Saturday, January 23, 2021

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Teach Kids to Ski
Credit: Snowbasin Resort

Best Age to Teach Kids to Ski or Board

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At what age should parents consider putting kids on the ski/snowboard slopes? There is no firm answer. A lot of factors come into play, with opportunity being one. Parents who ski or snowboard are more likely to start their children at a younger age. It also depends on the child and the weather. February and March tend to be warmer and more comfortable for young students. So, should it be at age 3, when they are learning to kick a ball? Maybe 6, when children start learning right from left and how to tie their shoes? Or even 15, when some start working and can earn money for their own ski and snowboard passes?
Age 3, consensus seems to be, is a good start for kids and skiing—that’s the starting age for many ski schools. For snowboarding, kids younger than 5 often have trouble getting the mechanics of standing sideways on a board, and the recommend starting age is 7.

But if you really want to give your kid and early start in boarding, Burton’s Riglet Park program at Snowbasin introduces them to the sport at ages 3–6.

Maggie Loring, director of the Snowbird Ski/Snowboard School says to train youngsters in snowboarding “instructors put a leash on the snowboard and pull the student in an enclosed area with bumps and very simple obstacles to introduce them to snowboarding.”

One of the main hurdles children face in learning to ski or snowboard is parents who are in a rush to get their child on difficult black diamond slopes. Often these actions result in a skiing/snowboarding experience that turns into tears.

John Guay, director of ski services at Deer Valley, said it’s better to keep youngsters on gentle runs and focus on narrowing the wedge into a parallel and teaching control, turning and stopping.

“One of our biggest challenges is communicating with parents as to why we keep children on easier terrain and to encourage them to turn more with their feet and less with their body,’’ he adds.

Young children tend to turn from the head down and the last parts to move are their feet. Getting them to turn on skis or a snowboard requires training in learning how children think, talk and respond. In order to teach young children, instructors have to reach deep into how a child views of the world, the way they talk and words they best understand.

Few children, for example, understand terms like wedge, parallel and weighting. A wedge to young children looks like a piece of pizza; skis that are side-by-side in a parallel look like two French fries; and weighting a ski in order to turn is easier to understand if the instructor tells the student to squash a spider under one foot.

So, in skiing, instructors stress “Pizza Pie,’’ “French Fries,’’ and introduce a wide range of games like “Red Light, Green Light,’’ “Simon Says’’ and “Follow the Leader’’ to make learning fun, understandable and instructional.

As for how to teach young children to ski or snowboard, start with a professional instructor.

Parents may know how to ski or snowboard, but relaying those skills in a language and a way children understand can be very difficult, which results in slow progress, bad habits and bad experiences. And, children have a tendency to “tune out’’ parents.

The Professional Ski Instructors of America-American Association of Snowboard Instructors have been working for more than three decades, says Olsen, to better understand how best to teach children. The PSIA-AASI, in fact, has introduced a special instructional level called “Child Specialist,’’ which requires special training in child development, teaching steps for children and communication skills. At Deer Valley, for example, most of the instructors have gone through the specialist schooling.

Loring recommends parents look into multiple-day programs, “which are very reasonable and more beneficial.’’

All 14 resorts in Utah offer introductory programs for children. For details contact the resort of choice. For contact information visit skiutah.com.

Just hours after being sworn in, President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling for a review of the boundaries for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. The monuments—designated by Barack Obama in 2016 and Bill Clinton in 1996—were reduced by roughly 2 million acres by former president Donald Trump, and the executive order is seen as move towards restoring the original boundaries.⁠

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📸Bears Ears National Monument: Courtesy of Utah Office of Tourism
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Here's one from our upcoming Jan/Feb issue out on stands in just a few days. We hope you’ll grab a copy and enjoy every moment of reading it.⁠

Mary photobombs Lisa Barlow at the premiere party for Real Housewives of Salt Lake. Below is a snippet from Mary's last editor's letter:⁠

"It’s all a little crazy.⁠
Sometime in 2020, the world stopped making sense for a lot of us. Between one of the ugliest election cycles the U.S. has ever been through and the most mysterious disease most of us have ever experienced, normal was canceled. We can’t get together with friends, hug our loved ones, be in the room with them when they die. But somehow we have to go on, right? Somehow we have to continue to work and love and laugh. This issue of Salt Lake magazine holds a lot of frivolity, the main one being an extremely silly TV show, The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. There I am in a pink fur coat in a car with our cover housewife, Lisa Barlow and her boys."⁠

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Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday. Be merry, be bright and be good for goodness sake! ✨
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Skip the milk and cookies this holiday and leave out something that Santa really wants 🍺😉🎅⁠

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Mary's last-minute holiday gift ideas from last year are still as true and relevant today...⁠

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There was never a time there wasn’t Mary Malouf. Until now. Today, Mary died when a rogue wave swept her out to sea off the coast of Northern California. Only she – perhaps the world’s foremost lover of Bronte, BBC mysteries and, of course, Moby Dick – would appreciate such poetic drama.

“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing.” — Mary Brown Malouf. Ooops. Herman Mellville.
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