I am very fortunate to have two young children who have survived long enough, thanks to the skills of my wife, to reach an age where they can come skiing. I seek to share my experience as I trek this path with my family to tell you possibly nothing that will help you, as I have found both children are completely different and the timeline is their own.

Photo by Cole Hofstra @colehofstra

My son turned a corner last year. I barely had time to blink and he went from a tentative little toddler to a boy on a mission to explore. 

We started him at 4 years old with a few lessons coupled with childcare at Marmot Basin so my wife and I could ski. At four he was more interested in watching Disney and eating pizza at the chalet than skiing.  The novelty wore off quickly. Trying to force my dream of ripping with my boy I half carried him up the chair and completed 4 runs with me stooped over just having him hover and turn. By the end he was done and so were my back and hamstrings. He had no leg strength or skills for the sport but when we got back home it was all he talked about for a month: mission accomplished, he caught the bug.

@sean.davey.37

Fast forward one year and at 5 he decided it was time. A few quick lessons around Christmas time had him running the bunny hill slowly, exercising extreme caution. This prepped him for the big show. We booked him for two days of care and lessons and only needed a half day. He went to childcare in the morning and had two 50min lessons. We stopped by mid afternoon to check on him and he wanted to go skiing. This is a day I will remember as it was the first time in his life that he argued for one more run...I feel this may trend. 


By day two our only problem was that as he navigated down in a mad snow plow his pace was too quick for his mom (she enjoys skiing and the mountains, and the glass of red wine/book time she gets while I’m out doing extra laps).  This proud papa was trying to bring up the rear while filming, which involved having to use my outside voice constantly to keep young Magellan on track: it was so much better than coaching U-6 soccer. 

@sean.davey.37


On a later trip to Kimberley we worked a couple of his older friends into the mix and we are now good on most any green or blue. Having other kids with more skill was the best way for my son to learn as he did not want to get left behind. He is now hooked and supplies me with another driving force to pursue my favorite pastime.


My daughter is a whole different matter. We put her in lessons at 3. This was hoping to fast track the entire family so we don’t have to spend our cash on childcare. I would rather spend it on lift tickets (which are free for most kids under 5!). I had taken her out to our local bunny hill and she loved every minute of it. She just wanted to straight-shoot the hill every run like an adrenaline addict. I was so elated. 


Enter young ski instructor with an accent. Two attempts at different resorts to have our 3 year old ski ended in epic failure. The first time our girl rolled under the snow fence in a bid for escape and ran off towards the main road. The second kick at the can resulted in attempted assault, punching and a near catastrophic biting incident that ended the lesson early.  

@sean.davey.37

She was pissed and skiing turned her sour. She did not want to be left behind with the other toddlers and felt that her crew was ditching her for fun. Fair enough. There is no denying that we were having loads of fun. My wife and I decided to let the sleeping dragon lie and have treaded lightly moving forward.


So it is a new season and I have already sorted the hand-me-down boots and skis to prepare for my offspring’s growth over the summer. The kids are now four and six. The boy likes to talk about maybe ripping up a black diamond this year and I am super excited to see him continue to engage. I’m not sure about my daughter but I have a strategy. I have a friend with a boy the same age to pair up with her in lessons. I can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, and there are going to be bumps on the way (last year my boy was on a steep blue pitch on last run and he froze up and told me he had to poop, which made getting him down the rest of the way a bump) but I am super excited to continue this journey with my family. Best of luck with yours! 

@sean.davey.37

Downhill Davey
Downhill Davey

I'd take fresh cord over powder every day of the week! ;)