©Oreli B / OT Avoriaz
Ever been told your kids need to learn to ski before they can snowboard? Or that they can’t snowboard until they are over 8 years old? Yep, us too, but we’ve never been sure why? So we had a chat with the pros at MINT Snowboarding to find out what age is best to start strapping in and do you really need to be able to ski first?
Traditionally, advice has always been to get kids on skis first and there was a genuine case for this; until recently there has been a real lack of suitable equipment for little snowboarders out there, and we know whether learning to ski or board, ill-fitting equipment is a sure-fire way to ruin your day! Luckily Burton have solved the equipment problem by introducing new boards and bindings specially designed for mini shredders, allowing them to get started on the snow as early as 2 years old! The plastic ‘Riglet’ boards have a retractable cable handle allowing an instructor / parent to control speed, direction and tow children. They have also been designed to be simple to get on, with velcro closure boots and single strap bindings making it easy to get children age 2 and up on the snow and riding in no time at all.
The second argument we’ve often heard for waiting until kids are a bit older to get them on a board is that snowboarding requires more muscle development that younger kids (under age 8) don’t have yet, but is that true? Tammy from MINT tells us;
‘Snowboarding is a very natural stance for small kids and I believe they are less at risk of injury compared to on skis (no chance of twisting legs etc) so there is no issue with young kids not having the physical strength to snowboard. It is just a case of standing up as usual on the board to go straight. To use the edges, this comes as and when they are ready - generally by age 3 all kids are able to start using the heel edge. The toe edge is as much a case of being mentally ready as well as physically - as soon as they are ready to understand the advantages of turning they will make this step.’
Each child will develop and progress at their own pace, both in their muscular skeletal development and progression on the slopes, so the most important factor is really making sure they’ll enjoy themselves. To ensure that happens, Tammy has a few top tips for kids of any age who are hitting the slopes for the first time whether skiing or boarding;
©Pascal Gombert / OT Avoriaz
So now that we’ve established that we can get kids started on a snowboard as young as age 2 as long as they are ready, the questions is, where is best for them to learn?
There are many fantastic resort to learn to snowboard in, both in Europe and North America, but here are some of our favourites:
©Pascal Gombert / OT Avoriaz
Have your kids started shredding yet? Let us know when they first got on snow in the comments below or better yet send us a picture!
Posted on Tuesday 20 Jun 2017