The grass is still green and the kids are not even in school yet, but I am already dreaming of freezing temperatures and white mountains. One of the reasons I allow myself to get excited in August is because there is still time to find good deals on tickets and lodging. If you wait until December, you will be paying full price for tickets and picking through the last of the lodging.
Here is what I learned about getting kids ready to ski. Get them excited too. Start talking about what you love about skiing. My children are motivated by anything sugary so I have a rule that they only get hot chocolate if we are skiing. We talk about snowball fights and falling in the trees. It is a good dinner time conversation. If your kids see that you love to do something it helps them be excited too.
Get the season rental if that is available to you. My mother is very jealous that we have this option these days. Having the skis available and not having to go rent them the night before is just wonderful. Not to mention the decreased stress of not having to remember to drop them off the next day. The other reason to get a season rental is you can try out all the equipment before you are on the mountain. When my boys were first learning, I had them scoot around the back yard in their skis just to get used to how the equipment feels and feel what it is like to have them move underneath you. This also functioned as a equipment check. There is nothing worse then being on the mountain and figuring out you have the wrong size or the bindings are not adjusted properly. These things can fluster a single skier but as a parent when your wriggling 4 year old is closing in on a melt down, an equipment fail could put everyone in a tailspin.
Another thing I do in preparation for the upcoming season is remind myself to be patient with my kids. It is easy to forget. It takes a lot of energy to keep everyone pointed down the hill and having fun. My attitude is where my kids are taking their cues. If I loose it, they are not likely to be able to recover. So even months in advance I give myself pep talks about how they are still learning and I need to be the adult (adulting is hard but necessary). Its ok to take breaks or go home early. There is also the ski school option.
Ski school is expensive but usually well worth the price. I am reviewing my options for a few days of ski school again this year. While my husband and I have found that we are often better instructors in the long run in teaching our kids, ski school is great for breaking up the bad patterns that might develop around how we are communicating. I mean how many times can you tell a kid to put their skis down hill when trying to stand up again? How many time should I have to say “TURN!”? Well, I think the answer to both is like millions but sometimes I need a break. Sometimes I need to remember that I am a pretty good skier and I really enjoy some quiet time in the glades. So, I book a few days of lessons so I can drop them off and let someone else say it for the 304,789th time. Why should you think of this now, in August? Because again the deals still exist. Labor Day weekend is almost the last time to get a good deal on ski school packs and lift tickets. So do your research now and come up with a plan.
And please pray for a good snow year!