Proud ski dad here

Ivan

Getting on the lift
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I thought I'd post it here. Today was the first time when my son, who will turn 4 in July, skied down a real ski run on his own. It is the beginner run at Greek Peak, a bit under 1/4 of a mile long. Here is the video:

This is his first season, and the video below (you need to swipe to the right) shows how it all started. Cannot believe how much progress he has made in under 4 months (especially given that we only ski once a week)!

A quick disclaimer is in order. I know that some people advise against letting kids ski down the mountain without learning how to turn or stop first. But the past few months have been pretty difficult for our son: we moved from California to New York State last summer, my wife was pregnant with our second (he was born a month ago), so he has been going through quite a transition. We didn't set any expectations and decided to go with the flow. This is how our son wants to ski for now, I am perfectly fine with that. He has plenty of time ahead to learn how to turn and stop.
 
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Ivan

Ivan

Getting on the lift
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Binghamton, NY
Turning is highly over rated!! I love that there are no aids...hoola hoop, edgie-wedgie, harness. You go Dad!!
Thanks! We actually used Slope Ropes for a few times (maybe 3 or 4 days), but then this Sunday he proudly said that he no longer needs them. I skied closely behind him on Sunday because there were other people on the slope, but today it was completely empty, so I was able to let his ski freely.

And thanks @Philpug, too!
 

Bad Bob

old n' slow
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A few more years and he will be ditching you Dad. Few after that will want to use the car on Saturday.

Meantime, you have a ski buddy. Congrats.
 
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Ivan

Ivan

Getting on the lift
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Here is another update:

He has now figured out how to turn and control speed. It would probably be even easier to turn if he skied faster, but I'm sure we'll get there soon once he builds more confidence. Perhaps the best thing is that he told us after skiing today that he wants to go skiing again tomorrow (normally we only go skiing once every weekend). Also I hope my wife will get a chance to ski more often now that our son can turn and control his speed: she is a beginner/intermediate herself, so she couldn't really ski with him when he needed more help.

P.S. @Pat AKA mustski Thank you for the advice about recording his description of his ski day. I did it today, and it was very cute and funny.
 
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Jilly

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That is so good!!

As an instructor I do have one comment, his poles are too long. In fact take them away, they are in the way right now. If you notice the instructor behind him at one, they are placing their hands on their knees. This gets the upper body forward and give better control.

But all in all great work Dad!! Keep him out there!
 

Scrundy

I like beer
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Conklin NY
Here is another update:

He has now figured out how to turn and control speed. It would probably be even easier to turn if he skied faster, but I'm sure we'll get there soon once he builds more confidence. Perhaps the best thing is that he told us after skiing today that he wants to go skiing again tomorrow (normally we only go skiing once every weekend). Also I hope my wife will get a chance to ski more often now that our son can turn and control his speed: she is a beginner/intermediate herself, so she couldn't really ski with him when he needed more help.

P.S. @Pat AKA mustski Thank you for the advice about recording his description of his ski day. I did it today, and it was very cute and funny.
Found myself looking for my little girl who spent some time on that very hill Saturday. He’s looking good, like mine just they just need time on snow now.
 
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Ivan

Ivan

Getting on the lift
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Binghamton, NY
That is so good!!

As an instructor I do have one comment, his poles are too long. In fact take them away, they are in the way right now. If you notice the instructor behind him at one, they are placing their hands on their knees. This gets the upper body forward and give better control.

But all in all great work Dad!! Keep him out there!
Thank you for your kind words! I hear your point about poles. I actually didn't expect him to ski with poles this season, and I neither forced nor encouraged him to do so. There are two reasons why he skis with poles now. First, our hill has a large flat area that connects several beginners lifts, and it is a lot easier for him to navigate that area with poles. Before, he needed to be towed (which I was perfectly fine with); now, he can get from one lift to another completely on his own. Second, and perhaps related to the previous point, he actually wants to ski with poles. We started this season without poles, but then he told me that he wants his poles.

So overall, I would say that I may encourage him to ski without poles, but if he absolutely wants to ski with them, I probably won't fight him. I feel like at this age, it is more important to make sure that he is having fun than to do everything "properly," so to speak. Funnily, though, I remember that when I was a kid (even older, 8, or 9, or 10), I usually wanted to ski without poles, while he is the opposite.
 

LiquidFeet

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@Ivan, he's "helping" his skis to turn by tapping and pushing the snow with the poles. That may be why he wants them. He's relying on them to help him turn. He's learned on the flats that those poles are good for pushing himself around.

That may be a good reason to postpone the poles for a while.
 

crgildart

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ixnay on the olespay until they can urntay..
 

Jilly

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So overall, I would say that I may encourage him to ski without poles, but if he absolutely wants to ski with them, I probably won't fight him. I feel like at this age, it is more important to make sure that he is having fun than to do everything "properly," so to speak. Funnily, though, I remember that when I was a kid (even older, 8, or 9, or 10), I usually wanted to ski without poles, while he is the opposite.
@Ivan, he's "helping" his skis to turn by tapping and pushing the snow with the poles. That may be why he wants them. He's relying on them to help him turn. He's learned on the flats that those poles are good for pushing himself around.

That may be a good reason to postpone the poles for a while.
Both of these.
 
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Ivan

Ivan

Getting on the lift
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Location
Binghamton, NY
Another update. Went skiing with him in today the afternoon, he easily agreed to ski without poles. The video is below (it includes a couple of runs and some storytelling in Russian; it should automatically start at 1:58):

Thank you everyone for the advice, it is really helpful. While he hasn't figured out what exactly to do with his hands yet, I think overall he is making progress fast.
 

Jilly

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What a difference without the poles!! Way to go Dad!

Ideas for hands/arms.
1. Airplane turns. Basically the opposite to what he's doing in the video. Outside ski arm down, inside arm up.
2. Pet the animal. Do you have a cat or dog? As he goes around the corner, pet the animal. Just a little pat on that downhill/outside side.
3. Hands on the knees, hands off the knee. Hands on the knees as he crosses the hill, hands up as he makes the turn. You might need to lead and so like a Simeon says.

Just make sure it's all fun!!
 

LiquidFeet

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Great progress! The biggest WOW for your son is that he makes turns without having to be led by you. He may not know why he's turning, but he does it anyway. Excellent!!! Make those turns fun in themselves with those arm tactics @Jilly suggested. If your directions incluce inside/outside, work on him understanding those words. If they don't work, shelve them and work on uphill/downhill for the time being.

What he's doing with the arms right now, as Jilly pointed out, is opposite of what he needs to do. But it works, unfortunately. Nip that in the bud immediately. The problem is he's weighting the new outside ski with that arm, and starting to let that arm cause his torso to lean in to edge his skis. Banking, or leaning in, is a no-no. That's why you don't want to let him embed that habit. Instead, teach him to raise the other arm, new new inside arm. You can call this "airplane arms." Or, have him lean down to "pat the dog" with the outside/downhill arm. To work away from using arms, add "angry mother" which is hands on hips the whole run.

Doing arm drills this way works just as well as what he's currently doing and they don't embed bad habits. He can learn these names of arm drills and switch on command from you -- "airplane arms" "pat the dog" or "angry mother."

He's a strong little skier, and clearly having fun. Good job, Dad!
 
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Ivan

Ivan

Getting on the lift
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Binghamton, NY
@Jilly @LiquidFeet Thanks for your feedback and suggestions!

Regarding turning, we worked a lot on it last year (I had a thread on it), and this year something just clicked, and he started turning pretty much on his own. Initially he was doing pizza turns, now I try to encourage him to go a bit faster and let the shape of the skis help him turn. In fact, I think he instinctively used his poles to slow him down; without poles, he can go faster and smoother.

A couple of thoughts/questions:

1. I tried suggesting that he ski with hands on his hips, but that didn't quite work out: he told me right away that he felt uncomfortable (maybe because his arms are relatively short compared to his body, compared to an older kid or adult). I might try again at some point, but I don't want to force him if he doesn't enjoy it.

2. I am a bit curious about your airplane turn/pet the animal advice. At what point exactly should he move his outside arm down, inside up? During the turn or after? To me, it feels pretty unnatural to have the inside arm up during the apex of the turn, because shoulders are supposed to be pointing downwards. However, I think I might get what you mean. Let me just use a couple of still images from the video to clarify things.

Is this what he needs to do?
Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.50.23 AM.png
Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.49.27 AM.png
On both these screenshots, his downhill arm is down, the uphill arm is up, and the shoulders are pointing downward.

However, these looks wrong to me:
Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.49.48 AM.png
Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.53.40 AM.png
On these two, his downhill arm is up, his shoulders are pointing sideways (rather than downward), and this is something that he shouldn't do. Is my understanding correct, or am I missing something?
 
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