We are now seeing younger and younger children trying out and enjoying snowboarding. Age specific equipment is now available for even the youngest would-be shredders.
So can a child enjoy snowboarding age 2? And what is the best way to get them started?….Read on!
Different kids develop at different speeds in different areas. So some two year olds will really take to sliding down a hill, a board strapped to their feet and snow all around. Some may not be interested at all! It’s not an exact science as parents can attest!
However, if you have a keen, co-ordinated 2 year old (and bear in mind that sometimes the children who pick-up snowboarding pretty quickly are not always the ones you would think!) and if you keep a fun, relaxed and confident attitude you have every chance of enjoying some good fun sessions.
If they’re sliding and smiling you’re doing something right!
What to Expect
Don’t expect to be on out on the slopes for big sessions at a time – anything from 5 mins to an hour at this stage.
Don’t initially expect any edge control or ability to be autonomous but, hopefully, expect lots of fun, smiles and good positive memories of being in the snow.
Expect to, potentially, have trouble finding small enough equipment. If they’re sliding and smiling you’re doing something right!
From 2 to 3 is a pretty big jump developmentally and often the difference between just-turned-2 and almost-3 can be massive. You’ll need to use your judgement and knowledge of your child to help you make appropriate decisions. However, do give your kids the benefit of the doubt and some time to get used to ‘sliding sideways’. We all know how alien it can feel at first! And so it is with kids too. Often if you have a disastrous first attempt the next time will be the polar opposite!
In fact, don’t be disheartened if your 2 year old isn’t that interested in riding and would prefer to play in the snow! At 2½ our daughter was not really that interested in snowboarding; she would have a go for 10 minutes or so and enjoyed herself but was more interested in hot chocolate! The next year at 3 ½ she loved it! But it was definitely worth introducing it at 2 as she had positive memories the following year and some understanding of riding – all with a longer attention span and more motivation!
There are several ways to help your child to learn how to snowboard at this age.
Firstly, make sure you focus on FUN!! Remember, to kids, at this age it’s just another way to play, not a ‘sporting experience’! Snowboarding at this age should be a fun introduction, little tasters to get them stoked on being on snow!
It is generally pretty difficult to find suitable lessons for 2 year olds (even the Burton Riglet Parks are generally from 3 up), and probably not 100% necessary, especially if they are just turned two. It may make life easier for you and your little one to keep sessions really informal (much like a session sledging), flexible, short and sweet – think hot chocolate breaks and building snowmen interspersed with sliding about on a board!
How to – Practical advice and Tips
Get them used to the equipment if you can:
- Try on a snowboard, boots & bindings and even helmet & goggles
- Practice strapping them in and letting them stand on the board
- And definitely pull them around the carpet!
First Time on Snow
- Choose a very easy, quiet, safe slope with a very gentle incline. This doesn’t have to be a designated ‘beginner area’ at first, in fact it can be better if it’s not if the beginner area is busy! Anywhere quiet, snowy (don’t even try if it’s icy by the way!) with a low gradient (checkout some of our Age 2 videos to see some good examples of good places for little ones to learn)
- It’s great if you have access to a slope with a travelator – brilliant fun for the kids and less exhausting for Mum & Dad!
- They won’t really have any technique at first – it’ll just be stand up sledging/gliding on the flat of the board. A harness or riglet reel maybe be helpful – if only to give you peace of mind in keeping them upright! (you can also pull them around a snowy resort!)
- At first keep a hold of them, letting them feel the sensation of sliding on the snow safely. Then you can try letting them glide a short distance between two adults (one pointing them in the right direction, one to catch!).
- Check out our Videos section for tutorials and clips of under twos riding…
Balance & First techniques
- pull them along (eg via the Riglet reel or a harness or holding their hand/hands) on the flat of the board
- sliding on the flat of the board between parents
- skating one-footed is not recommended yet!
- even try asking them to point and look where they are going to help balance and co-ordination
Practical advice for lifts:
- Travelators are great fun for little ones even if you go up and walk or sledge down!
- Take a cable car or chairlift if it gets you to an easy slope or for a bit of sightseeing!
- Use your judgement on what slopes work for you and your kids.
There are some great 2 year old snowboarders out there, many of whom are able to come down a slope alone with control. However, the majority of these will have the luxury of living in the mountains, somewhere close to the mountains or will spend a lot of time in the mountains and on snow. But don’t let this put you off! Even little tasters should have a positive effect on their future riding – there are lots of young kids that started snowboarding at a very young age, just on holiday, who are now riding amazingly well!
Have a look at the videos below and also on our Age 2 video section. They will give you an idea of what is possible for two year old’s and also of what it can be like initially…