Cute ski suits, mini ‘sunnies,’ gentle sliding, and plenty of giggles in the snow—exactly what you picture when considering taking your toddlers on their first ski trip, and you’re not wrong.
Some kids can’t wait to hit the slopes and they’re bound to take to skiing or snowboarding right away, while others might need more time. Children can learn to ski or snowboard at the UK real snow slope, The Snow Centre and at most mountain ski schools from the age of 3. However, the ‘readiness’ of any child depends on their individual development, and generally, parents should expect a unique progression rate for each youngster.
That said, you may find some parents popping their kids on one plank or two as soon as they can walk, and others holding back until their little ones can’t wait to get going. Getting your kids started early has undeniable perks for both parents and kids, but it’s important not to rush the learning process.
In an ideal world, everyone would fearlessly start at the age of 3, when their small build, flexibility, adaptability and passion for learning is at its height—but there’s other reasons for getting your youngsters on the snow sooner.
Firstly, there’s the many benefits skiing and snowboarding brings to a child’s all-round development, confidence, a feeling of accomplishment, and of course, crazy on-snow skills. The second is all about the parents, if your kids love heading out on the mountain, you, the parent can get out on the mountain with them. A ‘win win’ scenario for all that allows for some quality family time.
There’s also the fact, that starting them young is likely to allow your children to surpass your own skiing abilities before they’ve even reached their teens. You’ll realise it’s possible, as soon as you see them bravely pushing themselves without even trying, because it’s all about having fun.
Skiing and snowboarding also offers plenty of social opportunities for children, either within their own families or at ski school with other kids. With snowsports also being a great form of exercise, it’s almost a no brainer for parents to get their kids going as soon as possible, but the question is, ‘are they ready?’
The cold environment and the alien equipment can all be a huge adjustment for a 3-year-old, but remember at this age they are continually being introduced to new things, new foods, new places, new playgrounds and new people. So, as a parent you probably already have some idea of how your youngster reacts to the frequent introduction of new things and experiences. Therefore, this should be a good indicator for how they will feel about trying skiing or snowboarding for the first time.
One of the easiest ways to know if your child would like to try skiing or snowboarding is to show them what it is and ask them. Most professional snowsports centres and ski schools will be very familiar with helping youngsters build confidence on the snow, so it’s important to listen to professional advice and allow your child to participate to a level they’re comfortable with.
At The Snow Centre the team believe in snowsports for all and recognise the importance of participation, building self-confidence, exploring new experiences and feeling a sense of achievement. If a junior has any additional needs that could be a barrier to learning a snowsport, guests can speak to a member of the team to find a pathway to help them unlock learning and participation potential.
The centre is also home to Snowbility and Disability Snowsport UK, offering specialist coaching for children with additional needs.
At The Snow Centre, 30 minute Private Ski or Snowboard Lessons are available for 3 - 5 year olds and 1 Hour Private Ski or Snowboard Lessons are available for anyone ages 4 and above. Junior Group Ski Lessons with a maximum ratio per instructor are available from age 4 - 16, and groups are divided into age groups and ability level. Junior Group Snowboard Lessons with a maximum ratio per instructor are also available, but from age 7 - 16.
On the mountain, ski school ages vary with many resorts offering lessons from age 3, but you’ll often find an outdoor snow crèche for younger children in most family resorts. These can be a great introduction to playing in the snow.
If your child is too young to go into ski-school, they can still have a fantastic time in the mountains. Sledging, and snowman building are all fantastic activities that are not only great fun, but will also help to familiarise your children with the mountain environment. From the age of two, most tots also enjoy having a play on skis with mum and dad, so why not hire a pair for the afternoon and have a go?