How to Raise a Skier with PSIA-AASI National Team member Brian Smith

PSIA-AASI teamed up with SKI Magazine to create a new e-learning course for parents on How to Raise a Skier, taught by Aleks and Brian Smith (who are also parents). This course is essential for anyone who wants to get their kids to become lifelong snowsports enthusiasts.

Here, Brian discusses the creation of this resource, tips instructors and parents can use when teaching kids, and how this course benefits you.

What are the key reasons this course was created?
PSIA-AASI and SKI Magazine realized there is a particular demographic of skiers that are on the verge of becoming life long skiing families or moving on to non-skiing activities. This could be a family that skis every year for one long holiday or a couple times locally. They need information to help them navigate the skiing world with a little less stress and strategies for having a successful day.

Also, many instructors see families trying to teach their own children how to ski because they aren’t ready to invest financially in snow sports programs, or they think they can teach well enough on their own. We want to embrace this by helping educate parents on how to properly use props and understand basic skills and teaching progressions. We might as well support the parent that wants to teach their own children by providing information on several levels.

What are some mistakes parents make when teaching their kids to ski? 
One is that after their children have made a few successful turns on a beginner slope, many parents make the decision to move them to slope that they want to ski much too soon. This causes all types of negative experiences for the child and parents. This course constantly encourages staying on the right terrain longer.

Another is negative reinforcement. Many times we see parents losing their patience and only giving critical commands to their children. This upsets children and they will quit trying. This course encourages parents to celebrate each small success with rewards. We also see parents forcing kids to ski longer than they can handle. Your child’s limit is not the same as yours.

Why should instructors should take this course? 
This course gives pros tips on what parents actually experience getting a family to the mountain. It will create empathy and therefore the pro will have a better connection to the guest. Much of this course deals with strategies for equipment introduction, preparation of clothing and how to navigate the ski area environment. These tips can be valuable to a pro, especially when they meet new clients.

How can parents help kids get a great start in enjoying skiing?
Parents teaching kids who are skiing for the first time can have fun at home with their equipment. Let your kids put on their ski boots and play around in them. Let them put their skis on and walk around the yard, in the living room on carpet. Choosing the right ski clothing, from base layers to mittens versus gloves, can make or break a child’s experience.

Anything else?
We hope that this course will lead to more in the future. Aleks and I have ideas for specific skiing situations with families, like how to prepare for a skiing trip or how to enjoy the extreme mountain environment safely with your skiing family. Keep and eye out for more in the future.

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  • How to Raise a Skier with PSIA-AASI National Team member Brian Smith


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