The right age to start skiing? Is it better collective or individual courses? And do I buy or rent the equipment? How do I dress it? Here are all the answers to the doubts of parents who take their children to ski.
Children need to be active and to be outdoors as much as possible. But in winter there aren’t many opportunities, especially for those who live in the city. Here because skiing is an excellent opportunity for recreation and healthy fun for the little ones.
We asked Armando Calzolari, head of the Complex Operating Unit for cardiorespiratory sports medicine of the Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital in Rome, to give parents some advice on skiing.
Where to ski in the Alps with children
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Where to take a child to ski? South Tyrol, Trentino, Veneto, Lombardy and Val d’Aosta offer various child-friendly ski resorts with slopes also suitable for baby skiers, …
1) Children can start skiing as early as three years old
A child can start skiing as early as three or four years old. In fact, unlike other sports, skiing is an activity that can be learned from an early age. (Read also: children on skis at 3 only if they have fun)
The technical gesture of skiing, even if complex, is not based on strength but rather on stability. And children benefit from having a very low center of gravity, which allows them more stability.
2) Skiing is good for the body and self-esteem
Skiing is not only fun but also good for motor development. From a physical point of view, in fact, it develops agility and neuro-motor coordination and balance. From the character point of view it teaches to have confidence in one’s abilities, so it is a particularly sport suitable for shy and insecure children. And then skiing is practiced in the mountains, where you can breathe clean air and where you are in close contact with nature.
3) Better to entrust the children to professional instructors
Even if mum and dad are good skiers it is still preferable to entrust them to a teacher in order to avoid anxieties and wrong teachings. Also, if it comes to very young children a female figure would be better, then a teacher.
4) Group courses are more fun and cheaper
4) Group courses are more fun and cheaper
If on the one hand it is true that a private teacher has more time and more attention to devote to the little one, on the other hand it is necessary to take into account that for children skiing is and must be above all a game. So the group courses, in addition to costing less, are more fun, since the children stay with each other and make new friends “.
5) The skiing time must be a few hours, not more
“Children do not have to make the most of their day on skis, like adults. They suffer from the cold and get bored earlier. This is why it is better to choose sunny days and indulge their wishes. If they get tired, better take off their skis and have them build a snowman. Or maybe take them to the bar over a steaming hot chocolate. So they learn to appreciate the whole side of a day on the snow as well.
6) With mom and dad only when he has learned the first rudiments
When the little ones begin to descend from the first slopes, and to use the chairlift or ski lift without too much difficulty, it is the ideal time. But pay attention to the choice of the track: what seems flat and easy to us may not be for them. It is essential that they do not get scared. If you are not very good, it is better not to pretend to teach anything technical, just give safety by accompanying them.
7) School is also useful for older children
The teacher is also recommended for older children: between eight and ten years it is the age in which they can begin to understand the first technical notions and perfect skiing.
At the end of the lesson, you can gradually grant them a bit of freedom: it is not necessary to always be with them, maybe you can follow them from afar. After all, the beauty of skiing is the feeling of freedom that it can give. Then if a child is very inclined from the age of 11, he can be made to start competitive activity.
8) Teach the rules of prudence
Our children must be taught the essential rules: be careful on the slopes, do not go too fast or venture off-piste, pay close attention to other skiers and never stop in the middle of the track. Then you can leave them free, in the company of brothers or other friends, perhaps with an appointment every now and then at an agreed point. For them it will be a real joy.
9) Equipment: better to buy or rent?
Skis and boots are an economically important purchase. And with the rapid growth of children, you risk not taking full advantage of it. The purchase is convenient for those who:
he is sure that his children like skiing;
he knows he spends many days a season in the snow (more than ten / fifteen);
has a younger brother / sister to pass the equipment to;
attends smaller ski resorts where it is difficult to find modern materials or the right size;
he knows he can resell (through some shops that offer the service, or through flea markets, ads, etc.) tools that …