Toddler Ski Lessons 10-15: Chair Lift

For Lessons 10-13, we slowly worked on Junior’s confidence on the Magic Carpet. We also took 2 weeks off during the winter break to avoid the epic crowds. We read reports that it took more than 2 hours of lining up in the car just to get to the parking lot.

I attempted to bring Junior onto the mountain by myself for Lesson 10, and it quickly devolved into a go-find-mom tantrum. Video chatting with mom did not help. We quickly packed up and headed home.

I noticed that the fastest way to help Junior progress seemed to be holding his elbows from behind, and gradually lessening the amount of holding pressure. He felt supported and protected, and he was able to go for hundreds of meters with increasing ease. We felt it was time for him to progress to the chair lift.

For Lesson 14, we asked him if he wanted to do the Magic Carpet or Chair Lift. Without hesitation, he shouted: Chair Lift!

So off we went!

I rehearsed with him a few times what to expect as we get on, sit, and get off the chair lift. He was a little quiet the first time, looking at the chair wordlessly. I didn’t know if he was nervous or just focused on learning. Probably both.

Junior staring at the chair lift before getting on the first time.

It went flawlessly and Junior was soon smiling on the chair.

The view on the chair was much more exciting than the Magic Carpet, and we couldn’t have picked a sunnier day for this.

Bluebird day.

The lines for the chair lift probably took about 15-20 minutes. Everyone was masked, and the employees were checking pretty stringently. The chair moved much more quickly than the Magic Carpet, so all in all, we skied more distance per hour even considering the longer lines at the chair lift.

In total, we skied down the green Manning run (trail map) 5 times in just over 3 hours, including a lunch break.

In terms of skill development, we tried the “ski to daddy” exercise. Junior didn’t care for it much.

So we switched back to piloting him from behind.

Towards the end of the day, I was able to let my hands hover for a few seconds and watch him slow himself down and make turning attempts.

Tina and I wondered what would have happened if we signed Junior up for proper lessons instead of teaching him ourselves, as we had planned before COVID19 pandemic. We had to work through several tantrums with him to get to this level of confidence, and we are quite sure none of the ski instructors would have the patience to deal with them (what can the instructor do if the student refused to take a step? Probably send him back.)

Now that Junior has an interest in skiing — for the last few weeks, every time we asked him what he wanted to do for the day, his answer had been skiing — and comfort with the snow, it would be an ideal time to start proper lessons.

For Lesson 15, we went up the chair lift one more time in early February but I felt we have hit a wall in terms of progression. Junior was very comfortable being held and ski down at a fair bit of speed, but he wasn’t ready to ski independently yet. We wrapped up our ski season early and made plans to sign him up for ski lessons next season.

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