Skiing children – How does the child learn the first turns on the snow

Skischule Grindelwald

Skiing for children is great fun. Fortunately, children learn very quickly and enjoy it. They also lack the fear of falling down. Already at the age of 2 years your child can learn to ski and will probably be fit for the blue slopes in 2-3 days! It is important to wear the right winter clothing including a ski helmet, because there is nothing more unpleasant for children than freezing and the helmet also protects them in case of possible falls. Sunscreen for the face is also essential, because the power of the sun at high altitudes should not be underestimated.


Getting into the binding the right way

To strap on the skis, place them parallel on the ground with your child standing to the side. Before your child gets into the binding with the ski boots, he/she has to tap the snow off the ski boots at the front binding jaw of the skis. Then you step into the front binding jaws with your toes first, then push the heel down into the rear binding jaws until they snap into place. Now take the ski poles and enter the loop from below. Then spread your thumb and grasp the pole by the handle. The second ski is strapped on in exactly the same way, but one ski is sufficient for the following warm-up exercises.


Preliminary warm-up exercises

Exercises for your child before learning to ski are useful to warm up muscles, tendons and body fibers and to avoid possible falls and injuries due to overstretching. It also helps your child become familiar with the ski equipment and the snow surface. With a ski on your foot, your child should now move forward on a straight surface, just like when riding a scooter. In this case the ski is the scooter and the free foot and the poles are used to move the scooter. The poles are used for balance and can be supported in the snow. Now your child can add the second ski and push himself forward over a flat surface with the help of the ski poles. In the next exercise your child should draw a star in the snow with the skis. The back part of a ski is lifted and moved to the side so that the skis form a plow. Then the rear part of the second ski is lifted and pulled to make the skis parallel again. The tips of the skis are hardly moved out of place, only the rear part of the skis is moved. This way a star is gradually formed in the snow. The third exercise, before your child learns to ski, concerns the correct posture, because when skiing many make the mistake of bending too far back. On the other hand, your child should straighten up, bend his knees and shift his weight slightly forward towards the tips of the skis until he feels a slight pressure on his shin. A good way to get familiar with the skis is to climb a small slope. To do this, your child stands sideways to the slope, first lifts up the ski on the slope, puts it down again a few centimeters further up and lets the second ski follow. As always, the poles serve as support and balance. As soon as your child has the necessary safety when ascending, he or she can leave the poles away and use their hands for balance.


The first slope for the budding skiers

Before your child starts to ski down a slope on his or her own for the first time, you should do it in pairs. To do this, you choose a small hill, which you climb up together with your skis strapped on. Many ski resorts have their own practice slopes for children, beginners and re-starters. Afterwards you stand in the direction of the descent, take your child between your legs, hold him or her by the belly and then let yourself go down in a controlled manner. As an adult, you have to bend forward to hold the child by the belly, which can cause back pain. Therefore, you should only do this a few times and then let your child ride alone. When going downhill, for curves and when braking, you use the so-called snow plough at the beginning. When you do this, bend your knees slightly and leave the ski tips slightly apart. The distance between the ski tips should be about 10-15 centimeters. To make turns, put more weight on the outside of the ski by pressing your knee slightly inwards and thus slightly tilting the ski up. At the same time you shift your body weight more towards the outside of the curve. When braking, press both ends of the ski equally farther apart, so that the snow plow becomes larger. At the same time, you push your knees slightly inwards. You can practice the snow plough with your child while learning to ski, even standing up first. Your child should simply push the skis apart a few times and put them back together again. The ski poles serve as support and balance. A nice exercise for children is to jump into the snow plough, which means that your child, supported on the poles, jumps slightly in the air with the ski ends and lifts them apart. It is also a good balance exercise if your child leaves the poles off when learning to ski and practices snowploughing and turning with the hands only as a balance support. Soon the movements will become smoother. Almost everyone who feels confident enough when skiing, and has become familiar with the skis, the movement and the slope, will automatically switch from snowploughing to harmonious turns with the skis guided mainly parallel. In the turns, one then only works with the necessary pressure on the skis and with simultaneous overturning.


Possible aids for children skiing

If your child is still too insecure or too small to ski down a small slope by himself while learning to ski, you can also use latex belts or safety belts as an aid. It may look a little like keeping your child on a leash, but you save yourself back pain and your child still enjoys the necessary freedom to get used to the feeling of skiing. You can also pull your child on flat sections and you don’t necessarily have to go down a slope the first few times.


The piste rules

During the first exercises and the first shorter runs, you should remind your child more often of the correct posture (bend slightly forward and get down on your knees) and the following piste rules when learning to ski:

  • anticipatory driving and adjustment of the driving speed
  • keep sufficient safety distance to other skiers
  • Assistance in case of accidents of other skiers
  • Observe all signs, barrier boards and danger signs on the piste
  • objectively assess your own ability and choose the degree of difficulty of the slope (blue markings = easy, red markings = medium difficulty, black markings = difficult to very difficult)
  • take enough breaks
  • drink enough liquid
  • the skier or snowboarder overtaking may not restrict or cut the front skier or snowboarder’s freedom of movement
  • when crossing a slope, always look upwards and make sure that no other skier is approaching
  • do not stop in confusing places
  • to climb a slope with the skis always only at the edge


Ski school and ski instructor as a good start to learn skiing

The most effective way for your child to learn to ski is to attend a professional ski school with other children or to book a private ski instructor for your skiing vacation. When children learn together with other children, it is easier for them. In addition, children like to learn from other children while watching. With the help of a private instructor you also have the opportunity to improve your posture and turns. In almost all ski resorts you will find excellent ski schools and ski instructors.


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