23 November 2022
This is a question that parents who are keen skiers often want to know, as learning to ski at a young age is thought to be beneficial to the development and acquisition of balancing and key motor skills. Children that learn to ski when they are young may have an advantage in these areas over those who learn a bit later on in life. The extent to which this is the case, of course, depends on the individual child and what their natural aptitudes are.
There are a great many benefits that can be gleaned from early access to any kind of sport and these include a consciousness of physical fitness, better coordination and balance, and the increased confidence that comes with the knowledge you can do something well.
The consensus at most UK ski centres seems to be that they are happy to begin to teach children around 3 or 4 years old. This fits with where children tend to be developmentally at this point in their journey to adulthood. Three year old children tend to be very active and are running around with seemingly boundless energy, and are learning at a very fast pace by touch and from exploring the world around them.
Getting started at 3 or 4 years of age isn’t just something that benefits kids on a physical level, they are also more likely to learn and assimilate the skills that they need to progress in skiing. Learning is vastly accelerated at this age, with the human brain capable of amazing feats that unfortunately slow down considerably as we get older.
There are so many things that are changing in your child’s life at 3 and 4 as they master all of the different skills and challenges in front of them and their capacity to embrace this can be astonishing. The strange equipment for skiing may look daunting to them at first but they will most likely adjust quickly to the new challenge.
Many children who learn to ski at this kind of age will have far surpassed their parents in terms of skill level by the time they have reached their late “tweens” or early teens, which can be both wonderful to see and a little disheartening for parents who may have decades of skiing practice under their belts!
It can be worrying to think about allowing a tiny 3 year old child to start skiing but there are excellent training courses and equipment hire these days in indoor facilities around the UK. These centres have their own snow machines so that your child can learn in the most ideal and controlled environments possible with fluffy powder snow to make their early falls into.
It is definitely not like you may have experienced when growing up, with dry ski slopes and rough landing materials taking some of the fun out of learning. There has never been a better time to think about teaching young children to ski due to the extremely high quality of the facilities on offer to them and the talented instructors who are now well-versed in teaching even the youngest children to ski.