Skiing or snowboarding? And at what age -- 1, 3, 5, 10? Older?
As the winter of 2017-18 reaches the midpoint of its first full month, downhill snow sports are a hot topic -- especially after a video showing a not-quite 1-year-old girl snowboarding in Idaho went viral last month.
There are, of course, many slopes to choose from in the Albany area, from Maple Ski Ridge in Rotterdam to Willard Mountain in Greenwich to Jiminy Peak in Hancock, Mass.
If you’re a parent, though, the bigger question might be what age to start your kids on the slopes rather than where to take them.
Mark Raymond, general manager of Training and Quality for Vail Ski and Snowboard School in mountain-rich Colorado, told vail.com that the rule for his school is that a child must be at least 3 years old and potty-trained to be in a group ski lesson.
“Ideally, everyone would start at age 3,” Raymond said, “because at that age, kids are fearless.” He said a 3-year-old’s small size and adaptability make skiing much easier to learn than for an adult.
Teaching youngsters to ski is about familiarizing them with the equipment and the feeling of gliding on snow, Raymond told vail.com.
But what about snowboarding?
Raymond said most kids have trouble nailing down that sport’s mechanics of standing sideways before age 5. Young children carry gravity in their heads rather than in their core, making snowboarding a wobbly activity, Raymond said.
Regardless of what the experts recommend, it’s up to you, parents, to decide when you think your child has the skills, temperament and determination needed to hit the bunny slopes.
No matter what age you decide on, always make sure your child is wearing his or her helmet.
TSL Team Contributions
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