Winter-sports expert Abigail Butcher gives parents the lowdown on the best ways to get your kids on the mountains this winter.
Don’t pressurise them to learn to ski or snowboard. Make learning a game, particularly when they are young.Former pro-snowboarder Chris Moran, father of seven-year-old Harry, explains: ‘We spent loads of time with Harry mucking about in the snow when he was little – making snowmen, playing for ages. He first stood on a snowboard when he was 18 months, but that was literally it. We made learning a game because we wanted him to love it, and only have good experiences on the snow. As he got older, we taught him to ski, and he loved the idea of pizzas and chips (the analogies used for snowplough and parallel turns in skiing) and just had fun.’ Chris says that often they will sit and have a picnic on the slopes, perhaps next to a jump where they can take in the view and watch others catching some air – and now go over jumps themselves.
The same fun element must be there for teenagers, says Derek Chandler from Marmalade Ski School in Meribel. ‘With younger kids, the delivery has to be much more actions rather than explanations – adults generally like to have a good explanation to back up the action,’ he explains. ‘With teenagers, it is somewhere between the two. There needs to be the right amount of words, but get the balance right – the longer you spend talking, the less skiing you do! ‘The key thing for everyone learning to ski – young, teenage, middle-aged and beyond – is that the whole process needs to be fun. As long as they are having fun, they’re in the correct environment to pick up the right skills.’