Realistic ski expectations for a nearly 7 year old?

(39 Posts)
theoriginalandbestrookie Sun 03-Mar-13 17:23:10

DS has had lessons on the dry slopes so we headed off to the Cairngorms this weekend.

First time for me skiing in Scotland. In the morning he complained of being cold - fair enough the wind chill factor was horrific, so we stopped after 20mins had some lunch and I went down the funicular with him to buy a snood.

In the afternoon he was nice and warm and DH had found some easy runs that we could all do. Technically DS is fine, he has only learnt snow plough but can stop well and navigate himself down a green slope with ease. He seemed to enjoy himself when whizzing down the slopes.

Thing was he seemed to get bored after about 1hr 45 mins. I said we could go for a hot drink and then back out, but then he had a tantrum and manufactured a wee fall to stop him having to do anymore.

Slightly gutted as it cost £150 for the three of us to hire the gear and get the lift pass for the day. We didn't bother with it today as it just seemed like so much money when he gets fed up so quickly.

We are thinking of visiting our friends next year who live near ski slopes in France, as there is an apartment we can rent near by. My thoughts are that we stick DS in ski school for half a day each day as otherwise we won't get much of a chance to ski. Is it realistic to think he could ski for a bit in the afternoon as well?

I know the weather would be nicer abroad, and there are more places to stop and have a drink and something to eat, but I'm just not sure what would be the norm at that age - obviously he will be a year older - so assume it would be a bit easier?

LIZS Sun 03-Mar-13 17:27:19

ds could ski all day at that age but he'd had plenty of practise and was usually in 3 hour or am/pm lessons so couldn't really duck out as easily. But generally yes skiing with kids can be frustrating and feel very expensive especially if weather is inclement. Don't rely in it being better in France but being abroad may make it seem more relaxed and have greater distractions.

It is quite hard skiing for the first time when they are so young, and even a relatively fit child will find the strain on the knees and thigh muscles quite hard to start with. When mine were little, we used to just do shorts bursts of an hour at the time to start with, to give the legs a chance to move around more.

It can get cold, so make sure you counteract this with merino base layers and a merino neck tube that you can pull righ up under the goggles to cover mouth if necessary, and another one over the head under the helmet if necesary.

Good gloves are also really important, preferably primaloft outer layer, and ensure it has proper grip, if he is using sking stick.

If you want it to be better next year, take a few trips to your nearest indoor skiing center prior to going.

Wishiwasanheiress Sun 03-Mar-13 17:30:17

A 7 ur old can cope all day. Seen the French ones?! Thing is, does he like it? Can he do toboggan or something? Just if he hates it well won't work will it?

Disclaimer, my youngest was 3 and my oldest 6 when they started learning, but they were also doing cross country skiing, and had the opportunity of going ever day. It did not take them long to ski for hours at the time!

sommewhereelse Sun 03-Mar-13 17:32:57

I think it depends on the child. We've been twice (in France) when DCs were just 7 and 5 and then again when 9 and 7.

Ski school 3 hours a day. Both were willing to go to lessons. One was happy to ski another 2 to 3 hours a day but the other would either not want to ski (sledge, play in the apartment, play in the snow, ice-skate etc) or want to ski for an hour or so then do something else. We had time to do what we wanted in ski school so that so they pretty much got to choose in the afternoon and we split up if necessary. It was a bit frustrating playing in the apartment but it's so exhausting for them they need some down time.

DreamsToGo Sun 03-Mar-13 17:33:24

My DCs are 14 mths apart. The 8 year old could go all day but the very neatly 7 yr old is much harder work: struggles more with the cold, not so keen on traveling on the chairlifts alone, genet gets more exhausted earlier.

I also find they both need a realistic challenge to build up to - doing x run or whatever otherwise the up an down can be a bit dull for them

theoriginalandbestrookie Sun 03-Mar-13 17:34:05

I think he does like it as we all had great fun whizzing down the slopes together, and he is annoyingly good for his first time on the snow, compared to poor DH who really has to work at it. DS is not the most effusive child in the world - he seems to have hit teenagerdom early so him not actively hating an activity is about as good as it gets.

He enjoys trips together to the dry ski slope which is just down the road from us, but we only do that for an hour as there isn't too many different runs there. He didn't complain of being sore - tbh it was probably just as well we stopped quite early as DH was very enthusiastic but has a bit of a dodgy knee.

Will look at the equipment definitely and make sure he has everything he needs for next year.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sun 03-Mar-13 17:35:25

Ah some more posts, so hopefully by the time we go next year it will be better. DS will probably not like ski school as he only enjoys activities if his friends are doing them, but it will teach him the skills he needs and make it more of a challenge.

DreamsToGo Sun 03-Mar-13 17:35:59

Should also say the younger is generally mid adventurous/daring. But I think at a young age it can be very exhausting

DreamsToGo Sun 03-Mar-13 17:37:00

Good appalling typos - sorry!

trixymalixy Sun 03-Mar-13 17:38:17

DS (6) coped fine with 3 hours of morning ski school and a couple of afternoons skiing with us last week in France. I think kids are more likely to moan when with you, but will do what they are told in ski school. I also think being in ski school is a bit more interesting and challenging than just skiing if you see what I mean.

Waswondering Sun 03-Mar-13 17:40:13

Ds, 9, found it a wee bit of a transition from dry to snow, and his first time was at Cairngorm last month. He observed one of the lesson groups for a bit and was better after that, though was wedded to his snow plough a lot - in part that was because he was a bit unsure of the widths of the runs.

Dd is 6 and we put her into a day of lessons when we were there and she loved it, got on really well. The lessons were 4h which I thought was a lot but she took in her stride.

Having had one in lessons and one out, I would definitely go on the lessons route next time.

Did you have a nice time? We really enjoyed or day there, the snow was excellent.

meditrina Sun 03-Mar-13 17:41:22

Mine coped fine with 2 hours ski school in the morning, then a good lunch, then either more skiing for a couple of hours in the afternoon or going skating. It wasn't really a problem with energy levels, just what they fancied doing. (And of course they don't really 'get' the relative expense!)

He might just be tired rather than bored, perhaps for next year you can build up his overall fitness before you expect him to spend all day doing physical excersise.

Not been skiing with DS, but we are climbers and go on long climbing holidays every summer, where we climb for between 6 and 9 hours a day. I have to make sure DS gets lots of practice in over the year (especially over winter) and lots of high physical excersise to make sure he is fit enough to cope, and enjoy, the physical demands of our summer holidays.

I bet you'll find next year he will be able to go for longer, especially if you spend lots of weekends on dry ski slopes and generally being active.

Does he enjoy the skiing though?

Timetoask Sun 03-Mar-13 17:44:17

Are you sure he has enough clothes on? Maybe it's not really his sport? (some people hate the cold, I do).
We took DS last year (just turned 5), he had one hour lesson and he then had DH going up and down the slope for 4 hours non stop... for 5 days.
DH was far more tired than DS.
This year we did it again. He loved it, except for 1 day when we made the mistake of putting a separate ski trousers and jacket combo (instead of an all in one ski suit) and he felt cold, didn't last as long.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sun 03-Mar-13 17:46:18

Thanks all for responding.

We had a good time waswondering , we were staying at the Hilton so we also went swimming, did the mini golf and outdoor play area this morning and some of the lovely walk around Loch An Eileen.

The snow was really good, I was impressed by it and really enjoyed the nice wide slopes but found the wind chill and poor visibility a bit of a challenge. I didn't fancy going off and doing anything harder on my own because my map reading isn't the best when its hard to see.
I think we should have stuck to the lower slopes rather than going up in the funicular.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sun 03-Mar-13 17:48:47

I think he was warm enough once he had the snood on, but to be fair to him I didn't expect it to be that cold, so I'd make sure he had better gear for next time.

Yes we need to build up his stamina. We're going to Disneyworld at Easter and apparently thats the equivalent of walking 8 hrs per day grin. Generally we are reasonably active but we could probably do more - I get additional exercise through running and cycling and DH through tennis, so need to focus a bit more on DS.

bigTillyMint Sun 03-Mar-13 17:51:52

The weather sounds like it was a bit of an endurance test! Try the alps - it's generally quite sunny (especially by March!) and maybe that will help?

And maybe you should stick to the green runs until he's really confident and begging to to blues? Lessons might be good, but not if he's going to get upset at you leaving him (no friends with him)

Or maybe he just doesn't like real skiing that much?

LIZS Sun 03-Mar-13 17:53:12

If he is used to shortish runs on a dry slope , then longer runs on snow where he perhaps couldn't track the route to the bottom or anticipate the terrain is a bit ambitious. Better to build up confidence on a few short easy runs, doing each several times . Definitely prebook lessons if you go again as he will learn quicker and behave better for an instructor than you and he can then show you the runs he has managed in the afternoon.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sun 03-Mar-13 17:55:22

Apparently it was quite good conditions for Scotland grin. Yes the weather may have played a part, it wasn't quite as enjoyable as doing it in the sun abroad.

He would be fine in lessons once he settles in. To be honest the main thing he enjoys at the minute is playing minecraft on the i-pad with his friends, but he certainly can't have that as his main hobby !

PandaNot Sun 03-Mar-13 18:05:16

My ds and dd have lots of hobbies they like to do but both of them would be bored rigid having to anything for 6 or even 4 hours a day. Maybe he just doesn't like it that much?

prettybird Sun 03-Mar-13 18:11:53

Ds has been skiing since he was 4. Even by the time he was 6 or 7, we had to be really careful about trying to ski in the afternoon after a morning in ski school. Sometimes the "lights would just go out" - and if that was a few ski runs away from "home" it could be a nightmare coaxing him back.

We always made sure that he was really warm - good salopettes, thermal long johns and thermal long sleeved top, a long sleeved rugby top or fleece (and maybe another top if it's really cold) and then a good quality jacket.

He also wears a thick fleece "snood"/turtleneck made from genuine turtle fur wink

He suffered from cold hands, so we got him silk gloves to wear under his ski gloves (dh and I also wear them) which has solved the problem.

It does get better in time but you just need to be patient and not try to force him otherwise you might put him off.

Make the most of morning ski school and get your skiing "fix" then and then just follow his lead in the afternoon. Have a long lunch to get him to recuperate a bit and maybe get a second wind.

Last year (when he was 11), we were able to ski all four valleys in the Trois Vallees (confused) with him without complaint. smile

LIZS Sun 03-Mar-13 18:12:07

There are lots of other activities he could try - he's only little . Climbing , sailing, orienteering/geocaching , biking, swimming etc all of which are rather more accessible in UK anyway.

prettybird Sun 03-Mar-13 18:16:13

(BTW - we live in Scotland and have never ski-ed outside in Scotland! --'cos I'm a wimp--) grin

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