There is little doubt that skiing is one of the most enjoyable winter pastimes, which is one of the reasons why it attracts more and more people every year. It’s also a really popular activity for children, so if you’re a parent, you’ll want to know exactly how they can take part in the safest and most enjoyable way possible. In this post, we provide a list of tips and advice that can help you keep your kids safe and sound while they’re out on the snow.
So, without further ado, let’s dig in.
Tip #1 – The Right Age to Get Involved
Something we often get asked is what age is the right age for kids to get involved in skiing and in our opinion, children shouldn’t be attempting to ski until they’re at least 3 years old. Even then, kids of this age should be focusing more about playing in the snow and having fun, rather than formalised skiing tuition. The ideal thing for kids under 4 is to spend time getting to know the environment, with the main lesson to be learnt being that playing in the snow is fun!
Tip #2 – Try a Ski School
Whilst teaching your own kids to ski is a great bonding experience, ski lessons are a great way of ensuring your children learn to ski properly. Ski instructors are professionals and they know exactly how to encourage children to learn skiing at their own pace. Keeping a close eye on your child’s mood and energy levels, a ski instructor will know exactly when to take a break and go and do something else interesting like searching for animal tracks or popping inside for a yummy, warming hot chocolate.
Tip #3 – Make Sure Your Kids Are Well-Rested
It may sound much easier to say than do, but before getting your kids out on the slopes, it’s important that they’re well-fed and rested. Being out on the snow can be quite energy-sapping, which is why a satisfying breakfast or lunch is a great idea to provide them with the fuel they need to have a day full of fun! Also, be sure to check whether your kids need the loo before they start!
Tip #4 – Use Short Skis for Ease
When out on the slopes, your children need to have the maximum amount of support available from their skis, which is why we recommend using short ones. We also recommend avoiding the use of plastic skis, as they have loose bindings and non-metal edges that don’t allow easy turning or stopping.
Tip #5 – Choose Comfy Boots
When choosing the right ski boots for small children, you should be focusing on comfort over performance. Boots are perhaps the most important skiing gear to get right, with a good fit being essential to the whole skiing experience. Choose boots that are too loose and they’ll lose control and choose ones that are too tight and they’ll get cold feet. For this reason, we wouldn’t advise letting your younger kids inherit the boots of their older siblings, as they’re not likely to fit properly.
Tip #6 – Give the Poles a Miss!
Whilst ski poles are very useful for older skiers, first-time skiers don’t really need them. For one, they are difficult for little hands to hold and with so much to focus on, they can prove quite distracting.
Tip #7 – Helmets are a Must!
Aside from keeping your little one’s head warm and dry, a helmet will provide the necessary protection for their head in the event of a fall. Collisions are relatively commonplace in skiing, so it’s important they’re protected. You should ensure that any helmet worn fits their head snugly and that the adjustable straps are adequately tightened. Want to know another important use for your kid’s skiing helmet? Well, they make a really useful bucket in which to keep their goggles, scarf and mittens when they go inside for their lunch!
Tip #8 – Equip Them With the Right Clothing
Protecting your kids against the cold is just as important as any other ski safety advice, so we highly recommend ensuring they’re equipped with the following:
Goggles– Able to be clipped into the back of the helmet for ease, googles provide vital protection to the eyes. Also, attaching the goggles to the back of the helmet before they put the helmet on is much easier in our experience.
Mittens – Easier for kids to put on than gloves, mittens are also more comfortable and warmer. Just ensure that they’re attached to your kids with elastic so they don’t get lost!
Socks – The best choice of socks to keep your kid’s feet warm are the long, thin variety. Choose synthetic or wool socks over cotton socks, as their feet will stay warmer and drier for longer.
Boots – Whichever boots your kids are using, make sure they’re warm and dry before they put them on. You can make sure they are by drying them fully at the end of each day, which involves placing them near a heater and pulling out the inner liners.
Tip # 9 – Make a Check List
There can be quite a lot to remember when you’re skiing with your kids, so making a checklist is a really effective way to ensure that nothing is missed. Whether you’re talking about your lift pass, your goggles, mittens or even your snacks, writing everything down will guarantee that you leave nothing important behind.
Tip #10 – Use the Magic Carpet
It can be easy to try and get your kid to run before they can walk when learning to ski, so we recommend not getting them to use the chairlift before they’re ready. What’s known as the ‘Magic Carpet’ is a constantly-manned belt that takes your little ones to the top of the beginner’s slope, with someone always on hand to help them on and off. Let them completely master this before moving up to the big chairlift!
Extra tip – Chairlifts are a big step, so if you think that your kids are almost ready to use it, get them to sit and watch other people use it before they try, as they’ll get some useful pointer on how it’s done.
So, there you have it. Our 10 tips to keep your precious little ones safe. We hope you find them very useful during your stay with us at Baqueira Beret. Be sure to check out the Children’s Park on the slopes and if you need any additional help or guidance on the child-friendly activities available in the area, give us a call on +44(0)2039605090 or +34 683566151 and we’ll do our very best to answer all of your questions!
Remember to stay safe, employ all of the tips above and we’re sure you’ll have a really fun, safe time of it whilst at our wonderful resort!