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Winter sports: this is how you introduce children to skiing

KIndians love snow and tobogganing. So why not start skiing too? We explain how to get started on the boards and what parents should pay attention to.

From what age children can ski

“The earlier the better,” says Thomas Braun from the German Ski Association (DSV). The reason is the higher learning ability. Many children get on skis for the first time when they are three or four years old. Motor and physically they are then ready. But that alone is not enough.

“Skiing has something to do with motivation,” says Marc Buhl from the Winterberg Ski School. If the three-year-old doesn’t feel like skiing, it’s probably too early. A short ski video or pictures from your last ski holiday can increase interest.

What ski equipment a child needs

Skis, ski boots and helmets are essential. All of these utensils have to fit the body size and age, explains Braun. Ski goggles, a ski suit and good gloves are also part of the children’s equipment. The exposed skin needs sunscreen with a high sun protection factor.

Downhill in the snow plow: children can start skiing at an early age

Source: dpa-tmn / Florian Schuh

New ski equipment is expensive and doesn’t last long. Renting at a ski rental is better. “Some sports retailers also offer skis that grow with the child or exchange systems,” says Braun. Equipment that has become too small can be exchanged for a larger one.

Which ski course is suitable

Almost every ski school offers courses for little guests. Which is only logical: “70 to 80 percent of customers are children,” says Thomas Braun. The first ski lesson should take place not far from the ski school on its own, protected area. “It is important to have retreats in case you have to take the children out.”

Individual lesson or group course? That depends on the preferences of the children and parents. “Group courses are better suited for small children because they are more motivated,” says Braun.

Practice early: This little skier already looks like a real professional

Practice early: This little skier already looks like a real professional

Source: dpa-tmn / Florian Schuh

In this way, children learn not only from the ski instructor, but also from other children. The group should not be too big, otherwise the learning success will be too low. According to Braun, a maximum of twelve children with two ski instructors are recommended. Why two? One takes care of the supervision, the other takes care of the learning.

Marc Buhl only teaches children under five individually. “The concentration is greater and the child can focus better on skiing and the ski instructor,” he says.

One-to-one tuition can also suit children who do not have a lot of group experience. But you should be able to separate from your parents. “It’s best to move a few meters to the side so that the focus stays with the ski instructor,” advises Buhl.

What children learn in ski courses

“Many ski schools start with a magic carpet, a conveyor belt with which the children come up without exertion and train their balance on skis,” reports Thomas Braun. Then they get to know the feeling for the skis on the plane and develop a feeling of gliding on flat terrain.

Later it goes on gently sloping terrain, where the children feel the skis slide downhill. If that works, practice taking the first corners and braking. Once at the bottom, you can take the platter lift or drag lift.

This is how you introduce children to skiing

Ski course in the Alps: These children can get up the drag lift with their skis without any problems

Source: dpa-tmn / Tobias Hase

The whole thing takes place in a playful way. “We call a classic plow or snow plow ‘pizza’ because the position of the skis is reminiscent of such a piece,” says Marc Buhl.

If you then ski in parallel, that means “fries” for the children. The ski instructor drives on the slopes together with the child. “If the strength is not there yet, it can hold onto a bar or its hands to brake.”

When does the parents go out onto the slopes?

“Those who practice intensively for three days can then ski an easy slope with their parents,” says Marc Buhl. He recommends one private lesson each morning and one in the afternoon. Short stays are more common in the low mountain range than in alpine ski areas. Ski schools with weekly courses offer two to three-hour units in the morning including breaks.

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There will be more flights again, but there are a few rules to be observed

In a group, too, learning success quickly sets in, Braun has observed. “If children can ski the blue run, they don’t need a lot of input from their parents,” he says. But mom or dad should specify where to drive and in what style. “Parents are a role model when they drive snow plow turns like their children and not shoot,” says Marc Buhl.

And one more thing: because of the altitude, it is more comfortable for children to drive below the tree line. “The effort is significantly less than in higher ski areas or on the glacier,” explains Braun. If the parents are not very good skiers, they should concentrate on slopes that can be reached by chairlift and gondola.

How to continue after your skiing holiday

“Skiing is like riding a bike. You don’t forget that, ”says Marc Buhl. Most of the time, children can quickly build on what they have learned.

In the meantime, it is of course still advisable to stay fit. Thomas Braun advises you to do sports, balance exercises and inline skates or skateboarding. A visit to the ski hall or a trip to a nearby low mountain range also help to bridge the gap between your next skiing holiday. “Small ski areas with one or two lifts are sufficient for children,” says the expert.

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