Skiing children - The first turns on the snow

Skiing for children is an important topic for parents in Switzerland. A child can learn to ski from the age of three and will be ready for the blue slopes in just two to three days. With the right guidance it works even better.

Children learn very quickly and with pleasure. They also lack the fear of falling down, which is very helpful when skiing. To find out if your child is ready for the first attempts on the slopes, there is a trick. Put on your child's ski boots, put them on the ground and see if they can stand and walk. If he or she is still having fun, then you have the green light.

To help you give your child the best possible support, we've put together a guide to help you in this endeavor. So there's nothing standing in the way of that first stem bow. So wrap your child up warm so they don't get cold feet on the slopes and jump into the fun.

How children get into the ski binding correctly

To strap on the skis, place them parallel to the ground and have your child stand to the side. Before your child gets into the binding with his ski boots on, he must tap the snow off his ski boots on the front binding jaw of the skis. Then he/she must step into the front binding jaw, toes first. Then push the heel down into the rear binding jaw until it snaps into place

Now take the ski poles and drive the hand into the loop from below. Then spread the thumb to 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 for the time being.

Skiing children (Photo: Zermatters)Skiing children (Photo: Zermatters)
Skiing children (Photo: Grindelwald Sports)Skiing children (Photo: Grindelwald Sports)

Exercises to warm up before skiing

Exercises for your child before learning to ski are useful. In doing so, it warms up muscles, tendons and body fibers. This prevents possible falls and injuries from overstretching. It also familiarizes your child with the ski equipment and the snow at the same time.

With a ski on his foot, your child can now move forward on a straight surface like rollerblading. The ski is moved with the free foot as well as the poles. The poles are used for balance and can be supported in the snow. Now your child can take 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. To do this, the back part of one ski is lifted and moved to the side so that the skis form a plow. Then the back part of the second ski is lifted and followed so that the skis are parallel again. The tips of the skis are barely moved from their place, only the rear part of the skis is offset. Thus, a star is gradually formed in the snow.

The third exercise before your child learns to ski is about proper posture. When skiing, many make the mistake of leaning too far back. Your child, on the other hand, should stand up straight. To do this, he bends his knees and shifts his weight slightly forward until he feels a slight pressure on his shins.

A good way to familiarize yourself with the skis is to climb a small slope. Your child stands sideways to the slope, first lifts up the ski on the slope side and puts it down again a few centimeters further up. Then he pulls the second ski after it. As always, the poles serve as support and balance. As soon as your child has the necessary confidence to climb, he can leave the poles out. He can then use his hands for balance.

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(Photo: Zermatters)(Photo: Zermatters)
(Photo: Switzerland Tourism)(Photo: Switzerland Tourism)

The first ski descent for children

Before your child learns to ski for the first time alone down a slope, you should tackle it in pairs. To do this, choose a small hill that you climb together with your skis strapped on. Many ski resorts have their own practice slopes for children, beginners and returning skiers. Then stand in the direction of the slope and hold your child between your legs. Hold him or her by the stomach and then ski down in a controlled manner.

You have to bend far forward to hold the child by the belly. This may cause you back pain. Therefore, you should only do this a few times and then let your child ride alone

When going downhill, for turns and when braking, you use the so-called snowplow or stem bend at the beginning. When doing this, you bend your knees slightly and let the tips of your skis stand slightly apart. The distance between the ski tips should be about 10-15 centimeters

To make turns, put more weight on the ski on the outside. Press the knee slightly inwards and thus slightly tilt the ski up. At the same time, shift your body weight more to the outside of the turn. During the braking process, you push both ski ends a little further apart with equal force, so that the snow plow becomes larger. At the same time, press your knees slightly inward.

You can also practice the snow plow with your child standing up first. In doing so, your child should simply push the skis apart at the back a few times and put them back together again. The ski poles again serve as support and for balance

A nice exercise for kids is to jump into the snowplow. Your child, supported on the poles, jumps with the ski ends slightly in the air and lifts them apart. It's also a good balance exercise if your child leaves the poles out and practices using only their hands for balance support

Soon the movements will become smoother. As soon as your child feels secure enough in skiing, he or she will automatically move from snowplowing to harmonious turns over time

(Photo: Grindelwald Sports)(Photo: Grindelwald Sports)
(Photo: Zermatters)(Photo: Zermatters)

Possible aids for children skiing

If your child is still very insecure or too small, you can use safety harnesses as an aid. It may look like you are holding your child on a leash, but it will save you back pain. And your child still enjoys the freedom needed to get comfortable with the sensation of skiing. Besides, this way you can pull your child on flat tracks. So you don't necessarily have to go down a slope on your first try.

The rules of skiing on the slopes

During the first shorter descents, you should often point out the correct posture to your child while learning to ski. It should be slightly bent forward in the knees. It is also important that your child learns the following slope rules at an early age:

  • Skiing with foresight and adjusting the skiing speed
  • Keeping a safe distance from other skiers
  • Helping other skiers in case of accidents (of course, only when they are big enough to do so)
  • Pay attention to signs, closure signs and danger signs on the slope
  • Assess your own ability objectively and choose the level of difficulty of the slope accordingly
  • Take enough breaks
  • Drink enough liquids
  • The overtaking skier must not restrict or cut the skier in front of him in his freedom of movement
  • When crossing a slope, always look up and make sure that no other skier is approaching
  • Do not stop at blind spots
  • Always ascend a slope with the skis only at the edge
(Photo: Giorgio Rocca Ski Academy)(Photo: Giorgio Rocca Ski Academy)
(Photo: Zermatters)(Photo: Zermatters)

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. Alternatively, you can book a private ski instructor for you on your ski vacation. When children learn together with other children, they find it easier.

Besides, children like to learn from other children while watching. With the help of a private instructor, your child will have the opportunity to improve their posture and cornering. In almost all ski resorts you will find excellent ski schools and ski instructors. You will be amazed at how quickly your child learns to ski when they have fun doing it.

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