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First Ski Day with Kids: Worth It?

January 16, 2020

First Ski Day with Kids: Worth It?

January 16, 2020

There are many memories from my childhood that hold a special place in my heart such as camping, swimming, get-togethers with cousins to name a few.  In addition to those, skiing brings back so many memories from childhood into my early adult years. There are several ski trips and weekends that are still vivid in my memory.  In college, Travis and I did a few ski trips together with friends to the upper peninsula of Michigan and Lutsen, MN.  

Throwback to skiing in 2008 with friends.

Skiing is such a fun winter sport that we have been hoping our own children would enjoy some day. Our daughter is six now and Travis and I felt like it would be a good time for her to learn and she was showing some interest in skiing. We have been talking about teaching our daughter, along with another couple (friends that we skied with as kids ourselves and more so in college). Collectively, we decided to enroll our daughter and their two daughters in a ski Lesson at Cascade Mountain.

My friend Amy and I had low expectations for how the girls would do. If you have kids you might know what I’m talking about. Anytime we try something new its questionable if they will enjoy it, what their mood will be, and so on and so on. You register your child online prior to the lesson at Cascade’s website and pay at that time.

The ski lesson was from 10am – 1pm but we needed to arrive to Cascade by 9 am to get rentals and get her ready to go for her lesson.  When we got to Cascade at 9am it was not very busy yet, which was nice because getting the rentals and going through that is a struggle enough.  I was able to take my time getting my daughter into her boots and skis and not rush. 

The logistics of the lesson was overall well run.  There is a small room that is separate from other areas for the kids to check in and meet their instructor. The instructors the day we were there were mostly young adults and from what we saw, great with kids. 

The day we were there, there were 5 kids to 1 instructor. They gave each kid a red vest to wear with their name on it and what level of lesson the were on. (The lessons scaffold up on skills with with each increase in level).

Once the lessons start the kids go to the magic carpet with their instructor. I wasn’t sure what was going to be expected of parents, do we stay and watch or go do our own thing? Luckily, my friend Amy had planned on not skiing so she could be there for the girls. But, there weren’t really parents out there watching. They took our phone numbers and said they’d call if they needed something. They do give the kids a break and provide a snack about halfway through the lesson, so I got the time of that so I could be back then and check in.

The adults that planned skiing said “good luck” and took off to go skiing! 

My husband and I had a lot of fun skiing together again. There were multiple times everyone in our group said “this is great” “this is so fun!”

I’ll admit, I was a little nervous about how it would go for me. It had been 9ish years since the last time I skied. It actually went fine, but my calves were pretty tight the next day ☺️. 

After the ski lesson, we took the girls on the chair lift for the first time. Cascade has two shorter chairlifts that doesn’t go up as far on a bunny hill right next to the magic carpet. This was a highlight for the girls. Also, I was impressed that they wanted to keep going. Before going into this, I figured they would be wiped out and done after the lesson. The reality was we were the ones to drag them out of there at the end of the day. It was so fun watching them learn something new, apply it, and be resilient through it all. They were all a little nervous going into the day but left being proud of themselves.

The biggest downfall of the whole day was the cost:

The lesson was $99 for a 3 hour lesson including equipment rental, which I don’t think is a bad price for what your getting. But, it’s still $100 (not including the cost for my husband and I to ski). If you have your own equipment for your child, the lesson is $60. The equipment rental included skis, ski boots, and a helmet. This was an expensive day, in total we spent just a little over $250 for the family. But, if this is something you’re interested in, I 100% recommend it. It wasn’t a waste of money, in my opinion. Give it a try!!

Only speaking to Cascade but kids under 12 do ski free. So another option would be just to get a rental and teach the kids yourself. Or, if you have gear, it could be 100% free for your kids!

If you decide to go, here are a few of my tips:

  • Googles were nice. If you have them, bring them.
  • You can pack snacks for the kids, and yourselves. Good way to save some money. Our kids were starving.
  • Have everything you need easily accessible, gloves, hats, etc. Theres a lot going on when you get there. I used packing cubes for our extra warm stuff so each person had a packing cube and could get their own things rather than all digging in one big bag.
  • Wear shoes that are easy on and off for getting into your ski boots.
  • Pack things up the night before so you can get there before it gets crazy busy! It will have less for you to do in the morning.

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