Montessori Parents’ Guide to Snowbird Mountain School
February 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, & March 2nd, 2016

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Is my child old enough to learn to ski? Or snowboard?

Snowbird Mountain School provides lesson experiences for children as young as 3. However, just because your child is 3 years old, doesn’t mean that he or she is ready to be in mountain school. Here are some things to consider:

If you answered no to any of these questions, you may want to approach with caution. Your main focus should be on the overall experience your child will have. Let’s face it, if they have a bad experience, you are sure to feel the negative impact on your vacation!

We do not offer snowboarding with the Montessori School until the child is at least age eight. This is due to equipment needs, and developmental processes of MOST children.

Please direct any special needs concerns to Montessori School.

Accommodations can be made with prior notification.

What can I expect my child to learn during the program?

Kindergarten kids often take longer to “get their wings” and be able to ski on their own. Often the preparedness of the child, size, willingness, and ability to balance, and equipment fit are the keys to a quicker beginning. Each child is an individual, so success is about having fun and wanting to come back!

Older children will often learn to turn and stop on the beginner slope by the end of the first day. Snowboarding may take a bit longer. Be supportive at the end of the lesson, and encourage your child to be happy with small successes. Just balancing while gliding on skis or a board is quite an accomplishment! Once the basic sensations have been repeated enough times, there is often an “aha” moment when a child can glide and turn.

Our instructors use an activities based approach, in which children are often familiar with the games they play, and the variable is the skis or snowboard. This will often appear that they are “just playing games” but basic skills are being absorbed by the children as they play, making the next steps come much more quickly… not to mention that the process is indeed fun!

For children who already know the basics, the groups are split by age first and then ability. This is to provide common ground for the children (we don’t want a very young child to be riding with a group of teen-aged kids) so they will make friends and want to come back again and again. The groups often explore the mountain together, and find challenges through activities that will build skills and help them learn resort safety and etiquette.

What can I do to prepare my child for Mountain School?

 

 

What are the goals for your child’s experience?

 

It is important to determine what your goals are for putting your child in mountain school. Are you hoping they will become the next Bode Miller? Do you want them to enjoy being on the mountain while you grab a bit of r&r? Are you mostly interested in providing them with a challenging and exciting experience that they will want to repeat? Be as honest in your assessment as you can be, and you will find that your expectations will be more likely to come true.

 What level should my child participate in?

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What kinds of questions should I ask the instructor after the lesson?

Please let us know how we did, and if there is anything we can do to make you and your child’s visit more enjoyable!

 

Helpful Websites

 

www.snowbird.com for additional program information

 

www.aasi.org for the American Association of Snowboard Instructors

 

www.lidsonkids.org for more information on helmets

 

www.nsp.org for the National Ski Patrol. Listed under safety/dressing properly

 

www.nsaa.org for the Responsibility Code

 

www.psia.org for the Professional Ski Instructors of America