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Have teen skiers in the family? You’re in luck, because teens are an absolute blast to ski with. While teens often get a bad rep for being hard to deal with, moody, and glued to their screens, skiing with teens is a totally different ballgame!
The great news is that skiing breaks down all those stereotypes and gives your teen a great change to relax and just have fun. If you’re skiing with teens, embrace the moment, relax a bit, and prepare (mentally and physically) for some FUN!
While your teen might not be as thrilled about a day on the slopes with the family as little kids might be, if you change the way you talk about skiing, there are few teens that would pass up a day of playing on a big mountain playground where you get a constant adrenaline rush.
To make sure that our ideas weren’t just “mom ideas” I consulted my teenage son and his friends to see what they want from parents on a family ski day too. Here are some tips to make that great ski day with teens a reality.
Let your teen decide where you ski together.
Even if your teen chooses runs that you don’t like, be a good sport about it and embrace the time together. It is so incredibly rare for them to have you all day, every day at their disposal. Skiing together is a great time to be together in the mountains so enjoy your teen’s choices and take it in!
Have your teen invite a friend skiing.
It’s fun to invite a friend to come to the ski hill with you, or to meet up with other ski families at the resort. This gives your teen a sense of responsibility to look out for their friend and can help keep them in check. It also makes for more fun on the hill when you are skiing with friends.
Set technology limits for teen ski days in advance.
The ski chairlift is one of the best times to talk with your kids about just about anything. While some teens would be glad to blast their music and disconnect, if you want to take the time in the ski hill to build stronger relationships, set your technology limits before you ever leave home. If you set boundaries in advance, you’re less likely to have a fight about it on the hill. Use this as a time to respecfully discuss electronics use and remind your teen that if you’re paying for the ski day, having them respect your tech requests might be a small way for them to pay you back.
Watch ski movies together.
The absolute best way that we’ve found to get teens excited about skiing is with a good ski movie…or three! Take them to a local showing for maximum hype or stream online for your own ski movie night. We’ve found that so many ski movies are really affordable to buy, so each season, our family buys a few so the kids can watch them on repeat (they’re perfect to watch the night before a big ski day!) Our kids are especially inspired by this movie featuring Kai Jones, a professional teen skier!
Stop telling teens what they can’t do while skiing.
Watching our teens do scary and risky things is so hard as a parent and it’s tempting to tell them to just STOP all the time. Trust me, we’ve been there SO MANY TIMES!
Instead, talk about risk management on skis with your teen and model healthy risk assessment yourself. While it’s normal for teens to push their limits, teach them how to do it in a healthy way that reduces the risk of injury.
Can teens ski super fast, race down hills, go off jumps, or even drop a cliff or two? ABSOLUTELY! In fact, they’ll probably try all of these things and more at some point. To reduce the risk of serious injury, make sure that your teens know how to do these things safely. If you can’t show them yourself, sign them up for a few classes where they can get the instruction they need to push their limits. It’s much better to have a pro teach them what to do that for them to try and figure things out with a bunch of their teenage friends!
Give teens some adult free time on the ski hill.
While we don’t think that anyone should ever ski alone, teens crave the freedom that comes from adult free time, so give them some of that on the ski hill. Help them find a buddy, and let them have a couple of hours to ski without you and set a check in point later.
We recommend always having a way to get in touch with them, so a cell phone (that actually gets service at the resort and doesn’t die in the cold) or a set of walkie talkies (these are our favorite rechargable walkie talkies that are perfect for skiing).
Enroll them in a teen ski program.
While few teens like the idea of ski school, most of them would embrace a program to learn some new skills, and it’s a great way to make new ski friends. Check with your local resort to see what teen-focused programs they have to teach skills like terrain park tricks, backcountry skiing, mogul skiing, or whatever else your teen loves to ski.
For a shorter lesson, we’ve loved having group private lessons, like the Friends and Family Private lessons at Nordic Valley, where you can get a 2-hour private lesson for up to 4 people for only $399 (so perfect for a group of friends to learn together).
Last season my son and his friend took a class on skiing through the terrain park and loved it. He made some great friends, learned skills that I couldn’t teach him and enjoyed the independence this class gave him. If you’re skiing in Utah or Colorado, we highly recommend Woodward for their teen programs (we’ve sent our kids to so many classes there and they’re outstanding)
Tip: if the resort doesn’t have one, check with the local town after school programs since they often have great options.
What are your best tips for skiing with teens? Join in the conversation and share them below!