Has your child reached the perfect age to begin a winter sport? Skiing is a family tradition or do you want your child to discover your passion for snowboarding? Whether winter sports have always been a part of your life or a recent favorite, sharing the fun of going down a snowy slope with the little ones creates unforgettable moments. One question bothers you though: how to choose the right sport for your child? Here are some tips to help you make a smart choice.
Consider his age
Depending on a child’s physical development, the level of balance could be a good indicator in the choice of sliding sport appropriate to his or her age. Physical abilities vary from child to child and change with age.
Control thanks to the snowplow!
Many experts believe that starting by learning the basics of skiing is better for toddlers since both feet are free and the equipment is more suitable for them. Skiing is much easier because they can have more control and can push their ski in the shape of pizza when they want to stop. It’s an easy and fun concept for them to grasp, while the idea of using the edge of the snowboard to brake can be complicated for a child.
“If you can stand up, you can ride!”
Although several American snowboard equipment manufacturers changed the game a few years ago by seriously investing in child-friendly snowboarding technology, the average age of beginner children in snowboarding is between 6 and 8 years.
Burton Snowboards has also used slogans such as 'If you can stand you can ride' and 'Easier than a tricycle with training wheels' to popularize snowboarding for children. By producing short and super-stable boards, similar to small saucers, it becomes easy to limit the errors of edges cut and therefore the falls! An ingenious product that has been marketed to parents of children as young as 3 years!
Keep in mind:
Skiing may be more suitable for a young child as it is a more natural and less demanding position than snowboarding.
A child who starts skiing will still be able to migrate to snowboarding when he feels ready (if he is interested).
Several manufacturers offer equipment adapted to toddlers.
Determine your child’s best interests
Are your brother-in-law’s kids snowboarding? Is his class friends skiing? Your child’s entourage can influence the choice between an initiation to ski and snowboarding. Ask him what interests him most between these two options. If he wants to ski, put him on skis and vice versa. In any case, try to manage his expectations by explaining that at the beginning he may not realize 360 like the pros, but that with practice and perseverance he will be able to have fun with friends and family!
If your child is too young to tell you about his or her preferences, judge for yourself according to his or her temperament and motor skills. For example, it would be better to start with skiing if your child is more fearful and less reckless. For young people who love challenges and thrills, starting the initiation with snowboarding may be a good option. As a parent, don’t hesitate to make him try both types of sports by simply renting the equipment.
Your child’s first experiences in skiing or snowboarding will probably not be really impressive from an adult’s point of view, but remember that every step is essential for the child’s future progress. Indeed, by learning very early to love the feeling of descent and to control its centre of gravity, your child will progress much faster.
Buying equipment for your child
When it comes to equipping your child, it would be wise to consider renting or buying used. With their surprising growth spurt, the time to replace larger equipment will come fairly quickly.
The rental will allow you to easily change your child’s equipment, even during the season. This option is even more interesting if you want to give your child the opportunity to try skiing and snowboarding.
For the purchase of second-hand equipment, it is quite possible that you will find more choice in used downhill skiing equipment than snowboarding since skiing is more popular than snowboarding for beginners.
In addition, you will need to find a snowboard that matches its riding stance (regular, left foot forward or goofy, right foot forward). In any case, the store experts will advise you in the selection of the equipment appropriate to its age and size.
Equipment options to accompany it
To accompany your child in his initiation to skiing or snowboarding, learning accessories are available to help them tame the slopes safely.
- The learning harness allows you to follow your child while keeping some control over his speed and turns thanks to a strap. An option that will avoid the fatigue of skiing backward by holding the child with a ski pole at arm’s length!
- The edgie wedgie retainer is a drive belt that attaches to the ends of each ski to keep them close together. This tool allows him to keep a good balance and to better control his skis. Making your «pizza tip» (V or snowplow) without the risk of crossing skis and falling will be a breeze!
- The Riglet Reel tow rope that attaches to the front of your child’s board allows you to pull him on the snow to give him a good idea of the feeling of balance and get him used to stand in the profile. You can even use it to take it back to the lifts!
Determine the right mountains around you
The nearby mountains are also a factor to consider when choosing the sport of skiing for your children. Is your family cottage near a ski resort with a snow park? Do you live near a ski mountain that offers beginner ski lessons to children? Is there a learning park with a treadmill for beginners? The answers to these questions can tip the balance between an introduction to skiing or snowboarding.
Remember that the important thing when it comes to introducing your children to skiing or snowboarding is to keep them safe! Think of a mountain that is family-friendly, well suited for children, and where the whole family can enjoy their time.
Take an interest in the ski or snowboard lessons offered
A final point to consider when thinking about introducing your children to skiing or snowboarding is who will be responsible for learning the discipline to the child? Are you an expert yourself and have several years of experience on the slopes? You may then consider purchasing some learning accessories (such as the harnesses mentioned above) and playing the instructor with your youth.
You love going down the slopes, but don’t think you have the patience, or the right technique to introduce your child to skiing or snowboarding? No problem! Reaching to experienced instructors can really make learning easier for your child. Indeed, your little one may be more attentive, less capricious, and more disciplined in a group or with an adult who is not his parent (does it ring a bell?). In addition, by enrolling in a ski or snowboard class, you avoid passing on to your child your fears or the stress associated with the risk of falling or possible injuries.
With the current pandemic and the restrictive health measures in place, the ski season may be a little different from previous years. The mountains began to announce the preventive measures adopted to make their members live a magical winter despite everything. Travel is canceled, borders are closed. It may be the perfect timing to introduce your kids to skiing or snowboarding at your favorite local mountain!
Ready, set, ski (safely.)
Good season to all:-)
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