10 Tips for Teaching Toddlers to Ski or Board

It’s never too early to learn!

The snow continues to be fabulous! So far this year, this is the fourth most snowfall to date since 1970. If it doesn’t get too warm, we should have good conditions well into Spring! Right now, temperatures are in the 50s during the day, dropping down into the 20s at night. Great time to teach the little ones when it’s not too cold outside. We started our granddaughter, Iliana, age 2, on skis this year.

Tips for Teaching Toddlers to Ski or Board:

  1. First of all, what is the right age? This depends on you and your child. If you have an active, adventurous child, and you are a fairly competent skier, earlier is fine.  If your child is more reserved, or you are not comfortable teaching, maybe wait until they are old enough for bunny ski school. We started our oldest son at age 2 (almost 3), the next two at age 1 ½ .
  2. Introduce them to the snow gently, positively. Make sure they are dressed properly and have gloves or mittens on, and start on a relatively warm day. Cold snow on small bare hands can be unbearable.  Don’t force anything. Make it a game. Be excited. Let them make and throw a couple of snowballs at you (but don’t throw them back; that just makes you a bully!) And that may be it for the first time out. Maybe half an hour or so. Then go back inside and have a hot chocolate.
  3. Start with toddler skis that strap on to their snow boots with Velcro. Let them wear them in the house and walk around on the carpet. Again, make it a game.
  4. Next take them out to the ski hill and let them walk around on the snow where it is flat so they can get the feel of the skis sliding on the snow.
  5. We recommend using ski toe clips to hold the toes of the skis together in the beginning. Also a harness with a leash, letting them ski ahead of you while you snowplow behind them.  You can also ski next to them holding a ski pole sideways across you and them (let them have the handle) so they can see you and you can provide words of encouragement. You can also let them ski between your legs, but we have seen others slip and fall on their child, so we do not recommend this method.
  6. Start at the bottom of the slops, out of the potential path of other skiers and boarders. Once your feel your child is ready, start on the bunny slope, take it nice and slow, with lots of encouragement, and when you get to the bottom, go in for another hot chocolate. Don’t wear them out; always leave them wanting more!
  7. Next time out, on a very gentle slope, and with the toe clips on the skis, have them put their hands on their knees and slowly ski down the slope. Have them push down on their right knee and they will turn to the left; push down on the left knee and they will turn to the right. Once they do this exercise a few times, most get the hang of it almost immediately and advance very quickly!
  8. Beginners should not have poles, but let them hold the handle of one of your poles and pull them along when walking, help them in and out of their skis, and so on. Take as much of the effort out of it as possible and make it fun for them.
  9. Take lots of pictures and show them later with lots of positive comments. You have one chance to make a first impression; make it a positive one so they want to do it again!
  10. Once your child is potty-trained, you can enroll them in ski school. Most of the hills have very good programs, half-day and full-day, including lessons, games, snacks, lunch, and naps!

So have fun and Think Snow!

george-sig

George Denise
Owner, The Ski Renter

More Snow!

Our slogan at The Ski Renter is “Think Snow!” Well, we thought snow, and snow we got! 

We have been tracking snowfall at Squaw Valley daily for the past thirteen years. (Hey, that’s what we do. It’s our business!) As of this writing, the base at Squaw is 138”, with 243” up on top.

In the snow report below you’ll see the conditions of other resorts in the area:

It’s been more snow on top of more snow this season. Total cumulative snowfall to date is 462”, which is the most we have had in over ten years. Temperatures have been a little warmer, so the snow has been wet, but now temperatures are dropping.

We may get a few inches of snow over the weekend, but then there should be a break in the storms for an extended period of time. Lots of snow on the ground, clear skies, colder temperatures, and consequently, better skiing and boarding!

So enjoy, be safe, and even though we have lots of it,

Think Snow!

george-sig

George Denise
Owner, The Ski Renter

The Last Hurrah

Dear Friends, Family and The Ski Renter Community,

May is the last hurrah for snow! Most of the other resorts are already closed, but for you die-hards out there, a few resorts like Squaw Valley are still open until the end of May. Winter is winding down and warm weather is here to stay!

At The Ski Renter we’re transitioning to our summer camping and backpacking gear. We’ve got awesome packs for kids to carry and packs in which to carry them! Get outside with the whole family! One day rental packages start at $26!

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Why buy when you can rent?

george-sig

Owner, The Ski Renter

Awesome conditions!

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Up to a foot and a half of new snow, and now the forecast is cool and sunny for the next week or two. All of the resorts are reporting powder or packed powder. That’s almost perfect conditions for most of us, with ski hills reporting snow depths ranging from 75 inches to 140 inches! We are looking forward to a great President’s “Ski” Weekend coming up (February 13th, 14th and 15th). And for many, the entire week! So enjoy (and remember, “sunny” means use sunscreen)!

On another note, we just got back from the annual ski show in Denver last week, where we previewed the equipment coming out later this year and placed our orders for next season. It was an awesome show, and great new equipment! We can hardly wait to get next year’s gear on our racks! It just keeps getting better and better!

NOAA predicts, “There is an 85% chance El Niño will last through the 2015-16 winter”

El Niño’s coming! This could mean a great snow year… or not. We tend to associate El Niño years with increased rainfall, and that typically means more snow in the mountains. We desperately need both!

As you can imagine, we pay a lot of attention to the weather here at The Ski Renter, and it turns out, it’s been about 50-50 in the past, with some El Niños delivering strong rains in the valleys and great snows in the mountains, and some not so much. It depends on the size of the El Niño, and a lot of other factors, many of which even the weather forecasters do not understand. However, the El Niño that is forming currently is one of the larger ones on record. And of the last five El Niños of this size, four delivered great snow, and three were some of our snowiest winters on record, so we’ve got a good chance!

Typically, we get our first snows in mid-November and Boreal is usually the first ski hill to open, with most of the others following soon after. As soon as the temperature gets low enough, they start making snow to help ensure an early opening. If they then get a storm or two on top of it, its assured!

I looked up the last ten seasons, and on average, opening day was November 21st; the earliest opening day being the 15th, the latest the 30th.

For many, the goal is to be able to ski Thanksgiving Weekend. Thanksgiving is November 26th this year, so it looks like we have a great chance, but after all the weather pundits have spoken, it’s still “wait and see”. Still, wouldn’t it be great enjoying Thanksgiving Dinner in a mountain cabin looking out over snow covered meadows and pines?

Mark Twain, famous writer and political commentator, once exclaimed, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Trust me, Mark; we would if we could!

“Think Snow!”

And in the meantime, there are still some great camping days out there until then. It’s beautiful this time of year. The trees are in full Autumn color, most of the insects are gone, and the campgrounds are less crowded. The mornings are cooler, so take your long Johns, a sweater and jacket, and a poncho just in case. We’ve got it all and more; everything you need at The Ski Renter.

Don’t miss out on the NEW snow!

With snow expected tomorrow, reserve your gear today! Bypass the long rental lines and inflated resort prices by stopping in at The Ski Renter before you hit the road. Head for the slopes with ski and snowboard rental bundles starting at only $17.99 (youth) / $28.99 (adult).

The Best Snow Conditions in the Past Four Years

Apparently, you took our motto to heart and “thought snow” ! That last series of storms that finally gave us some more water here in the Valley, added up to 17 inches of snow in the Tahoe Basin. Mt. Rose got the full 17 inches bringing their total depth to 68 inches! Sugar Bowl received 9”, bringing their total depth to 53 inches. Kirkwood got 7 inches of new snow, bringing their total to 52 inches. Squaw Valley received 3 inches bringing their total to 52 inches, and Northstar 3 inches, bringing their total depth to 48 inches. These are some of the best snow conditions in the past four years. 

So Where Are the Best Conditions Right Now?

Snow News Is Good News!

So, where are the best ski conditions right now?

It’s Sunday, January 25, and I’ve been checking out the latest snow conditions; which ski hills have the most snow and comparing them to previous years. (That’s what you do on Sunday when you own a ski shop.)

Some of the best all around snow conditions right now are at Heavenly Valley in South Lake Tahoe with 32 inches, upper and lower slopes.

Sugar Bowl has 15 inches of snow on the lower slopes, but 45 inches on the upper slopes. Sugar Bowl is known for its high annual snowfall and is one of the closest ski areas to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Kirkwood has 25 inches at the bottom and 37 inches on top. Kirkwood is approximately 33 miles south of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 88 and is known for having one of the highest average snowfalls of any resort.

Bear Valley has 30 inches of snow, both upper and lower slopes. Bear Valley is south of Lake Tahoe on Highway 4.

Boreal Mountain Resort has 25 inches of snow on both the upper and lower slopes. Boreal is located near Sugar Bowl at Donner Summit, and like Sugar Bowl, is one of the closest areas to the Bay Area.

Following is a list of some of the Lake Tahoe area ski hills with the best conditions right now.

Ski Hill Lower – Upper
Sugar Bowl 15”- 45”
Homewood 7” – 40”
Kirkwood 25” – 37”
Squaw Valley 18” – 34”
Alpine Meadows 18” – 33”
Sierra-at-Tahoe 12” – 33”
Heavenly 32” – 32”
Bear Valley 30” – 30”
Donner Ski Ranch 11” – 30”
Northstar 18” – 28”
Boreal 25” – 25”

At this point, we haven’t had any appreciable snowfall since December 30th. That’s a long dry spell, but actually is not that atypical. The snow depth on the upper slopes at Squaw Valley right now is 34 inches. Comparing the snow depth on the upper slopes at Squaw on this date over the past ten years, snow depth has been 34 inches or less five times, and over 34 inches five times, so this year is very close to average. As it turns out, January is often a dry month.

Think Snow!
George Denise
The Ski Renter

Resort Highlight

Boreal Mountain Resort

With over half of its runs and lifts open, Boreal at Truckee, CA is the place to be for early season shredding. Get a one-day lift ticket for as low as $33.99 and pair it with our Daycation rental package for $28.99/adult, or make it a long weekend with The Getaway for only $38.99 for all three days and take advantage of Boreal’s great lesson packages

Check Out Lift Tickets!

MLK Weekend is On It’s Way!

MLK Weekend is less than two weeks away! Take advantage of the long weekend with The Overnighter package to fill your weekend with snow shredding fun! Pick up on Friday, ski on Saturday and Sunday, and return on Monday all for the price of $33.99/adult or $22.99/youth.