When to Start Your Kid Skiing | Ages 1-3 Explored

There’s not a better feeling in the wintertime as a parent like being able to ski with your kids. When to start your kid skiing is something many parents ask instructors and the answer is much earlier than they think.

Read on to when to start your kid skiing and to find out how long it takes kids to learn skiing.

Kids Ski Lesson
Kids Ski Lesson. Photo Credit Shu-Hua’s album (Flickr CC)

Should a Child Learn to Ski or Snowboard First?

While people are subjective if a kid should learn skiing or snowboarding first, it is usually easier to get a young child on skis. Often they can find their balance easier on the two skis vs riding a single board.

As they get into their late toddler years then it can make sense to cross-teach a child if you want but skiing is the better of the two to start with.

One of the biggest reasons children should learn skiing first is because the adults can have a little more control over their kids with a ski harness. It is much harder and next to impossible to snowboard with a kid between your legs but with skiing, you can!

What is a Good Age to Start a Child Skiing?

Group Kids Ski Lesson
Group Kids Ski Lesson. Photo Credit tyczka1 (Flickr CC)

After a child is able to walk and talk confidently, there is no reason to not start a child skiing. Some parents find it best to wait until year two or later, while some parents are taking their children to the mountain when they hit 1 and introduce them to snow.

Early kids won’t be able to ski the intermediate and black diamond runs that you always dreamed of skiing as a parent with your kid but teaching them about equipment is just as important too. It certainly takes time for a young mind to grasp it all.

Can a 1-Year-Old Ski?

The best question to answer is if a 1-year-old can walk and talk. That is really the baseline to being able to ski. The normal age for children to be able to walk and talk is around age 1. With that being said, you can hold a one-year-old while out on the slopes. It is common to start skiing with them between adult legs.

Then they can start making small lines from parent to parent.

Can a 1.5-Year-Old Ski?

If winter rolls around and the child is one and a half, there is a much better chance the kid can start skiing. When we say start skiing, it is an introduction to the snow and the ski equipment. You won’t be getting many 1 and a half-year-olds grasping linking turns.

Again, drills like lines from parent to parent are the first starting points after educating little ones how to fall safely.

Can You Ski with a 2-Year-Old?

Once a child turns 2, it gets a bit more interesting. They can usually start drills like getting their skis on and off, improving to get up from falls and working on a pizza stop. The earlier you can start a kid skiing, the quicker they will be comfortable around the equipment, slopes and masses of other people.

Plus it is a great way to start introducing them to more kids their age.

Can a 3 Year Old Learn to Ski?

Finally, at the late toddler stage, there is nothing that really holds a 3-year-old back from skiing. For some kids, this is their 3rd year learning and being introduced to the sport. It is a great age if a kid hasn’t started to learn yet because they should be able to pick up the concepts and muscle memory rather quickly.

Some kids at 3 years old are getting down easy trails by themselves with the assistance of their parents. This is the age where if a kid has started skiing early, it is really going to show off exponentially. 3-year-olds will be able to ski around themselves with minimal assistance.

How Many Ski Lessons Does a Child Need?

Starting out on skis
Starting Out on Skis. Photo Credit tyczka1 (Flickr CC)

The number of lessons for a child to grasp skiing can be as low as 3-4 days. This doesn’t mean you should stop lessons though.

There are generally multi-week programs for children over the course of the winter which are great for these early years. Consistent learning in these early years lays a foundation of skiing and allows the kids to level up eventually!

Another great way to start off with young kids skiing is after-school lessons. Some small resorts offer this but it is usually reserved for kids at least 5 or 5 years old.

At a minimum, it just goes to show that getting out there with your kid to the slopes at an early age can introduce them to a lifelong sport. If they start at 2 or 3 and there is an after-school program then it will help their skiing skills even that much more.

How Long Does it Take Kids to Learn Skiing?

3 or 4 trips to the mountain and a kid should be able to learn the fundamentals of skiing. For some kids, it may take a bit longer but the key is to keep them on the snow. Keep your kids in lessons, learning and progressing.

As they get older they will already have a foundation in place and be ahead of a lot of kids if they started ski lessons early on.

Final Thoughts

Taking your kids to the ski slopes is some of the most fun not only for the kids but also for the parents which makes it a great activity to do together. Starting kids off skiing early is surely better than starting them off later. Think of all the people who just start out in their 20s and 30s who have missed years of fun on the slopes.

Don’t let your kids miss out on the fun when you can have it with them. Get them into classes early and your whole family can be out there on the slopes together!

Brianna Lee writes for Proper Peaks and lives in Duluth, MN. Her favorite thing about skiing is the glades. Your have to start in the glades if you want to catch a glimpse of Brianna’s pink ski helmet as she dodges the trees.

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