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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tips for Snowboard Parents | How to Help Your Child Learn to Snowboard

Many parents want to be right there beside their children on the slopes, and it can be a stressful time for both the adult and child. Sharing a sport can help strengthen the bond between you and your child, and snowboarding is a wonderful sport to share. These tips can help your child get comfortable out on the slopes.

Photo: Bailey Duran
1.       Have the Right Equipment
A snowboard is like any other piece of sporting equipment. It comes in a large variety of sizes and if you are on the wrong one it will be noticeable. A board that is too big will be awkward and less responsive, leading to more difficulty for your child as they are learning. A board that is too small can be dangerous, but it can be awkward for the rider as well. While it is important to find the right size snowboard, if you aren’t sure, you can definitely rent one. The shops at most resorts will have experienced staff that can help size a board for your child. Along with the board, be sure that the boots and bindings are properly fit for your child. It can be incredibly uncomfortable if you are using the right size board with the wrong size boots as well. Helmets are also an important consideration, and be sure that it fits properly or it can be less effective.

2.       Keep your Kids Warm
It is important to remember that children often need extra layers for warmth. With very young children, a general rule is to give them one more layer than you think you personally need. When they are out in the snow and starting downhill, extra layers are helpful for warmth as well as padding. It is important to be sure to keep the layers flexible though, as your child needs to be able to react to the things that happen when on the board. Starting out with a tight base layer and adding in increments also helps with the shedding of outer layers if they get hot in the afternoon. A good pair of gloves is just as important as anything else.

3.       Baby Steps
It is important not to rush your child when they are first starting out. Many parents expect their child to learn quickly and push, but teaching them the basics is important if they are going to be working their way up to bigger hills eventually. Just like anything else that they are working on, snowboarding is a skill to be developed. Understand that they are going to fall, be there to help them up, and offer constructive advice along the way. This will help eliminate the stress a child feels as they are first learning.

4.       Enjoy the Experience!
As with any trip out on the mountain, enjoy yourself. Watching your child learn to do something for the first time is an amazing experience, and being able to share snowboarding with your kids is absolutely wonderful. Take it in – later, when your child is back at home and their board is hanging on their snowboard rack in their room, you will be able to talk about the trip with them and realize that snowboarding can be something that builds bonds between parent and child over a lifetime.