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Old 01-31-2012, 09:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default At what age?

I know I'm getting an early start on this, but I was hoping to find out at what age you can start getting kids into snowboarding? My little one is only 8 months old, but my husband is eager to get her into it (yea, she can't even sit up on her own yet...) I'm hearing conflicting things... 3, 5, 7, 10? Start first with skiing, then move to snowboarding?
What do you guys think, and when did you start teaching your own kiddos?
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't have have any kids, but I can give you my impression from the instructor side of things.

At the mountain I taught at, the policy was the kids had to be at least 5 or 6 before they were allowed to take snowboard classes. This is due to the development of improved muscle mechanics/balance that happens a few years after the little one starts to walk.

3 years old was the limit for skiing, but that's because all the child needs to do is stand comfortably. Also with skiing, they can use that little bungie thing that holds the ski tips together to prevent runaway 3 yr olds all over the hill. Nothing like this is available with snowboarding, so the child needs to have better muscle mechanics and balance to be able to make turns/stop.

I would suggest starting your child in ski classes, just to get them some slope time at a young age. This will get them used to the "uncomfortable" gear that many kids get annoyed with. It also lets them get used to sliding on the snow, and decreases their fear when it comes to getting down the hill. It also gives you the opportunity to ride... Then, when they hit 5 or so, throw 'em on a board and they will be teaching YOU how to ride in only a few years... I'm always amazed when I see a 8 year old ripping down an intermediate run, throwing 180s and trying to grind on every little tree branch he can find.

In the meantime, grab one of those little, plastic sled style boards (basically a plastic sled shaped like a snowboard, no bindings, just sticky pads to stand on and a rope to grab) and let your kid slide around on it while sitting. Like any adventurous child, they will probably try to stand up on it at some point... --> Pelican Space Scooter Snowboard : Target

kinda like the above, only with a rope instead of handles.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigmountainVMD View Post
I don't have have any kids, but I can give you my impression from the instructor side of things.

At the mountain I taught at, the policy was the kids had to be at least 5 or 6 before they were allowed to take snowboard classes. This is due to the development of improved muscle mechanics/balance that happens a few years after the little one starts to walk.

3 years old was the limit for skiing, but that's because all the child needs to do is stand comfortably. Also with skiing, they can use that little bungie thing that holds the ski tips together to prevent runaway 3 yr olds all over the hill. Nothing like this is available with snowboarding, so the child needs to have better muscle mechanics and balance to be able to make turns/stop.

I would suggest starting your child in ski classes, just to get them some slope time at a young age. This will get them used to the "uncomfortable" gear that many kids get annoyed with. It also lets them get used to sliding on the snow, and decreases their fear when it comes to getting down the hill. It also gives you the opportunity to ride... Then, when they hit 5 or so, throw 'em on a board and they will be teaching YOU how to ride in only a few years... I'm always amazed when I see a 8 year old ripping down an intermediate run, throwing 180s and trying to grind on every little tree branch he can find.

In the meantime, grab one of those little, plastic sled style boards (basically a plastic sled shaped like a snowboard, no bindings, just sticky pads to stand on and a rope to grab) and let your kid slide around on it while sitting. Like any adventurous child, they will probably try to stand up on it at some point... --> Pelican Space Scooter Snowboard : Target

kinda like the above, only with a rope instead of handles.
Excellent advice! I will pass this along to my husband. I was thinking the same along the lines of skiing first. Gets them used to falling, balancing, etc.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I guess I don't have any real value to add, but I have a 5 year old and she just started skiing this year. She has had 3 lessons so far, and has really picked it up quickly. She can turn pretty good now, and is progressing very well. Besides that she really loves it, and is always asking to go ski. I'm probably going to let her ski for a few years and I'm hoping she will then be asking to board.

I also have a 2 year old and I'm hoping to get her out on ski's next season. Just as BigmountainVMD said, they both have sleds and we bought them a little cheap snowboard that is a piece of junk, but they can slide down a little hill behind our house and they both love that, sometimes they sit, sometimes they try to stand.

Every kid is different, my 5 year old needed to wait until she was 5, because she is more timid, but my 2 year old has no fear at all, and I think she will be ready to try ski's out next year.

In any case I want them to learn ASAP so we can all get out there and have fun together. I just started snowboarding last season, and I can't get enough. Hoping my girls will do the same!
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Hooked View Post
I guess I don't have any real value to add, but I have a 5 year old and she just started skiing this year. She has had 3 lessons so far, and has really picked it up quickly. She can turn pretty good now, and is progressing very well. Besides that she really loves it, and is always asking to go ski. I'm probably going to let her ski for a few years and I'm hoping she will then be asking to board.

I also have a 2 year old and I'm hoping to get her out on ski's next season. Just as BigmountainVMD said, they both have sleds and we bought them a little cheap snowboard that is a piece of junk, but they can slide down a little hill behind our house and they both love that, sometimes they sit, sometimes they try to stand.

Every kid is different, my 5 year old needed to wait until she was 5, because she is more timid, but my 2 year old has no fear at all, and I think she will be ready to try ski's out next year.

In any case I want them to learn ASAP so we can all get out there and have fun together. I just started snowboarding last season, and I can't get enough. Hoping my girls will do the same!

Great advice also. I know skiing is easier to learn than snowboarding. My husband might just have to live with it that she might ski first. I don't know how timid she'll be, my husband pushes the bar with her a lot...she's the only 8 month old I know that giggles when he red lines it in his WRX.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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It depends on the kid. I got my son on a board a month after he turned 6off and he picked it up immediately. He could ripstick and skate around 2-3. Start getting her on a board of some sort early and it will help
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My daughter will be 3 in March and we got her on skis this season...our local hill won't take snowboarders until 5/6 much like the post above but will take skiers at 3. We know the GM of the mountain and she told us to bring our daughter out this year. We signed her up for their pre-school program and she has loved it, asked all week long if she could ski and when we went to the hill last night to pick her brother up wanted to go out (but it was near her bed time).

I guess I would suggest going with the 3 on skis first program. Or in your back yard on a board like the videos on youtube.
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:58 AM   #8 (permalink)
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This year Copper started teaching 3 year olds snowboarding.
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm currently going through this experience with my middle and youngest boys. My oldest got me into snowboarding when we took lessons together just a couple years ago when he was 8. Ever since then, the younger two have been begging to go, but I was reluctant to let them since I was worried they lacked the necessary coordination and balance. I was afraid they might get frustrated and end up soured on it. I finally let my middle son try it (age 4 at the time) and was shocked at how easily he got the concepts. Late last season I let both younger boys take a couple lessons while we were up at Jay Peak. The youngest was 3 and they only offered skiing at that age, but he had a blast even though he basically only got to the point of going straight down the bunny slope for a few feet between falls. My middle son also tried skiing, but actually found he had an easier time with snowboarding. Just last weekend, I took my youngest son (now 4) for his first snowboard lesson, but the school got confused and put him in skiing. He had fun anyway, but wants to try snowboarding the next time.

If you can, I'd let them try both and see what their preference is. I know some places offer skiing a little earlier, but I suspect some of that may just be that skiing is still more popular and has been around longer. Aside from the fact that getting around on flat areas is easier and more natural on skis, I can't see much difference in difficulty in the mechanics of doing the basics of either one properly (though admittedly the extent of my skiing experience was one lesson several years ago). Most places I've seen won't do lessons for anything before age 3 or 4, so I would imagine that is a good guideline, though obviously kids vary in their development so some might be ready sooner, and some later.

Last edited by herzogone; 01-31-2012 at 12:30 PM. Reason: formatting
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I started my kid on a board at 1 year old. I purchased a burton chopper 90 cm and three pair of boots (11, 12,13). I know it is easier to start a kid on ski as many have said, but I am not the type to take the easy way out. At 1 year old, I would make a snow trench (I lived in Minot, ND)and let him go down. The trench was at his waist so if he fell, he could not fall down. At 2 year old, I started taking him to local sledding hill and pulling him around the neighborhood with a rope. At 3 I would take him to ski resort on the magic carpets. At this point he was able to go down 50 yard at a time without falling. Now my son just turned 4 and we are working on going down on toe side edge. He is progressing quite well. My goal is to get him on a green run end of season.

But I think you must gauge your kid. My kid has always been extremely active and a rough kid. At 3, he was able to run about a mile with me on my workouts. He would run about 1/4 mile consecutively. On the other hand, my son has a small attention span. He sees no point in stopping. All he wants to do is go fast like Lightning McQueen.
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