Dry Land Training 🙂
This is the term for ski training not on snow…on dry land. It refers to all sorts of things – but usually ski specific conditioning and strengthening. Well, young kids need a conditioning all of their own. Whether you rent the night before or have your equipment all season here are some steps to take with your kids, no matter their age or ability, that will make that first day on the snow 98% more successful:
1. Get those boots on and walk!
For the youngsters, ski boots are thrilling or terrifying. They are big, heavy, and hard. For those of us with toddlers who are just learning to walk on their own two feet, adding boots is hard enough. Much less skis too. Make this fun! Let them play with the buckles and walk around the living room. My son likes to play Iron Man with them on… he was thrilled when his boots this year were red, “Just like Iron Man’s,” he said!
2. Teach them how to get in and out of their bindings.
Next, get the skis on (carpeted area) and walk around. Let them feel the weight of the skis on their legs and try to maneuver them. Get them used to buckling in and out. A word on this: teaching them the steps to getting in the bindings (and out) will save YOU on the bunny slopes. Yes, it will save you the time teaching it while kneeling in the cold snow. And it is more difficult when the kids are on a sloped, slippery surface. Practice before hand. It’s the small things that can set you up for success.
Which leads me to this: have them fall…and get back up! They will be falling a lot but getting back up is hard! Have them figure it out (if even a little) in the comfort of your living room!
3. Get used to simplified language with the young ones.
This one is self explanatory. When teaching small kids, keep it simple. So for example, clicking into their bindings:
Four easy steps. I use one word phrases, which after a time they will remember easily:
- Shoulder = Hold on to my shoulder
- Toe = Line up toe in binding
- Heel = Line up heel
- Stomp = Press down on heel
Obviously you can come up with your own commands. But make sure to use simple and clear commands.
A special note to the parents: Most young kids aren’t 1. strong enough or 2. heavy enough to press down and click in the binding on their own. We’ve tried grabbing their leg, pushing on shoulders, etc. All with limited success. Simply pull-up on the back of the binding like pictured…it is so much easier.
Keep checking back with us! Our next installment of Ski Schooling will cover that first day on the snow!