Teaching your kid to ski

Skiertwo

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Both parents ‘good’ (whole mountain) skiers. How to teach the kid?
What balance of skiing with parents/group lessons/private lessons worked for you? Any YouTube channels or programs you followed?
Thank you for any advice
 

Legs Akimbo

Grumblebum
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There are some very useful words, best deployed at a ski school counter "I would like 5 days of lessons please".

Skiing is a strange activity with actions unrelated to anything else a child has done. Instructors have excellent ways of conveying these concepts that have been tried many times. You don't. Then you can spend time with your kids while they show you what they have learned to do.
 

cold wombat

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There are some very useful words, best deployed at a ski school counter "I would like 5 days of lessons please".

Skiing is a strange activity with actions unrelated to anything else a child has done. Instructors have excellent ways of conveying these concepts that have been tried many times. You don't. Then you can spend time with your kids while they show you what they have learned to do.
This.

Don't teach family. It's just not worth the grief.
 

Tanuki

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Personally I wouldn't have the confidence to teach my daughter skiing (maybe boarding) but I'm teaching her surfing, skate boarding, bike riding, footy etc etc. As legs said it's a strange and unique activity and in an inherently dangerous / hostile environment (I guess surfing is too though) My best skier buddy at Hotham tried and failed and had to send his girls back to ski school for a few days.

Our experience, with our then 5yr old, we tried for the first day (Perisher) and failed - our daughter was scared and miserable. We put her in Ski school for five mornings and bazinga she's now a skier.

We can now ski with her and give basic skills guidance and most importantly teach her mountain skills / sense / ethics and how to ski and have fun.

Kudos to you if you are able to do it - I'm sure plenty of parents do it - gravity and edges.
 

WaistDeep

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I did a couple of seasons ski instructing, and still sent both of mine to ski school for their first lessons.

The best thing you could do to really help them along is show them how to get in and out of their skis by themselves, and get up independently after a fall (put them in all sorts of twisted positions!) Also standing across the fall line and side stepping. These sorts of soft skills will make a big difference so the instructors can concentrate on the technique side of things.

You wait to see how much they improve when you get them back from ski school!

Also, if the kids are very young and depending on $$ then staying on snow can make a huge difference to young kids who sometimes like to go in and out all day...
 

Olgreg

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Yep, hand them over to a good instructor and they will learn heaps more.
once they are zooming around with you and wanting to beat you down the hill, use the old “lollies in the snow“ trick. Drop a jelly snake in the snow as you ski, let them find it, then say “let’s find lollies in the snow”. They will ski, turn, stop, keep weight forward, all the good stuff.
 
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Sbooker

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I think the best way would be to put them in ski school but it’s not the only way.
My wife and myself have never had a lesson. We can ski the whole mountain but I am sure are not technically correct. We have a great time skiing.
Our kids have never had a lesson and they too can ski the whole mountain. They started skiing with us. They had time on skis. The only advice we gave them was yell ‘pizza’ and ‘French fries’. (That was when they were 3 and 5 years of age).
Now at 14 and 16 they’re better than us.
 

Tom from Melbourne

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I taught my son to ski, one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life.

He was 4, and had no kindergarten on Fridays (and no siblings!).

I'm a confident skier, never instructor.

I bought him an ex rental set of boots and skis.

If weather was good we'd drive from Melbourne to Baw Baw for the day.

Couple of key things for me:
1) Good weather, don't even think about if it's not sunny and no wind.
2) It's about them, not you. They want to stop after 5 min and snowball fight or toboggan- that's what you do.
3) Break and snacks, frequent and lots of.
4) Keep it simple and know when you've reached your limit, I never did more than Pizza and French fries, and making sure he was always in control, and when he was 5 he started at lessons.

But we loved those early days, and he loves his skiing and we still ski together heaps.

It also gave me confidence in my ability to coach and look after him, and when was a bit older to take him out surfing with me.

So if you want to try it, do it- the worse that can happen is that it doesn't work for you.
 

Legs Akimbo

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I taught my son to ski, one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life.

He was 4, and had no kindergarten on Fridays (and no siblings!).

I'm a confident skier, never instructor.

I bought him an ex rental set of boots and skis.

If weather was good we'd drive from Melbourne to Baw Baw for the day.

Couple of key things for me:
1) Good weather, don't even think about if it's not sunny and no wind.
2) It's about them, not you. They want to stop after 5 min and snowball fight or toboggan- that's what you do.
3) Break and snacks, frequent and lots of.
4) Keep it simple and know when you've reached your limit, I never did more than Pizza and French fries, and making sure he was always in control, and when he was 5 he started at lessons.

But we loved those early days, and he loves his skiing and we still ski together heaps.

It also gave me confidence in my ability to coach and look after him, and when was a bit older to take him out surfing with me.

So if you want to try it, do it- the worse that can happen is that it doesn't work for you.
I disagree. The worst that can happen is that they refuse to ski ever again. It is a risk.
 
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Crystal

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ski school..

We have friends who have taught their kids and to this day I still see the really bad habits they do that will ultimately stop them progressing. Parents still refusing to pop them in for a lesson or 2 to fix the mistakes. They have had a great time as a family though and many great memories made.... however the kids will never hit the advanced level let alone high intermediate.
 
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TJ

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I can still feel the burn in my thighs from the first time I took my oldest down the mountain with the harness straps. She was almost 2 at the time. I did a few sessions with her earlier on but as soon as she was ready for lessons I threw her in them. This year at 10 years old we did some off piste Cortina tree runs in deep pow which made me proud. 360s off the jumps is standard. It helps by living in a snow town where most of her friends ski. Go with the lessons.
Good quality warm clothing.
Hot chocolates
Hot chips.
Lollies in her pockets.
 

Tom from Melbourne

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I disagree. The worst that can happen is that they refuse to ski ever again. It is a risk.

Absolutely it's a risk, and the worst outcome is that they don't enjoy it, but that's why you've got to be careful about making it bout them.

RE bad habits- I must admit I was very nervous at his first lesson for exactly that reason, but he seems to have survived without major issues (but he's not going to the Olympics anytime soon!).

I think that lessons is probably the smarter option, and possibly better for their short and long term progession.. but I wouldn't do anything different, and thinking of the Baw Baw carpet always make me smile!

EDIT: Maybe I should say I taught him to love the snow, as all we did was use a carpet, pizza and French fries... so I didn't even get the skis on, but that was enough for me, and as far as I could take him!
 
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Jonathan_P

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Last year due to restrictions my Daughter who was 3 going on 4 had private lessons it was the best $2500 I ever spent.

The instructor motivated her in a way I never could. After 9 lessons she was navigating her way around most parts of the mountain independently.

Restriction dependent she’s booked in for a mix of privates and group lessons this year.
 

Telemark Phat

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I'm providing a reference for people who don't know me, not blowing my own horn. I've been a senior trainer of ski Instructors at the highest level for a decade and I'm one of the more certified Instructors in Australia.

For the first three winters of my daughters life I gave her a few short intros to skiing. I'd take her in the child pack, XC ski somewhere, pull her out, play on those plastics strap on skis for a bit and play in the snow for a lot longer. All I was doing was getting her familiar with the environment and the activity of skiing

She's now 4. Before work started I took her in the carpet at Perisher for a couple of sessions. I was surprised how comfortable she was in alpine boots (first time) and with the environment. She did well and was able to do assisted snow ploughs and turns on a slope which was too steep for a 4 year old to learn on easily. We both had a great time because my expectations were realistic and I have the skill set.

Without those realistic expectations I would have been bitterly disappointed. I could have got any one else's child skiing that slope independently in the same space of time. But the dynamic with my daughter is very different to the dynamic between myself and someone else's child.

I've got an instructor friend giving her weekly Nordic Lessons so she learns how to balance properly on her skis. She'll learn much faster with my friend than she would with me.

If you want your child to learn how to ski, invest in ski school. You'll still have plenty of time after to enjoy skiing together.
 

blueandwhite

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We taught our kids how to click into their skis and how to then form a basic snowplough. They did some very basic sliding on a gentle slope with us on foot nearby in case they failed to stop. Then at that point we handed them over to an instructor for private lessons. Worked really well for us. You get the joy of seeing their first smile as they slide on the snow for the first time under their own steam - but everything beyond that is taught by a professional!

Every child and every parent is different though so I'm not sure there is necessarily a right or wrong way.
 

Skiertwo

Early Days
Jun 5, 2021
44
11
8
Last year due to restrictions my Daughter who was 3 going on 4 had private lessons it was the best $2500 I ever spent.

The instructor motivated her in a way I never could. After 9 lessons she was navigating her way around most parts of the mountain independently.

Restriction dependent she’s booked in for a mix of privates and group lessons this year.
We’re in a similar age bracket - what length of private worked best?
 

hatto

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I tought both of mine to ski and board, they both go well.
Not going to be Olympians but don't want to be either.
We have a blast everytime we board.
It's about the fun and all 3 of us still talk about those times.
Be calm, be patient be fun and the rewards last a lifetime
 

Jonathan_P

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We’re in a similar age bracket - what length of private worked best?
Last year she was booked on 2 hour lessons, which were long enough. They will give them a break half way which they need when they start out, by the end she just wanted to keep going. This year she going to give the 3 hours a go :)

Don’t be surprised though if the spend a fair bit of time sitting around especially to start off with. Alright for me as I didn’t set any expectations, I was fine if she was still on the carpet at end of 9 lessons so was presently surprised with how much she achieved. Thanks to her instructor.
 

Kletterer

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Its a tricky thing. Its a similar potential problem with climbing. Have seen quite a number of wild arguments between partners climbing. I wont be coaching my girlfreind how to ski. Have already pushed her hard enough doing arduous epic scrub bashing walks and dodgy stream crossings.
 

Tonester

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Speaking from experience with two kids.......do not attempt!
I consider myself a good skier with a strong technical underpinning. But it seemed that Little Ms Tonester didn't quite appreciate that. Every tip, suggestion or piece of advice that I could offer her to improve her skiing fell upon deaf ears.
Those very same tips and suggestions, however, were well received when she heard them from her coach. Go figure.
My advice.....get them in to lessons and save yourself the heartache and frustration.
 

CarveMan

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I'm providing a reference for people who don't know me, not blowing my own horn. I've been a senior trainer of ski Instructors at the highest level for a decade and I'm one of the more certified Instructors in Australia.

For the first three winters of my daughters life I gave her a few short intros to skiing. I'd take her in the child pack, XC ski somewhere, pull her out, play on those plastics strap on skis for a bit and play in the snow for a lot longer. All I was doing was getting her familiar with the environment and the activity of skiing

She's now 4. Before work started I took her in the carpet at Perisher for a couple of sessions. I was surprised how comfortable she was in alpine boots (first time) and with the environment. She did well and was able to do assisted snow ploughs and turns on a slope which was too steep for a 4 year old to learn on easily. We both had a great time because my expectations were realistic and I have the skill set.

Without those realistic expectations I would have been bitterly disappointed. I could have got any one else's child skiing that slope independently in the same space of time. But the dynamic with my daughter is very different to the dynamic between myself and someone else's child.

I've got an instructor friend giving her weekly Nordic Lessons so she learns how to balance properly on her skis. She'll learn much faster with my friend than she would with me.

If you want your child to learn how to ski, invest in ski school. You'll still have plenty of time after to enjoy skiing together.
I'm similarly qualified to T-P, though stopped instructing in 2008. My wife is also a fully certified instructor and between us we have over 30 winters worth of experience. Our eldest daughter is 3 this year and we will not be teaching her how to ski.

But we definitely will be skiing with her as much as we can., providing a good picture to look at and skiing with the right turn shape at the right speed on the right terrain.

I also acknowledge that, as the great intellectual Mike Tyson once said 'everyone's got a plan until they get a punch in the mouth' so I will be glad to report back in October and how much hat-eating I might have to do.
 

Nidecker

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Definition: Mutually exclusive is a statistical term describing two or more events that cannot happen simultaneously. It is commonly used to describe a situation where the occurrence of one outcome supersedes the other.

It's pretty simple really.

A mix of wallet friendly group lessons, interspersed with the odd private and free skiing with mum and dad on greens and maybe the odd blue will set her up. Could never recommend the baby sitting club (milo) thing though, would rather my child was outside skiing not inside drawing. -YMMV though
 

Crystal

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Could never recommend the baby sitting club (milo) thing though, would rather my child was outside skiing not inside drawing. -YMMV though
Yes...I remember dropping #1 child off at Milo at Falls Creek when he was a young one. The nice young girl asked me his skiing ability and I said chuck him in the highest group you have. She raised her eyebrows and said..okay lets try this mam, how many hours has he done on snow. Needless to say I just said give him a go and put him where you want to. Privates booked for the following days for him :) Milo is sensational for some kids...not all.
 

craighelo

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I'm similarly qualified to T-P, though stopped instructing in 2008. My wife is also a fully certified instructor and between us we have over 30 winters worth of experience. Our eldest daughter is 3 this year and we will not be teaching her how to ski.

But we definitely will be skiing with her as much as we can., providing a good picture to look at and skiing with the right turn shape at the right speed on the right terrain.

I also acknowledge that, as the great intellectual Mike Tyson once said 'everyone's got a plan until they get a punch in the mouth' so I will be glad to report back in October and how much hat-eating I might have to do.
I'm nowhere that skilled or experienced (must pass level 2 this year), but I just ski a good turn shape and try to look for some fun bumps and mini jumps, sometimes the kids follow sometimes they don't, but in a lesson they do exactly what the instructor is asking.
 
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Undies

Superspreadin the lurve
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What are your children like in stressful situations? Do they tend to listen to advice and take on board what is being said (5% of kids)? Or do they tend to get frustrated/scared/upset and then blame the nearest parent (95% of kids)?

Teaching your family members is a massive no no. Once they are getting towards blue runs you are good to throw in some tips. Prior to that it is just about ensuring everyone is having fun while in each other's company.
 
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Seth

I am figure skating
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We are planning on putting Sethette on skis for the first time this winter.

I have already started the process, talking about skiing, watching videos of kids skiing, how they stop, etc. Just to start building some familiarity with it. Once at the snow, I will do the most basic stuff. Walking around with one ski, getting used to the boots, being on the flats with two skis etc. See how it goes from there. Might love it, might hate it and we try again next year.
 

teleroo

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I taught my kids. Taught them both the usual snow plough pizza crap. Then taught them to telemark (both wanted to learn, though that is still a work in progress, but still progressing).

I refer to the "pizza crap", because after teaching them that and transitioning to parallel, I started reading Harald Harb's e-books. And realised the best way to teach beginners is to teach them to parallel first using his methods, then the snow plough pizza crap as an add on after. Snow plough is really only useful as a low speed technique for manoeuvring in congested areas. Should be avoided for beginners.

My thinking on this is quite unorthodox. People round here probably sick of me banging on about Harald Harb's stuff. But I highly recommend it. You can use it to teach your kids.
 

Lifes2good

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I think you will have got the picture from the 30 odd posts before mine.

To answer your question: "What balance of skiing with parents/group lessons/private lessons worked for you?":

We went the Thredboland/Milo Kids route - from age 3 both kids were booked in for a full week program each year. We picked them up at 3.30pm and skied with them until they had enough of impressing us with their new-found skills. It was awesome and both became competent skiers. 2020 northern winter we had them with a private instructor/guide in Italy for a few days and they both leapt ahead - 15 y/o daughter is now a whole-resort and off-piste skier that we can't keep up with and 10 y/o son is very solid on blue runs and will give blacks a go. He will continue with ski school/privates for a few more years. Both are completely addicted snow bunnies which was exactly what we were aiming for.
 

DPS Driver

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I've put three kids through ski school, two youngest still get lessons, the eldest is a ski (was a ski) instructor. He decided he liked real beds and eating more than the lifestyle.

Don't teach your kids or your girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, mistress etc etc. to ski.

Why? Just because it's not worth the pain, both there's and yours.
 

Tonester

Lift Line Nazi
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I've put three kids through ski school, two youngest still get lessons, the eldest is a ski (was a ski) instructor. He decided he liked real beds and eating more than the lifestyle.

Don't teach your kids or your girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, mistress etc etc. to ski.

Why? Just because it's not worth the pain, both there's and yours.
Ditto for me. Both kids started in devo. Daughter had some talent so went into race training, then instructor......then 2 ACL reconstructions (but that's another story) Son, not so much talent but is technically a strong skier. Apart from the very early days, I never attempted to teach them to ski. Aside from not listening to me, I think they had more fun with their own ski buddies. And the coaches are pretty damn good at what they do. So, I decided to leave it to the professionals. I think the consensus is.....leave the teaching to the instructors and you do the parenting. Simple and everyone is happier.
 

Sandy

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Yes...I remember dropping #1 child off at Milo at Falls Creek when he was a young one. The nice young girl asked me his skiing ability and I said chuck him in the highest group you have. She raised her eyebrows and said..okay lets try this mam, how many hours has he done on snow. Needless to say I just said give him a go and put him where you want to. Privates booked for the following days for him :) Milo is sensational for some kids...not all.
... not all ;)

My daughter did Milo for a 2 seasons at Hotham (5-6 days each time, in the morning), from about 5-6yo(Our lodge didn't allow kids under 5yo).
She ended up doing reasonable "pizzas", but slowly, just following the instructor. After the about 4 days of that she never improved much, and same the following season.

So after a morning in Milo in the 2nd season (about day 4), we went to the summit, and played "tag".
By the end of the run, she was going twice as fast, and turning fast. By run 3, she was almost doing parallel turns.... after 10 runs, she was full of confidence, no more pizza. She was a good parallel skier by 9yo, didn't have another lesson until she was 14yo.
 

Boodwah

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Taught/teaching my 3 to ski, loving (nearly) every minute of it.
Home made edgie-wedgies, and harnesses. Franken-bindings and lots of 2nd hand gear.
Early on XC and learning how to climb with skins, keep warm etc.
There were slow moments, so taught myself to tele whilst I waited for them.
They're now independent, and we have fun as a family at the same speed which is all i really wanted.
But we still have moments where we finally get up the hill and one of them has forgotten/dropped a glove.
There were a couple of days of ski school at Falls for the oldest when she was a tot, but she mostly stood around in the cold, drank milo or queued for the magic carpet. It was expensive bbsitting and i felt guilty every time we skied past.
 

Genghis Khan

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It’s mostly well covered above, but I found myself reflecting on my own experience when I saw this thread, so for what it’s worth here are a few observations (from a ski obsessed father of 3 kids under 10 who spent a couple of seasons 20ish years ago as a part time minimally qualified instructor more interested in the free overseas lift pass for uni holidays):

(1) The balance is more weighted to lessons at the beginning. Your goal is to get them to be able to confidently ski blue runs. Most mountains completely open up then and family time becomes a much improved proposition!

(2) At this stage, privates are expensive but definitely worth it. IMHO half days (or 2 hour lessons) every day are ideal. It leads to very rapid improvement and allows for a balance between learning time with instructor and some family time bonding. The half day with you won’t have much skiing though - they’ll be tired and you want to keep it fun!

(3) Once they can get around the mountain you’ve got more flex and for us it depends on the trip. Is it a quick weekend or a multi week OS adventure? We don’t bother with lessons on weekends which are just about family fun. The lessons and improvement are for the big trips.

(4) On the week or longer trips, we like to go with about 50:50 lessons v family skiing. Weve found it best in to give consistency. Ie 3 days with an instructor then a couple of days off with family. Repeat as many times as length of trip allows then leave the last few days for family time.

(5) By this stage and once they’ve had a couple of years of real school, they really enjoy the social side of ski school so we tend to go for that rather than privates. For my shy kids, before that they definitely preferred the privates where the instructor does all the hard work socially.

(6) Having said that, a private or two at the beginning of a trip never hurts!

(7) Don’t make young kids go to ski school in bad weather. Waste of everyone’s time and risks putting them off.

(8) If you can, in the beginning give them a decent period to get going. I think 10-14 days is ideal. You should get any kid who is old enough to comfortable blue run skiing in that period. If you don’t, you can always hand them a snowboard and disown them…..

(9) Make family time about having fun and exploring the mountain. Resist the urge to try teaching them the next progression that the instructor is probably planning for tomorrow!

(10) Give under 5s days off snow if there for a week or longer.

Good luck with it all! The faffing around just to get young kids onto the slopes, let alone learning how to actually ski, is pretty intense but within a few years when they’re confidently skiing all over the mountain it will all be worth it!!
 

absentskier

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I have the double whammy. My kids hated ski school from day 1 (various reasons - they’re not what you’d call ‘typical’) but also hate it when I try to give them a hint or two. It’s very frustrating but is what it is.

They would probably do some private lessons (together) if I could afford it.
 

Telezacski

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We have gone back to lessons this year, both kids started at 3 in Milo which worked for them, they then progressed to free riders which to be honest I was less impressed with from a ski development perspective.

the following may be wrong but I got the impression that the better instructors were teaching private or running ski programs, so both kids development slowed a little.

I offered both the opportunity to do development squad etc but neither were keen on the every weekend commitment. This year switched to Privates, so far five booked with @dawooduck one down.

three family sessions with mum and two by them selves.

we will book a few more sessions later
 

Telezacski

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Like others I recommend getting the kids used to skis, we had them clipping in at home on carpet, this got them excited about skiing.

they both slid on plastic strap on skis under control and stood on the front of my skis as youngsters.

but I recognise I don’t have the patience to ski instruct and I set unrealistic expectationsso for me it’s best to pass over. We had far more fun being shown what had been learnt each day.

I also take a more selfish view and that is, I want to ski and I want to use my ticket. I don’t want to spend the day on Friday Flat as I don’t see the value so feel spending more means I get more out of my ticket
 
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Schnitzelnschnapps

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It's like me trying to teach my daughter to ride her pony, or my poor husband (former holder of instructor quals) trying to teach me to ski. To keep the family together, you just don't do it. Pay the professionals. :p
 
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