7 Mistakes Parents Make When Taking Kids Skiing
As someone who has been skiing since childhood, and then teaching my kids to ski along with being involved in local ski schools, I have seen many parents make mistakes when it comes to taking their kids on ski trips and teaching their kids how to ski.
While it’s understandable that parents want their children to enjoy the sport and have fun on the slopes, it’s important to remember that skiing can be dangerous if proper precautions aren’t taken. In this article, I will discuss some of the most common mistakes that parents make when teaching their kids how to ski and offer tips on how to avoid them.
Common Ski Mistakes Parents Make With Their Children
There are a few common mistakes that parents often make over and over when skiing or snowboarding with kids. As skiing parent and former ski instructor, I’ve seen these mistakes time and time again. Here are a few things to watch out for:
Letting the Child Get Too Cold or Hot
A kid that is too hot or too cold will be miserable on the slopes, and that can ruin the entire experience for everyone. In this section, I will discuss some common mistakes parents make when it comes to keeping their child the right temperature.
One mistake I see parents make is not checking the weather forecast before heading out. It’s important to know what the temperature will be like on the mountain each hour so you know what to wear skiing that day. If it’s going to be cold, make sure your child is wearing layers and has hand and foot warmers. If it’s going to be warm, make sure they have breathable clothing and sunscreen.
Another mistake is not taking breaks when needed. If your child is feeling too hot or too cold, take a break and adjust their clothing accordingly. It’s better to take a few minutes to warm up or cool down than to push through and have a miserable time. On a cold day, taking a break and loosening-up the boots to let warm air in can be 15 minutes very well spent.
Hand and foot warmers are a great way to keep your child warm on the slopes, but it’s important to use them correctly. Make sure they are placed in the right areas and not too close to the skin. Follow the instructions carefully and check on your child periodically to make sure they are still warm enough.
Choosing the Wrong Equipment
Choosing the wrong equipment can not only make the skiing experience uncomfortable for your child, but it can also be dangerous. Here are a few common mistakes parents make when choosing equipment for their kids.
Ill-Fitting Ski Boots
One of the most common mistakes parents make is not ensuring that their child’s ski boots fit properly. Ill-fitting ski boots can cause discomfort, blisters, and even injury. It’s important to measure your child’s foot and try on multiple sizes to find the best fit. Additionally, make sure your child’s ski socks are not too thick or too thin, or doubled-up, as this can affect the fit of the boots.
Itchy or Uncomfortable Clothing
Another mistake parents make is not considering the comfort of their child’s clothing. Skiing can be a cold and wet sport, so it’s important to dress your child in warm and waterproof clothing. However, it’s also important to consider the comfort of the clothing. Clothing that is too tight, itchy, or uncomfortable can make the skiing experience miserable for your child.
You can solve much of this probably by making sure you have a comfortable ski base layer for your child. This layer, which will be against the skin, will largely dictate if the kid gets itchy or sweaty.
When choosing clothing for your child, look for items that are both warm and comfortable. For example, a kids ski jacket should be adequately warm, but not so puffy or tight that is restricts their movement. Avoid clothing that is too tight or stiff.
Overlooking Safety Measures
Make sure you ensure your child’s safety while skiing. Unfortunately, many parents overlook crucial safety measures that can result in serious injuries. Here are two common safety measures that parents often neglect:
Ignoring Helmet Importance
This one is getting a LOT better around the country, but I still have to say it. Wearing a helmet is one of the most important safety measures for skiers, especially children. Kids ski helmets can protect against head injuries and even save lives. Despite this, many parents still overlook the importance of helmets.
If you’re a parent, make sure your child always wears a helmet while skiing. Look for helmets that are specifically designed for skiing and snowboarding, and make sure they fit properly. A properly fitting helmet should sit level on the head, with the chinstrap snugly fastened.
Skiing often involves spending long hours in the sun, which can lead to sunburn and other skin damage. Unfortunately, many parents neglect to apply sunscreen to their child’s skin before hitting the slopes. You can actually get sunburned skiing or snowboarding.
To protect your child’s skin, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before skiing. Make sure to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin, including the face, neck, ears, and hands. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if your child is sweating or swimming.
Pushing too Hard
I have seen many parents push their kids too hard on the slopes. This is probably true in every sport, not just skiing. While it’s important to challenge your child, it’s equally important to keep things fun and enjoyable. Here are some common mistakes parents make when pushing their kids too hard:
Make the days too long
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of skiing and want to stay out on the slopes all day. However, kids have shorter attention spans and tire more easily than adults. Pushing them to ski for too long can lead to frustration and exhaustion. Instead, plan shorter ski days and take breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge. You will increase the likelihood of your child being excited about coming back out the next day.
Not taking days off from skiing
When on a ski trip, parents may feel pressure to make the most of their time on the mountain. However, it’s important to remember that skiing is a physically demanding sport and kids need time to rest and recover. Taking a day off from skiing to relax and explore the area can actually make the trip more enjoyable for everyone.
Remember, parents need to chill out and keep it fun for the child. By avoiding the mistake of pushing too hard, you can help your child develop a love for skiing that will last a lifetime.
I usually look at the forecast, find the worst weather day of the ski trip, and then plan on making that a day when we take a break and do something else.
Neglecting Ski Lessons
I know it can be tempting to bypass professional ski lessons and try to teach your child yourself. However, this is a mistake that many parents make when it comes to skiing.
Bypassing Professional Instruction
I understand that lessons can be expensive, and it may be tempting to save money by teaching your child yourself. However, professional ski lessons are essential for your child’s safety and enjoyment on the slopes. Trained instructors can teach your child proper technique, safety protocols, and how to navigate different terrain.
Without professional instruction, your child may develop bad habits that can be difficult to break later on. Additionally, your child may miss out on important safety information that could prevent accidents on the slopes.
The fact of the matter is that ski resorts do a great job of making ski lessons fun for kids. Ski school just might become the highlight of their ski trip.
Overestimating Parental Teaching Ability
I get it. You are a good skier or snowboarder, you know all the tips. So who better to teach your child than you, right?
It’s important to recognize that most parents overestimate their ability to teach their child to ski. While you may be a skilled skier yourself, teaching someone else requires a different set of skills. Professional instructors are trained to work with children and can adapt their teaching style to meet your child’s needs.
Additionally, kids just sometimes listen a little better to someone who is not their parent!
As a parent, it’s important to prioritize your child’s safety and enjoyment on the slopes. By neglecting ski lessons, you may be putting your child at risk and limiting their potential for growth and development as a skier.
I know ski lessons can really add up. They are not cheap. Remember, ski lessons are an investment in your child’s future on the slopes. Don’t let the cost deter you from providing your child with the best possible ski experience.
Forgetting About Hydration and Nutrition
As a parent, I know how easy it is to get caught up in the excitement of skiing with your kids and forget about the basics like hydration and nutrition. However, it’s important to remember that skiing is a physically demanding activity that requires proper fuel and hydration to keep your body going.
One mistake I’ve made in the past is waiting until my kids are thirsty or hungry to give them something to drink or eat. But as I’ve learned, the right time to eat and drink is BEFORE you are hungry or thirsty. This means packing snacks and water bottles in your ski bag and making sure your kids take regular breaks to refuel.
When it comes to nutrition, it’s important to pack snacks that are high in protein and carbohydrates to give your kids the energy they need to ski all day. Some good options include trail mix, granola bars, and peanut butter sandwiches. I always carry a Clif or protein bar in my pocket, either for me or for my child.
In addition to packing snacks, it’s also important to make sure your kids are drinking enough water throughout the day. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, and even hypothermia, so it’s important to encourage your kids to drink water regularly. Often times, a kid will not let on that they are thirsty until they begin to bonk, and by that time it is too late.
Choosing a Resort that is More For the Parents Than the Kids
Don’t fall into the trap of choosing a ski resort based on what you want rather than what your kids need. While it’s important to enjoy your vacation, it’s equally important to make sure your kids have a good time too.
One common mistake is choosing a resort that is more geared towards adults than children. While these resorts may have more challenging runs and better après-ski activities, they may not have the amenities and activities that kids need to have fun and learn.
When choosing a resort, make sure to do your research and find one that has a variety of runs and parks for skiers or boarders of all levels. Look for resorts with dedicated children’s areas, ski schools, and activities like tubing, sledding, and ice skating. If you need help, check out our list of the Best Family Ski Resorts.
It’s also important to consider the overall vibe of the resort. Some resorts may be more geared towards partying and nightlife, while others may be more family-friendly. Make sure to choose a resort that aligns with your family’s values and preferences.
Skiing with kids should be a fun and rewarding experience for both parents and children. However, there are some common mistakes that parents make that can turn the experience into a frustrating one. By being aware of these mistakes and taking steps to avoid them, parents can ensure that their kids have a positive and enjoyable skiing experience.
Just remember, put the kids first and make sure it is a good experience for them. Don’t overlook the basics like keeping them warm and making sure they have the right gear. And as the workers as the ski resort might say, just chillax a bit!
Paul Miller is the Founder of Family Skier. He is an advanced skier and has extensive experience with family travel and ski schools. An accomplished skier, he has skied in 15 states and provinces and 6 countries. In addition to FamilySkier, his writing can be found on many ski-related websites, and as curriculum for many ski clubs in North America.