Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Getting Kids Started

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Getting Kids Started

Article excerpt

If you have kids, introducing them to the sports of skiing or snowboarding can become a gift that will last a lifetime.

Consider the case of my own son, Ronan Limroth, who had his first turns at age 2 and now competes in mogul competitions all over New England, ditching Xbox mania with his high school buddies for a season on snow.

Although kids can start at age 2, most ski schools have organized group lessons starting at age 3 or 4, assuming children are potty trained. One exception: Vermont's Smugglers' Notch, voted No. 1 Kid Friendly Resort in the East by Ski Magazine for 2015, offers the Little Rascals On Snow program for children 2 1/2 to 3 with a dedicated slope and conveyor belt right outside the door of the Treasures nursery. Cost is $139 a day for instruction, child care and gear.

"We call it child care with a side of skiing -- it's not a big production to get to the slopes and they can easily come back in and play or have a snack," said Karen Boushie, public relations director at Smugglers. "It's all about giving them a taste for the sport without the pressure emphasizing the fun side so they can get their ski legs early to join the rest of the family."

You don't need to drive up north to get started. There are plenty of places close to Bergen County that are the perfect place to introduce your child to sliding on snow.

Pennsylvania's Shawnee Mountain, about 90 minutes away, also has a dedicated learning area for 3- to 6-year-olds called the Honey Bowl, with a Magic Carpet that makes it easy for beginners to get on and off of.

Shawnee has several programs for various age groups for full days or two- to three-hour sessions, ranging from $85 to $175 (gear, ticket and instruction included).

"We incorporate nursery games they know like Wheels on the Bus and use a lot of visuals," said Robin Manfredi, who has been Shawnee's children's program director for more than 20 years and pours her heart into it by coming up with new, inventive ways to teach kids how to ski and ride. …

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