Let's Ride!

At ski resorts across the country, kids are taking to snowboarding in large numbers. Here's what every parent should know about the sport.

By FamilyTime


Even if you are a skier, your children might prefer to board, or "ride," as it's more commonly called. It's the hottest way to get down a snowbound slope, and kids are loving it.

Snowboarding has only been around for about 25 years, and recently it's caught on in a big way. Most ski mountains have built boarding parks with half pipes, on terrain suitable for sailing down the mountain on two edges.

It's Not Skiing
Snowboarding grew out of skateboarding and surfing, not skiing. Other than the fact that riders need a mountain covered with snow, it shares little with skiing.

Seasoned skiers may never master boarding, while some will take to it easily. To the dismay of ski-loving parents, some kids "jump sport" and trade their expensive ski equipment for expensive boarding equipment.

Whichever sport you and your children decide to embrace, make sure everyone understands the etiquette of the mountain. This means watching out for others, being considerate, and staying only in designated areas.

Lessons Are a Great Idea
Although your 15-year-old may balk at the idea of lessons, encourage him to take a few before he gets started. Younger children will be more open to lessons and investing in a good snowboard school reaps rewards.

Most snowboard instructors don't recommend children begin to board until they are seven or eight. On the other hand, many ski instructors put little ones on skis when they are three or four. All agree that kids with a few years of skiing will do well when they switch to boarding after their seventh birthday.

Parents should talk to the instructors to learn the differences between skiing and boarding, familiarize themselves with the lingo, and check on their child's progress.

Learning to ride a snowboard is trickier than learning to stand up on skis. Once kids master their balance, can do both heel and toe turns, and begin to link their turns, they are off and flying.

Encourage your child to stick with it. They will get the hang of it!