SnoCountry's Best Season-Long Kids' Programs
Looking to share a passion for the mountains with your kids? The country’s next generation of rippers can probably be found in one of many season-long kids’ programs. Whether they’ve got Olympic dreams or just want to become a confident all-mountain skier, these programs provide a solid base for wherever the mountains take them.
Most programs work with the same instructor and small group of kids over the course of a season. The instructor has the time to really get to know your kid’s strengths and weaknesses. He or she can tailor instruction based on a better understanding of where each kid is coming from compared to a once-a-year group or even private lesson.
“Because they are out skiing every week together, they learn to ski in any condition,” Mad River Glen’s Eric Friedman told SnoCountry.com. In additional to the versatility of becoming good all-around skiers, Friedman added that the sense of community in the mountain’s season-long programs fuels their passion for the sport.
Mad River Glen was named the “best place to grow up skiing” by POWDER magazine, and the mountain just keeps pumping out freeskiing champions. Long-time staff and close-knit community make these kids lifetime advocates for the sport.
Snowbird Adventure Team instructors use an activities-based approach, in which children are often familiar with the games they play, and the variable is the skis or snowboard. This will often appear that they are “just playing games” but basic skills are being absorbed by the children as they play, making the next steps come much more quickly, not to mention that the process is fun!
Winter Park Ski + Ride School’s multi-week Fish Programs have the same instructor and classmates every lesson, so kids not only improve skills, but make new friends on the mountain. Parents can check where their kids are and the great progress they’re making with real-time GPS tracking.
Sugarloaf begins by building confidence in the three- to five-year-old set and continue with diversity and mileage for the older kids. The Junior Professional program prepares participants for jobs as ski and snowboard coaches and focuses on serious all-mountain skiing and riding.
Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows extensive offerings range from the fundamental love of the sport all the way to specialized instruction in telemark, big mountain, ski cross or backcountry mountaineering. Most programs include a season pass.
Photo: Kids learn to take on every part of the mountain at Mad River Glen. (Mad River Glen/Jeb Wallace-Brodeur)