SKI Schooling – My background and story

We are expanding and updating one of our favorite series! Our goal? We hope to have one of the most comprehensive ski series for parents wanting to teach their young kids to kids.

While ski school for our younger kids might be the best/easiest route, here is the truth: It is also the most expensive route! Most of us simply cannot afford it. So we are taking the hit other places – like knowing we’ll have to put in our own time and teach them.

Our Story

Our story starts where it does for most parents – with a simple desire to share with our kids the things that we love. We’ve started all our kids skiing somewhere between the ages of two and three. We began on a simple sledding hill, and now we are working with them on wedging, stopping, starting and everything in-between.

But know I’ve had also lot of help! My childhood, mixed with years of coaching, and two parents that have taught skiing for 30-ish years, gave me a lot to work with. We’ve made lots of mistakes. And found other things that work. These posts will highlight what has worked for us…not necessarily prescribed methods by professional associations.

Skiing off Strawberry Gondola at Snowbasin Resort

My Credentials

Um, I have none! At least any I can take the credit for! I am not PSIA certified (for those who know what that is). I have not taught skiing for an organization or club. I want to tell you that up front…in case you care about such things.

What I do have?

  1. 29 years of ski experience.
  2. Parents who have taught skiing for 30 years.
  3. Five years of competitive freestyle ski experience (coaching, summer camps, dry-land training, competition)
  4. Three kids, which I have and am currently teaching to ski. So I am walking through many of these experiences with you!

Look for Kid Project posts entitled Ski Schooling

We will be covering topics such as:

Join us! Please share your questions or topic ideas in the comments sections of this post or the others. We are excited for snow! Lets do this!

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11 comments on “SKI Schooling – My background and story
  1. Looking forward to the upcoming posts. We got Matt out a few times last year when he was 2 and he can’t wait for the slopes to open. With all our snow it will be soon – some hills are open this weekend but not the beginner runs 🙁 I’m an okay skier and need all the tips I can get about teaching our son to ski as lessons are pricey.

  2. I’m really interested in seeing what you have to say here. My son will be 2 this fall, and we’ve talked a little about trying to ski. There’s two problems for us – 1, skiing is expensive! and 2, I don’t know how to ski. I can barely “pizza” and “french fries” most of the time. My husband is much better, but I wonder if we should even try teaching the kiddo? I mean, is teaching him something that will help me learn to ski as well? Or should we leave it up to the professionals?

    • 1. Skiing is really expensive. Really you need to decide whether it is worth it to you! Do you love it enough? Maybe a day or two on the snow without the kiddo would help figure that out. There ARE ways to make it less expensive (Eldora would be your best option cause of location). But don’t spend any money teaching your two-year old yet! They only make it 1-2 hours, we started on a packed out sledding hill (no cost or hastle of getting there, and we could bail quick). Ski school at that age is just expensive day-care. 2. And really you don’t have to ski well to get a kid started. At the beginning it is just helping them down the hill…teaching them to balance and walk on their skis. Once they get better, maybe pass the responsibility on to your husband :).

  3. The idea of skiing appeals to me. It’s popular here, and we have plenty of snow. But it’s all backcountry skiing – no groomed slopes or lifts anywhere. And I don’t know how to ski other than a bit of cross-country skiing. I could probably swing getting gear for the family, but the combination of my own lack of skill and what/how to teach my 1.5 and 3.5 year old children makes the whole thing seem just prohibitive. Is it possible to learn along with your kids on natural terrain, or would I be setting us all up for failure?

    • Erin, honestly I am not sure. It can depend on a lot of things. Like: how far you want to push your own patience in both learning and teaching at the same time. How your kids relate to you, are they eager to learn or do they resist learning from you? Maybe ask a friend who know you and your family for an assessment of your skill. With young kids ages 2-5 I;d say you could sure start teaching them on your own, even if your skill level is limited. But kids of all ages tend to catch on quickly and might need more experienced help to continue progressing. In the end, you need to do what will be fun for all – or else you won’t be doing it! On the terrain: We started out with our youngsters on a packed out sledding hill. You can start there, just more leg work for you and them as you hike back up the hill. Backcountry has a whole host of other dangers as well, make sure you go with an experienced route finder, skier, and someone well versed in avalanche dangers and reading the snow. For learning those skill – I would make sure you’ve mastered them yourself before bringing the kids into it. Cross country and nordic skiing: not my specialty! But here are two bloggers I know who do: and

  4. Oooh…I can’t WAIT to read more. I have skiied for about 38 years (not very often for the past 10). I can’t wait for my kids to learn to ski. I have been worried that I missed our window (they are now 9 and 6), but have been assured that it isn’t to late. While I am a very good skier, I have thought that I don’t have the patience to teach them. My daughter tends to whine with me where she will happily go along with other adults. I will be very interested if I can actually teach my own kids. We are on a budget, but really want to make room in it for skiing for the family. I bought an Entertainment book that has some deals at local resorts (i.e. free kids with adult ticket etc.) But I am sure you have some great tips.

  5. Very interested in this! I grew up skiing but my hubby converted me to snowboard over 10 years ago. Our twins will be 2 1/2 in December and we’ve been thinking of taking the ski plunge. I’ve heard lessons are the way to go. I’m afraid we’d all end up in tears after 5 minutes. 😉 But like you said it’s expensive daycare. My biggest question is how to get the boots and skis on them? I don’t even like putting the boots on somedays!

  6. Credential #5, you ski “the Bird” (or at least use photos from there), so you have good taste in where to start kids. Both of my kids (daughter 12, son 8) started at age 2 with Nancy. I know your offering alternatives to ski school, but Nancy is a legend with the wee ones. Both of my kids are now on the Snowbird Ski team, love skiing and will be great skiers for life.

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