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Author Topic: 7-year-olds in the backcountry  (Read 2007 times)
Alan Brunelle
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7-year-olds in the backcountry
« on: 04/14/04, 03:13 PM »

I have a 7-year old son who has been skiing for a couple of years at Steven's and I would like to know if this is the time to introduce him to backcountry (more downhill oriented).

He has a super strong snowplow and is starting to deal with parallel to some degree.

We also had him out X-C skiing a bunch of times so he is reasonably comfortable with general locomotion on skis.

I know that I can continue to do more or less flatland type trips, but I was wondering what is a good time for introducing him to the concept of skiing up to achieve fun downs (along with all the other benefits).

I also will have to grapple with the issue of appropriate gear, but if the trips are short, which they will need to be I think I could deal with that.  Even carry his downhill stuff on my back while he climbs with his X-C skis with some old skins I still have.

Any ideas or experiences along this line would be appreciated.

Alan
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Paul Belitz
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Re: 7-year-olds in the backcountry
« Reply #1 on: 04/14/04, 03:43 PM »

My parents started me off XC skiing in the bc when I was five or so. Remember that to a kid, even a short climb feels like it's an eternity. Keep the tours short, don't push him, make sure it's fun, or the motivation won't be there. I remember always wanting 'real' gear, because the lack of control of XC skis always scared me. Above all, keep it fun. I started wanting to do more ambitious trips only when I was older, around 12 or so. I couldn't enjoy long slogs until then.

Lou Dawson has a great article somewhere on his site (www.wildsnow.com), as does Mitch Weber on teletips.

But go for it! Sharing a sport with a parent is a special thing.
« Last Edit: 04/14/04, 03:44 PM by pbelitz » Logged
Mad_Dog
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Re: 7-year-olds in the backcountry
« Reply #2 on: 04/14/04, 04:43 PM »

Quote
don't push him, make sure it's fun, or the motivation won't be there.  

But go for it! Sharing a sport with a parent is a special thing.


From a mothers perspective, pick a nice sunny day,  Cool (don't forget the sunscreen) make it a very short tour. Might even be something you and your son can have fun picking out together.  Probably a good idea to not start at "oh dark thirty", when you get to where you're going, let him decide how far he would like to go, even if it's only 100 yards, then have some fun feeding the birds or playing in the snow, or even brew up some hot chocolate.  What a great thing to do with your kids.  Charles from TAY takes his kids out, in fact there are some pictures on his front page of their latest outing.  
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There is nothing worse than refusing to learn: this is where old age begins.

Jeanette
Paul Belitz
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Re: 7-year-olds in the backcountry
« Reply #3 on: 04/14/04, 05:29 PM »

http://wildsnow.com/articles/louie_buttermilk/buttermilk_2001.html

http://telemarktips.com/KidsFeature.html

The idea of kids' alpine boots on AT bindings sounds quite effective to me.
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Alan Brunelle
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Re: 7-year-olds in the backcountry
« Reply #4 on: 04/15/04, 02:58 AM »

Thanks for the comforting words and encouragement!  The articles were great.  I think that I will take his boots to an outfitter and see if they are the size that can fit into an AT setup.  Though I am a tele skier, I had assumed that he would go AT in any case.  Heck I have even given some thought to that.  I just don't want to add any additional complexity to the situation.  Heck he's really just starting to learn the parallel.

Thanks,
Alan
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Charles
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Re: 7-year-olds in the backcountry
« Reply #5 on: 04/16/04, 04:26 PM »

Alan, my experience is mainly from skiing with my now 10 year old daughter, and I agree with all of the advice of Mad_Dog and pbelitz. My daughter has never ridden a chair lift, so we don't go out for turns, but she loves exploring the woods on skis, and especially snow camping, and she is willing to try just about anything that I suggest she can probably do. We started really small (100vf climb to camp when she was 5) and have slowly increased the difficulty.
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Alan Brunelle
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Re: 7-year-olds in the backcountry
« Reply #6 on: 04/17/04, 03:07 PM »

Charles,

I certainly like the Nason Creek trip posting you made this week.  It seems like a good approach.  We have been doing lift service, and I do think that there can be drawbacks to that.  But I did try to get him out a bunch of times on his x-c gear as well.  At least he has no fear of going down the short runs on the X-C gear and has a great snowplow.  We started the camping thing last year and will keep it up.  I hope to get him on snow this year.  

Thanks !
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: 7-year-olds in the backcountry
« Reply #7 on: 04/18/04, 02:35 PM »

I took my 7-year-old son, Tom, to the ski fest at Crystal today. We have skied Queens Run from the lifts several times this winter, so I knew he could handle the downhill. I also knew that the uphill was too much for him to enjoy it. So I towed him. He has a climbing harness, so I clipped a short rope to it and tied the other end to the ice axe loops on my pack.

He did great going up and gave me a running commentary on how I was doing as a draft horse. It was certainly harder pulling him than going up on my own, but not too bad. We enjoyed the picnic on top, played snow baseball, and skied down before he got too tired of the whole thing. He snoozed all the way home to Seattle, a sign of a good trip.

I think Tom had a fun time. I don't know if you'd call this a backcountry trip (I earned his turns), but it was certainly different from a lift skiing day. I think he enjoyed skiing down when there were no other people zooming by.

Anyway, this is another option for getting out with your 7-year-old.
« Last Edit: 04/18/04, 03:00 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
Bill_G
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Re: 7-year-olds in the backcountry
« Reply #8 on: 04/19/04, 05:35 AM »

BigSnow,

My dad had me cross country skiing at 5 or 6 and downhill skiing at 3 years old.  We were headed to Tuckerman's Ravine when I was ten or so.  I remember snow camping was a blast - but I'm sure my dad remembers a lot more of the whining.  What I do remember was that big groups were fun, lots of food rewards were key, and a high view to work ratio was key.  Come to think of it - those are still applicable today.  The Artists Point area might be a good one.

Have fun.

Bill G
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Curtman
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Re: 7-year-olds in the backcountry
« Reply #9 on: 04/20/04, 09:34 AM »

I started my son (4 then, now 16) out in the back country.  At that time it was what we could afford.  He learned to tele when he was 7.  We kept it easy & fun.  This was on some of the easy small bowls up at Hurricane ridge.  He liked it alot.
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Alan Brunelle
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Re: 7-year-olds in the backcountry
« Reply #10 on: 04/21/04, 02:51 AM »

I appreciate the advice on locations.  Unfortunately, most of the trips that I have done tend to be high on the effort scale (ie. bushwacking or the like) in the beginning before any payoff.  I will heed the advice on short trips or assisted locomotion.

My wife and I did a short trip in the Paradise area when my son was 2.5 years old.  He was in a pulk at the time.  I do remember after a short pull, that there were ample slopes nearby that could serve as an introduction.  Does my memory serve me well?  Would those slopes still hold snow at this time this year?

Thanks,
Alan
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