If you love skiing or snowboarding, you will want your kids to like it too. Helping them fall in love with the sport requires helping them enjoy their first few experiences on the mountain.
Setting your kids up with good instruction, sufficient clothing, and the right amount of freedom can help them have the best experience possible. Don’t let a few bad childhood ski trips ruin your kids’ perception of snowboarding.
1. Stay Warm or Get Warm
The trick to helping kids have a good time on the slopes is making sure they are comfortable. Proper clothing can go a long way to meet this goal. Help your kids suit up with a good jacket and plenty of layers underneath it. An effective snow jacket is waterproof and breathable. This will make sure your kids stay dry and warm all day without getting overly hot and sweaty. Neck gaiters or ski masks can be worn to keep faces warm as they embrace the wind going down the slopes. Pack several hand warmers into your trip supplies. Slipping a few of these into pockets, gloves, or even boots can keep extremities warm.
Even with all the right clothing, your kids can get cold. Don’t be afraid to take a trip to the ski lodge every once in a while. Most resorts have fireplaces and hot cocoa to help you warm back up before hitting the slopes for a few more rounds.
2. Get Adequate Gear
When it comes to snowboarding gear, you want your kids to have stuff that fits them. Kids grow a lot from year to year or ski season to ski season. You may want to plan on selling and replacing snowboarding gear at the start of every few seasons. Keep your gear in good shape to maximize how much you can sell them for. Alternatively, you can rent gear each time you take your kids to the slopes. If you plan on going only a couple of times each season, this can be a good choice.
Whether you opt to buy or rent gear for your kids, you’ll want to make sure they fit well. Any retail store with a dedicated snowsports department will have experts that can help your kids try on snowboards, helmets, and other gear. Taking a trip to a store like this is a great move before buying or renting anything. Having bindings and a snowboard that match your child’s shoe size, height, and weight will help them have a good experience. It is important to keep your kids safe on the slopes. That means having a youth ski helmet that fits correctly is a must. A helmet that is too big will move around too much and a helmet that is too small will squeeze your child’s head. See ski helmets for kids at babybottles & wildhornoutfitters.com.
3. Teach Them the Basics and Reiterate
It is wise to pay for lessons the first time you take your children to a ski resort. No matter how much of an expert you think you are, it is good to have a paid instructor take the time to teach your children the basics of snowboarding.
Once they are coached up, it is your job to guide them and instruct them as you go down the mountain or the bunny slopes. As you go, remind them of what they learned in the lessons. As with any new sport, there are a lot of minor details to remember. It can be easy for a kid to hyperfocus on one or two things and forget other important aspects of the technique. Encourage your children and don’t let them get frustrated if they fall down.
While in the ski lodge or once you’re home for the day, it can be a good idea to watch instructional YouTube videos with your kid to help them perfect their technique.
4. Let them Lead the Way
Give your children a sense of independence by letting them lead the way. Keep them on the trails that are right for their skill level, but let them choose your route down the mountain.
Have them set the pace too so they don’t feel like they have to match yours. Going too fast to keep up with you can push them beyond their skill level. Going too slow can take away the excitement of snowboarding, even for beginners.
When traveling from car to snow, have your little ones carry their own board. This will contribute to their sense of independence. And hey, that is easier on you as a parent too.
This independence will help kids feel free as they coast down the mountain. And that’s something we all love about the slopes, right?
5. Keep it Fun!
Start them slow with short, part-day trips to the slopes so they don’t get exhausted. Bring snacks and take trips to the lodge for hot cocoa. The last thing you want to do is push snowboarding upon your child. Think of the experience as guided discovery. Help your kid try out the sport and decide for themselves if they like it. Encourage them along the way whether they pick it up quickly or struggle through it.
Now that you know how to snowboard with kids, get out there and do it! Snowboarding (or skiing) can be a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy. Gear up and get outside.