Common Mistakes When Teaching Kids to Ski: Poles

Not ready for poles yet.

I see a lot parents skiing with their kids who make many of the same mistakes. Since I can’t chase those parents down the mountain, I figure I’ll outline them here in hopes someone listens. This four-part series continues Thursday and will conclude next week. Today is kids and poles.

Mistake 1: Giving your kids poles too soon. I’ve see your kids out there (adults too) dragging their poles behind them down a run. They only put the poles in front when traversing the flat or using them as brakes. So many things wrong with this scenario.

If their poles are dragging behind them, they are skiing way too far back. A skier can’t properly turn or edge, if the his weight is on his heels. Poles can also catch in the snow, pulling the kids down. If they’re using them to stop or hold themselves up, they’re not in control and run the risk of injury.

I know kids loves poles. They see other skiers with them and they look so cool so they’re begging for them. And I know your tired of dragging the kids behind you on the flats and waiting for them to catch up because you only have two hands but three kids. But if you make it something they have to earn, they will progress quicker.

How do you kids earn their poles? When they can ski easy blues with mostly parallel turns, give them poles. But for the love, don’t just give them out. Teach them proper placement and use. And if your child reverts back to their wedge or uses them as crutches, take the poles away. Repeat to yourself so that you can repeat it to your child, “Poles must be earned.”

Still unsure? A great way to counteract the mistakes I outline is to put your kid ski school for a day or two. Soon they’ll be correcting you. What other mistakes do you see parents making? Or, what mistakes have you made?

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