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Preparing a Child To Ski Reprinted from BBC.com

There's a fine art to making skiing with children successful, and preparation is one of the key factors - without it there is a greater chance of unhappiness, cold-related health problems and broken bones.

Prepare before you go:

young skiersA couple of lessons on the dry slopes are a must to get the child familiar with what it's all about and take away some of the fear when they arrive on strange territory. It will also help you to pinpoint possible physical problems with equipment, such as unusually wide feet. The other essential is to take out medical insurance which covers skiing.

Pack carefully. When you pack for the holiday be sure to include:

  • Any current medications the family are taking;
  • Plenty of pain relieving treatments such as paracetamol or ibuprofen syrups - there will be inevitable aches and pains;
  • Arnica cream - just the thing for bruised aching limbs;
  • Aromatherapy rubs, bubble baths, and any other favourite soothing remedies;
  • A stretchy bandage and plenty of plasters for blistered feet.

young skierPrepare for the snow each morning:

  • Start with a hearty breakfast, packed with carbohydrates (such as cereal) to provide fuel both for skiing and keeping warm.
  • Insist on plenty of warm clothing. Temperatures can fall fast on the mountain, and children often fail to anticipate how cold they can get.
  • Several thin layers are best. A hat is essential - more heat is lost through the head that any other body part.
  • Gloves are also vital - I send my children out with two sets as they get wet and cold so quickly.
  • A proper ski helmet and goggles are needed to protect eyes and head.
  • Cover exposed skin with sunscreen factor 15+.
  • Tuck the following in their pockets: lip balm; more sunscreen; a bar of chocolate and some sweets (instant refuelling).

Avoiding injuries: Injuries on the ski slopes are directly related to age, ability, conditions, and equipment, as well as tiredness.

    Make sure:
  • Their ski equipment is suitable for them and their ability.
  • The bindings on their skis are adjusted for easy release - many serious accidents among children are a result of bindings which don't release when the child falls.
  • Lessons are from qualified instructors (ideally in your native tongue).
  • Take adverse weather reports seriously.
  • No matter how much you yearn for a downhill champion to keep you company on the black runs, don't push your children too hard or overestimate their ability. That's when accidents happen.
  • When they say they have had enough, stop.

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