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Episode 2: Conditions & Basics

young skier wearing yellow and blue skiing into a tree run


When introducing a child to skiing for the first time, it is important to make sure they are comfortable and have a good time. Part of that is choosing a day that has favorable weather and snow conditions.

The best conditions for teaching children skiing is often in springtime. Snowy days can be very discouraging and uncomfortable for young kids. Likewise, very cold days can cause the snow to get very firm, which makes it difficult to learn proper control. In spring, you can usually find a nice sunny, warmish day where the snow is relatively soft but not powdery.

Also, make sure your child is comfortable in their snow clothes. It is best to spend some time in their snow gear playing around in snow prior to ever hitting the slopes. That way when the time comes to learn to ski, they are already familiar with bulky winter clothing.

Select a nice, flat fall line for early runs. It is a good idea to have them scoot around on flat ground with their skis on before ever hitting a slope. When it is time for downhill skiing, start small on a lightly sloping run with a long flat run out, and develop technique before getting into the steeper stuff. Speaking of developing technique...


Starting on flat ground, explain the concepts of "pizza" and "French fry." The snowplow position (pizza) is for slowing down and is the simgle most important skill a new skier must develop. Parallel or "French fry" skiing is the opposite of pizza, and it should be explained that they should always keep their speed under control and never French fry for too long. To make it very easy to understand, explain that "Pizza is stop; French fry is go."

Airplane position will help kids keep their body in the right position and balanced as they learn to lean from side to side to make turns.

You may want to ski backwards in front of the child to help them maintain body and foot position until they are more comfortable. On the first run, you should have a hold on your kid the entire time, not relying on them to control their own speed.