Parallel Trails is all about family ski holidays and skiing as a family. We are passionate about skiing and families who love to ski. This ski travel website aims to help you enjoy the perfect family ski holiday. It includes tips and advice so families can enjoy skiing holidays in parallel with their children - the team behind Parallel Trails love to ski as a family so we know how good it feels to go skiing with your children. Parallel Trails is an independent ski travel site for the family ski market, offering practical and honest articles on family ski holidays and family skiing. Why don't you join us on our online family snow & mountain adventure. Happy family skiing! © Parallel Trails 2017
If you are a ski mad parent then you are bound to want to get your children started early. This is fine as long as you understand that the point of being on the mountain at a young age is about being in an outdoor environment, wearing ski gear and getting comfortable with sliding on snow. It is about fun and playing, so leave your own agenda at home.
And it does not matter how good a skier you are (or think you are) it really is better to let ski school teach your children, rather than doing it yourself. Instructors are trained to give children the right core skills, so trust in their ability. It is also important to try and resist the urge to linger or hover around your child’s lesson. Removing the parent/child dynamic will help your children learn faster – it is amazing how many children whine and moan as soon as the see they parents!
Following your child’s lesson down a piste can be distracting for everyone. Use the time that they are in lessons to blast around the resort and explore the runs you want to. Then when you are skiing with your children after the lesson, it can be their chance to teach you what they have learnt in a fun way, without even thinking about it.
For many years a debate has raged about whether it is best to put your children in an English ski school or use the local ski school. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference and your understanding of your own children.
It is true that some children will be put off skiing if they are in a large group of foreign children with an instructor who, however hard they try, does not have a terrific grasp of English. However, it is also true that for the right children, the exposure to a foreign language and culture in a group lesson environment where they simply have to ski, can be as rewarding.
One of the biggest operators of English ski schools is the British Alpine Ski & Snowboard School (BASS), which has been teaching British families for over a decade. Astonishingly over the last two winters, BASS has served over 10,000 clients.
Jaz Lamb, director of BASS Morzine, explains that parents must give their children the freedom to learn, explore and enjoy skiing without the pressure of having to catch up to their mum or dad’s level. The message is clear, do not expect miracles.
“Kids are quick to catch on absorbing the world and learning new experiences every day. The speed at which they pick up skiing depends on their exposure to the environment and the activity,” says Lamb.
“When you see happy, confident children skiing around the mountain, it is the result of expert tuition. Instructors know when children need to stay within their comfort zones to consolidate skills, when they are ready to be stretched, and, how far they can be stretched.”
There is no doubt that skiing in parallel with your children is the best feeling to be had on the mountain. So whatever you do, do not hinder their progress by taking your children skiing on runs that are too difficult. Lamb is pretty forceful on this point stating that parents really can “undermine” the good work that goes on in ski school.
There is a very basic principle to remember – children should develop parallel skiing because this allows for more skilful and versatile steering. The best way to achieve parallel skiing is by skiing on easier terrain.
Flatter slopes mean slower speeds, which means reducing any braking effect from the skis, instead allowing skis to run faster and more parallel. Steeper slopes lead to defensive skiing among children - big, over wide snowplough, which locks the legs and prevents more natural feel and movement.
“Parents must ski their children on slopes that are going to help them become more skilful. They also feel safe and comfortable with familiarity and don’t get bored with repetition. Children are happy to ski the same run again and again because having known parameters provides a sense of security,” adds Lamb.
“It may be repetitious and boring for you, but for them it will only reinforce a positive learning experience and bolster their confidence. Enjoy your skiing, be patient and take the time to help your family grow to enjoy their skiing. The rewards are years of time in the mountains together. During teenage years the lure of a family ski holiday will always be attractive to them."
There is loads of information about ski lessons on the BASS website, including technique videos to enhance your own skiing. www.britishskischool.com