The ABC’s of Skiing With Kids

I recently taught a Play-and-Ski lesson for two 5-year old kids. After watching them ski I asked one little girl how she learned to slow down. I got the answer I anticipated: “I just make a bigger pizza.”

ZZ using a small wedge and turn shape to control his speed

From the very early stages skiers learn that a bigger wedge increases resistance to the snow. Many young kids take this knowledge and apply it to all their turns or anytime they need to slow or stop. Occasionally an inexperienced instructor or parent reinforces this big pizza idea and it firmly takes hold. The bigger wedge moves their center of mass farther back putting them farther into the back seat making all the skiing skills harder to apply.

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Get Your Carve On

Skiing on hard surfaces is at times unavoidable. Unlike skiing on soft snow, on hardpack you’re often putting 80 or 90% of your weight on your outside ski. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get more performance from the inside ski. In fact the more you use your inside ski, the easier it will be to carve on any surface.

Start with a wide stance placing your feet under your hips. If you’re too narrow you can’t use that inside ski to your advantage. If you naturally ski in a narrow stance make a run with an imaginary beach ball between your legs. Practice some railroad track turns in this way and use your little toe to “slice” the snow.

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Early Season Drill: Thousand Steps

The Thousand Steps Ski Drill is my favorite early season drill to get everything warmed up and working together.  It’s a popular exercise in instructional and coaching circles because it works all four major skiing skills – Balance, Edging, Rotation, and Pressure Control.

Select a wide green or easy blue groomed slope. You can get going quite fast so pick a safe spot to do it.

Start by sliding across the hill and making a series of sidesteps up the hill. Once you get the feel for this, as you start a new turn step your downhill ski onto your little-toe edge and balance on it and step the uphill ski down the hill too. Continue stepping until you are going across the hill in the other direction and then repeat.

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