How young is too young?

We’ve made the short trek up to Alta the last couple weekends to take the kids skiing. It has been a blast and there were lots of other parents joining us on the endeavor with their kids. All ages, all sizes.

Some parents cheered us on, mentioning how they didn’t start their kids till they were older and regretted it. Other parents had even younger kids than ours that were cruising down the runs.  One kid, barely 2 years old, could out ski my 3 1/2-year-old, easy.

There are many opinions on how, why and WHEN we should start our kids out in certain sports.  One ski instructor was cautioning a parent to make it as fun as possible, “because skills learned between the ages of two and five don’t make much a difference in a kid’s ability level when they are older.”

Other parents ran around like drill sergeants (and I must admit I tend to be like this) instructing, teaching and even nagging on perfect form.

skiing with kids, beginner ski

On the other end of the spectrum, I chatted with two parents who were innocently asking how our kids were doing. They mentioned that they weren’t starting their kids till they were older cause they were afraid if they started them too early, they would hate skiing.

So with the wide variety of opinions, I guess I want to ask my readers this question, “is there an age too young to start skiing? Or any other sport for that matter?” What things do you take into account before starting your kids in a sport?

For our family, starting our kids around the age of two was a no-brainer. Not because we are raising the next Olympians, but rather because we as parents wanted to get out in the mountains during the winter. We love skiing. We ski on the weekends and holidays with grandparents. We live in mountain states, where if you want to get outdoors in the winter, you’d better embrace the cold! So skiing it was. And we were up for the challenge.

Skiing solo with my three kids, ages 2, 4, 6 at Park City.

And maybe that is one of the key points to be made:

Are you, the parents, up for the task?

Even if you opt for ski school, you will be spending much time dressing, packing and skiing with the kids on the bunny hill. Do you want to do this? Does your child? For us, when a child “CAN learn to ski” is the wrong question.

The right one is, “when do you WANT them to learn to ski….”

chairlift with kids

6 comments on “How young is too young?
  1. I think it us up to the child and parent. We tried to get our son to ski at 2 but he had little interest. His is 6 now and loves it but he really just got into it last year. On the flip side he has been riding a pedal bike since he was 3 and can out ride some adults. I also think you have to consider how natural they are at it. I would not want to take an out of control kid on the slopes to early for safety. And if they are too timid or afraid that’s not good either.

  2. We started both our kids at around 19 months. We always took them up with us and would just trade turns in the lodge, so really by that age, they were dying to get out and go with us. Now our oldest is 4 and his favorite thing to do is ski and is pretty independent. For our family, it’s pretty much manditory to like skiing, so we really just focus on making it fun. So far it’s working our in our favor and the reward of skiing on bigger lifts keeps our kids trying new things!

  3. This is about 4 years late but I’ve been looking through your site and am getting some great tips for our 2 year old that’s just starting out this year.

    Thanks for documenting your experiences. Nice to know we’re not the only ones crazy enough to do this at such a young age.

  4. so glad I found this series! I love your blog anyway. This season my daughter turns 3+1 (she says she wants to stay 3 forever 🙂 ) and she is keen to go skiing for the first time. My son is 16mths so he can wait a little bit longer I think…my thoughts have been that I picked up skiing fairly quickly in my early 30s, I could save a few early years of ski lift pass $$ before getting my kids started and they will still pick it up easily. Fortunately they have fairly intrepid/resilient personalities so I think that plays a part in my decision to start them relatively young, otherwise I would wait til they were 6 or 7…I will be referring to this series plenty these next couple of months, thankyou!

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