One of the best parts of parenting is seeing kids try the activities you love. Snowboarding is a great activity to do together as a family outdoors during colder weather. We started teaching our two girls how to snowboard when they were one and three years old. They are now five and seven years old. They shred down tree runs, carve down blacks, and go over jumps. It is truly incredible being able to experience snowboarding together.
Here is what you need to know about Snowboarding with Kids.
Use a Snowboard with Bindings and wear and Helmet
Choose a snowboard from a snowboarding shop or similar that has bindings and uses real snowboarding boots. Always wear a helmet as this prevents bad head injuries.
For young children age 1-5 years old, the Burton After School Special is the snowboard of choice. It comes with bindings. Kids that are only 1 and 2 years old typically can use just hard snow boots saving on the extra cost of buying snowboard boots right away. Add the Riglet Reel and you can pull those younger one-year-old babies around on flat ground to start by balancing on the board.
Starting them young
You do not have to start kids when they are young little, but young kids are able to naturally do the movements. Even kids as young as one year old can be pulled around on a snowboard. They have a natural balance on the board and have a more advanced squat movement than most adults. For young children under 3 years old, consider using a harness to prevent the hard face plants when they are learning.
Be realistic in their capabilities.
Most young kids will not be able to carve until they are four or five. There are some young two-year-olds that have been able to carve but they typically snowboard 50 or more times in a year.
Most standing one-year old’s can be pulled around on their snowboard. Some may be able to go down small slopes.
Two- and three-year-old’s may be able to ‘heel edge’ with a harness or support. Some may no longer need the harness but use caution if the slope is steep to avoid hard hits to the head. They may also be able to practice a toe edge.
Older Kids - Teach them the progressions
Practice one foot in the binding: For older kids, start by having them push with their front foot in the binding. Next, have them practice going up the hill with only that one foot in the binding.
Both feet in the bindings: Practice standing on the board with both feet in the bindings.
Practice going down the hill: From the top of a hill with low slope, practice going down on the heel by lifting the toes. After practice this a few times, do the same but with your face facing the hill go down on the toe edge by lifting the heels.
Practice the Leef: Next, practice the leef by going side to side on the heel edge.
Practice carving: This is the most challenging skill to master, but once it is mastered snowboarding becomes easier. From the heel edge, turn your head to look and face towards the mountain and allow the board to move from heel to toe edge. If you have successfully turned from heel to toe edge, practice moving from toe edge to heel edge by turning the head to look out away from the mountain.
Keep it Fun
It is hard to learn a new skill and can be frustrating. Snowboarding can also involve a lot of falls. Lots of encouragement and a nice treat at the end can keep the experience enjoyable.
One Lesson can go a long way
It is important to note that lessons, even just one lesson can improve can go a long way in teaching them some necessary skills to get started. Sometimes older kids also listen better to instruction with an older teacher. Kids aged four and up will benefit more from a lesson than younger children.
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