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  • How old is too young to start skiing?

    By Tammie Thompson

    First Wedge! Most ski school programs don't start their ski programs until the age of four. But is your toddler missing out on the fun at age two or three? Most ski school experts agree that under the age of four, children do not have the muscle mass or sustained attention span to enroll in an all day program. But what about shorter programs or just some sliding with Mom or Dad? New products and programs now address these challenges.

    Some ski schools offer a combination childcare/ski program. The child is invited to go outside with an introduction to skiing, but also has the ability to stay inside if he or she desires. The time on the snow is all about fun with somePhoto courtesy Alpine Meadows sliding techniques thrown in. Some children flourish on the snow, while others just aren't ready. A flexible program can address all these children's needs without alienating the less enthusiastic children.

    Most children under four do not develop the muscle mass in their legs to stand up for more than an hour in ski boots and on skis. Look for a program that has the child slide for an hour, rest, get a snack, then slide again. The child will thrive and beg for more.

    For parents who cannot find a program that encourages young skiers, there are a few products out there that enable the parent to take charge. Kid-Ski offers a variety of teaching aids, along with a video, that really encourage kids to get on skis as early as one year old. Steve Lathrop, once a U.S. Team member, now a dad and developer of Kid-Ski, says he got is kids on skis as early as 10 months old. "Hunter started skiing when he was 15 months old, Britt at 10 months, Lara at 13 months. All three were skiing independently on intermediate terrain by the time they were 2-1/2." I would have to concur. I got Hailey out with a Kiddie Lift and Ski Leash when she was 2, and she was actually able to ski. Of course she much preferred going up the lift than skiing down, but that's nothing a chocolate treat couldn't solve.

    For more information on young skiers, check out the resort pages or Kid-Ski products.

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