Perfect age to learn
If they can walk, they can ski. You'll be amazed at how quickly kids learn. Before you know it they'll be skiing up and down hills and you'll be panting to keep up.
One of the best ways to learn is through games and ski-play. Most playground games can also be played on skis. Kids will pick up balance, coordination and agility skills without thinking by just having fun trying to tag or avoid their friends, or throwing/catching a ball or frisbee.
Ski fun for pre-school kids
You are never too young to enjoy cross country skiing. The whole family can participate! Take your kids for a ski picnic and play in the fresh snow away from the crowds.
Kids from age two or three can start learning to ski. The main things to keep in mind are to pick and choose days with good weather, to have them adequately dressed, and to remember they have a short attention span. Once they are comfortable in the alpine environment their ability to learn fast means that before long they will be skiing better than their parents do!
For the under 4’s skis are usually strap-on and will fit any shoe, snow-boot or gumboot. If needing to hire skis or snow-boots, it might be wise to ring and check availability of small sizes before heading up the mountain.
The only way to travel
If too young for ski or if they’re ready for nap, borrow or hire a pulk (a special enclosed sled) and take your baby or toddler for a tour. They really enjoy getting out and you get a great workout at the same time! Some bike trailers (e.g. Chariot) have ski attachments to replace the wheels. Frequently kids will sleep due the gently rocking motion, and when they are awake then occasional stops for snow play can be lots of fun.
Kids generally start learning on classic skis but can quickly progress to skating skis. Starting on the flat is best, before progressing to slight uphills and downhills. Positive encouragement always helps. As they build confidence on their skis they will start to explore their surroundings and find their own challenges. While adult supervision is needed in the alpine environment, a bit of freedom to learn on their own will help them to become less dependent.
Many schools close to the snow (and some far from the snow) have annual or regular ski days, but if your school doesn’t have one then there are number of options:
• Go with your family or family friends
• Join a ski club/community with a junior program
• Take part in resort-based school holiday programs
• Talk your school into starting a ski program.
Racing for kids
The following events are suitable for primary school kids as they are distances are age dependent and lots of fun. Kids love being cheered on and get a great sense of achievement by participating in racing.
• Perisher – Paddy Pallin Junior Shield
• Falls Creek – Snow Trek and Travel Mini Series
• Lake Mountain – Mini Series
• Interschools at Mt Buller and Perisher
• Fast and Female at Falls Creek, Lake Mountain and Perisher
And a great finale for the season for some of the more competent skiers is the Joey Hoppet run at Falls Creek. It is a fantastic social event for kids, they get to see our top skiers in action and experience the achievement of skiing 7 km as fast as they choose!
Tips for pre-school kids
• Choose your days. Avoid windy and snowy conditions.
• Let them wear skis inside on the carpet to get used to them.
• Start on the flat and let them walk around on skis.
• Gliding on skis will come when they’re ready.
• Be patient. Some days they will just want to play in the snow. And why not!
• Be realistic about how long you can stay out with them.
• Bring snacks and water. Don’t forget sunscreen.
• To keep warm they will need a waterproof outfit, warm layers, and boots.
• And finally don't forget their glasses/goggles!