Toddler Ski Lessons 1-3

One major family goal of ours for this winter had been to teach Junior skiing. We had been looking forward to this ever since he was born, because we knew that as he turns 3 this season, he would officially be old enough to take ski lessons.

Then COVID hit, and it sure put a damper on things. However, after re-evaluating, we felt skiing is a good socially-distanced winter activity with some precautions. As long as we don’t go indoors, avoid sharing a gondola with strangers, and pick a time when the lines are short, we would be able to stay safe. Come to think of it, people naturally spread out on the ski hills and cover their entire body with googles, masks, gloves and jackets even before there was COVID.

So we ordered some equipment just in time for the first major snow fall on our local mountains in late October. We knew Junior is a cautious kid, and he likes to be deliberate and careful when learning a new skill, so we wanted to give him as much exposure as possible at his own pace.

We drove to Mt. Seymour and let Junior play in the snow in his snow gear.

He was nervously having a little fun, but would only take a few steps.

Little Bro joined the fun and was more relaxed than Junior.

That was our Lesson One, to get acquainted with his helmet, ski jacket, pants, and boots. We didn’t take the skis out because we knew Junior had enough. Knowing when to stop is crucial in teaching a toddler new skills.

The next day, Junior was feeling up to it again so we took him to Cypress Mountain.

After some pre-game snack, we actually got a lot done! He was already much better than the day before on Mt Seymour, clunking around in his ski boots and getting pushed around in his skis.

He was leaning back onto my hand, which caused his center of gravity to be too far back. I asked him to lean forward and touch his knees, but he couldn’t quite do it yet.

Junior leaning back when being pushed on the back.

We came home and did a lot of home practice with his gears.

I pushed him forward and back in his skis, and showed him how to keep centered on his ski with hands on his knee, and soon he was pretty solid.

The weather warmed for a few weeks, then cooled down and snowed again in mid November, so we headed up to Cypress for Lesson Three. We went back to the flat area in front of the downhill ticket building, but we were redirected to the Nordic Ski Area by a friendly Cypress employee.

We were very glad he pointed us there! It’s a perfect place for sliding and practicing, with just the right sized slopes. A bonus point, we could park just a few meters away from the sliding area.

Families enjoying some pre-season free sliding.

Lesson Three involved my own invention: ski binding tethers.

Junior keeping his balance like a champ while being tethered and controlled from the back.

With the tether I could control Junior’s direction and speed without affecting his balance. He could gradually take over control as well, stopping and turning when he wanted. He was no longer leaning back onto my pushing hand. Instead, he had a centered balance and was unfazed by small bumps in the snow.

After a few runs, I could give him some slack and he was in total control for a few seconds.

We also started practicing “pizza” stops.

After Lesson Three, we could feel Junior gaining confidence rapidly. When it was time to go, he didn’t want to leave the slope and kept asking us to “go further”. That’s a very good sign. Stay tuned for more Toddler Ski Lessons.

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