Yet, we persevered last year and by the end of the season, Noah had skied a 3km loop all by himself with no sled to ride in. (A loop that had a fair number of hills on it as I recall.) This year I am not giving up either. The first couple of times out were shaky (totally my fault), but things have improved greatly and we actually had FUN last week. Real fun, with laughing, giggling, and smiles! There is hope! And what I've learned, I pass on to you. Why should we all suffer after all?
Make sure you read to the bottom of this guide for an outdoor family ski link up. I've included links to some other great stories written by families in the trenches just like you and me, out there skiing with their kids, and enjoying it. Read my story, read their stories, and let us all know what you think.
|Cross Country Skiing at Nipika Mountain Resort Last Winter|
Cross Country Skiing Made FUN
One - Games, Games, and more Games
Everything is more fun when playing games. Here are some of our favourite:
- Ski Golf - Put brightly coloured golf balls in the ski tracks, one per track (or more if you really want to have fun.) Have the child kick the golf ball as they ski, shuffling as fast as they can to the next golf ball that they get to kick with their ski. My son's technique has really improved with this game (along with his speed.)
- Fun Races - Can be played if you have a set of parallel tracks for two kids to race against each other (just make sure nobody is coming from the other direction and that you aren't stealing their tracks.)
- Tag - Always fun. Can be skied in or out of tracks
- Red Light Green Light - Same as the regular version. Leader calls out green light and kids ski. Red light, they stop. Goal is to make it to the finish line where the leader is, first. Could be played in or out of tracks.
- Football - Throw a football (or any ball) and have your child ski to retrieve it. Keep throwing the ball in the direction you want your child to ski to move the pace along.
- ABC Scavenger Hunt - Scatter ABC letters around a field and have your child/children ski around picking them up in order, A to Z. This teaches them to bend over and stand up again and helps with balance.
- Soccer - Can be played with a small ball that fits in the tracks (see ski golf above) or could be played in a field with no tracks. Good as a team or individually between a child and parent.
|Skiing with Friends - always more fun|
Two - Build a Snowman, Do some Sledding... - Take a Break!
When your child says they're done, it means they are D O N E. Don't push it. Call it a day and move on to something else for a change of pace. We like to bring a sled with us and find some fun little hills to play on after skiing. Other times, we take off our skis and build a snowman or have a snowball fight (off the trail.) Snacks and treats are also well received at this point.
Three - It's often About WHERE you ski
Would you enjoy skiing on old ice-crusted snow across a playground? I know I wouldn't. Yet somehow we think kids should be able to ski anywhere. For myself, I like tracks and nicely groomed trails. My son is no different.
|Groomed Track Set Beginner Trails - A good place to begin|
- Avoid hills (try to find flat terrain for beginners.)
- Look for a trail with interesting features, like you would do if you were going hiking. We have a golf course here with little bridges and a good sledding hill. It's our favourite place to ski during the week. It also gets track set during the winter AND has plenty of golf balls to dig up and kick around.
- Choose a quiet place to start out. A popular trail on a Saturday afternoon will get frustrating for you and your child when faster adults keep yelling "track" at you, and expecting you to bolt out of the way. Again, we love our quiet little golf course that we usually have all to ourselves!
|Golf Courses are great for lots of bridges and interesting features|
It sets a bad example if you are walking in your boots, and yet expecting your child to ski. Why should they ski if you are walking on the hard packed snow beside them with no difficulty at all? I confess there are times I choose to walk (and make sure I have plenty of games planned) but for the most part, I try to ski alongside my son.
Five - Go with the Right Mindset
This one is all about you, the parent. What are your expectations? I know I set myself up for disaster our second time out this year when I thought my son could ski the same 3km loop he had done at the end of the season last year. I pushed him too hard, drove him too far, and it was a disaster. Surprise, surprise. Lesson learned - start easy, go slow, and mange your expectations. While I do believe in encouraging/pushing kids to do their best, there is a difference between challenging them and exasperating them. Learn to know the difference.
Outdoor Family Ski Link Up
Family Guide to Cross Country Skiing - Active Kids Club
Teaching Toddlers and Preschoolers to Cross Country Ski - Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies
Cross Country Skiing for Kids - Tales of a Mountain Mama
3 Tips for Teaching Kids to Cross Country Ski - Nature for Kids
Teaching Kids to Cross Country Ski - Traveling Mel
Yes, You Can: Start Your Kids in Snowsports - Traveling Mel
|You don't need much snow to ski across a golf course|