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November 12, 2007

Kansas City Star on Family Skiing (h/t Skiing on Sundays)

The Kansas City Star has a nice article on skiing with kids that Jim Carty at Michigan's Ann Arbor News posted in his "Skiing on Sunday" column. Bookmark Skiing on Sunday. It pretty much rocks.

Anyway, from the KC article:

Now this buff 6-footer from Chicago was side-slipping down a bunny trail with a pert, red-headed 7-year-old. He was there when she took her first group lesson, he took her up on her first chairlift ride and when she fell down in tears, he brushed off the snow and wiped her nose.

“I know I’m getting rusty,” he said. “But I wouldn’t trade Emily for anything. My family’s what matters now.”

Baker, 45, doesn’t know it yet, but if Emily is a typical grade-schooler, it won’t be long before she’s keeping up with her dad on those groomed intermediate cruisers. She’s snowplowing around the corners now. But after a week of lessons, most beginners are riding the chairlifts in perfect confidence and skiing — if a bit more slowly — the same intermediate cruisers their parents have skied for years...

“Eight and 9-year-olds who spend five days in ski school will be making parallel turns by Friday,” said John Buhler, ski school director at Breckinridge Ski Resort in Colorado. “The kids aren’t afraid, and their learning curve is shorter. When you show them something new, they’re quicker to try it.”

I wrote earlier that unless the snow is great, I am not a fan of having the kids in ski school for more than a couple of days. Especially kids over 7ish. The important part is for them to be able to get on and off the lifts, stop easily using a Wedge/Snowplow/Pizza (depending on what the ski school calls it), and make good turns doing wedges. As a parent, the biggest thing to work on from there is their downhill foot on arched turns and getting it to come parallel. Not rocket science, but you coach on that point and getting skis parallel will come with time.

I say that not to dismiss the value of ski school. They certainly will help teach the kids. And if your kids are bratty, don't listen, or are whiny and you are a parent that has little patience or wants to vacation away from the kids, I can understand the motivation to have them in ski school. It is really important to ski with the kids, even though it means giving up some of your own ski time. Take a semi-private lesson with the kids or make absolutely sure that if they do go to ski school, you get there at 2:30 or whenever they come off the snow for the day and take a few runs with them. You want to let them show you what they learned that day. Let them talk about it for the rest of the afternoon. But especially, ride a lift together. Sit and talk and so forth.

I love hearing stories of parents spending time teaching their kids and skiing with their kids. I love skiing pow and cutting freshies and skiing with my buddies on steeps. But skiing with my kids is probably more valuable. And because I put in the time on greens with Jake when he was young, now at 10, he goes everywhere on the mountain.

Posted by Justin at November 12, 2007 09:23 AM


I love hearing about how sweet your family is... You sound like a really great dad.

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at November 14, 2007 07:06 PM