Getting On Board:
Advice on Getting Kids Started with Snowboarding
by Gavin Ehringer
Snowboarding really got its
start 20 years ago, when winter resorts throughout North America began
opening their slopes to boarders. Now, the children of that first generation
are starting to ride themselves. In the early days of boarding most of the
beginning riders were in their teens. Today, kids who only a few years ago
were learning to walk are shredding the slopes alongside mom and dad.
What is the best way to encourage young riders to adopt your own passion for
snowboarding? I got the chance to ask this question while visiting Beaver
Creek Resort a few weeks ago. My experience there helped me gain some
practical advice for young families with a passion for snowboarding.
When are your kids ready for snowboarding? Most ski and snowboard schools
limit snowboarding participation to children at least 6 years old, while
many will allow kids to take part in skiing as young as age 3. Beaver Creek
doesn't offer group snowboarding lessons for kids under age 7.
The reason: snowboarding requires more lower-body strength, balance and
coordination than skiing. You may also find it difficult to purchase or rent
equipment for preschoolers. If you are really stoked about getting your kids
on the slopes with you, consider starting them off as skiers. The main point
of early snow-sports training is not to make it training at all; make it
It might seem natural to want to teach your kids yourself, but you'll
probably find they make more progress initially by enrolling in a ski and
snowboarding school program.
As parents, we may push them to advance too quickly, so they become
frustrated or bored. Ski and snowboarding schools like the one at Beaver
Creek train thousands of kids a season and make learning easy and fun.
I observed a few children's classes at Beaver Creek. In their programs,
children are divided by ability levels, the same as teens and adults. Play
activities, a lunch break and nap time helped to keep the children from
becoming bored or exhausted.
Two things impressed me:
One was the new Buckaroo Express gondola. Slow-moving and short, it allowed
the kids to get up the hill without the need for volunteer helpers.
* Second, Beaver Creek had a magic carpet, a conveyer-belt-type lift in the
children's learning area.
For information on Beaver Creek Winter Resort and the Beaver Creek Ski &
Snowboard School, go to: www.beavercreek.com
Gavin Ehringer covered snowboarding for the Rocky Mountain News for 15
©2010 article and photos by Gavin Ehringer.