Skiing before 2 years old

Hello fellow parents, 

I have a 19 month old son and am interested in introducing him to skiing this winter. Are there any other families out there that introduced their little ones to skiing before 2 years old? If so, would you be open to sharing tips and insight with me? If you have, did you do this in Tahoe and could you recommend an instructor who is open to teaching that age? 

I look forward to hearing your responses. 

Thank you! 


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RE: Skiing before 2 years old ()

Hey Karen,

I recommend something like this:

We took our daughter up to the palisades(formerly Squaw) and she had a good time but it's definitely a chore/a lot of effort.  We also got her a thing that attaches to the front of her skis called an "edgie wedgie."  Honestly at 19 months I would skip lessons and just go to a place that has a magic carpet.  If your child is anything like mine, the biggest challenge they will have will be staying standing up.  Kids at that age tend to do this weird thing where they are half way sitting/standing and all their weight is on the back of the skis.  What my wife and I did was take turns holding our daughter by her armpits while she skied in between our legs. Having the harness made it easier for us to hold her.  We made sure to bring lots of her favorite snacks and take frequent breaks.  My guess is your child will be more interested in going with you then an instructor.  Also your child will feed off your excitement so make sure to do lots of positive reinforcement.

RE: Skiing before 2 years old ()

I can’t remember exactly when we started my kid on skis, but your first stop for info should be diamond peak, in Incline Village. IMO, it’s the most family friendly ski area in Tahoe and their children’s ski school is very good. It will be less exciting for the adults, but there are some nice runs and excellent views. 

RE: Skiing before 2 years old ()

We did this but you have to be super realistic or you’re going to be very frustrated. There’s no point hiring an instructor for this age if you yourself can ski. Your kid will be blown away by snow, a lot of your time will be just looking at it. Putting on snow gear and boots will be very time consuming. Gloves, wet cold hands, will burn thru time. Walking in boots - even 20 ft- will take ages, massively compounded by figuring out how to move in skis on flat ground. And they won’t learn all this quickly bc it’s really beyond their body’s muscle development. When you ski, they’ll be on a harness between your legs for a very long time. They’ll have about 60-90 mins ability to handle all this, and cocoa will be involved. You’ll have at least 2 seasons at this basic pace. Maybe around 4 they can start to ski. It’s worth it - our son is an expert expert skier now, able to ski almost anything including heli skiing in Alaska. But when he was that young nothing happened fast and it was all about being flexible and gentle, lots of time in the lodge, etc.

RE: Skiing before 2 years old ()

FWIW ... might be better to stick with having fun sliding, sledding, snow-people-building at that age.  Why?  Generally kids under 3 don't have the nervous system development yet to be able to hold the leg positions and postures needed to ski in control. If they have a frustrating early experience with it before their bodies and minds are ready, its hard to walk that back when they are older.

RE: Skiing before 2 years old ()

We did at 22 months. Whether your child becomes an expert skier at the end of the season really depends on his/her temperament. Mine never progressed beyond a leashed green run at the end of the season (26 months), but I know others who have started around the same age skiing without the edgy-wedgy and turning confidently. If you can find the right hand-me-down skis and boots, it's worth a try!

I don't know any instructor who's open to teaching at that age. If you don't own a season pass already, the usual budget-friendly resorts are donner, boreal, and dodge ridge. No need to get a $150+ ticket at Heavenly if you'll only be on the magic carpet for the day. 

RE: Skiing before 2 years old ()

I just wanted to add, finding the right sized gear as someone pointed out might be a challenge. When we took our (small) 3 year old to Palisades for her first lesson, she almost couldn’t go because they didn’t have boots small enough for her. They (understandably) wouldn’t let her go at all with boots even just a little big, given the risk that she could pull her leg out after getting off the carpet or something and break it. At the time we were able to last minute find an off campus rental place that had small enough boots (their smallest!), but I think 19 months would be tough depending on their size.

RE: Skiing before 2 years old ()

Regardless of what age you start, I would recommend checking out Granlibakken near Tahoe City for first-time skiers. It just has one small ski hill (including a tiny slope that's perfect for little kids just learning to ski), and a very fun sledding hill for when your kiddo tires of skiing. Once they've mastered the skiing basics, a good next step is Tahoe Donner. Also a small resort, very beginner-friendly. Have fun!