Hello Snowbasin Families! I see you out there, loading your toddler’s skis into a wagon and trekking it through the base area. I see you kneeling in the snow to get their boots in their bindings, lovingly loading their skis in the gondola, endlessly encouraging them along on their journey to becoming a skier or rider.
I know every victory and every hiccup and let’s be honest… every tear, because I lived through them and our family is still in this process every weekend. My three kids are older now, get dressed on their own, and thankfully still love to ski despite some failed days. However, I remember the dozens of laps on Little Cat. I remember forgetting one kid’s skis and another child’s boots. (Friends, that it what the rental center is for!) And I remember when my youngest refused to take off her princess tutu that morning - so it went on right over the ski bibs!
Snowbasin became our family homebase for skiing in Utah largely because it is SO beginner and family friendly. We also learned a lot about how to help our kids on the ski hill, when to sign them up for a lesson with the Learning Center, and when to call it a day and go in search of a treat.
Our five tips for skiing/riding with your young children:
- It is less about what you teach and more about how you are interacting with your kids on the ski hill. This is STILL true with my older kids. Make it fun, limit the stressors, pay careful attention to when your encouragement becomes lecturing. I am a firm believer that some professional instruction is a good start and then follow it up with quality time on the mountain during the season. That is where you play a major role.
- Try your best to take an objective look at what your child needs. (Easier said than done.) Having skied with my own children through the toddler and early elementary ages, I’ve seen just how different their “ski needs” can be. What motivates each child is often different. One child might resist ski school lessons and just want to ski and spend time with mom and dad. If this is you, make the most of it by prioritizing the types of terrain they enjoy the most. Set aside your agenda and let them lap the terrain park or spend the day showing you all their favorite tree trails.
- On the other hand, you might have a child that is more motivated when skiing with kids their own age. If, like us, you spend a lot of time skiing with your kids on the bunny hill but have hit a wall in terms of learning or desire to learn, try a lesson. Snowbasin’s certified instructors are trained in a variety of techniques that might just help your child reach that next level. Kids are often motivated by being around other kids and can learn a lot by simply observing other kids at their same level learning alongside them.
- We think a lot about how to set our kids up for success. However, we should also set the rest of the family up for success. Did your Saturday ski day turn into a 10” powder day? Cash in on that lesson or day for your child in the Learning Center while you enjoy a much needed adult day on the slopes. Try to limit your own frustration by giving yourself time to ski or ride at an adult pace.
- I’ve come across many parents asking, “What do I do with my kid that just doesn’t want to ski??” This is a complicated question, but I want to encourage you with this - that same fickleness that can take them from smiling to screaming at you on the same ski run, can also swing back the same way. I have one child that fought us for a few years, telling us she hated the outdoor stuff we did. She has just a quickly swung 180 degrees the opposite direction and now is the one dragging us out the door and asking to do one more run at the end of the day!
The Snowbasin Quick List:
- Take advantage of the shuttles that run from all Snowbasin parking lots or drop off your family at the skier drop off area up front. Wagons are provided for you to cart all the bags and gear that inevitably come with your crew of adventurers. TIP: They are also great for wheeling those exhausted toddlers back to the car at the end of the day.
- Any other parents out there have a child terrified of the “scary potties”?! (ie. The auto flushing toilets.) After a long search our first season, we realized the Learning Center has normal flushing toilets for children! Yay!
- Need a carrot at the end of the day? Earl’s Lodge has fresh baked $1 cookies at 3 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and a sweets selection to please any appetite at the new bakery.
- Want to have a bag filled with supplies close to the lifts, but don't want to carry it around? There is a bag check downstairs in Earl's Lodge, you can leave your bags for just $3 and access them as many times as you want throughout the day. Great place to store layers and treats close to the lifts!
In the end, all this is to say, if we can foster a love of being out in the mountains, then we are winning. The process and the story will be different for each child. But one thing is the same - keep showing up as parents, instructors, and taking the time to connect your little people to the mountains.
See you on the slopes!