Kids’ Ski School Best Practices

If you want your kids to learn to ski, you can teach them yourself (good luck with that!) or send them to ski school. A comprehensive program run by a thoughtful expert makes all the difference in the world.

A model for this is Mammoth Mountain Ski Area’s Ski & Snowboard School in Califorinia. Craig Albright is the Managing Director of their program. I recently e-interviewed him for his insight on kids’ ski school best practices.

This is terrific perspective and important points for parents to consider. Thanks Craig!

Craig Albright Mammoth Mountain Ski School

Kids’ Ski School Best Practices

What is the best age for kids to start skiing?

This varies by child but usually between 3 and 5 years is ideal.  Snowboarding is a little older, between the ages of 5 and 7 years.

What are some tips around keeping the experience for young kids positive?

Keep it fun! Set your expectations in line with the mantra that we want your child to believe: Snow=Fun

If we get this they will become skiers and with a lot less tears. Focus on allowing them to enjoy their time on the snow whether that is “learning to ski” or “making a snowman”… Kids can feel the pressure to perform that parents or the instructor can put on them to “ski”, “ride the lift”, ‘’learn to turn” or “keep up” and it can make for an unpleasant first experience.

What is the average class size for the Mammoth Ski School and does it vary by age?

This can vary considerably based on the timing of your visit. Visiting during mid-week non-holiday periods ensure small, personalized class sizes of 1-5 students while visiting during Holiday periods this can bump up to 6-10 students. We do aim for smaller class sizes for our youngest students. Our class size targets are: 3 students for 3-4 year old group lessons, 5 students for 5-7 year  old group lessons, 6 students for 8-13 year old group lessons and 6 students for an adult group lesson.

What is the philosophy behind Mammoth ski instruction?

Mammoth Mountain Ski and Snowboard School is a member school of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and Association of American Snowboard Instructors (AASI). PSIA/AASI embraces a “Student Centered”, “Outcome Based” teaching methodology that approaches each student as having unique wants, needs, abilities and capabilities.

This requires the instructor to connect with each guest individually to create a “Learning Partnership” — with the goal of creating lifelong skiers and riders who share our passion for the mountain experience. Though teaching technical proficiency is woven through each lesson with the hierarchy of the lesson being Safety, Fun and Learning. This system is contrary to many European systems that are much more “Technique Centric”.

What do kids love most about your program?

How fun our instructors are and our skiing trails through the woods.  Oh, and the hot cocoa!

How about their parents?

That their children are taken care of in a safe, nurturing environment and that their children learn to love skiing and riding. And that their kids come back to them tired and ready to take a nap!

Remember: Snow=Fun=Success

Mammoth Kids Ski School

Mammoth Mountain Facts Facts:

-Kids lift tickets are $30 any day, all-season long

-Mammoth offers pint-sized ready terrain at Discovery Park

-Family Wagons are available to haul equipment from parking areas

-Wo0lly’s Adventure Summit has a tube and snow play area called Sled Park where no skis or snowboards are required to participate

Woolly’s Forest at The Village at Mammoth offers childcare for infants to 6-year-olds day and night so parents have time to hit the slopes and get some parents-only evening downtime

Stormrider Teen Sessions available on holiday weeks helps teens 13-17 years old learn new tips and tricks with an instructor they can relate to

-For more information on Mammoth Mountain, visit MammothMountain.com or call 800.MAMMOTH.

Relevant Links:

Ciao Bambino recommended family ski resorts

Tips for finding the best family-friendly ski resorts

Vermont family-friendly ski resorts

Colorado family-friendly ski resorts

Skiing in Europe with kids – Zermatt

Skiing in Europe with kids – Grindelwald

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