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Have your kids started pulling your arm about heading onto the slopes? Has their YouTube viewing become solely about skiing videos? Are they desperate for winter to arrive? Here’s our four top tips on how you can turn their snowsports dream into a reality this season. A big thanks to Snowsport Scotland and Glasgow Ski Centre for getting involved with this article!
The easiest way to see whether your child’s snowy ambitions are for the long-term is to take them for a taster lesson. There’s a range of places which offer this beginner’s session, whether that’s your local artificial slope, indoors at Snow Factor or outside at one of the popular Scottish mountain resorts.
For example, Glasgow Ski Centre offer a ‘Taste & Try Lesson’ which is a 30-minute private session. At just £20, this one-on-one tutorial will give your child the confidence they’ll need to decide whether skiing or snowboarding is for them, and potentially to take the next step and book a block of lessons to start developing their technique.
In Scotland, we’re lucky enough to boast the Scottish Schools Snowsport Association (SSSA). Working hand-in-hand with Snowsport Scotland, this organisation organises and runs school events, encouraging children to go skiing and snowboarding on dryslopes, indoors and on snow through school-focused programmes like Learn to Ski.
The great thing about SSSA events and races – which number around 30 each academic year – is that they encourage youngsters of ALL abilities to get involved with the snowsports scene. Sam Brewer of Snowsports Scotland says, ‘It’s a fantastic opportunity for teachers and parents to get their kids started in skiing and see if they enjoy it!’ Schools can enter novice teams into one of the many races the SSSA stage throughout the year.
All Scottish ski centres offer Learn to Ski packages specifically for schools, which includes several lessons spread over a few weeks so that students can really experience what snowsports can offer. The SSSA website has tons of information on the subject – have a read here.
Why not holiday in the hills? Families can spend time on one of the five Scottish mountains, which are an ideal winter break for both ski-mad parents and novice kids. Each resort has dedicated snowsport schools where beginners can learn and develop their skills, whilst experienced skiers or snowboarders can continue shredding on the slopes.
And if you want to take the leap and head abroad, you can quite literally take your pick of family-friendly holidays at fantastic resorts. Most offer free lift passes for younger children, but older kids will also be able to make the most of kids’ trails, race areas and day clubs at selected resorts. Here’s a great article that might help you make your decision!
If you’ve ticked off all of the above with your youngster, it might be time to start thinking about joining a ski club. Julie Vinter from Glasgow Ski Centre explains a bit more about it: ‘It’s easier and more reasonable than people think. You can join GSC for just £7.50 per month!’ Once you’ve joined a club, youngsters will be able to try out a range of different snowsports PLUS get dedicated instructor support if it’s required.
Another great resource to help you find your nearest ski centre and make the most of family-focused deals around the UK is Go Ski Go Board. An online collaboration between Snowsport England, Scotland and Wales, this dedicated website aims to offer value development sessions at both artificial and indoor slopes. Find your nearest all-inclusive sessions at goskigoboard.org.uk.
And, if you find your kids have a competitive streak whilst on the slopes, why not let them try out ski racing? Some clubs run dedicated race training programmes, such as Midlothian Snowsports Centre, Hillend, outside Edinburgh. They have a Saturday race training session called Super Racers. It's a supervised club for 7-14 year olds, where they'll get to try out target turning, technique, timed runs and slalom. To join, youngsters must be able to ski competently from the top station, ski in parallel and use all forms of uplift independently. It's £12.50 for the 2 hour sesion including equipment and uplift; find out more here!
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