There are no established minimal age requirements for skiing. However, the best time to start skiing is 4-5 years, when a kid can easily understand your instructions and is thus capable of following them. Of course, there have been numerous cases of younger kids trying to ski for the first time, but in general, kids under 5 find it harder to acquire the practical part of training in the long run and demonstrate the need to start over the next year.
Choosing a pair of skis is a significant and somewhat complex process. If an adolescent is about to start skiing for the first time, there is no need to purchase skis and ski boots at the initial stage. Kids’ and adolescents’ feet grow every year and it is quite likely for ski boots from the previous year not to fit any longer. It makes sense to start off with simple skis before you master skiing, after which you may select the style of skiing on your own and purchase skis and boots accordingly. There are skis for beginners, intermediate, amateur and professional skiers as well. Renting skis for amateurs is the ultimate option for beginners. It is preferable to select relatively shorter skis, approximately up to your chin, as they are easier to control. If you are renting the skis, scratches should not be an issue, but you must make sure that the side cut is not broken, as it is bound to create issues with stopping, turning or straight motion.
The next step of ski gear selection is putting on ski boots properly, which not many consider important enough. At first, putting the boots on is somewhat uncomfortable. They are heavy, rough and somewhat unbearable, which is why it makes sense to select softer boots with considerably less stiff flex in the beginning. You have to make sure that all the buckles are in good shape. It is imperative to adjust the tongue properly and make sure that nothing else gets in its way. People often tuck their ski pants into their boots, which is completely wrong and may lead to severe calf pain during skiing. The best decision is to put on high socks, so that there are no accidental wrinkles and subsequent pain.
Oftentimes, skis and ski boots are alright, but the ski overalls, the jacket and gloves are disregarded. In general, one must not ski with jeans. In addition to them not being warm enough and instantly getting wet in case of fall, jeans are also extremely inconvenient for maneuvering. This is particularly important in case of kids, who are extremely sensitive towards the cold. If you do not have overalls of your own, there are lots of places at ski resorts where you can rent them. You can rent a jacket, glasses and a helmet as well. Sunglasses are mandatory. The sun is always extreme during skiing, damaging and burning the eye easily—particularly the lighter shades. However, skiing with regular sunglasses, which are most likely to break in case of fall, is unacceptable. Glasses should be not too dark but not too light either. Burnt orange lenses are the most practical, as you can use them in case of bad weather as well. The helmet is the most essential accessory. You may be a careful skier, but you are never guaranteed that someone else is not going to crash into you. Skiing without a helmet is putting your life at risk.
Virtually everyone begins skiing on a flat surface and slopes follow gradually. You must move to chairlifts only after you have mastered the fixed grip lifts and the art of stopping and turning. It is up to an individual as to how long it will take to move to the chairlifts. In case of kids, it is important for the child to sit steadily and not to slide off the lift. If the kid is too small and there is a chance of them sliding through the lift, they must be accompanied by an adult—either a coach or any other adult.
It is also important to ensure that the parent’s involvement in the learning process is minimal and that the latter is limited to the kid and the coach only, in order for the kid not to focus his attention on the parent. As soon as the child sees the parent, his attention becomes scattered—some even become tense and the learning process is less effective as a result.
We must warn kids that they should choose a single lane on the slope and stick to it while skiing, in order to make sure that their trajectory is obvious to other skiers and that they can avoid them easily.
It is important for the coach to be able to speak to the kid clearly and be able to provide personalized training. It is not easy, but the coach must be able to sense when the kid grows tired and which approach is relatively more stressful or fun. Skiing is fun. That is why each lesson must also be filled with fun and focused on allowing the kid to derive satisfaction, in order to want to ski again in the future.
Author: Mariam Kopadze