How To Teach Kids To SnowboardTeaching kids to snowboard can be a challenge but also the most rewarding thing in the world. Here are some tips on how to get them up to scratch!

Katie Blundell


2 months ago in News

The time has come. It is time to impart your snowboard wisdom onto the snowboarders of tomorrow. All those seasons spent carving around the mountain, lapping the terrain park, hiking fresh powder (not so much the apres part), are finally going to be put to good use. Its time to teach your kids how to snowboard.

There is no set age to start snowboarding. Many believe that kids should start skiing first then move onto snowboarding, but this is definitely the choice of the parents. The progression of skiing can be way quicker but then snowboarding can be easier to teach if the parents aren’t skiers. So totally up to you! The main thing is that everyone is happy.

 

The Steps:

Start Them Young

Even if they are too young for actually snowboarding (ie: can’t even sit up yet), it’s never too early to get them used to the snow. Just seeing it, sitting in it, playing with it (eating it, you know that’s going to happen) is a good way to introduce them to the wonderful cold stuff. This means that its not so alien to them when they actually start snowboarding. The next progression from this could be building snowmen, making snow angles, tobogganing….anything that makes snow fun. Even just cruising around in a pushchair/sled through the mountain town is a great introduction.

 

Snowboard As Furniture

You’ve bought a super cute little mini snowboard for your grom, but don’t stow this away until your trip. Have it out in the living room, kinda like when you are potty training and you have the potty out for them to “get used to it”. Having it as an awesome new living room feature will create some interest in it, allow them to investigate and play with it. Again, won’t seem so alien when they actually get out to the mountain. You can also have fun strapping them into it and dragging them around the living room. Good to get their balance in check and also good at killing time between dinner time and bed time. If they are a little bigger, you can set up mini jibs with cushions and get them jumping etc….as long as you don’t like your cushions too much.

 

Baby “Snowboard” Wearing

Now this step will either get you high fives, or disapproving head shakes. Totally up to you how you play it and whether you feel confident doing it. I must admit, I did give this task to my husband as our babies became heavier. So it’s simple, pop your baby/small child in a sling/ baby backpack and snowboard as usual……but a LOT more carefully. Might be an idea to pop a helmet on your kid just in case. Such a good way for your child to first experience snowboarding down a hill, wind in their face and seeing up close what you are doing. They will feel comforted being so close to you. I would stick to mellow green/ blue runs and avoid the black kickers in the park!!!!

 

In Between The Legs

The next step is to snowboard with them in between your legs as YOU snowboard down. Now I would say you have to be a pretty competent snowboarder to feel confident enough to do this. Find a REALLY mellow run to start, make sure you are fully strapped in then get your mini shred to stand with his/her feet in the middle of your snowboard, facing out. Hold them underneath both arms, then off you go. It’s a fine balance between watching where you are going and watching your kid to make sure their feet are still in the middle of your snowboard. If any point you feel sketchy, lift your kid up and stop. Definitely helmet on the kid. If you’re feeling confident you can go faster and maybe do more difficult runs, but listen to your body….and your kids stoke! I have actually seen parents hit up a terrain park like this……….very brave! This gets notably harder as kid gets bigger.

 

On OWN SNOWBOARD In Between Legs

This is rather technical and you HAVE to be a good snowboarder to do this. I found this sketchy, but maybe I just need more practice?! I would strap your kid into his/her cute mini snowboard first then strap yourself in, making sure that your kid is secure whilst doing so and doesn’t drift off unaccompanied down the mountain. Then position yourself and have your child in front of your snowboard, on their snowboard. Have them facing out, hands under their armpits. Then off you go. You have to be REALLY careful when doing this as their snowboard can get caught under your snowboard when your turn, so make sure you lift them up slightly on the turns. It’s a difficult technique but really good to get them used to actually snowboarding and turning.

 

The Drag-A-Long

Some mini shred sticks have a leash attached to them making this easy, if you don’t have one, an arm will do just fine! It’s simple, fastened your kid into their snowboard and pull them along. You can do this on the snow, but also on the carpet at home (as previously mentioned). Great to get the idea of balance and work on their core strength.

The Two Person Relay

Now they are ready to venture off on their own, sort of. Find a mellow slope, quiet, flat, no cliff drops. Position one person at the top and one person about 5 meters downhill. Strap your grom into their snowboard, aim them downhill towards the person at the bottom and give them a gentle push. The person at the bottom will catch/stop them then take them back up to the top again (you might want to shot gun the “person at the top” role). Then increase the distance as they get better. This technique can be a case of point/ aim/ hope for the best.

 

The Chicken Run

I’ve named it this because in no situation does a parent look graceful running after their kids on snow in snowboard boot. This is the same as the above technique but only requires one person. You set them up, hoosh them down and chase wildly after them, often shouting “slow down”…which you then realise they don’t know how to do yet. You can use the leash in this method also, controls them and you can initiate turns but gently steering the back of the snowboard with it.

Snowboarding Together

When your kid gets their confidence up, try this. Both face towards each other about an arms distance apart. Hold your kids’ hands as they snowboard down. Can slowly help them get the idea of turning.

 

First Techniques

When they have progressed from literally just pointing down the mountain and going, it’s time to work on different techniques to get them riding properly. Ideas for this can be:

  • Side slipping/ edging –down the slope to get the idea of edges. To start, place them across the slope, hold their hands, and tell them to lift their toes into the air. They might fall forwards to start but don’t worry, they will play around with the feeling.
  • STOPPING- this is definitely the most important! Use the side slipping technique, but get them to go into this position from directly pointing their snowboard down the hill.
  • Falling Leaf- still on heel edge but pointing one way down the slope to gather speed, then the other-going back to heel edge in between.
  • Spinning- just doing full 360s on the slope twirling around, mega fun for them and gets special awareness going and idea of different edges/ body weight

Snowboard School

If all else fails and they don’t want to listen to you, sign them up for some lessons and you can go off and enjoy some kid free shred time!

 

Top Tips:

Don’t get excited whilst riding with kids and nip off into some powder. They will 100% try and follow you and you will spend the rest of your morning digging them out and cursing snowboarding!!

You need to be physically fit to teach kids to snowboard. You will spend a lot of time lugging them up and down the slopes, carrying all their stuff (and yours) and running after them. Also, don’t wear too many layers!

Get proper gear for your kids. It’s hard to spend as I know they will grow out of it quickly, but if they have ill-fitting crappy stuff it will make them miserable and therefore YOU will be miserable.

Make it FUN and everything into a game and give LOTS of high fives. Even though it can be soooo frustrating, try not to get angry and be a pushy parent, they will end up hating it.

Take bribes-otherwise known as incentives. I always go out with pockets full of chocolate buttons and other treats to dish out during the session. Gives them motivation and also keeps energy levels up.

Kids are top heavy; their heads are bigger than their bodies!! So, spread their snowboard stance out more to make them more balanced.

Re-think your gear- you don’t want to be teaching your kids in mega stiff snowboard boots and an aggressive snowboard. All round softer gear will be more forgiving and easier to manoeuvre around.

Living the dream

Now you have finally managed it, snowboarding the whole mountain together as a family, living the actual dream!! The next stage is inevitable….the stage where you kids will overtake you and leave you for dust, yelling “hurry up Mum/ Dad” as they effortlessly slash powder whilst boosting down a black run. And as out of breath you are, you are still very very proud.

Unless of course they decide they now want to ski…….

Looking for a trip to the mountains?

Check out Ticket to Ride’s accommodation options in Meribel, The Three Valleys:

Mountain Lodge

Chalet L’Arclusaz

Chalet Leopold