A Program for Preschoolers

little-dudeOur preschool program is specially designed for four and five year olds who are truly “ski ready”. (See below). These classes are staffed by instructors who are particularly interested in teaching the younger children and receive specialized training for work with this age group.

It is very important that our 4 year old Powderpigs truly be ready to learn to ski in a small group. A list of “prerequisites” can be found below. Enrollment is limited.

Friday night lessons are for 5 year olds and only very mature and second year 4 year olds. We have found these evening lessons are just too much for our younger students.

Classes for 4 and 5 year olds: (Four year olds must be 4 by Sept. 1, even the night owls!) Saturday and Sunday lessons: are for 4 and 5 year olds.

Readiness to learn in a small group: Most 4 year olds are very ready to learn to ski if they have an instructor all to themselves. However, for them to have a successful learning to ski experience when they share an instructor with other children, they must already have acquired a number of skills and developed certain strategies. Because our youngest Powderpigs must learn so much entirely from scratch, it usually takes them longer to get it all put together and get up skiing on the chair lift. But when they do, it is amazing! It is also very important to note that putting any kind of pressure on them to “produce” is the quickest way to shut down a happy learning to ski experience – sometimes for good.

Is Your Pre-schooler Ready to Ski?

instructor-helping-stand-upBelow are our “Top Twelve” most important things a preschooler must have mastered in order for them to have a successful small group learning to ski experience. So take a careful look at our favorite “musts” and then take time to really ponder before you enroll your youngster. We have found there is no force in nature greater than that of a 4 year old who is not entirely convinced that learning to ski is a good, fun and safe thing to do.

In order for our youngest Powderpigs to have a happy and successful learning to ski experience A preschooler must:

  1. Really know what snow and skiing actually is.
  2. Possess their very own and very real desire to learn to ski.
  3. Enjoy playing outside and have spent some time playing in the snow and liking it.
  4. Be able to separate from parents and parents must be ready to separate from their child.
  5. Have enjoyed other small group experiences – Preschool, gymnastics, swimming lessons, other classes.
  6. Be reasonably confident and comfortable with adults other than parent or other safe person.
  7. Be able & willing to listen to and follow simple directions given by someone other than their parents or other safe person.
  8. Be able and willing to communicate with an adult other than parent or their safe person.
  9. Be able and willing to share an adult with other children.
  10. Have comfortable coordination and balance in large muscle activities – running, jumping, hopping, climbing, sliding, etc.
  11. Have enjoyed participating in other physical learning activities like gymnastics, swimming, dance.
  12. Be reasonably confident in his or her ability to learn new physical skills.

page 13This may seem like a daunting list of “musts”, but it contains most of the major ingredients of success for our younger Powderpig’s learning to ski in a small group. Those little ones who must learn too many of the “basics” of learning in a group along with the complex skills of skiing and that, in addition to those maneuvers that go with the successful negotiation of the winter environment, often end up with “too much too soon” and wind up snow checked until the next year. (which is the only option available after Jan. 1) After reading and pondering, if you have any doubts about your younger 4 year old being ready for a small group learning experience, we need to talk! Please email us if you have doubts!

PARENTS must have a clear understanding that no matter how thorough we all may be in determining a preschooler’s “ski-readiness” before starting the season, we may get on snow and discover the whole thing is just “too much, too soon” for this particular little Powderpig to learn ski in a small group learning experience in the time allotted. If this should be the case with your Powderpig, we will gladly Snow Check your child until next year when they are more ready for this exciting experience. We have had wonderful success with preschoolers throughout the years. As each little Powderpig arrived at “ski ready” they were able to acquire the basic skills of skiing and, in their own good time, go on to enjoy the ski slopes safely and comfortably. Did they ever have fun and were we ever proud of them!

Preschoolers Must Have REAL Ski Gear

We must stress excellent equipment, not just “okay” equipment. Younger children are the most vulnerable to injury, frustration and to becoming discouraged when equipment doesn’t work properly. Flexible skis with edges and proper side cut are absolutely necessary. Current release bindings which are properly mounted and adjusted for that child are a must! Boots that fit properly and are comfortable are where it all either happens or bombs. Anything but the best quality equipment jeopardizes the whole operation. Happy hunting! If you like, Alpine Hut, Edge & Spoke, and Gerk’s Ski & Cycle can really help with this.