Toddler Ski Lessons 4-7

We tried to build on the success and progress from our ski lessons 1-3, and hit the slopes pre-season a bunch more times.

Pre-season on Mt Seymour.

During our Lesson 4, we hit a small hiccup: it was snowing. We thought Junior’s enthusiasm was enough to conquer a little bit of dry snow, but he was having none of it. We helped him slide about 20 meters and ate some snacks, and went home. Lesson of that day: do not attempt skiing if the anything is falling from the sky.

The view looked great, but Lesson 4 was very short due to the snow.

Possibly due to the setback in Lesson 4, even before we headed back on the mountain for Lesson 5 in glorious sunshine, Junior already announced at breakfast that he wasn’t very interested. After much cajoling, he reluctantly agreed but the result was another frustrating day.

We tugged and pulled but he didn’t enjoy it at all. He kept asking to “take a break” every minute or so. By the time we got to a small slope where he could practice some skiing, he was more than done for the day. Everyone was frustrated, even the ever-good-tempered Tina was feeling dejected. We thought we were being too ambitious and maybe Junior was just not ready for skiing yet. Lesson of the day: do not attempt skiing if the toddler’s first answer to “do you want to go skiing today” is not an enthusiastic “Yes!”

Lesson 5.5 we went back to basics: we wanted him to re-learn that snow is somewhere we have fun. We put the skis away and he had a relaxed time playing in the snow with Tina and watched other people ski. I went on a snowshoe stroll with the grandparents and Little Bro.

Lesson 6 was when we found some progress again. Grandpa remembered that when we took our first lessons, we scooted around the snow with a single ski for several minutes and learn to fall down. I tried the same with Junior and to my surprise, he was willing and able to alternate between stepping on the snow and sliding in his single ski.

Pretty soon I was stepping back further and giving him more room to scoot and slide. We changed legs, and he was still willing to put up with the program. We practiced falling onto the snow, where I gently lower him onto his side of back, and ask him in a dramatic voice “ARE YOU OK?” He chuckled, “yeah!” “What do we do after a fall?” I asked. “We get back up!” He laughed as I picked him up for another go.

After practicing single skis, I asked Junior if he wanted to try double skis now. He said “I think that’s enough for today”. We remembered Lesson 5 and did not push him on it. We switched to snowshoeing and he also had a blast!

Lesson 7 we started to see some real progress. We practiced single ski for a few minutes, and he was finally ready for trying both skis again. Unlike Lesson 3 where I tethered him from the back, we built on the skills and balance he learned from single-ski scooting and just let him wait for me in a “pizza” stop, and switch to “french fries” and start scooting with alternating skis.

Scoot, scoot, and slide! He was not going nearly as fast as he does on his balance bike, but the thrill was obvious. He was no longer tethered, the front of his skis were free, and for a few seconds at a time, he was totally in control of the skis.

It took us 7 trips (8 if you count the time when Junior just played in the snow) to the mountain to get to this point, but I think we are finally ready to advance to a proper ski hill now. Knowing our Junior with his cautious temperament, we took our time to allow him to progress at his own pace. Along the way, we learned to pick the best weather and read his mood for optimal chance of success.

Next stop, we will work on our pizza stop for him to control his speed, and airplane turns to control his direction, which would be best learned on a properly groomed beginner’s hill. Getting exciting!

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