the learning curve is steeper and more painful, especially if you aren't learning in soft snow. However, you learn the fundamental turn you're going to use for most of your general boarding right at the beginning and just improve it. You look competent within days.

Legal Steve's original post was middle of the ski season just gone. I'd be interested to know: what did he do and how'd it go?
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I started boarding when i was small and if u skate or blade and have a good sense of balance it is easy to get the basics. Then u just need to practise. Boarding started so u could do crazy stuff off piste safely (sort off anyway). I reckon that is still the best place to be with a board, in the back country away from all the crowds but u need to be fit.

The park is cool to learn the tricks but free riding is still the ultimate test in how well u can ride. As for the piste, its a pain with all the skiers, best improve fast and move on.

My advice have some lessons then go out there and just do it, find soft snow, it hurts less when u fall down.
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My son learnt to board and ski on a dryslope at age 8 and by the time he got on snow he was doing great.

He did find it quite tough and tiring to learn, but now he is extremely confident and competent on a board and skis.

A lot of it is down to the attitude, it takes a lot of effort to keep getting up again when you fall on your butt Very Happy
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I think the progression on a board is faster in that you can get down a steep red or a black after a shorter amount of time on a board. But as an experienced boarder it is very easy to fault other boarders that may be considered as intermediates capable of getting down any slope for their technique. It isn't always possible to see straight away but if you spend a bit of time riding with someone you can see where they have not pushed one element or another for various understandable reasons (they're wimps).

I would agree that off-piste is more fun than on-piste when the snow is good, however, when it isn't there are a lot of fun and games to be had on piste just jibbing around using different features of the piste as objects to incorporate into your flatland tricks.

I cant wait to see the next generation of snowboarders that have learnt all different styles of riding from a young age, they'll be much better than us...
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My daughter (13) has wanted to learn to snowboard for some years, but I've put her off until she could ski competently at a recreational level.
"As soon as you can ski blacks, you can learn to board"
Anyway, she can now ski blacks and I've relented. So, should I get her to take some boarding lessons at the local dry ski slope before going away at New Year's?
How far could she progress in one week on snow? Should I let her ski at all during the holiday or should I encourage her to get as much time boarding as possible - even if that means not being able to go around with the rest of us?
Any advice welcome snowHead
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Everyone's different, but at the end of one week, already being a competent skier, I would guess she would be carving somewhat comfortably on well-groomed blues, but not much beyond that. As for dry slope, I would think this would be a very painful way to learn to board? Couldn't really say though, as I've never used a dry slope myself.
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You know it makes sense.
Hywel, A friend of mine in his early 20's who could already ski learn't to board within 3 days, most of the first 2 days was spent falling over every 5 minutes, by the end of day 3 he could do gentle blue runs and by day 5 he was on red runs, a little unstable perhaps but he enjoyed it
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Hwyel - from your location I guess its not easy for a snowdome - but I would say yes to one or two lessons. We did a lesson at Gloucester Dry Slope (actually it was wet because they spray it - but thats a technicality!) and it helps on basics - like how to get in/out of straps easily, regular or goofy stance, walking around with one foot in and one foot out, how to ride a button lift.
Just means that when you get there - have a little more of a basis on what you're doing - probably will only get as far as heel and toe-edging and some flyleafing down the dry slopes - which shouldn't result in too many falls - those seem to all happen when you start trying to turn.
In a weeks holiday your daughter can make it to reds (with good instruction) - but tell her to hang in there as it can be really difficult initially - when it clicks it all then seems to happen real quick.
p.s. if she's determined she probably won't want to hang out with you guys skiing!!!! and will want to practice her boarding - I took my ski boots and never put them on - even for a quick blast because the boarding was fun and I wanted to get as much practice in as possible
p.p.s. buy her some wrist guards, knee pads and bum protection as a pressie and she'll be forever grateful! There's so much falling over that without padding you bruise/really hurt and then can struggle to keep going as you don't 'go for' it in a turn because you try to prevent yourself from falling and it seems to have the opposite effect.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

Should I let her ski at all during the holiday


maybe you didn't really mean it, Hywel, but this sounds a bit control freak-ish, with a 13 year old. Why not let her decide? If you are hiring gear, you could probably get a deal where she could swap from day to day. She might well enjoy boarding but also like to ski a bit, and feel more in control. The first few days boarding leave even fit youngsters feeling a bit bashed around, and in need of a change. Or she might be instantly hooked on boarding, or even hate it after day 1. But mountain mad, is dead right about the protection.
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I've got the same problem with my 9 year old daughter, she's decided that she can ski and now wants to board. We both did one of these taster sessions last year in Alpe d'Huez with a guy called Oli, he was a great teacher and had the whole class riding the poma and linking turns by the end of the afternoon. I'd really like her to carry on skiing for a bit longer, so so I'm trying to persuade her to make do with another 'taster session' or perhaps a 1 day private lesson.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
pam w wrote:
Quote:

Should I let her ski at all during the holiday


maybe you didn't really mean it, Hywel, but this sounds a bit control freak-ish, with a 13 year old. Why not let her decide?


Me a control freak? Twisted Evil My children probably think so - that's if I give them permission to think Twisted Evil
What I meant (but probably didn't put over very well) was should she peservere with boarding even if she felt a little daunted initially or should she take the easier option of skiing and not progressing with her choice of boarding?

I've got 3 other children with me as well, so chopping and changing gear down the ski shop could be a bit of a chore - but you're right a 13 year old should decide herself. (If I allow her to that is!)
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If she can decide for herself she ought to be able to get herself to and from the ski shop too - maybe that would be your condition? "Ride what you like, but organise and carry it yourself"!
Why don't you board with her? Nothing like watching your old man make a fool of himself. (Apologies if you're already flash on a board...)
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
pam w wrote:
Why don't you board with her? Nothing like watching your old man make a fool of himself. (Apologies if you're already flash on a board...)


Unfortunately I'm not flash on anything and the children have probably overdosed on dad making a fool of himself - so I'll stick to two planks for now.
Suppose I could send her to the ski shop and try out her year 9 French - although I don't know how far she'd get with "Quelle age avez vous?" or " Quelle date est votre anniversaire?" snowHead
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My (extremely limited experience) of little ones (one of which was circa 7) boarding stems from meeting Korean Mom (skier) and Korean offspring off a lift. As they didn't have any lessons till the day after I took it upon myself to attempt to get them working heel and toe side edges so at least they had something to do for the day on the nursery slopes. Up until then they didn't know how to strap up bindings. Within 45 mins they were comfortable-ish on both edges. Two days later they were both cruising around. In reference to the steap learning curve of boarding and pain I only have to think back to the stoopid things I did on a BMX and concrete kissing. Ouch!

In sum: let them have a crack at it.
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Quote:

Suppose I could send her to the ski shop and try out her year 9 French - although I don't know how far she'd get with "Quelle age avez vous?" or " Quelle date est votre anniversaire?"


well, most of the adult Brit sliders I have encountered have little more than year 9 French, and they cope, especially as most ski shops are good at dealing with linguistically-challenged people with money to spend. It would give her a big thrill to actually use her French for something more fun than telling people she has a hamster and her brother has a guinea pig. You could always go with her the first time, and then let her loose!
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hey,
im 12 and i think you should let her start as early as possible before she drops the idea of it.
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i took my godson to sauze were he had lessons (he was 7), i honestly thought the lessons were pretty much a waste of time and thats not because the instructor was bad (in fact he was good) its because i think its really difficult for kids to grasp exactly what an instrutor wants from them and it can seem too technical to them, i think its like when your trying to coach a kid how to play football when all they want to do is run around kicking the ball and belting it into the goal !!! me and his dad were a bit concerned that he wouldn`t pick it up and it`d spoil his holiday, however after 2 days of doing his own thing he`d cracked it and was bombing around the milky way like a good un!!! i think kids have an amazing ability to learn stuff like skiing/snowboarding just by doing their own thing and just being armed with a couple of pointers.
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