When Do I Teach my Kids to Ski The following chart shows the recommended ages for use of the KiD-SKI teaching aids.
The following article discusses the use of these aids. At what age do you teach your kids to ski? That was the predicament facing Steve Lathrop when his first child, Hunter was born in September 1993. Steve is a former member of the U.S. Ski Team. He was U.S. Downhill & Combined Champion while competing for 5 years on the F.I.S. World Cup Circuit. He turned pro and competed for four more years on the World Pro Skiing Circuit. He then spent over a decade as founder/director of Lathrop Ski Camps, which offered racing and recreational skiing to both adults and juniors. When Steve wanted to start Hunter on the sport he so loved, he found both the tools and the knowledge of how to do it lacking in the market. So, using the knowledge he had gained teaching, he built a wooden device that enabled him to lead Hunter around the hill and down the slopes. The device attracted a lot of attention and Kid-Ski was born. Hunter started skiing at 15 months and achieved skiing independence 15 months later at 2 years and 4 months. With the Kid-Ski teaching aids, typically, skiing independence can be attained by age 2 1/2. That age may vary a few months in either direction depending on when your child's birthday falls relative to winter. For ages 3-5, it should be a 5-day process. And for ages 6-8, 3 days or less. Introducing children to skiing at such a young age is wonderful for developing their physical motor skills, as well as instilling an appreciation for life-long, healthy, outdoor exercise. Starting with the H-Bar, as that first device is now known, Steve started Apple Rise Sports. He developed the Kid-Ski methodology and a series of teaching aids that enable a child to start learning to ski as early as age 1, only a month or two after they learn to walk. It?s a simple, integrated teaching system built around five simple teaching devices, three of which are brand new to the sport. Steve has since used the H-Bar and the additional aids he developed to teach his daughter Brittany to ski starting at 10 months. Brittany progressed so rapidly that she skied black diamond runs at 2 years and 11 months. Daughter Lara was next. And she presented a different challenge to Steve so he developed the Wedge Lock to hold the heels of her boots apart in the wedge position. She started at 13 months and has progressed to the wedge turn at age 18 months. The methodology that Steve developed is simple. The child can progress at their own rate from being dependant on aids and the parent, to skiing independence. The parent uses the aids when needed and in the combination needed. All the aids are for one-on-one teaching. Kid-Ski uses a 5 step methodology. Step 1: Slide time familiarizes the child with the feel of the equipment both on the hill and in the base area. The parent uses the H-Bar to hold the child upright and the Tip Lock holds the tips together. The Kiddie Lift allows the parent to easily load and unload the child while riding the lifts . Step 2: Wedge Turns: The child is beginning to learn how to turn using the Ski Leash & H-Bar, Tip Lock, Wedge Lock, and Kiddie Lift (ages 1-5). This is where most adults make the mistake of using the Ski Leash simply as a restraining device. The Ski Leash is designed with two leads to be used to teach the child to turn. But the child must be in a wedge position, which is what the Wedge Lock and Tip Lock accomplish. Step 3. Wedge Turns: The child is ready to hold the skis apart and learn how to make turns on their own. Still using the Ski Leash and Tip Lock, but without the Wedge Lock, the parent can steer the child down the slope. Step 4. Wedge Turns: Still using the Tip Lock but without the parent "steering", the child is now making linked wedge turns on their own. Step 5. Skiing Independence: The child is on their own. The only aid that should still be used is the Kiddie Lift to get them on and off the lifts and to hold them while on the lift. The most important of the teaching aids is probably the Tip Lock. It is used in all of the steps in the KidSki methodology until skiing independence is attained. It is a small device, which keeps the skis held together at the tip. This prevents the tips from wandering, thereby offering new skiers more stability. And it aids the child in establishing the wedge position. If needed, it can be used with the Wedge Lock, which holds the heels apart so the child is locked in the wedge position. The Tip Lock can be quickly released for traversing flats and riding lifts. The Ski Leash is one of the most popular tools but also the one that is used improperly much of the time. It is a simple device consisting of a harness and a 14' looping leash strap. It is designed to allow the parent to steer the child through turns. However, instead of a guiding tool, parents tend to use it as a restraining device. The objective is to minimize the amount of time that both leads are being pulled on simultaneously. A child should be turning most of the time (except across the flats, obviously). Ski Leash and Tip Lock So, want to teach your child to ski so they can join you on the slopes instead of being shuffled off to the day-care center? Steve has put together a comprehensive video, which covers the four areas of: Fundamentals of Beginning Ski Technique Proper Use of Teaching Aids Ski Equipment for Kids Proper Clothing -- Dress for Success The line of Kid-Ski teaching aids including the video is available at Snowshack.