We want our kids to learn to ski – but more importantly, we want them to love it! Learning to ski is more than just learning a new skill set, it’s about enjoying time outdoors and building self confidence.  Following are 5 tips to ensure a great day at ski school:

1. Have Breakfast

Breakfast can make or break a kid’s day since without breakfast, they can get tired and frustrated. Even though you may be on vacation, it’s important to take the time in the morning to fuel up. Kids especially need protein to get them through the morning lesson, since that’s when the bulk of activity happens.

2. Acclimate Them

Some kids adjust to a new situation better than others, but if you know your little one needs time to adjust to a new environment, bring them by the day before the lesson so your child will be more familiar with their surroundings. If you can’t make it the day before – allow yourself extra time in the morning so you don’t have to rush—something that kids can sense and can put them immediately on edge.  Also be sure to explain to your child that you are going to say goodbye and they will be on their own for a little while.  This will help them understand what’s going on.

3. Layers

Being in the mountains can mean unpredictable weather, so it’s key to dress your child in layers. Layers will allow the instructor to help your child adjust to the weather, ensuring they don’t get too hot or too cold – both of which can make for an unhappy little one.

4. Eye Protection

Some parents are adamant about sunblock and sunglasses for a trip to the beach but may forget them when it comes to the mountains. Like sunscreen, eye wear is absolutely critical to protect the eyes from the strong UV reflection which comes off of the snow as well as from the blowing wind.  Goggles are the best bet and sunglasses are O.K. in the springtime when it’s really warm and sunny.

5. Lower That Pony
High ponytails are a nemesis for helmets, which many resorts require kids to wear while in their ski school programs. To make sure your princess stays stylish, avoid high ponytails and any sort of clips or bows in favor of low ponies, pigtails or braids that are much more helmet compatible.

By Amelia Richmond and Karen Roske.  Karen Roske is the head of Squaw Valley’s Squaw Kids program and mother of two.