KIDS ON SNOW

Image:KIDS ON SNOW
03. Apr, 2018 Written by: Ana Pišot
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As a kid who spent many days on the snow I can tell you that skiing rules! I still look forward to new challenges awaiting me on the snow at the beginning of each season. And the greatest challenges can be found in working with children. They are like fresh clay, not yet formed and still able to adapt and change. Most of them have no fears or bad patterns that would hinder their learning, so alpine skiing is certainly a good way to form this clay of youth.

 

Most of us can remember the first dive into water and the first successful swimming strokes or the first unsteady meters on a new bike, and the first steps in skiing can become just such a pleasant memory. A winter family vacation can become a new learning environment for a child and a skiing instructor is a very important factor in the child’s attitude towards skiing.

 

But why skiing?

Skiing is a sport that begins with a major event. It is something completely new and unknown. Something that starts off small but can be explored and expanded beyond any limit. The first steps in skiing can be slightly challenging to master but once the skills are learned they are never forgotten and can be built upon for years and years. Skiing has that power and also the power to entertain. A child does not think like adults and does not need much information. Children are simply not interested in whether their knees are pushed outside or inside. What they want to know is, is it fun?

 

What do you need to know?

Any parent who is a good skier wants to share the experience, joy and, of course, knowledge with their child. Many of us could make good teachers, but trust me - properly trained ski instructors will always do a better job. But it is the duty of the parents to select an instructor your child is comfortable with, one that shows your child the joys of skiing so they will want to ski for years to come.

 

When is the right time?

One of the most common questions is: “What is an appropriate age to start skiing?” There is no set answer here because the truth depends on many factors and each individual has different needs. Some children develop the necessary abilities earlier than others and the proper time to start varies accordingly, but early experiences are certainly the most valuable. We often hear the saying: “The more they ski, the better they will be.” That is absolutely true. Mileage on the pistes is the best gift you can give your child, of course once they can ski independently. Once they reach this phase experience on the slopes becomes invaluable and it will also facilitate further learning. I believe the appropriate amount of skiing exactly corresponds to the child’s wishes. And there is another thing parents need to know. Children find it much more difficult to work with an instructor if you are present. Of course it is hard to separate from your kids, but they are much more productive, attentive and manageable without you around, and they also gain the opportunity to develop their confidence and independence.

 Equipment

You cannot have a perfect ski day without good equipment. Proper ski equipment is a prerequisite for safety and gives skiers the ability to learn correctly. Ski equipment is quite specific so there is a certain period of adjustment.

Starting with the boots - event adults find them heavy and uncomfortable and they are more so for the kids. Walking and running, jumping, spinning around and other such exercises help kids get a feel for moving around in ski boots. Of course, boots must fit the feet. They should not be too big or too small and should grip the feet firmly enough to prevent injury.

Skis must be appropriate for the height and abilities of the child. The bindings must create a firm interface between the boot and ski and be adapted to the weight of the kid so they open in case of a fall. Modern skis have appealing designs that kids can find motivating. It is recommended that skis are soft and flexible so kids can manage them easier.

A helmet is immensely important for safety because it protects a child’s head and gives an added sense of security and warmth. I recommend all skiers to wear a helmet because in not only protects us but also shows a good example for the kids.

Warm winter clothing is another major factor, especially proper skiing gloves that provide important protection from cuts and scrapes and which parents sometimes forget. Ski goggles are another protective piece of equipment that prevent eye damage and inflammation due to reflected sunlight, wind and flying debris that is kicked up during skiing.

Properly selected and fitting equipment is half of the success. Elan has developed unique U-Flex technology to bring comfort and joy in skiing to the youngest skiers. We have developed a full range of skis, boots and snowboards especially for children. Skis are 25% more flexible compared to the competition and enable faster learning and easier turning. The U-Flex ski boots flex in accordance with the foot’s anatomy and provide a more natural support when walking and flexing during skiing. The flexible boot design also helps retain body heat and allows the boots to expand and adapt to a range of foot sizes. Changing the position of the boot insole allows the fit to be adapted.

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