Bright one-pieces, ski school bibs and dangling mittens, we always see children on the slopes bumbling about like little penguins. But what age can children learn to ski? What’s the norm or appropriate age to start?
Start with the basics
Are they ready? It’s not just about their fearlessness; children will need to have the attention span and physical strength to have 2 hour lessons over 6 days. This depends on their level of maturity and does need to be thought through so the child is starting at the right time for them. If they aren’t ready, wait until next season; don’t push them into it as you want it to be an enjoyable experience for them as much as possible.
Have a taster
It’s a strange and new sensation wearing heavy boots and skis on their feet, so get them used to the feeling. Parents can go out with their child for an hour a day before lessons so they are familiar with sliding on snow. This should all be about the enjoyment of being in the snow and a new environment to build their confidence.
For a taster before the holiday, parents can take their children to an indoor snow dome or dry slope to also get a feel for what it is like and learn a bit about the basics of skiing but mostly learn and feel comfortable to move about with the equipment.
Most ski schools take on children 3 and above. If your child is age 4 or 5 then group lessons are a good option so they are with other children their age. Younger than 4, then a private lesson or lesson with a group of 3 or 4 is recommended. Lessons should be short to start with and can be followed with afternoon activities with a snow club such as tobogganing or arts and crafts. Our family package holidays offer in house snow clubs for a range of ages.
Children in lessons should be able to take on instructions from their instructor, which goes back to what level of maturity they are at and why for under 4s ski lessons should be thought through more as to whether they will feel comfortable in the care of an instructor.
Making your child’s ski experience easier, can start with pre booking a ski school that have English-speaking instructors. Even booking a holiday with friends who have the same or similar age children can make learning a lot more fun and comfortable.
The basics of ski lessons will be at a ski kindergarten or on the nursery slopes. They make learning the basics a lot of fun. Skiing through archways and around obstacles to practice snowplough turns and going up the magic carpet replicates the familiarity of a soft play area. Most have ski school mascots and by the end of the week are praised and rewarded with certificates and medals. Evolution2 ski school has an awards ceremony at the end of the week, with a chance to have a photo with their Yeti mascot.
Skiing can be a daunting yet exciting prospect for children and you want to make sure they are eager to give it a go. Remember it takes time and patience for them to be at a comfortable stage to learn.
Find your perfect family ski holiday and talk to one of our ski experts for advice on choosing a holiday to suit you and your family.